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Firstly, GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) is the most basic type of anxiety disorder. There are several types: Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobias (of which claustrophobia is one), Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Acute Stress Disorder, GAD, Anxiety Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition, and Substance Induced Anxiety Disorder.
The best treatment is NOT medication but psychotherapy (talk therapy).
For phobias, there is a type of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention.
In this therapy the clinician slowly introduces you to the object of your fear, and then little by little (over a number of sessions) gets closer and closure to the total immersion in what was formerly fearful or terrifying for you and you are finally cured.
Taking medications only suppresses symptoms.
The best antianxiety medications are benzodiazepines which are at the same time almost miraculous in their ability to stop anxiety reactions, but at the same time they are very addictive over time.
Meds never cure these disorders.
How long does the Cognitive Therapy take to be successful. Will symptoms return or is it an ongoing process to manage the anxiety.
It should take a limited number of sessions, perhaps a dozen, perhaps less. It depends on the client and on the therapist and also upon how they interact.
I have cured some phobias in three sessions (in face to face sessions).
There are some self-help workbooks as well that I can refer you to.
Was I born this way or would it have been a traumatic event that could have caused this. I was a very shy child that did not like interacting with peers. I am that way as an adult, however, it has not had a negative impact on my ability to work, raise a family, or have several friendships. I just don't fly, I hate elevators, and I start to panic in unfamiliar places.
Here is one excellent standard.
You probably have Panic Disorder with a touch of Agoraphobia, and you have other phobias (elevators and flying). They are related to claustrophobia (going into an elevator or plane or the worst - an MRI tube - eeeek!)
It could have been a traumatic event - being locked in a closet, stuck under a bed, or something of that order.
You might not even have a recollection of it.
It is also true that some of us are more prone to anxiety than others and react more quickly to those kinds of stressors.
Since they do not affect your performance socially or at work (etc.) then it is not really diagnosable because you have no dysfunction. It is still scary or annoying, and it may be dysfunctional if you have to fly somewhere and are afraid to.
I fell between a wall and an old fashioned steam heater at age 3. I burned my arm pretty bad. I rock when I'm just sitting in a chair. I will get the book and talk to my doctor about a referral for cognitive therapy. Thank you very much. This has been very helpful.
Let me recommend another book with a slightly different approach.
You described the traumatic event that caused this. It is almost a bit like the trauma that could cause PTSD. All anxiety is interrelated and yours is not overwhelming you, thank the Lord.
Here is the book:
Your are very welcome. I shall keep you in my prayers.
Is it a lack of faith that keeps me from overcoming this obstacle in my life. I want to fly and take trips with my family.
Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC,CCMHC
Thank you for all the information. God Bless you!
Thank you so much and may God protect and heal you.