Category Archives: Anxiety

Tinnitus and the cause!

Now We Know What Causes Tinnitus, That Never-Ending Ringing In Your Ears

Written by

Kari Paul


Chronic pain and tinnitus, the incessant ear ringing that affects up to 30 percent of the adult population, may share a common source, new research shows. The finding may bring millions of people who suffer from both conditions a step closer to finding relief.

A study published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences found the “phantom pain” in both disorders often begins as a response to an injury, but continues when a faulty “circuit breaker” in the brain is unable to properly process the pain or noise.

Josef Rauschecker, director of the Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition at GUMC and one of the study’s authors, said the discovery is good news for those affected by both conditions. As of now, neither have direct treatments.

“The next step is ‘how could this be used for finding a cure?’” he said. “That is of course the challenge, but we are hoping to make some progress in the next 5-10 years.”

Rauschecker said brain imaging studies of tinnitus patients showed the condition was related to higher cognitive and affective brain systems. Meanwhile, separate researchers discovered the same mechanism was involved in chronic pain. Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center and Germany’s Technische Universität München brought the research together for this paper, published in Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

“This is an amazingly rare occurrence of two fields independently coming to the same conclusion,” Rauschecker said.

In the study, researchers traced stimuli through the brain using MRI technology. They compared tinnitus patients with those who did not have tinnitus and found volume loss in the medial prefrontal cortex, an area that plays a role in the limbic system and functions as a “gate” or control area for noise and pain signals that is also associated with depression.

“We expected to find changes in the auditory system, but what really stood out was this significant volume loss in this part of the mPFC,” he said. “This is an area that also lights up when you play unpleasant noises, so it has to do with unpleasant sensations. It was not expected to see something there, but it fit well with previous findings.”

They found the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens are part of a “gatekeeping” system that determines which sounds or other stimuli to admit. When the system is defective, affected patients can be subjected to constant stimuli and long-lasting disturbances.

The area is also associated with depression and anxiety, conditions often arise “in lockstep” with chronic pain. Because of this, the researchers are now looking to drugs that regulate that system, like dopamine and serotonin, to restore the gatekeeping role and eliminate the chronic pain, but more research is needed.

“These are disorders that affect us every day, and many millions have them but we won’t be able to cure them unless we understand how they work,” Rauschecker said.

Did you like this? Share it:

Autoimmune disease, vestibular Dysfunction, Fibromyalgsia took my health and my career

I have always worked in my life, Proud of being being able to raise my kids and live our life the way we did, we hadn’t gone to Disney land, or drove a fancy car, but we had a home, home made food, nothing out of a box, the boys were in Soccer, Karate, Swimming, cub scouts, and boy scouts, Our house was the neighborhood house, I loved having all the kids at our house, although our house wasn’t 3000 square feet it was home and nice home, and although we couldn’t really vacation , we camped in the back yard and used a tent trailer in the front yard and made up vacations in our imagination, food and house decorations to match the vacation, I worked in the hair business for a while before realizing it wasn’t coming from my heart, so I started working in the medical field, first in the operating room then Labor and delivery then 15 years at a Dr’s office and I loved my job, it didn’t feel like work to me, I was doing what I was meant to do.  I believed in everything The Dr I worked for did, I really believed his first interest was the patients. My loyalty will always be there.   But my illness took that away from me, how devastating that was to me to give up what I believe was meant to do.  But with employers it comes down to, you become a liability, there afraid you are going to make mistakes, although there wasn’t any made.  The comments said behind your back about working with a employee with a disability was heart crushing to me, Co workers I thought that were my friends, my family and I came home from work the last 6 months crying every day because of how I was being treated by a particular employee at my job, she made me feel so bad about myself and I was allowing her to make me sicker and sicker and my husband said there is no job worth this.  I thought about it and he was right, I was loyal for 15 years and my intention was to retire when the Doctor did, but this particular employee did everything  she could to make my life a living hell.  The Doctor didn’t want to hear it, so  I went to a disability attorney and found out my rights and found out I could sue due to her behavior, her discriminating words not only against me but applicants for jobs,  but I didn’t want to hurt the Doctor or the practice or keep the negativity in my life.  She was toxic and broken and I couldn’t let her treat me that way anymore, so I left.  It was the best decision I ever made.  Although I am still sick I don’t have that added stress and toxicity in my life.   My job was for the patients, and that’s why they liked me and felt safe with me, they knew I would take care of them.  But most patients are on my facebook page and keep in contact.  When I run into patients they hug me and tell me how much they miss me and the office isn’t the same with out me.  So I know I made a impact and now my heart is to help others with invisible illnesses.  So i am still doing my hearts work just in a different way.  My support group is awesome and when we share our tears and we share our stories, I know I am on the right road.  Kelly

