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Dr John B
Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience:  PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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How can I cope with anxiety?

Resolved Question:

How can I cope with anxiety?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr John B replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

Can you provide some more information on what exactly you are experiencing? There are different kinds of anxiety symptoms and the best way to cope will depend on the type you are having difficulty with.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Alcohol bingeing - have trouble controlling thoughts and not able to focus positive thoughts
Expert:  Dr John B replied 2 years ago.
Is the anxiety & difficulty with your thoughts only occurring in relation to alcohol consumption? Is this occurring during a binge or afterward?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It occurs afterward, and the thoughts are of guilt for drinking and personal issues(my childhood) trauma
Expert:  Dr John B replied 2 years ago.

Alcohol is particularly effective at triggering negative thoughts during the withdrawal phase (once you have stopped). Because Alcohol has a depressant effect on our nervous systems it can have the temporary effect of reducing anxiety related symptoms while intoxicated. However, there tends to be a 're-bound effect' afterward with an increase in the more physical symptoms of anxiety and also distressing negative thoughts (including painful memories).

Obviously the most effective method in this situation is to reduce alcohol consumption, but in many cases this is not easily achieved (or desired) and so it can be helpful to use standard cognitive challenging techniques to manage distressing thoughts. Broadly speaking cognitive techniques will either involve disputing or rationalizing negative thoughts OR accepting negative thoughts and moving attention away from those thoughts. Either can be effective and it tends to be more a case of personal preference as to which one works for a specific individual. If you like and can describe the two therapeutic approaches that use both forms of cognitive technique?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you Dr. John B.!! Can you please elaborate and give me more information on the 2 therapeutic approaches for both cognitive techniques
Expert:  Dr John B replied 2 years ago.

Ok, two forms of therapy that use cognitive strategies are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT).

CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure. Treatment is technique driven, brief, direct and time-limited (normally 10-12 sessions). CBT is used in individual therapy as well as group settings, and the techniques are often adapted for self-help applications. As I mentioned earlier you could use the cognitive techniques typical of this approach to help and manage distressing thoughts and memories that occur after bingeing. Take a look at this self help guide here http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/SelfHelpCourse.pdf It will teach you about using CBT techniques in general and sections 4-7 may be particularly useful given your situation.

ACT is a variation of CBT with a focus on developing our ability to tolerate distressing experiences rather than trying to reduce them or make them go away. A core part of this approach is mindfulness practice: the technique of consciously moving your attention and concentration on to targets of your own choice. So, you may be able to use this approach to control your attention when painful memories are recalled. Painful memories tend to be quite fixed so this kind of approach may be a useful alternative for managing distress related to your childhood. I can highly recommend book titled The Happiness Trap as an introduction to ACT as a place to start.

If you decided you want some help using these approaches then I suggest you contact the American Psychology Association (APA) for assistance with locating a
Psychologist; take a look at the APA locator service here. You can use this to find
Psychologists in your area and there is a phone number you can contact if you want a referral arranged for you. Also, take a look at an article published by the APA here. It's an interview with a senior Psychologist and covers some of the things you should consider when you looking for a Psychologist.

I hope this has been of some help. If you would like me to clarify or elaborate on any part of my answer please let me know. If not.....then I wish you the best of luck!

Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience: PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
Dr John B and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you!! I feel much better and most definitely will follow your advice!!
Expert:  Dr John B replied 2 years ago.
Hi,

I hope you are making some progress in managing the anxiety and distressing thoughts.

If I can be of further help, or if you ever have other questions in the future, please don't hesitate to contact me directly. You can do this by simply putting "For Dr John B" at the start of any question you post.

Regards,

John

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Dr John B
Dr John B
Clinical Psychologist
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PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.