Indianapolis Anxiety Disorders

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older in a given year, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least six months and can get worse if they are not treated. Therefore, it is important that you seek help if you believe you have an anxiety disorder. Dr. Kroin is prepared to help you learn the skills you need to manage your anxiety and enjoy a full and rewarding life.

Indianapolis Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have persistent, upsetting thoughts (obsessions) and use rituals (compulsions) to control the anxiety these thoughts produce. Without intervention, these rituals frequently end up controlling the obsessive-compulsive’s life. For example, if an individual is obsessed with germs or dirt, he or she may develop a compulsion to wash their hands over and over again. If someone develops an obsession with intruders, he or she may lock and relock their doors many times before going to bed. Performing such rituals is not pleasurable. At best, it produces temporary relief from the anxiety created by obsessive thoughts. Other common rituals are a need to repeatedly check things, touch things (especially in a particular sequence), or count things. Some common obsessions include having frequent thoughts of violence and harming loved ones, persistently thinking about performing sexual acts the person dislikes, or having thoughts that are prohibited by religious beliefs. People with OCD may also be preoccupied with order and symmetry, have difficulty throwing things out so they accumulate, or hoard unneeded items. Healthy people also have rituals, such as checking to see if the stove is off or the lights are turned off before leaving the house. The difference is that people with OCD perform their rituals even though doing so interferes with daily life and they find the repetition distressing. Although most adults with OCD recognize that what they are doing is serves no functional purpose, some adults and most children may not realize that their behavior is out of the ordinary. When an individual is ready to confront his or her fears, the person is shown how to use exposure techniques to desensitize themselves to situations that trigger their anxieties.

Indianapolis Phobias

A specific phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common specific phobias are fears of being in small places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, dogs, and injuries involving blood. Such phobias are not just extreme fear; they are irrational fear of a particular thing. Very successful and active adults may have a specific phobia that prevents them from doing something important such as, getting on the elevator that takes them to their office on the upper floor of a tall building. While adults with phobias realize that their fears are irrational, they often find that facing, or even thinking about the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety. Specific phobias usually appear in childhood or adolescence and tend to persist into adulthood. If the feared situation or feared object is easy to avoid, people with specific phobias may not seek help. However, if avoidance interferes with their careers or their personal lives, it can become disabling if treatment is not pursued. Exposure-based behavioral therapy has been used for many years to treat specific phobias. The person gradually encounters the object or situation that is feared, perhaps at first only through pictures or tapes, then later face-to-face. Often the therapist will accompany the person to a feared situation to provide support and guidance. Specific phobias respond very well to carefully targeted psychotherapy.

Indianapolis Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers. PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, but it can result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. People with PTSD often startle easily, become emotionally numb, lose interest in things they used to enjoy, have trouble feeling affectionate, become irritable, and can become more aggressive, or even become violent. These individuals avoid situations that remind them of the original incident, and anniversaries of the incident are often very difficult. PTSD symptoms seem to be worse if the event that triggered them was deliberately initiated by another person, as in a mugging or a kidnapping, rather than accidentally. Most people with PTSD repeatedly relive the trauma in their thoughts during the day and in nightmares when they sleep. These experiences are called flashbacks. Flashbacks may consist of images, sounds, smells, or feelings, and are often triggered by ordinary occurrences, such as a door slamming or a car backfiring on the street. A person having a flashback may lose touch with reality and believe that the traumatic incident is happening all over again. Not every traumatized person develops full-blown or even minor PTSD. Symptoms usually begin within three months of the incident but occasionally emerge years afterward. The symptoms must last more than a month to be considered PTSD. The course of the illness varies. Some people recover within 6 months, while others have symptoms that last much longer. In some people, the condition becomes chronic and can last for years. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment quickly if you are suffering from symptoms of PTSD.

Indianapolis/Carmel Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. During these attacks, individuals with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control. People having panic attacks sometimes believe they are having heart attacks, losing their minds, or on the verge of death. They often cannot predict when or where an attack will occur, and between episodes many worry intensely and dread the next attack. Some people’s lives become so restricted that they avoid normal activities, such as grocery shopping or driving. About one-third become housebound or are not able to confront a feared situation without being accompanied by a spouse or other trusted person. When the condition progresses this far, it is called agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces. Early treatment can often prevent agoraphobia, but people with panic disorder may sometimes go from doctor to doctor for years and visit the emergency room repeatedly before someone correctly diagnoses their condition. This is unfortunate, because panic disorder is one of the most treatable of all the anxiety disorders, responding in most cases to certain kinds of breathing techniques and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy, which help change thinking patterns that lead to fear and anxiety.

Indianapolis Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. These individuals anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months. People with GAD cannot get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. These individuals cannot relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, muscle aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, having to go to the bathroom frequently, feeling out of breath, and hot flashes. When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and hold down a job. Although they do not avoid specific situations as a result of their disorder, people with GAD can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe. GAD affects about 6.8 million American adults, including twice as many women as men. The disorder develops gradually and can begin at any point in the life cycle, although the years of highest risk are between childhood and middle age. Other anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse often accompany GAD, which, unfortunately, rarely occurs alone. GAD is commonly treated with medication and a number of effective psychotherapy techniques.

Indianapolis Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, also called social phobia, is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends. While many people with social phobia realize that their fears about being with people are excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome them without treatment. Even if they manage to confront their fears and be around others, they are usually very anxious beforehand, are intensely uncomfortable throughout the encounter, and worry about how they were judged for hours afterward. Social phobia can be limited to one situation (such as talking to people, eating or drinking, or writing on a blackboard in front of others) or may be so broad (such as in generalized social phobia) that the person experiences anxiety around almost anyone other than the family. Physical symptoms that often accompany social phobia include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and difficulty talking. When these symptoms occur, people with social phobia feel as though all eyes are focused on them. For most people, their social anxiety can be treated successfully with a number of psychotherapeutic techniques.

Indianapolis Stress Management and Personal Growth

You do not have to have a full-blown anxiety disorder to benefit from help with stress management! With the ever-increasing complexity of our world and the normal events of life that require us to adapt and change, we experience stress every day. It is important to make sure that you have the resiliency to cope well so that you thrive, not just survive. If the stress in your life is affecting your over-all well-being and lifestyle then Dr. Kroin can help! She can help you develop a personalized stress management plan using breathing and relaxation exercises, specific yoga positions, meditation, hypnotherapy, dream analysis, and cognitive restructuring of negative thoughts that interfere with your sense of well-being. Dr. Kroin will make sure that you optimize your ability to set realistic goals that are achievable with support to carry out the steps. She will help you improve your self-esteem and confidence in your strengths and improve your communication skills and problem solving ability. Dr. Kroin can also help you learn to manage strong feelings and impulses so that your behavior remains in alignment with your overall values. These are the keys to optimizing your personal growth and leading a positive, fulfilling life.