Childrens Anxieties & Phobias

Today many children develop Anxiety Disorders.  It is always wise to see your Doctor and get the help of trained people who specialize in treating children.  We have, however put a leaflet together which may help parents or carers.

General Phobias

A phobia is actually a “fear of fear” because sufferers are not really frightened of any particular place, situation’ object or animal although, children tend to believe that there really is something to be frightened of. Sufferers are really frightened of the feelings of fear that they experience when faced with their “trigger” situation. They know that there is no real danger but are unable to fully convince themselves that everything will be perfectly safe. There is always a feeling that “something” might just happen. This is known as the “what if” factor and consequently sufferers avoid more and more situations just in case “what if” happens. Needless to say it never does and never will occur but sufferers cannot bring themselves to take that risk. This equally applies to children and often when faced with their “trigger” situation, e.g. the perceived need to have a parent or carer stay with them, when going to bed, because of a fear of the dark.

The beginning of a phobia usually follows periods of stress and often starts after a final trauma, “The last straw, which breaks the camel’s back” or after a first panic attack which appears to come out of the blue. In the early stages of a phobia, sufferers feel frightened when in a particular place or situation, without knowing exactly why. Whenever they go into the particular place or situation they experience an overwhelming feeling of impending disaster and feel a compulsive urge to escape from it. Sufferers do not know why they are afraid but the feelings of fear that they experience are very real. These feelings start a spiral of fear and sufferers begin to think that they will get these awful feelings wherever they go. As a result, an agoraphobic stays at home; a claustrophobic avoids all lifts, a sufferer from monophobia is afraid of being alone and a space phobic avoids going outside into the garden. A child does not wish to attend school.

School Phobia

School phobia is a common childhood behaviour problem that refers to a child’s refusal to attend school. It is often accompanied by irrational fears, physical complaints, temper tantrums and panic or anxiety related to school attendance. It is essential that school phobia is not confused with truancy and so a visit to the doctor, who can give a definite diagnosis, is necessary.

Many children with school phobia display traits of unusual conscientiousness, eagerness to please and a tendency towards conformity. Frequently, they are shy and introverted, behaviourally inhibited, uncomfortable away from parents and home and not very interactive with others and they may well be anxious about other things besides school.  Unfortunately today school phobia may be related to bullying at school or the internet.
Statistics on the frequency of school phobia vary a great deal. The number of children who actively dislike school and avoid it whenever possible is probably about 5% of the school population but those who could be classed as school phobic would probably make up about 1% of the school population of the U.K. or about 90 thousand. Well over half the numbers are boys and the peak onset is about 11 to 12 years of age. This is, to some extent, is understandable being the age at which most children change from primary school to secondary school and are consequently faced with numerous large changes in their lives. Research indicates that the final peak age is about 14 years of age and may well be associated with depression.

Sometimes refusing begins suddenly and often happens after a prolonged absence from school through illness or following an abrupt change of class or even after the normal long summer school holiday. The actual event, immediately prior to school refusing, is unlikely to be the sole cause of the problem and is usually the “last straw” effect added to an accumulation of other things. These might include family problems, difficulties at school, anxiety about puberty or allied sexual matters, general problems in social situations or anxiety about being separated from a parent. Most cases of school phobia seem to develop slowly and reluctance to attend gradually increases, with the visible signs of anxiety growing more noticeable, as pressure is put on the child to go to school.

Often, the child will deny that they are afraid but symptoms may be very obvious to a parent, e.g. paleness, stomach trouble, trembling, frequent visits to the toilet, nausea just before it is time to leave the house and unexplained bodily pains. These symptoms will suddenly disappear if the child is allowed to stay at home only to reappear when the child is pressurized to attend school.

Children deal with their fears and their need to attend school in many ways. Some may go through the “morning ritual” but then be unable to leave home or turn back after completing part of the school journey. Others may just refuse to get up, lock themselves in somewhere or run off until it is safe to return home. Some may even endure punishment as the price of not going to school. Many will swear, and mean it at the time, to go this afternoon or tomorrow if they are allowed to stay at home at the present time.

Effects On Parents

The effects on parents can be very distressing because it is so difficult for a child to talk about and explain their problem in such a way that a parent can understand. Very often parents do not know where to turn to for help and even when help is found, they find it very hard to put their child through a recovery programme. After all what caring parent wants to see their child suffer and yet, this is what has got to happen if a recovery is to be achieved. It is a frightening and distressing experience for the child which surely must pull at the heartstrings of parents. However, comfort can be gained by the knowledge that it is the child’s best long term interest.

