Anxiety Disorders: Q & A with Dr. Paul Foxman

Why and how does anxiety develop?

Anxiety is related to the survival instinct. Normally, we react self-protectively to threat or danger with the “fight, flight or freeze response.” This state of high mental alertness and physical arousal prepares us to “fight”, “flee”, or “freeze” from perceived danger. However, the fear reaction can occur when there is no present danger or threat. For example, children and adults can struggle with performance around work or school assignments. Sometimes, concerns around performance can cause an adult or child to avoid completing the assignment or taking on new assignments and projects. This performance anxiety can start to negatively impact the child's or adult's ability to complete work on time, and may even cause the adult or child to refuse to attend school or go to work.   In other words, anxiety is the fear reaction to perception or anticipation of danger when no actual threat is present. Sensitive people—those who react strongly to external or internal experiences—have a higher risk of developing anxiety. In an effort to control anxiety, we may avoid certain situations, worry frequently, or develop obsessive or compulsive behaviors. These patterns are not productive and they usually interfere with daily life.

What is the difference between common experiences of anxiety and anxiety that interferes with daily life?

Anxiety can be a very common experience. Taking an exam, starting school or college, meeting with a boss or authority figure, or having a near accident can all evoke anxiety. Anxiety can even be helpful and motivating in preparing for a challenge or change. There are also some natural worries in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood such as: concerns about school/work performance, appearance, social acceptance, major life transitions, and death of parents.

Resource Organizations » Anxiety Disorders » XWinchester

In Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Samaritans

(877)870-4673

617-536-2460

Email: info@samaritanshope.org

Samaritans’ Crisis Services are available 24 hours a day/seven days a week. If one is feeling isolated, desperate or uncertain about anything in your life, this orginization is here to  hear about it – contact them anytime. The services are free, confidential, and anonymous. There are Samaritans staff on-site 24 hours a day to support those who phone, chat or text our volunteers for help. Samaritans' Crisis Services include a 24-hour befriending service and online emotional support via text and phone call. 

Organizations without hotlines

MGH Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and Complicated Grief Program

1-866-449-6779

Email: anxietystudy@mgh.harvard.edu

The Center explores the causes and treatments for Complicated grief, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety and seek to also learn more about the underlying causes and course of these disorders.

National Center for PTSD

802-296-6300 (Information Voicemail Line)

Email: ncptsd@va.gov

The mission of the National Center for PTSD is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America's Veterans and others who have experienced trauma, or who suffer from PTSD.  The National Center for PTSD conducts/provides research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. This organization is dedicated to excellence in research and education on the prevention, understanding, and treatment of PTSD. Its purpose is to improve the well-being and understanding of veterans and others suffering from PTSD. The website includes the definition of PTSD, fact sheets on topics related to PTSD, and information of finding professional help.

School Psychiatry Program and MADI Resource Center

For Children and Adolescents: 617-726-2725

For Adults: 617-724-7792

Email: moodandanxiety@partners.org

Schoolpsychiatry.org is a joint project of the School Psychiatry Program and the Mood & Anxiety Disorders Institute (MADI) Resource Center, both of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Schoolpsychiatry.org is committed to enhancing the education and mental health of every student in every school. The Mood & Anxiety Disorders Institute (MADI) Resource Center translates the latest research advances into practical information, helping people work with their clinicians toward the most accurate diagnosis and best possible treatment results. The Center also offers resources and support to help people manage daily living with mood and anxiety disorders and cope with the disorders' effects on family relationships.

Outside Massachusetts

Organizations with hotlines

Crisis Text Line

Text HOME to 741741 for free 24/7 crisis support

Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing them access to free, 24/7, emotional support and information they need via the medium they already use and trust: text. Just text "HOME" to 741741. Here's how it works:

  • A teen texts into CTL anywhere, anytime.
  • A live, trained specialist receives the text and responds quickly.
  • The specialist helps the teen stay safe and healthy with effective, secure counseling and referrals through text message using CTL's platform.

