If the state is beyond self-help,
then much can be done by consultation with a
competent family doctor with experience
in these matters and some appreciation of modern
relaxants and anti depressants.
If self management is ineffective,
and the problem seems very complicated, then
specialist medical help should be sought.
The most effective course is likely to
be intensive psychotherapy aided by medication.
But a number of sessions are usually necessary
in order to liberate hidden conflicts.
therapy also has many
advocates. An important part of it and
one that is a matter of much argument is that
those who practise it deny the existence of the
unconscious, and deal with symptoms as they show
themselves without delving further into a
person's personality. One method used by
behaviourists is desensitization, in which, by
getting the sufferer to imaging a feared
situation or by introducing him or her to what
is feared, the anxiety is lessened by degrees.
For example, if a person has a phobia about
spiders, this could be tackled by first
producing tiny paper spiders, gradually working
up to real spiders. Another type of therapy is
aversion treatment in which the symptom becomes
related in the person's mind to something
unpleasant e.g., in someone who drinks too much,
when the urge for a drink comes, it would be
accompanied by a mild electric sock. Flooding is
also used by behaviourists; the individual is
directed to submerge himself in his anxiety
until he or she, as it were, uses it all up.
There are numerous medical
preparations that can help. Propranolol
is especially useful where there is involvement
of the heart and arteries. The benzodiazepines
are the tricyclic preparations if there is also