Sufferers of anxiety: You are not alone

A message to sufferers of anxiety disorders: you are not alone

This article talks about anxiety and its treatment.  I have facilitated the 14 week group put on be the Ontario Anxiety Disorders Assoc.  (ADAO).



The Ottawa Citizen, The Ottawa Citizen

Kelly Egan,

When they struck hardest, Maria Connell says she feared she was about to die.

A racing heart. Shortness of breath. The shakes, the sweats. And this overpowering, suffocating feeling of fear, so strong it overwhelms any sense of reason.

“It just brings you to your knees.”

Connell, 46, suffers from anxiety disorder, the subject of a talk at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre on Thursday. You can only admire her courage.

We spoke for a couple of hours this week. One story from many:

She was flying from Vancouver to Ottawa when, somewhere over Winnipeg, it hit her. She had to get off the plane.

She reached over and grabbed the arm of a stewardess. She asked if the pilot could land immediately.

The crew member, to her credit, took Connell to the rear of the aircraft. She soothed her, told her it would be just as quick to land in Ottawa than to divert, gave her yogurt, stayed by her side, kept talking.

She survived.

“When I got off the plane, I looked at (husband) John and said, ‘I will never get on an airplane again.’”

Connell, a mother of two, is not cured, but better, now, thanks to a specialized program at the Royal Ottawa that combines psychiatry with behaviour therapy.

Two of the program leaders, Dr. Jakov Shlik and Dr. Dave Davies, will provide an overview of the problem and treatment methods at a lecture Thursday, beginning at 7 p.m.

Dr. Shlik said Tuesday that about one in five people would at some point suffer from an anxiety disorder, an umbrella description that includes panic disorders, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and social phobias.

“We want people to reach out for treatment because it works,” Dr. Shlik said.

The ROH program gets about 500 referrals a year, so many that the waiting list can be six months or longer.

It is not the first stop for anxiety sufferers, but the place that handles the toughest cases.
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