Did you like this? Share it:

Can I prevent Anxiety?

How Can I Prevent Anxiety?

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you may need professional help. See your doctor for a referral to a mental health specialist.

Though not a treatment for anxiety disorders, the following tips can help reduce symptoms of anxiety:

Take care of your body by eating a well-balanced diet. Include a multivitamin when you can’t always eat right.
Limit alcohol, caffeine, and sugar consumption.
Take time out for yourself every day. Even 20 minutes of relaxation or doing something pleasurable for yourself can be restorative and decrease your overall anxiety level.
Trim a hectic schedule to its most essential items, and do your best to avoid activities you don’t find relaxing.
Keep an anxiety journal. Rank your anxiety on a 1-to-10 scale. Note the events during which you felt anxious and the thoughts going through your mind before and during the anxiety. Keep track of things that make you more anxious or less anxious.
Interrupt hyperventilation. If you begin to hyperventilate, exhale into a paper bag and inhale the air within the bag. This increases the amount of carbon dioxide you are inhaling, which can reduce the urge to hyperventilate. Inhaling from a bag will help relieve any dizziness or tingling you might feel.

Did you like this? Share it:

Coping with Anxiety.

Coping With Anxiety
Tip: Change What You Can, Accept the Rest (continued)
How Do You Cope? continued…

Rather than becoming paralyzed with anxiety, here’s another message you can send yourself: “I may have to take a job I don’t like as much, may have to travel further than I want, but I’ll do what I have to do now. At least I will have the security of income in the short term. Then I can look for something better later.”

The most important thing: “to realize when you’ve done everything you can, that you need to move forward,” Ross says.

Learn to relax.

You may even need “breathing retraining,” Ross adds. “When people get anxious, they tend to hold their breath. We teach people a special diaphragmatic breathing — it calms your system. Do yoga, meditation, or get some exercise. Exercise is a terrific outlet for anxiety.”

Most of all, try not to compound your problems, adds Andrews. “When things are bad, there is a legitimate reason to feel bad,” she says. “But if you don’t deal with it, you’re going to lose more than just a job — you’ll lose relationships, your self confidence, you could even lose technical abilities if you stay dormant in your profession. Try not to compound one stress by adding another.”

Often your ability to work through anxiety — get past it — varies depending on the type of crisis you faced. “The more severe, the more surprising it was, the longer it’s going to take to get over it,” says Andrews. “You may be on autopilot for several weeks. If you’re depressed, that can complicate things. In the case of divorce, it may take months to years to really get back to yourself.”

But take heart. “If you’re doing well in one aspect of your life — in your work or your relationships — you’re probably on your way,” she says. “Fear and anxiety are no longer running your life.”

Medication for Anxiety Disorders

Medication will not cure an anxiety disorder, but it will help keep it under control. If anxiety becomes severe enough to require medication, there are a few options.

Antidepressants, particularly the SSRIs, may be effective in treating many types of anxiety disorders.

Other treatment includes benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Ativan, and Xanax alone or in combination with SSRI medication. These drugs do carry a risk of addiction so they are not as desirable for long-term use. Other possible side effects include drowsiness, poor concentration, and irritability.

Beta-blockers can prevent the physical symptoms that accompany certain anxiety disorders, particularly social phobia.

