The Anxiety Guru Show

If you've ever thought you were dying for no reason, felt worried on most days, hate crowds, or simply feel uncomfortable in your own skin, then this podcast is for you. I will teach you exactly how you can overcome abnormal stress and anxiety.

The Podcasts

Becoming an anxious person is a shocking proposition.

No part of becoming or staying anxious is easy.

A lot of that has to do with the great amount of change that you undergo when your life is turned upside down by anxiety.

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Direct download: goodchange.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 12:37am PDT

Remember way back when you were a kid and life was simple, or at least simple–er? The good ole days, right? Well, unlike your days as a young’un, today your faced with lots of distractions. Nothing is simple anymore.

In fact, I’d say that much of your life’s simplicity has been taken away by all the distractions that anxiety throws at you.

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Direct download: 4_Critical_Things.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 7:52pm PDT

In today's podcast I give you advice about how to cope with the fear of fear. In addition, I also offer a few tips about how to handle agoraphobia.

Direct download: Fear_of_Fear.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 8:37pm PDT

In this episode of the Anxiety Guru Show I explore the connection between anxiety and depression, and what you can do to cope effectively with both.

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Direct download: Anxiety__Depression.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 7:12pm PDT

What's the secret recipe to curing abnormal anxiety?

Well. If you've spent anytime on this site than you probably already have a good idea. But given that its taken me almost three years to amass that information, it could take you awhile to dig into it all.

So today I got a time saver for you. On December, 7 2010 I gave my first interview and during the interview I detailed what I think are the most effective ways to overcome abnormal anxiety.

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Direct download: 12._AUDIO__Speaking_of_Anxiety.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 12:01pm PDT

Are you ready to win a prize?

Hope so, because between December 20th and December 28th I'll be hosting what I'm calling the Anti-Anxiety Competition Giveaway.

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Direct download: competition.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Every time that you've had a panic attack you've probably felt like you were going to die.

Maybe you've thought that panic was going to cause you to go crazy. But, it hasn't happened.

Read more at anxietyguru.net

Direct download: Panicguide.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 3:34pm PDT

flowchart

Some time ago, you set out on a journey to cure your abnormal anxiety. And up to this point that journey has been a miserable failure.

But that’s not your fault. It just takes time. It takes time to find the thing that’s keeping you anxious.

Today, I want to help you bring your long  journey to an end.

So to start, let’s go way back. Back to when this all got started. Do you remember your first panic attack? And what about those long days filled with nervousness? I know I do.

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Direct download: Beliefs.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 6:03pm PDT

Find out if marijuana helps or hurts anxiety at Anxietyguru.net.

Direct download: Marijuana.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 6:47pm PDT

Typically when people think of  anxiety or  anxiety disorder they don’t think about paranoia at the same time. But if your anxiety has been severe enough for a prolonged period of time you can certainly develop mild to moderate forms of paranoid thinking. Today’s podcast is about telling you what that means and how to stop it.

First though, I want to point out that just because you have paranoid thoughts this does not in any way make you crazy. Instead, being paranoid is more a symptom of being wrapped up in your thoughts and concerns. It’s you being way too concerned with what might happen.

Secondly, the reason you need to stop being paranoid is because paranoid thoughts feed your anxiety, which make your fears seem entrenched and more dangerous. This in turn will only make things worse.

I had a great time producing this edition of the Anxiety Guru Show and hope that you benefit from it.

Side-note:

There is a great book by  Dr. George Weinberg entitled Self Creation. This book is a must have for any anxiety sufferer but especially for those that suffer from paranoid thoughts. Inside this book there is even a chapter entitled How to Stop Being a Paranoid that deals exclusively with this issue.

Direct download: Paranoid2.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

On today’s podcast I explore whether or not  herbs can make you better and how anxiety is always mind screwing you.

In this podcast I survey herbs like  Valerian,  St. John’s Wort,  Lavender tea, and  Marijuana. There are of course tons more herbs we could talk about, but I picked these because they are easy to find and easy to find information on. The whole idea behind this podcast was to give you a cursory introduction to these herbs – including their benefits and drawbacks.