We are very aware of this hardship and parents are encouraged to use our help-line for their own support. A problem shared is a problem halved so please let us try and help you.

Do Anxiety Disorders Fade Away Naturally With Time?

It is fair to say that many children will grow out of their fears and worries. However, this is not always the case and treatment may be appropriate in some cases.

Overcoming Anxiety Disorders (Children)

There is no doubt that anxiety disorders can be overcome and cognitive/behaviour therapy brings about the highest, proven success rates. Some of the newer antidepressants may also help and your doctor will be able to advise you on which one is most likely to prove helpful to your child. However, even if drugs are used your child will almost certainly have to undergo a course of cognitive/behaviour therapy.

No Panic is based on self-help cognitive behaviour therapy but this does not mean we have the only solution to anxiety disorders. We readily accept that other methods have worked for some sufferers and should you wish to try other methods, please ensure that the person you are intending to consult has the necessary qualifications and knowledge to do the job properly. Too many people have been “ripped off” by charlatans. We cannot offer an overnight miracle cure, we do not believe it exists, but we do know that methods, which we use, be they long and drawn out offer the best likelihood of a complete recovery. We give no promises or guarantees of success but ask to be judged by the many thousands of anxiety disorder sufferers who have overcome their problems using methods similar to ours.

Cognitive/behaviour therapy involves changing the way a sufferer thinks and changing the way a sufferer behaves and this, we believe, is the way forward and can be provided by a self-help group like No Panic or a suitably qualified therapist. Research would indicate that cognitive/behaviour therapy is more effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders in children than traditional psychotherapy as it helps the child to learn how to quell anxiety both in O.C.D. and phobias. A big part of helping your child to get better is to help restore self confidence and this happens by facing fears gradually at the child’s own pace.

Treatment For School Phobia

To children suffering from school phobia the symptoms which they experience, e.g. headaches, stomach aches, nausea, poor appetite and weakness are very real. They actually feel ill and only find relief when the fear of school has gone. As a result, many parents get the impression that the child is malingering because, the symptoms pass once the threat of school has disappeared. However, like most phobias once the “trigger” has been avoided the symptoms of fear dramatically reduce very quickly.

Common treatments approaches may well include individual cognitive/behaviour therapy and also family counselling in order to help the parents as well as the child come to terms with and overcome the problem. Treatment of school phobia, as with most children’s anxiety disorders, is best conducted by a professional psychologist who has been trained to deal specifically with children. Whilst the treatment is basically the same as an adult it needs to be put over in a way which a child can comprehend.

Parents should insist on regular school attendance regardless of the child’s excuses, pleas, fears and tears. We accept that this is not a view shared by everyone and, in some cases, it is not possible but we feel the child should be encouraged to attend school as often as possible. Parents also need to consistently and positively reinforce any designed treatment plan prepared by the appropriate professional and give praise as and when the child makes an improvement. If a child does miss school, parents could, perhaps, try making home less appealing, e.g. by limiting or excluding television or by cutting down on entertainment and treats. The child’s intake of caffeine, sugar and other stimulants should be restricted and regular physical exercise encouraged in order to reduce the child’s overall anxiety. Family counselling can help parents to better understand and deal with the school phobic child by providing behavioural guidance and emotional support.

Reports from parents of school phobics tell of anxiety and confusion and many indicate a feeling of guilt. They have been told or read somewhere that it is their entire fault for molly coddling their child. Parents often react to this by developing a deep sense of shame and then closing ranks. In most cases the parents have behaved in a perfectly normal and acceptable manner and no blame can really be laid at their door. You do not have to have bad parents to be a school phobic. In most cases the complete opposite is true. So we urge parents not to hide the problem away as this will not help the child. The best thing to do is seek help.

Many current treatments for school phobics are carried out around the home and in the school. They involve some element of helping the child deal with the anxiety symptoms in the situation where they developed whilst getting the child back to school as quickly as possible. Some people, not usually clinicians, favour taking a school phobic out of the school system entirely, temporarily or permanently.

