What We Treat

Panic Disorder with or without Agoraphobia

Although it certainly doesn't feel like it, panic disorder is likely the best anxiety disorder of them all to have.  It's extremely treatable in a relatively short amount of time.  People with panic disorder have sudden rushes of anxiety with physical symptoms to include the following: heart racing, shortness of breath, shaking, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying or losing control.  These attacks can be so frightening that people often think that they're dying and go to the emergency room for help.  Fear of having panic attacks often leads to agoraphobia where people avoid situations due to the fear of those situations triggering another attack.  Some typical agoraphobic situations people avoid are driving, exercising, being in crowded places, and drinking caffeine.

 
 
 
 
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can take on many different forms.  Its rituals include checking behaviors (i.e. checking that the door is locked), cleaning behaviors (i.e. excessive handwashing), and excessive reassurance seeking from others.  Intrusive thoughts can include terrible images or fears that you might harm others in violent ways--people are often afraid to tell others, even loved ones, about these scary thoughts.  OCD rituals can also lead to perfectionism that interferes with task completion.  Scrupulosity is religious OCD and leads the sufferer to pray excessively or, alternatively, avoid religious activities they used to enjoy due to the anxiety associated with it.  Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), the extreme and sometimes disabling dissatisfaction with ones appearance, fits into this category as well.  Exposure response prevention (ERP) is the treatment of choice for OCD.

 

Social Anxiety Disorder

Approximately 15 million people suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder.  Social Anxiety Disorder is an extreme fear of being judged or rejected by others.  Sufferers of this disorder often have very limited social support and are often too anxious to pursue friendships or romantic relationships.  Public speaking fears, interviewing fears, or fears of rejection at the workplace may lead these individuals to not complete college or not reach their full potential in the workplace.

 
 
 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder or "Worry" Disorder

Persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population.  This worry is usually about several areas such as finances, family, health.  It can lead to physical symptoms, tension, and impaired sleep.  People suffering from GAD don't know how to stop the worry cycle and we can help you learn how to do this.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Medical Fears and Specific Phobias

Excessive medical fears about going to the doctor or dentist, often due to fear of needles, are not uncommon and can impact an individual's health when he or she avoids getting routine checkups.  Hypochondriasis really falls more into the area of OCD and is treatable, as well.  Other common specific phobias are fears of certain animals or insects, fear of flying, fear of driving, fear of vomiting, and fear of heights.

 
 
 
 

Vomit Phobias

Many people suffer from a chronic fear of vomiting.  This fear of vomiting can lead them to engage in many avoidance behaviors such as not being able to care for a sick child or relative, missing work when coworkers may be sick, or extreme avoidance of anything that may even remotely have a chance of making them sick.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Paruresis or "Bashful Bladder"

Many people struggle with a fear of using public restrooms due to fear of urinating in front of, or near, others (particularly for men using urinals) or having bowel movements in private bathroom stalls.  A person can suffer from extreme physical discomfort but still not be able to relieve themselves due to the high anxiety associated with public restrooms.  This fear can cause problems in the workplace if someone feels they need to go home to use the restroom in private or if they avoid required travel because they can't use the restroom on the plane or at the airport.

 
 
Postpartum OCD

Having a baby can be both joyous and stressful at the same time.  The many physical changes after delivery, as well as the stress of caring for a newborn baby, can lead women to develop postpartum depression and postpartum OCD. Postpartum OCD usually involves the fear of harming or killing your new baby.  These thoughts are terrifying for a new mother and she can be too afraid to tell others for fear they might want to take her baby away.  New fathers can also develop OCD fears of harming or killing the new baby due to the new stress levels at home triggering previously dormant OCD.

 
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a normal reaction to abnormally stressful experiences where someone has either experienced or witnessed a life threatening event.  This can occur during military service, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, or when individuals are victims of crimes such as rape, burglary, or mugging.  People also can have PTSD from childhood physical, sexual or emotional abuse. *Not accepting new PTSD patients at this time.

 

 

Menopausal Anxiety & Hot Flashes

Women's bodies go through many changes during menopause.  Symptoms such as hot flashes, increased anxiety, mood swings, sleeping difficulties, and changes in sexual functioning make this time of life challenging for many women.  We can help you with all of these symptoms using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  In a British Journal of Health Psychology study, both CBT and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) significantly reduced hot flash frequency, but CBT also significantly reduced anxiety and hot flash problem ratings (Hunter, M. S. and Liao, K. L.-M. (1996), Evaluation of a four-session cognitive–behavioural intervention for menopausal hot flushes. British Journal of Health Psychology, 1: 113–125). 

 

 
 

Trichotillomania or Chronic Hairpulling

Trichotillomania is a disorder where people can't seem to stop pulling pieces of their hair out.  This can lead to thinning hair and bald patches from any location on the body.  This impulse is actually somewhat similar to a motor tic, such as with Tourette's disorder, which is why it's so difficult to stop doing this behavior.  Habit Reversal Therapy (HRT) is the evidence-based treatment of choice for this disorder and can greatly reduce or eliminate the pulling behaviors.   Also related to this is dermatillomania (chronic skinpicking) and fingernail biting.

 
 
Tourette's Disorder or Tic Disorders

Tourette's Disorder occurs when an individual can't control certain muscular movements or vocalizations.  These involuntary movements or sounds are called tics.  Although this is a neurological disorder, there is an effective treatment called Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT) that can greatly reduce or eliminate the motor or vocal tics for mild to moderate tics.   

 

Major Depression

It's not uncommon for people suffering from anxiety to also have depression.  Anxiety can really take its toll on individuals and wear them out and down.  When someone has Major Depression they suffer from extreme sadness, crying spells, and feelings of hopelessness.  It can be extremely difficult for them to do daily activities because everything feels a lot harder to do.  Major Depression is a very treatable illness and you should seek help immediately or call 911 if you're having thoughts of hurting or killing yourself from the overwhelming sense of sadness.

 
 

© 2013 by Austin Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders, LLC

(512) 538-5066