Anxiety Attacks

February 13th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Have just finished a short little book called “Relax – Say Goodbye to Anxiety and Panic” by Wellington GP Dr Pat McCarthy.

It is for people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. I don’t get either of those but I do have some issues in that general arena, so was interested to read the book. I learnt (or relearnt) a few facts:

  • We have two nervous systems – our central nervous system and our autonomic nervous system. The former controls speaking, reading, movement and the latter heart rate, blood pressure and flow, breathing etc.
  • The automonic nervous system has two types of fibres – sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic is like the accelerator and will increase heart rate, blood pressure, tighten muscles etc.
  • Rapid sympathetic responses are known as fight or flight – the increased heart rate as you narrowly miss a car or how you become incensed at something. They occur quicker than waiting for the logic of the central nervous system
  • Caffeine is a sympathomimetic drug that activates sympathetic nerve fibres
  • Anxiety occurs when you have sympathetic over-activity.
  • Switching on your parasympathetic nervous system relaxes you – you can not be anxious if if you in a state of parasympathetic predominance
  • Medical self-hypnosis can use the imagination which creates anxiety to counter it by getting into a parasympathetic state.
  • Trying not to think of something is like throwing petrol on fire. Thinking NOT just makes you visualise it more.Think of what you want, not what you don’t want
  • Avoid the word try – it is associated with failing

I found the book very fascinating. It comes with a CD also. If you have anxiety issues, it could well be worth checking out.

The book is available from Huia or Amazon.

Tags: ,