However, research indicates that temporary home tuition whilst attractive to some parents is not useful as part of a recovery programme and works against the child’s early return to school. With permanent withdrawal, some children might do better academically with home tuition or be more content outside the school system but this has profound dangers in that the child may never resolve the problem that generated, or was part of, the school phobia. Consequently the child may be a prime candidate for a similar anxiety disorder when faced, as an adult, with college or work. Should the child be taken out of the school system permanently then, besides the possibility of more anxiety problems in the future, he/she may also be handicapped by the lack of the social and “peer” learning obtained at school. Character traits such as timidity, over-sensitivity, having unrealistic expectations of other people and of personal achievement may become a permanent barrier between the young adult and the rest of the world. When return to school is agreed on as a goal, it is difficult to put an actual time limit on it. The therapist’s personal belief and the extent of the problem will be the controlling factors in the equation. However, whether this is a short or long period all therapists will have a series of priorities. They will work at establishing a good, trusting relationship with the child and family, will clarify situations that actually stimulate the anxiety and will then desensitize the child to these situations by using imagination, (getting the child to face the dreaded events in their mind), relaxation techniques and simply talking about the situations. Finally, the therapist will help the child to confront the situations for real.
As with all phobias exposure therapy is done in small steps at a time to build up self confidence by proving to the child in time nothing terrible will happen and they will manage to sit through a lesson, through the morning and then the whole day.  One mum told us with her child she went into school constantly to take her child for one hour at a time.  This worked because an hour isn’t long but the whole day can seem too much at first.  Then gradually this was extended to two hours until the whole day was achieved.  The child should be given a lot of praise because facing this situation can be extremely difficult and needs a lot of patience on parent’s part and also understanding from the school.

Where To Seek Help

  1. Your doctor.
  2. Teacher or headmaster/headmistress.
  3. School nurse.
  4. Local education authority (ask for the child psychology dept.)
  5. Local family health services authority.

The following are extracts from the experiences of a mother who has a son who tackled his school phobia.
School phobia: There is no research which indicates a definite cause of school phobia and, in my opinion; the examples given in this leaflet are theories only. The physical symptoms of the phobia do not disappear once the child is at school and “their mind is taken off it”. Children hide the symptoms to avoid embarrassment, and this compounds the problem.

Home tuition: Although this leaflet says home tuition is not a good idea there are exceptions. My son’s tutor has been a Godsend but she has not taught him at home! He has gradually been reintegrated into a small school environment, which has built up both his confidence and attendance at school. Initially he was only able to attend, comfortably, for the first 15 minutes of each day. Home tuition varies a great deal depending on the needs of the child and the tutor involved. I would not hesitate to recommend this option.

My Son’s Road to Recovery

School: I found that although it was eventually acknowledged that there “might” be a problem, not enough was known about school phobia for it to be recognized in the early stages. Support from teachers is essential in reintegrating a school phobic. Ideally the child should be gently encouraged whilst their attendance increases. After all, one day’s attendance, by a phobic, is far more of a personal achievement than a full week’s attendance by a child who enjoys school!

Education Welfare Officer: When events came to a head, I contacted the Welfare Department and found that an objective view from someone not directly involved, was very helpful. This support has been long-term.

General Practitioner: After one appointment my son was referred to a clinical psychologist and the G.P. provided support, on the telephone, if any problems arose which needed immediate attention.

Clinical Psychologist: Although it was difficult at first, the psychologist was invaluable as he helped my son to think about “school” calmly, then to progress to the point we have now reached, i.e. regularly attending school.

Hypnotherapist:  Helped to break the circle of guilt, tension and frustration involved.

Home tutor:  Has helped my son to become interested in learning again, built up his confidence, given him trust in people outside the family, and still supports him for two of his sessions in school.
Remember your child can get better. It is important that the problem is acknowledged and professional help sought at the earliest opportunity.

No Panic gratefully acknowledges the support given by N.P.A.D. of America and their kind permission for the use of extracts from their own literature.

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Childrens Fears

By Professor Kevin Gournay
Used Dec. 94 and Oct 99 and March 2011
Like adults, children have a whole range of fears and, for the most part, these fears are normal. Fears often start for no apparent reason and subside again just as quickly. As any parent knows, some childhood fears can be intense and illogical and while most children go through phases of fear of the dark, small animals, strangers and other normal reactions, many children often become fixated on particular objects such as vacuum cleaners or other household appliances. Fear behaviour is seen in toddlers right through to school aged children and again, most parents will be able to tell you of fears which have come and gone during various stages of development – sometimes the same fear raises its head on several occasions, but often there is a shift in focus. Even severe fears and phobic behaviour in children can disappear and it would be true to say that there are certainly many people who have had severe phobias in childhood who have grown up to become virtually fearless.
Toddlers between about 18 months to 5 years are often afraid of animals and, after the age of 4 or 5, children often become preoccupied by darkness and imaginary monsters. Similarly, the imagination begins to go into overdrive from early school age – by about the age of 8 or 9 there is often a concern about bodily injury and sometimes children become quite preoccupied about death. Separation fears are, of course, common in most children, either at the beginning of their nursery school education or later when they attend ordinary school. Sometimes these fears re-emerge when changing schools at a later age. Social fears often begin after the age of 8 but these fears are often accentuated in children entering puberty. As with other fears, most of these will decline. In childhood there are few “fear” differences between girls and boys however, in some cultures girls have more apparent fears than boys.

