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Losing Control

Most individuals suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder and/or Panic Disorder have an

intensive fear of losing control. They exhibit deliberate behavior to gain control over situations

that they believe to be out of their “power” (being trapped/stuck, uncertainty about the future,

finances, health related fears, etc.) These situations/fears create excessive worries that take up

a great deal of time, energy and can create physical symptoms (tension, nausea, increased

heart rate, sweating, decreased sleep and appetite, etc). Many times individuals will implement

specific behaviors to try and reduce these anxiety provoking thoughts (social media, substance

abuse, television/music, friends/family, etc), These “safety” behaviors reduce the anxiety short

terms but only act as a bandaid creating the illusion of control. Control is not gained through

external resources but from internal ones. The difficulty lies in having full trust in yourself and in

life. We believe that worrying protects us from bad things happening and we are able to predict

the harm that life will throw us, but in reality the most horrific situations usually occurred on an

idle tuesday afternoon without us even fathoming their reality. No amount of worrying could

have prevented the event nor could the safety behaviors have stopped it from occurring.

Knowing that worrying and safety behaviors are not beneficial, the question remains, what can

we can control?

In life there are two things that we can control and are helpful in reducing the worrying/anxiety.

There are perception and reaction. The two terms are the basis for cognitive behavioral

treatment. Perception is how we choose to view events in our lives. Frequently the perception

we take is from an irrational and fear based viewpoint which is driven by anxiety and worry.

These thought patterns can be dysfunctional and distorted by the negative emotions. Being

able to have awareness followed by challenging and changing the viewpoint will allow a more

realistic and beneficial way of looking at the event. The second thing we can control is our

reaction. We are in control of how we choose to behave in any given situation. Perception and

reaction dictate the type of life we want to lead and can get us one step closer to achieving our

goals and being in line with our values and beliefs. Specific research and evidence based

techniques can be utilized in achieving the change in our perception and reaction to reduce

anxiety and worry which will promote a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Anxiety and worry can be debilitating not only to the suffered but to their loved ones as well (i.e.

family, friends, coworkers). With specific treatment their is hope for everyone affected by

anxiety. Through motivation, commitment to change, and support from others many individuals

will see great results in a short period of time.

By: Viktoriya Abramova