Did you like this? Share it:

Anxiety Disorders.

Frequently Asked Questions about Anxiety Disorders

What are the five types of anxiety disorders that are well known?

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  3. Panic Disorder
  4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  5. Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

What is generalized anxiety disorder?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an exaggerated anxiety and tension that persists for months on end and affects approximately 6.8 million Americans or about 3.1 percent of the population. GAD causes people to anticipate catastrophe and worry excessively about many things, from overarching concerns such as health, money or work to more routine concerns such as car repairs or appointments. GAD affects twice as many women as men, and the anxiety becomes so severe, normal life and relationships become impaired.

Worries can be accompanied by physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, muscle tension and aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, and hot flashes. The disorder usually develops gradually and may begin anytime during life, although the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. It is diagnosed when someone spends at least six months worrying excessively without a specific focus of the fear and an inability to control the anxiety.

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder marked by fearful ideas and ritualistic behaviors. Obsessions are repetitive thoughts or impulses, such as a fear of getting infected from someone else’s germs or hurting a loved one. These obsessions create excessive anxiety and stress for the person affected. Although the thoughts are intrusive and unwanted, the person with OCD cannot stop them. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors people with OCD feel compelled to perform in an attempt to control or decrease the anxiety created by the obsessions. This can include things like constantly checking that an oven is off to prevent a fire, or frequent cleaning or hand-washing to avoid contamination.

What is Panic Disorder?
Panic disorder is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal distress. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness or dizziness. During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom or a fear of losing control. Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep.

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. After traumatic events, such as death, an earthquake, war, car accidents, floods or fires, it is not uncommon for people to experience feelings of heightened fear, worry, sadness or anger. If the emotions persist, however, or become severe, or the person gets triggered into reliving the event in their daily life, this can affect the person’s ability to function and may be a sign of PTSD.

What is Social Phobia?
Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. Social phobia can be limited to only one type of situation, such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating or drinking in front of others. In its most severe form, social phobia may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people.

How are anxiety disorders diagnosed?
Primary care physicians and psychiatrists diagnose someone as having an anxiety disorder if symptoms occur for six months on more days than not, and significantly interfere with the person’s ability to function at home, work or school.

Doctors perform physical and psychological evaluations to rule out other causes for the symptoms of anxiety. Cardiovascular disease, thyroid problems, menopause, substance abuse and/or drug side effects, such as from steroids, may cause symptoms similar to those of an anxiety disorder.

What is stress?
Stress is a normal physical response to events that make one feel threatened or that upset one’s balance in some way. When the body senses danger—real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction, or the stress response. The nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, that rouse the body for emergency action.

What is the impact of stress?
Stress during development has often been regarded as a potentially disruptive force, capable of inducing disease states if overly prolonged or exceedingly intense. It can also, however, favor resiliency and adaptive processing that are crucial to navigating a human life. Countless studies have indicated that severe neglect during infancy, both in humans and in laboratory animals, results in long-term abnormal development of biological systems involved in the regulation of emotions, but the response to stress is also a key driver to individual development. The biological system  responsible for physical reactions to a stressor not only coordinates immediate responses to external challenges but also functions as a tool that enables the characterization of an environment as favorable or threatening. Thus the stress response system promotes long-term adaptive processes that prepare the individual to cope with specific external challenges.

What are the main symptoms of stress in adults?
• Cognitive symptoms include memory problems; inability to concentrate; poor judgment; anxious or racing thoughts and constant worrying
• Emotional symptoms include moodiness; irritability or short temper; agitation; inability to relax; a feeling of overwhelm; a sense of loneliness and isolation
• Physical symptoms include aches and pains; diarrhea or constipation; nausea; dizziness; chest pain; rapid heartbeat
• Behavioral symptoms include eating more or less; sleeping too much or too little; isolating yourself from others; procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities; using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax; engaging in nervous habits (e.g., nail biting, pacing)

What are the symptoms of stress in children and teens?
Youth of all ages, but especially younger children, may find it difficult to recognize and verbalize when they are experiencing stress. For children, stress can manifest itself through changes in behavior. Common changes can include irritability, withdrawal from formerly pleasurable activities, routine expression of worries, excessive complaints about school, frequent crying, display of surprising fearful reactions, sepa ration anxiety, sleeping too much or too little, or eating too much or too little. With teens, while spending more time with and confiding in peers is a normal part of growing up, significantly avoiding parents, abandoning long-time friendships for a new set of peers, or expressing excessive hostility toward family members may indicate that the teen is experiencing significant stress.

