Anxiety & Phobias
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions in the United States. Although we all feel anxious when a stressful situation arises, those living with anxiety disorders experience intense, sometimes debilitating fear and dread. Phobias, a specific type of anxiety disorder, causes people to experience extreme, irrational fear about a situation, place, creature, or object. People with anxiety/phobias can sometimes experience panic attacks, which are sudden feelings of extreme fear and worry combined with strong physical symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, chest pain, among others.
Symptoms of Anxiety/Phobias
The symptoms of anxiety/phobias can include feeling worried, restless, tired, irritable, and having difficulty concentrating. Anxiety is often accompanied by depression and all of its symptoms. Other symptoms of anxiety/phobias include sleep disturbances, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts/behaviors. These symptoms often interfere with daily activities, are difficult to control, and can last a very long time. Anxiety can be misdiagnosed as ADHD, especially in children.
Diagnosis of Anxiety/Phobias
At Nelmar Health Centers, we begin the process of diagnosing anxiety/phobias by conducting a comprehensive psychological evaluation. If the client is also experiencing changes in their cognitive abilities, we conduct a thorough neuropsychological evaluation to determine the causes of these difficulties. We also use a qEEG brain scan as a supplemental measure to examine the areas of the brain that are functionally out of balance. Understanding the underlying physiology helps us establish the factors contributing to the clinical and behavioral problems and design the most appropriate treatment. In addition, we conduct a whole-body diagnostic assessment that looks at a client’s nutrition and lifestyle habits, medications they are taking, as well as a thorough review of family and medical history, to explore all the factors that may be contributing to and exacerbating a client’s anxiety/phobia. This information is then used by our multidisciplinary team to create a treatment plan that is custom-tailored for every unique situation.
Treatment of Anxiety/Phobias
We use the results from our diagnostic process to design a comprehensive treatment plan unique to each individual to address the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that will foster the client's recovery. An essential part of the treatment plan is neurofeedback, where we work directly on the brain using neuroplasticity to reorganize neural networks to facilitate healing. We also utilize Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). TMS is a safe, effective, noninvasive, and nonconvulsive neuromodulation therapy cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) since 2018.
In addition, various evidence-based psychotherapy modalities are utilized in the treatment. For instance, we offer Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT). During VRT, clients navigate through digitally-created environments and complete tasks designed to serve as exposure therapy, which has strong evidence of effectiveness with phobias and anxiety. We also integrate Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) techniques into the treatment plan to teach you the skills you need to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals. Family and group therapy are excellent treatment modalities during which we provide psychoeducation about the symptom presentations and increase knowledge and immediate support. In addition, our counselors support these interventions with mindfulness techniques to complete the body and mind cycle and support your efforts toward achieving your goals.
The treatment plan also includes sessions with our holistic health practitioner and exercise expert. They will educate you on how diets filled with processed foods and exposure to environmental toxins can contribute to increased symptoms and make recommendations for dietary and lifestyle changes as well as massage with essential oils performed by our massage therapist, which will achieve stress reduction, and improve mood and sleep. Finally, our treatment-informed meditation and yoga classes are a great way to promote a healthier lifestyle, enhance your treatment plan, maintain the gains you have achieved, and be a part of our small community where you can meet friends and find understanding and social support.
Our professional trained in prescription medication carefully evaluates the psychoactive medications utilized by the client. As a result, drugs that directly contribute to individuals' cognitive problems are gradually eliminated or significantly reduced. This approach also ensures a healthy brain and strong body and freedom from dependence on multiple drugs leading to debilitating side effects. At Nelmar Health Centers, we believe in the research showing that the healing and maintenance of well-being are best achieved with cognitive, behavioral, environmental, and lifestyle changes strengthened with ongoing social support.
While undergoing treatment, each client receives continued qEEg and psychological and cognitive testing to monitor progress and provide psychoeducation to ensure understanding of where they are in their healing at every step of the treatment process. We regularly modify the neurofeedback protocol and the overall treatment plan based on this information. Every change in the treatment plan is made after a thorough review by each multidisciplinary team member and approved by the client.
For clients that may need more rigorous treatment interventions, we also offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).