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It is strongly recommended that you visit your GP early on and have a physical check up to exclude any illnesses that may present with similar anxiety symptoms.
You can expect a set of blood tests as well as an ECG if you are having a racing heart beat or palpitations.
Help your doctor to help you by making the best use of their precious time with you by writing down your symptoms, a summary of whats been happening to you in the last few months, what you think might be happening and if you have strong views on how you want to be treated and any questions you may have at this time. Also, take notes of what you discussed as you may not remember it all afterwards.
Be aware of the National Institute for Clinical Evidence guidelines for anxiety and depression. These are fairly new out so if you feel you are consistently not being listened to or getting the help you need, you have a point of reference to use to to start off further discussions with your doctor.
Clinical guidelines are recommendations by NICE on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS. They are based on the best available evidence. Guidelines help health professionals in their work, but they do not replace their knowledge and skills.
These are the guidelines in full.
Some doctors will recommend a course of anti-depressants or suggest you see a therapist for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Try and be open about trying anything as there is a solution out there, it is just a case of finding the right one for you!
When searching for a therapist to work with please do be aware there are many varieties of therapy and therapists out there and you have the choice if you are self paying. If you are referred by the NHS it is always worth going along to see what sort of therapy you have been allocated.
CBT therapy is the therapy of choice recommended in the NICE guidelines but there are not enough suitably qualified therapists so it may be that you are allocated a general counsellor instead. At your first meeting ask what their qualifications are and what specialities they have most experience in.
If you are self paying it is worth paying the going rate and getting a good CBT therapist who has trained or is registered with one of the CBT National registers. Here are the relevant associations and links to their websites:
http://eabct.eu/ – The European Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Therapy (EABCT) is an umbrella organisation that brings together a large number of individual associations from 29 European countries. This website provides information on the individual member associations of EABCT and the activities that support them – our constitution, board of directors, congress and newsletter.
http://www.babcp.com – The British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP) was founded in 1972 as an interest group for people involved in the practice and theory of behaviour therapy.
As CBT is the preferred choice of therapy and there is a great shortage of them, there are general counsellors who are advertising CBT services. Do ask to see qualifications if you are in doubt and with good CBT, progress will be apparent within 6 sessions. Be very wary of anyone who says you need months of therapy from the start.
Do not be embarrassed to get help from any source as you may find that if you catch the problem early on you will make a full recovery a lot sooner than if you tried to keep it totally to yourself.
Here are a few other sources of help.
I would like to extend my thanks to No Panic for their support to me over the years and now their support to this web site.
“No Panic” is a totally voluntary charity, whose aims are to aid the relief and rehabilitation of those people suffering from Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive/Compulsive Disorders, other related anxiety Disorders, including Tranquilliser withdrawal, and to provide support to sufferers and their families and or carers.
If you register as a member – current cost is £12 per year (price correct as of Oct 2011) – then you will receive a bi-monthly Newsletters, have the opportunity of joining one of their recovery groups and receive a Contact list so you can write to / call other sufferers.
I have been a member of “No Panic” since 1996 and totally support their charity having spoken to them on various occasion and completed their “Recovery Group”.
Visit the “No Panic” Web site at: www.nopanic.org.uk or contact them at:
93 Brands Farm Way,
Freephone Help Line: 0808 808 0545
Free Information pack : 0800 783 1531
Office No: (01952) 590005
Registered Charity Number 1018184
NO PANIC offers A CONFIDENTIAL HELPLINE staffed by trained volunteers, open every day of the year, 10am to 10pm (from 10pm to 10am there is an answer phone service only). To contact this service ring : 0808 808 0545
OCD-UK is the leading charity for people who are affected by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Run by sufferers, for sufferers, we aim to bring the facts about OCD to the public and to support those who suffer from this often debilitating anxiety disorder.
Visit the OCD-UK at http://www.ocduk.org or contact them at:
PO Box 8955
For admin related enquiries only please call 0845 120 3778 during office hours. Please note that this is not a helpline number.
Registered Charity No: 1103210
The UK national organisation for people with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Visit their Web site at: http://www.ocdaction.org.uk
Contact them at:
Help and Information Line: 0845 390 6232
(London Local Number: 020 7253 2664)
Office: 0870 360 6232
(020 7253 5272)
Fax: 020 7288 0828
137-149 Goswell Road
Registered Charity No: 1035213
The largest anxiety disorders association in the UK and the most well-established with many thousands of members UK wide and abroad.
Visit their Web site at: www.phobics-society.org.uk
Contact them at:
Zion Community Health Resource Centre
339 Stretford Road
Tel/Fax: 08444 775 774
Fax: 0161 226 7727Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reg Charity No: 1113403
Company Reg No: 5551121
Triumph Over Phobia
To help sufferers of phobia or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to become ex-sufferers
Visit their Web site at: www.triumphoverphobia.com
Contact them at:
PO Box 3760
Office: 0845 600 9601
Registered Charity No. 1034932
Information and Support for people coping with mental health problems, anxiety, phobias, OCD etc.
Visit their Web site at: www.sane.org.uk
Contact them at:
40 Alder Street
Tel: 020 7375 1002
Fax: 020 7375 2162
Helpline: 0845 767 8000 (12pm – 2am)
Registered Charity Number: 296572
Samaritans provides confidential non-judgemental emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair, including those which could lead to suicide.
Visit their website at: http://www.samaritans.org
Contact them at:
P.O. Box 9090
Tel: 08457 909090 (UK)
1850 609090 (ROI)
Registered charity number: 219432
USA Contact Numbers
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 1-800-273-TALK
Alcohol/Drug Abuse Hotline 1-800-662-HELP
Eating Disorders Center 1-888-236-1188
Mental Health InfoSource 1-800-447-4474
National Adolescent Suicide Hotline 800-621-4000
National Institute of Mental Health 1-888-ANXIETY (1-888-269-4389)
National Mental Health Association 1-800-969-6642
Panic Disorder Information Hotline 1-800-64-PANIC
Self-Injury Hotline SAFE (Self Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives Program www.selfinjury.com 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)