On a side note, somebody recently asked me why I don’t make more podcast and the answer should be of some interest to you. The reason why I don’t produce more podcast is because if I don’t receive emailed topics and questions or if I have nothing new to say, nothing gets produced.

I hate when I read or listen to something that is complete crap, so I try to avoid producing garbage content that doesn’t help anyone. If on the other hand, I get contacted with an interesting question or topic, bam! Instant podcast. See these things take time to put together and I refuse to waste your time or my own time with nonsensical drivel.

Note: Do you have a question you want explored on my next podcast? Email me at info@anxietyguru.net.

Direct download: Herbs.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 9:53am PDT

An  assumption is a mental leap you take without looking around first.  They’re also taken for granted, and it’s this easy-going acceptance of them that contributes to much of your anxiety.

I would never trash assumption itself because it serves a critical role.  It can help you make decisions when you don’t have all the facts and also helps to remove mental hurdles that could otherwise complicate decision making.  For example, when you’re driving down the highway you have to assume, to some extent, that other drivers aren’t going to run you off the road.  By assuming this you can clear your mind a bit and not drive like a nervous wreck.

This doesn’t mean that you’re not cautious or keeping an eye out but that you’re a lot more relaxed because of the assumption you’ve made.  Assumptions aren’t always made blindly, either.  Past experience informs many of the assumptions you make on a daily basis.  But using the past to evaluate the present makes things tricky.

The problem for the anxious person is that the act of assuming in connection with things that make us nervous is filled with psychological peril.  This is because many of those assumptions are just plain wrong, based on exaggeration, and parade around in our minds dressed as facts.

In the “real world”, as we just discovered, assumption is a useful tool.  But in “anxiety world” assumption is the gateway to panic.  Let’s take a look at some example assumptions that can lead to anxiety and panic.

1. Trigger: Chest pain –> Assumption: Heart attack –> Result: Panic.

2. Trigger: Crowds –> Assumption: Enclosure, suffocation –> Result: Panic.

3. Trigger: Headache –> Assumption: Brain Tumor –> Result: Panic.

These are just a few examples but there are many many more.  And they are almost all related to the fear of death, insanity, or loss of control.

A few weeks ago I spoke about the “mind shift” that occurs just seconds before you slip into anxiety or panic.  Well, anxiety-driven assumptions act like a bridge between a state of normalcy and pure anxiety, much like phrases that signal a potential disaster like, “Oh no!”

But why must we make assumptions that bring us to this point?  Honestly it’s not something we enjoy, but to some degree it is a decision we make.  An assumption of impending disaster is our best guess about what might happen based on how we feel.

Because of past experience we tend to make sweeping generalizations and just figure that if it happened once a certain way, it will happen exactly the same way again in the future.  But of course this is a thinking error that turns into a self fulfilling prophecy from hell.

To stop assuming that you’re going to die every time you feel a twitch or bump you have to take two steps.

1. Awareness – You have to slow down and be aware that when you’re making the switch from “regular you” to “panicked you” that you’re engaged in assumption.  Question the plausibility of the assumption and stop it cold.

2. Patience – Whatever is scaring the daylights out of you isn’t going to leave you immediately.  As you question the assumption, you also need to wait patiently.  It may take several minutes, but if you know you’re jumping to conclusions AND you give your rational mind a chance to catch up to your fear, you will experience a reduction in anxiety.

Let’s not forget that fear and anxiety travel at the speed of light (at least it seems like it) and it sometimes takes a minute for you to realize that you’re not really in any danger.  Once your rational mind is aware of what’s going on you’ll be able to talk yourself down and eventually relax.  So suspend conclusions about what might happen, even as you experience an uncomfortable symptom, to buy yourself the time you need.

