Community Health Report: Anxiety

If you've ever felt depressed or anxious when the events in your life alter the way you'd like to behave, Dr. Bethany Teachman advises: don't panic, a lot of us feel that way.

Dr.Teachman is a psychologist at the University of Virginia, who says that approximately one quarter of the population will experience a clinically significant problem with their mood during such traumas. It lasts for a significant amount of time and really gets in the way of doing the things you want to do.

"If you notice that you're feeling sad, a lot of us have a tendency to withdraw; people tend to hide--they cancel that dinner with friends, they don't do the things that would repair their mood. So I encourage people to seek out social support; talk to people who can give support and introduce fun activities. Instead of hiding away, hiding under the covers, all those things we feel like doing when we're the exact opposite."

Dr. Teachman adds that when we feel low we tend to punish ourselves and think that we're not worthy of feeling better. "One of the things I like to do when I feel down, that's when I get that double scoop of ice cream, that's when I do the things that are going to take care of me because I know that's my body saying to me, 'Things aren't going so well, I need to do something to feel better'."

If you have panic attacks or suffer intense anxiety, you're invited to participate in a research study at UVa. Free therapy is included. Give Doctor Teachman's office a call at 243-5555.

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