Hi, I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger and welcome to our YouTube channel, where I get to answer your questions. This is from Jasmin:
"Is there a test for knowing when you might benefit from therapy as opposed to asking someone credible for a sage piece of advice? And, is there a type of therapy you prefer over others for anxiety or is there a specific style or type you would advise against as a general rule?
I know this might be complicated to answer generally, but would love your opinion, if possible."
Yeah, this gets a little...I wish you had been willing to be a little more specific. But you mention the anxiety so let me talk about that. Anxiety pathways...some of that can be inherited. Anxiety pathways just set down in the neuro pathways in the brain so that you don't even have to be anxious about something to start feeling anxiety. There are a number of things you can do and it sort of depends upon what works. Not everything works for everybody.
When I was in private practice, sometimes the anxiety I would deal with, I'd tell the person to do yoga twice a day for half an hour. This was to generally calm themselves down so they can face whatever the issues were that were seemingly piling up on them. For some people that was enough. For other people medication (the smallest amount possible) made the difference because it was a biological thing that they could not really get control over.
My favorite technique...because I try to avoid medicine, because they all have side-effects, but if you need it - you need it, what can I say? But my favorite technique is hypnotherapy with someone who actually has accreditation in hypnotherapy, in which case we take people into a trance and then take them to the situation which causes the anxiety or just to the feeling of the anxiety because sometimes it's not cause and effect. Sometimes it just seems to come out of nowhere. So have the feeling of anxiety and then take themselves somewhere that just calms them down. And you can actually see them sitting in the chair or the couch and just calming all the way down. It's like it all pulls itself together instead of being like that [makes outward fluttering motion with hands]. And then have them do something like touch these two fingers together [takes pointer finger and touches her thumb] or hand goes on the thigh [takes palm and rests it on thigh]. I always pick on something that nobody else would notice if you did it. Like doing that [places right hand on left bicep] for a second. (It's also kind of a personal hug.)
So I would try the hypnosis first...definitely would try the hypnosis first. Yoga is always good. You have to stretch out your body, calm yourself down; it's healthy anyway, whether or not you have anxiety. So I would always throw that in, whether or not. If we get to the point where it's uncontrollable and we're running into panic attacks, then medication temporarily or longer term might be necessary.
So it's a matter of going through stages to see what would be the most effective. It's not the matter of just saying [whips hand around in an upward circle and snaps fingers] "what's most effective?" because it's different for different people. I mean, when I get into the last stage of a yoga workout, I go into what they call "corpse pose" - you're on your back, your hands are up, your feet are out [tilts head back and closes eyes], and you're just zoning, it's very hard to be anxious. But some people can get up from that and an hour later be anxious again. So that's why the hypnosis would be the next step (not giving up the yoga because that's just good for you). And last, but don't feel embarrassed if it's necessary, medication to help with that. You always start with the most minute dosage possible and see how that helps you.
A corollary to all of this is: everybody experiences some anxiety in life. And you have to learn, to some extent, to distract yourself, to read something, to talk to somebody, to do something or just tolerate it for a little bit. It's when it's overwhelming your life that it becomes an issue. That people have anxiety is called "Normal life!" It's the magnitude and the frequency which make you realize we have to do something more about it.
I'm Dr. Laura Schlessinger and thank you for being here at our YouTube channel.