The processes behind all this can be somewhat confusing, but the reaction to an assumption is not.  You won’t always be able to stop anxiety and panic from taking hold, but I can guarantee that you will reduce their frequency if you just pay attention to what you’re thinking.  Be a little more mindful and patient and you’ll see what I mean.

Direct download: assumption.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 11:36am PDT

A few years ago I visited my primary doctor because of chest pains and after a few tests he confirmed that I had an anxiety disorder and not heart disease. After the test he spoke to me for about 5 minutes, prescribed  Prozac , and told me to have a great day.

At first I really didn’t think much about this, but for reasons unknown to me, I stuck the little bottle of pills in my pocket and vowed to never ingest any of it. In retrospect it may have been my natural suspicion and anxiety about things I knew nothing about but over time it is clear that this was a good move on my part.

I won’t beat around the bush I don’t think that anxiety disorder(s) or any other mental illness is caused primarily by a “chemical imbalance” in the brain and I’m also not convinced that antidepressants work as advertised ( I didn’t say that they don’t work for some). Nowadays it seems that people rely on buzz words as reference material and I think that this practice has lead to a warped view of what is and is not causing mental malfunction in people.

So what does cause anxiety disorder(s)? The jury is still out on this question, but suffice to say the causes are complex, multifaceted, and poorly understood by science as of today. The reason that this matters is because if the actual cause of anxiety disorder, OCD, social anxiety, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and PTSD are not known then why are doctors prescribing  psychotropic drugs to cure and or manage these conditions?

This I think is a fair question, which when reviewed carefully, will reveal that not only are the reasons not good, but border on the unethical. When this question is reviewed closely the very efficacy (effectiveness) of antidepressants can also be called into question.

You and I, and millions of others, have seen all the commercials before. Sad girl sitting at the base of a wall, lying in bed, hands plastered all over face, you can chose the sad position. The scene is usually shot in black and white until the voice over comes on and says “Are you sad? Nervous all the time?” And you perk up and say “yea, yes I am”.

The voice over than offers a solution in the form of a pill, Que bright colors and cheerful music, to make you happy. The ad, and by direct connection the pharmaceutical companies, argue that depression and anxiety disorders (among other mental conditions) may be related to a chemical imbalance in your brain. A  what?

The idea of a  chemical imbalance causing havoc in people’s brains all started in the 1950’s and culminated in a scientific paper written by Joseph Schildkraut in 1965. His paper called “The Catecholamine Hypothesis of Affective Disorders” basically argued that neurotransmitter imbalances in the brain (a.k.a. brain chemicals) were the main cause of psychiatric conditions, like anxiety disorder for example.

But was Schildkraut right? Are the drug companies using sound science when promoting their products? Let’s review a few bits of information and you can make up your own mind.

The principle argument made by the chemical imbalance theory is that if there is an imbalance of certain brain “chemicals” then things go array. However studies have shown that “depleting  serotonin (brain chemical) levels in the brain reaped no consistent results” 1. In other words getting rid of serotonin from the brain did not cause anxiety, depression, etc on a consistent basis.

In addition, “contemporary neuroscience research has failed to confirm any serotonergic lesion (chemical based reason) for any mental disorder, and has in fact provided significant counter evidence to the explanation of a simple neurotransmitter deficiency” 1. As of today there is simply no solid scientific evidence to support the notion that anxiety and other mental conditions have anything to do with chemical imbalances.

So, if the existence of a chemical imbalance is questionable, how do antidepressants work? The answer is no one is absolutely certain, but again let’s take a closer look. Ever heard of broad spectrum antibiotics? Essentially these are antibiotics prescribed to battle a wide range of bacteria in the body. This sounds great but sometimes this type of antibiotic targets good bacteria and can also cause sickness.

It’s like carpet bombing. When loads of bombs are dropped from an aircraft and it’s hoped that the intended target gets hit. But this leads to collateral damage and this is a risk you take when shooting into the dark. You may hope to take an antidepressant to relieve depression but this can have unintended consequences.

In other words, if you target a wide range of chemicals in the brain you’re bound to hit something. But should serotonin really be the target? Or should it be some other chemical? This is simply unknown.