What should one do about fears and phobias in children? The short answer is that for most children not much is the right answer. As I have said above, most fears will tend to disappear. However, it is probably wise to say that giving fear behaviour a lot of attention may well make it worse rather than better and meaningless reassurance is certainly unhelpful. It is much better to try to encourage a child to face its fear and protecting the child from, say, the noise of the vacuum cleaner by not using it in the child’s presence is certainly unhelpful. As with adult fears, the time to act is when the problem consistently begins to upset and/or interfere with normal activity and/or if there is a persistence of the fear beyond a reasonable period of time.

At this point it is worth noting that obsessive/compulsive disorder is relatively rare in childhood – although most children will go through some superstitious phases, like the fears and phobias described above, most of these childhood habits will disappear.

Unfortunately, professional treatment for childrens’ fears and phobias is not widely available and, in my view, much of what is offered is inappropriate. There is an undue emphasis on psychoanalytically based treatments which often put a child through considerable distress: sometimes families are dragged along in the process and the outcomes are debatable. There are some cases where behavioural treatments of children are not the treatments of choice – for example children who have experienced sexual abuse or other traumas. Such children often need patient approaches. It should be empathised that these need not necessarily be linked to a psychoanalytical approach.

Most children who have intense fears or phobias will respond to simple strategies based on the principles of education and relaxation. Relatively small children can understand the mechanisms of anxiety, providing that these are put in the right way, and one should never underestimate children’’ ability to see things which you may consider as an adult complex. The fight or flight reaction can be explained easily. The behaviour of a cat when under threat is very often a good example. Children can be taught the principles of muscle relaxation and there are a whole range of relaxation audiocassettes available for use with children.

The role of modelling behaviour is very important and there is some evidence that children brought up with fearful adults, copy the fear and avoidance behaviour. However, even if the parents are themselves phobic, they can encourage their children not to avoid and there is no reason why phobic parents cannot train their children in a very positive fashion. The old principle of reward for appropriate behaviour is worth bearing in mind. Very often, children will be greatly encouraged by the use of the ‘star’ chart, the ‘stars’ possibly being exchanged for some treat, or even an increase in pocket money!

It is worth mentioning the most severe phobias and most common is school phobia. School phobia and truancy are sometimes difficult to distinguish but parents should first of all rule out obvious causes such as difficult relationships with a teacher or, bullying. Once the causes have been ruled out, it is worth attempting to devise a programme whereby the teacher and parents are involved and the child gradually faces classroom situations. The parent needs to ensure that while they are encouraging and reinforcing, they themselves do not get over anxious and transfer this to the child. When school phobia persists for more than a few weeks, the child’s GP should be involved and referral to an appropriate specialist should be sought.

Unfortunately, children can often suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and this can be related to a range of traumatic events including, child sex abuse and road traffic accidents; a large number of children in Northern Ireland have witnessed the dreadful acts of violence and terrorism of the past 25 years. Post traumatic stress in children is often difficult to treat and referral to a specialist service such as that based at the Maudsley Hospital in London should be considered. Often local services do not have the necessary expertise in this area.

In conclusion, the overall message is that most childrens’ fears and phobias are transient and there is little indication that for these children any specialist treatment is needed. However, when fears and phobias do become a problem, the same principles as apply to adults should be implemented. In the case of phobias there is always a need for gradual exposure, education and anxiety management training incorporating relaxation procedures are the mainstay of these approaches. Having said that, if, as a parent, you are worried about your child, it is always worth seeking advice and I am pleased to say that GPs are now increasingly becoming aware of this area.

