Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: "The Anxiety Cure" by Dr. Archibald Hart

Keeping in line with our May social media focus that is looking at anxiety in it's different forms, our book review this month will be on Dr. Archibald Hart's "The Anxiety Cure". This book review was written by one of our therapist - Dr. Tommy Smith. Dr. Smith works out of our Brewton, Andalusia, and Frisco City offices. If you would like to learn more about him, click here

This book is the very best I have read on Anxiety.  I have used this book for years and have recommended it to all my patients who struggle with anxiety.  Dr. Hart is a specialist in his knowledge of the underlying causes of anxiety and how it is successfully treated.  This book has helped me as a therapist in my work with those who have suffered with anxiety.  Dr. Hart’s book has covered the entire spectrum of causes and cures for the various problems that arise from anxiety.  He believes that medications are not the final answer and that a lifestyle change is necessary to overcome the problem. Reading this book will bring you more knowledge of the problem and will enable you to do the right things that will bring the real peace one suffering from anxiety longs for.  Answers Dr. Hart provides to worry, stress , and panic attacks make it possible for real lasting results without relying on psychotropic drugs.  Dr. Hart is a Christian counselor and psychologist who has devoted his life to helping people who suffer from anxiety.

The book contains 18 chapters.  In the first chapter, The anxiety Revolution,  you learn to recognize the symptoms of  your  anxiety using a symptom checklist. He describes how the problem is becoming epidemic with the American life-style of fast pace living.  In chapter 2, The GABA-Anxiety Connection, Dr. Hart explains how stress affects the brain chemistry and how this change leads to anxiety.  Chapter 3, Power Over Panic, provides insights and things to do to prevent panic attacks. Chapter 4 discuses psychotropic drugs used in the treatment of anxiety and also the counseling therapies that are available in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  Chapter 5, When and how to use anti anxiety medications. This chapter discusses the various medications and their side effects. Chapter 6, When and how to stop a tranquilizer, Dr. Hart provides very detail plan on how to adjust your dosage gradually in order to stop taking a medication.  He provides counsel as to when you should cease taking a medication.  Chapter 7, Enhancing your natural tranquilizers,  Dr. Hart reviews the research on the brain’s own natural tranquilizers and how through proper diet one can build up his/her own natural tranquilizers. The greatest stressor is one’s own self talk, what one is playing over and over in his or her mind. In Chapter 8, Changing your Thinking Habits, Dr. Hart shares how one can stop the automatic negative or fearful thoughts and to bring about more peaceful and positive self talk..  In chapter 9, Rest and Relaxation, Dr. Hart provides health promoting ways to rest and how to practice relaxation techniques to overcome the bad effects of stress overload (chapter 10).  Chapter 11 deals with the problem of worry and how to address it with a seven week plan for breaking the worry habit.  Chapter 12 reveals the connection between stress, anxiety and depression. Chapter 13 deals with phobias and strategies that lead to achieving freedom from fears.  Chapter 14  deals with the vital need for sleep as the number one stress reliever. Dr. Hart provides help in getting to sleep and sleeping throughout the night. Sleep deprivation is a very serious problem in trying to overcome anxiety.  Getting your required sleep is vital to overcoming the problem of anxiety disorders.  Chapter 15 talks about how to enhance the natural brain chemistry that leads to tranquility and a peaceful mood.  Chapter 16 addresses anxiety in children and teens. Dr. Hart also has written an entire book about how stress affects your child. The remaining chapters of the book points to  the needed spiritual resources that make it possible to resolve the root causes of anxiety and to find the spiritual life that leads to a life of peace and joy.

Dr. Hart's book, The Anxiety Cure, is a must read for everyone who wants to have a genuine and lasting cure for the fear/anxiety that so many people struggle with. This book is easy to read and provides simple easy to apply methods for anyone wishing to overcome fear and anxiety;  a real cure for anxiety without depending on life time use of drugs or psychotherapy.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, click here


Saturday, May 18, 2013

How Do I Deal With My Anxiety?


QUESTION: WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT ANXIETY AND HOW CAN I BE AT PEACE AND NOT BE SO FEARFUL ALL THE TIME?

ANSWER: Anxiety is the most common group of psychological problems for children and adults in the U.S.  About 40 million people suffer from anxiety which often leads to depression. We are told in Philippians 4:6 to stop being anxious over everything! In the scripture we find that humans have "phobos," a tendency to run away when we are scared. We have all heard of the fight, flight, freeze response when faced with an overwhelming stress. Man was made in God's image, but when man became sinful, immediately became anxious about being near God. It seems that our very nature is "hard wired" for anxiety. In contrast, Jesus is never said to have been afraid! 

Stress overload or "dis-stress" result in panic and anxiety attacks, depression, or even heart problems.  It is not enough to say to oneself, "stop it" when anxiety hangs like a cloud. Yes, anxiety can be a lack of trust in God's purpose and provision for you. But, we see children being more anxious naturally from the beginning of their life. In our fallen world, we observe that some people are "naturally" more anxious than others.  Research supports this. We have "anxious brains." Even Christians suffer from anxiety, experiencing intrusive negative thoughts and fears, often occurring over and over in one's thought patterns. We call that "flight of thoughts." These reoccurring intrusive thoughts on one's mind frequently  interferes with sleep. Sleep deprivation increases the anxiety.

Another major area of stress damage especially for children is the anxiety that comes from having experienced a trauma. We are indeed living in a violent world and our children are very much occupied with fears. They constantly hear all the bad news coming in from media that indirectly may traumatize them. Even more harmful is a child that has been neglected, molested, or abused. Children have little life skill to deal with such overwhelming stress. Even fighting at home, a separation or divorce can affect a child like a trauma.

So, what is the Biblical answer? The Bible, addressing the problem of anxiety, emphasizes that anxiety is reduced by changing the thinking (Romans 12: 2; Phil. 4:6; John 14:27). Often our negative fear based "automatic thoughts" are related to a belief in a very small god. Core beliefs about God often fall short of the present,  gracious, omnipotent and sovereign God of the Bible. Our attempts to "run away and hide" betray our faith in God and we will need to learn to act on faith more than feeling. I remember teaching my children in their younger years when they came in the middle of the night in fear,  the scripture, "What time I am afraid, I will trust in the Lord." We indeed will be afraid, but against the fear we must take hold of God's assurance that He is with us. For many of those who have grown up with childhood trauma, the journey is longer and often requires that special care and healing that is associated with the help of a mature gifted Christian counselor or pastor.  Fearful people often feel that they have no "safe person" that they can tell their story to.

Some pain is inevitable in life. We will have times of fear and worry. We are called upon in scripture to "count it all joy when trials come" (James 1:1f) . We should not fight against God's providence but learn to accept it by faith. By faith we can develop a greater appreciation for our own life and deepen our spiritual beliefs. I think of the hymn, "Through it all, I've learned to trust in Jesus, I've learned to trust in God." Your fears and anxiety can lead you to a deeper and more satisfying faith and may lead you to pursue unexpected new pathways for your life!

 *This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.
If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL US: askanne@abchome.org or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.