Some might argue that antidepressants helped them, even saved their life, possible. But there are also many other instances of people becoming more anxious, more depressed, more suicidal. This is what makes antidepressants problematic.

Moreover, “the fact that aspirin cures headaches does not prove that headaches are due to a low level of aspirin in the brain” 1. Recently I reviewed a blog that was thrashing anyone that contested the effectiveness of antidepressants. This caused me concern for a few reasons.

I wondered why these folks were so sure that antidepressants worked as advertised? That chemcial imbalances were the culprit. Were they basing it on commercials or scientific findings? Even the president of the American Psychiatric Association has stated that there is no test to determine if someone has a psychiatric condition 2. There is no blood test or other lab test to confirm that someone is “off balance”. Yet powerful drugs are administered to combat the ‘disease’.

So then, if you can’t test for it how can one treat it effectively? Again, some say that it has worked wonders for them but what of a  placebo effect? It is very possible that many people feel better because they feel like they are treating their condition and not necessarily because the drug is effective.

“using the freedom of information act researchers were able to gain access to all clinical trials of antidepressants submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the pharmaceuticals companies. When the published and unpublished trials were pooled (combined), the placebo duplicated about 80% of the antidepressant response.” 1

Ultimately, the scientific literature currently available simply does not confirm that chemical imbalances cause mental ailments nor does it confirm that anti depressants treat any brain imbalances.

In my view, the causes of mental ailments are most likely spread among biologic, genetic, social and environmental reasons. Being that mental ailments are so complex I find it hard to understand why some are so sure about chemical imbalances being the primary cause of mental disorders.

Furthermore, how can a single drug, whether it’s Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, etc., treat all six anxiety types and depression, and male sexual dysfunction?

I am not a fan of using drugs to treat anxiety, however, I also understand that they do help some people. The fact that this happens is great but that does not mean that it is ethical for any company to mislead people and make them believe that what they are selling is proven to work when it is not.

Just because a substance may help does not make it safe or well understood. Antidepressants can be harmful and even dangerous. You might ask well why do doctors prescribe such drugs? Doctors are smart, dedicated professionals, but this does not make them experts in what is yet to be completely understood.

The point of this article was to open the eyes of anxiety and depression sufferers. Make sure that you ask questions about what is prescribed to you. Make sure that you are properly diagnosed and not simply providing your own diagnosis visa via a 5 minute conversation with a family doctor.

Like all things we buy and consume, we should be as informed as possible, so we can also be empowered to make decisions based on facts and not be emotionally sold on something. Drugs are simply handed out too easily and not looked at with a critical eye by the general public.

And although drug therapy may help some people this does not excuse you from weighing your options and being well informed. Your attention to this matter is demanded because your health could be on the line.

Let me know what you think and don’t forget to check out the podcast that I included below.

Review:

1. It is not known if mental disorders are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. This is an unfounded theory.

2. It is not yet known if or exactly how antidepressants work.

3. The media plays a large role in informing the public about ‘facts’ regarding mental illness and effective treatments.

4. Drug companies are misleading the public to believe that the chemical imbalance theory is fact and that antidepressants are safe and effective. These two things are yet to be fully known.

5. You should be an informed consumer and protect your health by educating yourself and asking questions when speaking to your doctor.

6. There is no test that can determine if someone is serotonin deficient or mentally ill.

References:

1. “Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect Between the Advertisements and The Scientific Literature” .

Lacasse JR, Leo J PLoS Medicine Vol. 2, No. 12, e392 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0020392

2. APA Admits there is no test for “Chemical Imbalance” – Link .

3. The Chemical imbalance ‘theory’… come on Glaxo – PROVE it now – Link .

4. Typical debate surrounding this issue among lay people – Link .

5. Youtube video Re: Experience with antidepressants –  Link .

6. BBC News: The myth of the chemical cure – Link.

Direct download: TheTruth.mp3
Category:Anxiety -- posted at: 7:59am PDT