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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cause of Anxiety Disorders ?

Q.What are the causes for the Anxiety Disorders. I am told they are a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain and medication is the only way to treat these Disorders as they fix the imbalance.

A. There are five major anxiety disorder/phobia (SP), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), the causes of which, excluding PTSD and GAD, are still being investigated.

There is no single defined cause as yet for panic disorder and OCD. Arguments abound as to the exact nature of the precipitating factors, including the biological theory, the behavioral theory and the psychodynamic theory.

If the exact cause eg a chemical imbalance was known, everyone would be taking the same medication and would be living normal lives. As it is now, some people can use some of the medications available successfully, other people can't. What works for some people, doesn't work for others. It is very individual.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very effective in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders and is considered to be one of the 'Best Practice' treatments for anxiety disorders.

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Power Over Panic

The Australian Best Seller, by Bronwyn Fox, is based on Bronwyn's Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Award Winning Panic Anxiety Management Programs and Workshops 

Bronwyn is also one of the main authors' of our website.

proceeds from our bookshop fund our website.


Early intervention

Question 1. I have only just begun to experience panic attacks. When I read you site and others and see that people have had anxiety / panic for so many years I get so frightened. Is this going to happen to me?

Question 2. I had what my doctor said was a panic attack. He gave me a prescription for an anti depressant. He told me I will have to take these tablets for about a year. Isn't there anything else I can do besides take medication?

Question 3. My doctor said people don't recover from this and that I will need to be on medication for the rest of my life. Do you agree with this?

A. The reason why people have had an anxiety disorder for so many years is because anxiety disorders have only been recognised since 1980. It has only been in the last few years that people are being diagnosed. Even now we are still seeing people who have had an anxiety disorder for 20 - 50 years who have only recently been diagnosed. Receiving a diagnosis though is only part of it. Many people are still only being prescribed medication. Although CBT is considered as part of 'Best Practice' many people are still not being offered this therapy. Without it, people will continue to struggle. As CBT is not as readily available, and in many cases is not being offered as a treatment option, then some doctors would not have seen people make long term recoveries. As a consequence people they are being told they will be on medication for the rest of their life. 

As you have only just begun to experience panic attacks then you are in an ideal position to prevent much of the distress other people have experienced in the long term. So much of this is preventable with early diagnosis, education and cognitive therapy. Learn as much as you can about panic attacks, speak with your doctor who can explain in detail what is happening to you. The more knowledge you have will assist you in losing the fear of them. If you are having difficulties in believing there is nothing physically wrong with you despite your doctor's reassurance, then you can ask to see a specialist or seek a second opinion. This is very important, If we don't believe our doctor, then the 'what if the doctor has made a mistake..what if the tests results were mixed up' etc can begin. This is then added to the fear of 'what if I have another one, what if I have a heart attack, brain tumor, go insane' and you begin the vicious circle of panic disorder. You can stop the development of the disorder and agoraphobia in their tracks by accepting and believing the diagnosis and you may wish to consider seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist. They would be able to assist you in getting control of the thoughts which fuel the anxiety and panic.

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Anxiety & Panic Hub
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Telephone / Fax : 0 8 8555 5012 (Aust residents)
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or E-Mail us at: [email protected]
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