CTL partners with existing organizations that are experienced, highly trained, and well-equipped to respond to teens in crisis: experienced crisis centers, youth-serving organizations, and experts in the youth and mental health fields. CTL also lists resources on a variety of topics with helplines or email addresses where they can learn about additional support.

Mental Health America

1-800-273-TALK (8255) - 24-hour crisis center

Office: 703-684-7722

Toll Free: 800-969-6642

Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Their work is driven by the commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.

Organizations without hotlines

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

240-485-1001

Email: information@adaa.org

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) - formerly The Anxiety Disorders Association of America - is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the prevention, treatment and cure of anxiety disorders and to improve the lives of all people who suffer from them. ADAA is dedicated to informing the public, health care professionals, and media that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable. ADAA promotes professional and public awareness of anxiety and related disorders (such as PTSD, OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety) and their impact on people's lives. The organization also links people who need treatment with the health care professionals who provide it. The ADAA website also provides listings of anxiety disorder support groups offered across the United States.

Blue Pages: Depression Information

BluePages provides information on treatments for depression based on the latest scientific evidence. BluePages also offers screening tests for depression and anxiety, a depression search engine, and links to other helpful resources.

Chefs with Issues

Email: kat@chefswithissues.com

There had never been a study that looked specifically at F&B, so the Heirloom Foundation partnered with Kat Kinsman and her Chefs with Issues project. Heirloom had a PhD epidemiologist and statistician review the findings in the Chefs with Issues survey and for the first time  could point to specific problems. They found higher instances of mental health issues, especially depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance use. They found that the culture in kitchens made most people feel that they couldn't speak openly when they needed help. Those factors combined with long hours, an inability to take sick or personal leave, and minimal health benefits, were creating a hotbed for crisis.  This website, and related Facebook community, provides a forum for connection to others who are struggling as well as resources that have been particularly helpful for those in the food and beverage industry.

Freedom From Fear

(718) 351-1717

Email: help@freedomfromfear.org

Freedom From Fear is a national not-for-profit mental health advocacy association. The mission of FFF is to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support. There is plenty of information on anxiety and depression along with self-screening tools for these conditions, referrals for support groups and mental health professionals, and resources on accessing treatment for those with and without health insurance. This website contains valuable information based on research findings on anxiety and depressive illnesses and the treatments that work.
 

Geriatric Mental Health Foundation

(703) 556-9222

Email: main@aagponline.org

The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation was established by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry to raise awareness of psychiatric and mental health disorders affecting the elderly, eliminate the stigma of mental illness and treatment, promote healthy aging strategies, and increase access to quality mental health care for the elderly. Explore the site for mental health information for older adults and their families, to find a geriatric psychiatrist, for news of Foundation programs and events, and much more.

Mood Gym

Email: moodgym@ehubhealth.com

MoodGYM is an Australian website with an interactive program designed to help you:

  • Identify whether you are having problems with emotions like anxiety and depression,
  • Learn skills that can help you cope with these emotions.

MoodGYM is based on two programs which are successful in preventing and treating depression and anxiety. These are: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy. MoodGYM is designed to be used by people who would like to prevent mental health problems or manage problems which are troubling but not incapacitating. MoodGYM is not specifically designed for use by people with clinical levels of depression or anxiety. MoodGYM suggests that those with depression scores above 2-3 seek contact with a health professional.

The Balanced Mind Parent Network

Helpline for Resource and Referral: 800-826-3632

The Balanced Mind Parent Network (BMPN), a program of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), guides families raising children with mood disorders to the answers, support and stability they seek. BMPN is a family-focused community for parents of children with mood disorders with 24/7 access to information and support.

Worry Wise Kids

This site was launched because of the urgent need to address the growing needs of our children to be equipped to cope with and overcome the stress, worry and anxieties in their life. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for anxious children and their families by providing parents, educators and mental health professionals with comprehensive, user-friendly information on the full range of anxiety disorders. Because children may be secretive about their worries and suffer in silence, their goal is to help adults who care about kids to be on the lookout for red flags. They offer information about treatment options, kid-friendly explanations for the mechanisms that create and maintain anxiety, parenting do's and don'ts, how to handle school issues and more.