**Recommended reading: Anxiety in Childhood and Adolescence, by Frank Carter and Peter Cheeseman.
Available from most good bookshops or libraries.
Professor Kevin Gournay is an Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry. He has more than 35 years of experience and is the author of more than 130 articles and books. He is based

Exams and Anxiety

Everyone knows that it is natural to feel anxious before an exam. In fact, a little anxiety at times like this can help you in a way. When you are anxious your body automatically produces the hormone adrenalin which stimulates your body and brain and can be helpful when responding to challenging situations. Obviously producing too much can have the opposite effect, so it is trying to find a happy medium and keeping things under control.

Planning for anything can help enormously in reducing anxiety and exams are no different. It is important to put into perspective that revision is not learning something new. It is about going over things that have already been learnt so basically refreshing the facts. This is where the long term plan can be a huge help: Make sure you have a steady work routine right from the beginning of the year. Set aside time each day to keep your notes/lessons in order. If there are things that you haven’t quite got the hang of, look at it again, don’t put it off until a later date.

The revision period should start about 6 weeks before the exam. Here are some tips to help get you through this time;

1. Set aside an allotted time each day to revise and stick to it.
2. Focus on the essentials and make notes of these. Writing things down in black and white helps our brains store things more easily.
3. Take breaks every 20 – 30 mins. Get up and do a bit of stretching, go outside for a bit of fresh air or just sit and do some mindfulness. Five minutes is all it takes to boost our concentration.
4. Revision is important but you mustn’t let it take over your whole life. Make sure you set aside time for other activities. Sport or exercise of some kind are great ways to relieve any tension.
5. Be aware of your diet. To function properly our brains need a healthy diet.
6. If you find you are struggling, talk to friends or a teacher. You are not the only one going through this and it is reassuring to know people are there to support you.
7. Keep to a regular bedtime routine. (Weekends included). When we are tired our brains are unable to function correctly, our attention span drops, as does our concentration. Reasoning becomes more difficult and our memory suffers.
8. Relaxing before any anxious episode in life is the best way to help the body and mind perform well. Keep this link handy and practice daily;
https://www.nopanic.org.uk/body-scan-relaxation/
When you have perfected this exercise you will be able to use it anytime anywhere to keep anxiety levels at bay.

Day of the exam:

1. Don’t revise. You have spent the last 6 weeks doing this. Today you need to concentrate on your well-being and giving yourself the best chance to work well.
2. Take at least one, five minute session of the relaxation exercise https://www.nopanic.org.uk/body-scan-relaxation/
Focussing on the here and now. Not yesterday or tomorrow but today and how you have the power to destress your body and mind by doing this simple technique.
3. However you are feeling, make sure you eat and drink something. Our body is like a car, it needs the right fuels to function properly. Fruit, yoghurt, cereal, or toast anything is better than nothing.
4. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the exam. Check in advance that you know where you are going and how you will get there. Rushing will only add to the anxiety.
5. Listen to some favourite music or something funny on route to the exam. Immerse yourself in what you are hearing, this will give your mind a much deserved break.
6. Wear comfortable clothes that you feel good in. A bit of self-confidence can make all the difference to how you feel.
7. Have a positive mental attitude. Use an affirmation such as; ‘I can do this’ or ‘I’m ready and able’.
8. Read the exam directions through a couple of times slowly and carefully. Then answer the easiest parts first. Just getting started will build your confidence.
9. Try to stay focussed on your own work. Pay no attention to what anyone else is doing. It is what you are doing that counts.
10. Remember that most people feel tense at this point, which of course is completely normal. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and do your best. By using the relaxation/breathing technique you have the power to stay calm and collected.

Thinking Too Much

Thinking is part of everyday life. Most of the time we don’t pay much attention to it, we just do it. But what happens when we think too much? How do we know when we are thinking too much?

Well a clue is; If you are thinking the same thing over and over again (rumination) or if questions are persistently rolling around in your mind and you are not coming up with any answers or if you repeatedly put yourself down and concentrate on your failings and mistakes, you are thinking too much.

Research has proven that thinking in these ways can lead to depression and bring on anxiety. “Why me?”, “Why do I have problems other people don’t have?”, “Why do I feel so bad?”, “Why am I always ill?”, “Why can’t I get better?” “I am a terrible person”, “I hate myself”. These are all prime examples. Rumination is known to worsen moods and promotes negative thinking.

So why do we do it? Well in most cases it has become a habit.

What can we do about it? Well the habit needs to be broken.

You need to change the way you think. Instead of letting these thoughts free to wander around, write them down on paper. Look at the problem in black and white and see if there is an answer. Write away. This is a way of getting the thoughts out of your head. If the thoughts come back, pick up the paper again. You have already analysed the thoughts, what is the point of doing it again?

The next time that your brain seems to be on overtime, say out loud ‘STOP’ and change what you are doing. Focus on the positive things in your life, your family or friends, your home or your garden.  Anything that makes you feels good.

Another tool is to concentrate on the here and now. Worrying about what might happen in the future usually turns out to be a complete waste of time and the past cannot be altered, just learnt from.   So look at today and what you can do to make this minute the best you can.

Stop thinking and start doing!   Where has thinking too much got you in the past? Does it achieve anything?  Does it make you feel good?  No is the answer. Take steps to change the way you think and start taking control. If there are things you don’t like in life, make changes. If you can’t change them change the way you think about them.

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Thought Control

The power of thought has an extremely strong influence on our lives. It shapes our days and our way of life. This process is usually subconscious but it can be made conscious too. For example; put a smile on and now think of something you love, whether it is a golden beach, a chocolate cake or a favourite film. Keep the smile while you are thinking. Picture and relish that nice thought. How do you feel? Not too stressed I’m sure. Not upset and not worried. That is the power of thought. For those few moments you controlled your thoughts to give you a good feeling. You did that because you can. You have the power to feel like that whenever you want to.

What can we do to keep control of our thoughts?

  1. Try not to get overtired.
  2. Look around you at all you have. e.g. friends, family, the use of limbs, a roof over your head, food in the cupboard. These are all things that we so often take for granted but there are people that don’t have as much as us. Being grateful is good.
  3. If you start to have negative thoughts, make the choice to stop them. Change what you are doing.
    You have the power within you to do this. Determination and will-power is half the battle.

Make the decision right now to have a positive day.

Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder (Children)

O.C.D. manifests itself in three main categories.

These are obsessive thoughts with compulsive physical rituals, obsessive thoughts on their own or physical rituals on their own. The latter two are fairly rare in children however, this does not mean that they cannot be a problem and we shall deal with them at the end of this category. We shall concentrate on the most usual form found in children, which are obsessive thoughts with compulsive physical rituals. For the purpose of looking at this aspect we shall use its most common form, i.e. thoughts about contamination and compulsive washing. The illness causes the sufferer to think that something is contaminated or “dirty”, either objects or themselves, and so feels a compulsive urge to either wash the objects or themselves excessively or get someone to do it for them. O.C.D. is known as the “doubting” illness because sufferers can never quite convince themselves that “something” is really “safe” and consequently they will wash and wash until the thoughts of contamination ease. It is not unknown for the washing to be repeated hundreds of times per day. The washing affects not only themselves but such things as clothes, shoes, cutlery, etc and anything else you care to name. It may also present itself as only being able to sit or eat in their particular little “clean/safe” area. No matter how much reassurance the child gets, he/she cannot quite believe or convince themselves that something is “safe”. Adults with this illness know what they are doing is irrational but are unable to comprehend that “once is enough”. It is totally different with children as their concept of danger is totally different from that of an adult and their fear seems real.

We would stress that O.C.D. is, like all anxiety disorders, an illness of the nervous system and not of the brain. Children suffering from O.C.D. are not mad, insane, peculiar or anything else nor will their illness ever develop into any form of brain disorder. Their brain reacts perfectly normally but is given the wrong information, by the nervous system, on which to act. O.C.D. sufferers are, almost without exception, very caring people and their O.C.D. is an extension of this caring nature, e.g. some sufferers will wash things hundreds of times to make sure they are safe, thus protecting, as they see it, themselves and their loved ones.

Brain Language

Brain language is about talking to yourself in the right way. It’s about how you mind has to visualise or think about something before it can move on to the next step. For instance if you see a sign saying please do not walk on the grass, the first thing you have to think about is walking on the grass and then you process the negative part of the sentence. This is because the negative is thought about after the act, so a more effective sign would be please walk on the pavement. This is the essence of brain language avoid using a negative.

To put this in to the topic of anxiety it would be I will be relaxed today instead of I will not be anxious today. So the end result would be thinking about being relaxed not thinking about being anxious then contorting the image/thought to deal with the negative.

Like the images above you can look at a thought in two ways, I will be relaxed or I will not be anxious. The positive notion or the negative notion. The positive phrasing will always work better with your brain and help controlling your anxiety.

Combining brain language with thought control techniques like chat-back would work rather well together because you can use the positive language to aid in the brain’s cognition of the thoughts.

What Do We Help With?

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