The Power of Treatment
Improving Lives With Treatment
A man afraid to have sex with his wife, a family "imprisoned" by the mother's illness, a guilt-ridden successful sports broadcaster...anyone can be affected at any time. Anxiety disorders affect some 40 million adults and one in eight children in the United States. And more than 19 million experience depression.
These disorders are all treatable. And with your support, ADAA can continue to provide help and hope to those suffering from the entire range of anxiety and depressive disorders. We’re here to explain types of treatment, help locate providers and clinical trials, and connect people to self-help and educational resources.
We draw on the work of top clinicians, scientists, and educators — all committed to ADAA’s mission of public outreach and fighting these disorders. Your contributions also make it possible to advance research and support training and education for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and other professionals who can transform lives by providing the best available treatments.
Read on for some inspiring accounts of people who have sought treatment. Make a donation today, and you’ll lend a hand to someone who’s struggling. Together we can make a difference.
OCD and Afraid of Sex
By H. Blair Simpson, MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Columbia University
Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and OCD Research Program, New York State Psychiatric Institute
I treated a middle-aged man with lifelong obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) who had not had sex with his wife for some 20 years. He loves her, but he was afraid she would get pregnant.
Causing Unintended Harm
His fear took hold when his wife had a miscarriage for which he felt responsible. His OCD made him feel that he would cause something bad to happen and that God would punish him. And his disorder affected more than his sex life: Afraid he’d run over a pedestrian, he returned again and again to check. This often made him late for work, where he was so consumed with making a mistake that he had difficulty completing tasks.
He first considered that he had caused harm (instead of preventing it) when his wife revealed her deep sadness about never having had children. He tackled his fears, plus his depression, in treatment — a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) consisting of exposure and response prevention.
At Long Last, Peace
These days he still has anxious moments, but he knows how to recognize his OCD and how to move forward. He is more effective at work, and he and his wife have achieved a new emotional and sexual intimacy. Although he regrets that he didn’t seek treatment much sooner, he feels blessed to have reached a state of peace after decades of suffering.
The outreach efforts of ADAA help people like my patient, who managed to get his life back.
Please make a donation to ADAA to help others like him find treatment to conquer their fears and triumph in their lives.
No Shame: Depression and GAD
By Josh Lewin
I have learned that anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand, and there is no shame in having either — although it’s tough for many people to get their arms around that concept. While I struggled with both illnesses, the few people in whom I confided expressed genuine shock. “Depressed? About what? You’ve got a great job! Legions of adoring fans! A wonderful family! Dude, what’s your problem?”
The crux of an anxiety disorder is the complete inability to be at peace with the present moment. Always expecting the other shoe to drop. Waiting for something to go wrong. I’d be racked with guilt about things I’d done poorly and trembling with worry that I’d soon screw something else up too. Professionally, that would all come crashing down within an hour of air time. Quite routinely during my last couple of years as the Texas Rangers’ baseball play-by-play announcer, I’d seek refuge in the press box bathroom, head in my hands, trying to remind myself “it’s okay. I’m okay.” Sometimes I was…most times I wasn’t. Read Josh's full story.
GAD “Imprisons” Entire Family
By Mark H. Pollack, MD
Grainger Professor and Chairman
Department of Psychiatry, Rush University Medical Center
People with GAD, which stands for generalized anxiety disorder, have persistent and heightened worry about multiple issues that they have difficulty controlling. This often causes restlessness, fatigue, trouble concentrating, irritability, sleep problems, and other unpleasant symptoms.
We give a diagnosis of GAD when someone’s anxiety is present more days than not for six months or more. But even those with anxiety that lasts for just a few months can be significantly impaired and distressed. Sadly, many patients suffer for years before coming in for treatment.
Suffering Too Long
One patient, 50-year-old woman, told me that she’d suffered with anxiety in one form or another since childhood. Her anxiety and self-doubt had caused her pronounced distress, which made her unable to enjoy much of anything in her life. She was always worried, always asking herself “what if?” Her frequent worries and need for reassurance exhausted her husband and alienated her children. They reported that they all felt that they were as much prisoners of her anxiety as she was.
Talking Back to GAD
Her treatment, which included medication and structured therapy, relieved much of her anxiety and depression. She learned how to start “talking back” to some of her dysfunctional thoughts. Only then could she finally begin to start enjoying the close family life she had always craved.
Treatment made a huge difference in my patient's life — and in that of her family, freeing them all from the prison of anxiety. Please donate to ADAA.