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Help for anxiety disorders at Linden Oaks.


Naperville Sun HealthAware column:

Patients learn to face down anxiety
Submitted March 12, 2013

We might ask ourselves, “Am I losing it?” when we misplace our keys or overreact to a setback. But for 26-year-old Naperville resident Lauren this thought was one she couldn’t shake.

“I’d obsess about it for hours,” she says. “I was thinking I was going crazy, even though I wasn’t.”

Anxiety had plagued Lauren for years. It triggered a panic attack that brought her to Edward Hospital’s Emergency Department.

“A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate or an overwhelming feeling they’re going to faint,” according to Steven Prinz, a psychiatrist with Genesis Clinical Services and medical director of the Anxiety Program at Linden Oaks at Edward.

The ER staff recommended a free mental health assessment at Linden Oaks. The result: a referral to the behavioral health center’s Anxiety Program. The intensive outpatient schedule includes 3-1/2 hours each weekday of group and individual therapy.

A key Anxiety Program tool is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

As Lauren explains it, “Instead of trying to eliminate your negative thoughts, you accept that you have them. The less you struggle, the less powerful the feelings are. You commit to pursuing what you value, without letting negative thoughts consume you.”

Exercises help the patients act in keeping with their personal values.

“I enjoy spending time with my brother,” Lauren says. “My homework was to go shopping with him, despite my anxiety about malls.”

The program also focuses on mindfulness — living in the present. People with anxiety disorders often worry extensively about the past and future.

Lauren completed the program and now sees an ACT therapist.

“The anxiety is nothing compared to what it was,” she says. “I felt hopeless and scared, now I’m confident that I’ll be able to do what I want to do.”

For immediate assistance and a free and confidential assessment, call the Linden Oaks 24/7 Help Line at 630-305-5500.

Learn more about Linden Oaks' Anxiety Program.




 

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