What is resilience?
In the physical sciences, materials and objects are termed resilient if they resume their original shape upon being bent or stretched. In people, resilience refers to the ability to ‘bounce back’ after encountering difficulty.

Are there coping factors to help deal effectively with stress?
In their 20 years of treating and studying trauma survivors, Drs. Dennis Charney and Steven Southwick have identified ten common practices in people who have shown resilience in the face of extreme stress.
• Maintaining an optimistic but realistic outlook
• Facing fear (ability to confront one’s fears)
• Reliance upon own inner, moral compass
• Turning to religious or spiritual practices
• Seeking and accepting social support
• Imitation of sturdy role models
• Staying physically fit
• Staying mentally sharp
• Cognitive and emotional flexibility (finding a way to accept that which cannot be changed)
• Looking for meaning and opportunity in the midst of adversity

Did you like this? Share it:


Know when to seek help for anxiety.

Behavioral HealthA fierce dog barks at you, or lightning strikes a tree near your house. Your heart seems to jump into your mouth, your hands begin to sweat and your stomach hurts, too. In short, you feel anxious.

Most of the time, feeling anxious doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. When you feel anxious at appropriate times, these uncomfortable feelings may prompt you to call animal control about the dog running loose or to go indoors during a storm.

However, anxiety can become counterproductive, and, when it does, it’s time to find mental and physical relief. Symptoms of ongoing anxiety include being easily startled, breathlessness, constant worrying, frequent urination, headaches, sleeplessness, sweating, tension and inability to relax, trembling, upset stomach and even hot flashes.

If constant worries are ruining your sense of well-being, try these coping strategies.

  • Breathe. Deep breathing from your diaphragm may help symptoms recede. Breathe deep into your belly—place your hand above your navel to feel your stomach expand. Then breathe out, tightening your abdominal muscles. Repeat slowly.
  • Speak gently to yourself. Known as “positive self-talk,” messages such as “this too shall pass” or a favorite line of inspirational verse may reduce your anxiety.
  • Calm your body. Plentiful, regular sleep, frequent exercise and gradual reduction of alcohol and caffeine in your diet may help reduce anxiety.

Seek Sound Advice

Sometimes, people find that their anxiety is persistent. If you feel worried much of the time for six months or more, or if you cannot control your anxiety symptoms even when you try, visit a health provider such as a doctor or counselor. He or she may teach you behavioral strategies or prescribe medications to help you. Many insurance plans now cover behavioral health screenings at no cost.

Unmask Anxiety Mimics

“It’s just stress. I’ll feel better in a little while.”

When you feel your chest flutter or your breath quicken, you may be tempted to dismiss the symptoms, especially if you know you suffer from anxiety from time to time. However, serious medical conditions may present with the same signs as anxiety attacks.

  • Atrial fibrillation (A-fib). Your heart may race up to 250 beats a minute during a panic attack or when you have atrial fibrillation. However, A-fib is a physical condition that can damage the heart.
  • Heart attacks in women may share anxiety symptoms, including nausea and sweating. For any chest pain or other possible heart symptoms, seek emergency care.
  • Hyperthyroidism. Symptoms may include nervousness, sleeplessness and heart arrhythmia. Patients may also have muscle weakness or weight loss despite healthy eating. Ask your doctor for a thyroid test if you don’t think an anxiety diagnosis covers all your symptoms.

© 2015. True North Custom. All Rights Reser

Did you like this? Share it: