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These books were reviewed in our 2003 to 2005 issues.
Click here for reviews in 1994 to 1996 issues, 1997 to 1999 issues, 2000 to 2002 issues, 2006 to 2010 issues, 2011 to 2013 issues.

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Anxiety Disorders: The Caregivers

Anxiety Disorders: The Caregivers. Information for Support People, Family & Friends by Kenneth V. Strong. Published by SelectBooks, Inc. New York 2003.

Back in the mid-1990s Ken Strong set up a website to assist people helping friends and family members with anxiety disorders and wrote the first edition of this book. Resources for support persons were virtually nonexistent then and, as expressed in the review given in the Autumn 1996 issue of Lifeline , “The very fact that this book has been published is something of a relief to support persons who so often must overcome the feelings of inadequacy and helplessness, as well as anger and resentment, at what appears to be the need to be a saint or superhero.” A second edition of the slim, saddle-stitched handbook was published the next year and reprinted several times. The newly released third edition has a new title and has been expanded to 258 pages, written in the same easy-to-read style that was responsible for the huge success of the previous editions.

As a one-time victim of panic attacks and agoraphobia and, for many years since his own recovery, a support person to a number of people with anxiety disorders, Ken Strong is uniquely positioned to write a book that has, in essence, become a world wide authority on the subject of assisting others in taking control of their anxiety, panic and fear.

The new edition is set out in much the same way as the original book, beginning with an analysis of the stress/worry and anxiety equation, moving on to descriptions of the various anxiety disorders, anxiety and panic attacks, treatment methods and medications and coexistent negative thinking and depression before getting into all the wonderful advice for support people which Ken has gleaned from his many years of helping people. The difference is that even more useful information and helpful stories volunteered by people from support groups and internet chats. In-depth chapters on three anxiety disorders – GAD, PTSD and OCD, the prevalence of which has become widely acknowledged during the intervening years, have been added. Chapters on handling the impact of anxiety disorders on life in the workplace, classroom and other structured and unstructured common situations of daily life have been added. These, too, have mostly come about through Ken Strong’s constant interaction with the people who have found him through his website and/or book. (Employers, teachers, court officials and other administrators: please read!)

The immensely valuable Frequently Asked Questions chapter has been expanded to include several questions and answers on panic attacks, “fault” and “blame”, relationships and interaction in families and codependency. A prospective support person can, in fact, obtain a quick and accurate lesson on what to do and what not to do just by reading this chapter and absolutely nobody should skip it – on the contrary, it should be re-read every time self-doubt begins to intrude.

ANXIETY DISORDERS: THE CAREGIVERS is not only essential reading for anyone involved with anxiety disorders for its information value but, more importantly in some aspects, for the insights which are the result of many conversations, internet chats and letters between the author and both people with anxiety disorders and the people who assist them in achieving and maintaining control.


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CONFRONTING THE BULLY OF OCD: Winning Back Our Freedom One Day at a Time

CONFRONTING THE BULLY OF OCD: Winning Back Our Freedom One Day at a Time by Linda Maran. Fifteenth Street Publishing, Brooklyn, New York. 2004

Personifying obsessive compulsive disorder as a persistent bully, Linda Maran shares step-by-step techniques to putting up an effective fight against the symptoms and winning freedom from them.

This is not an account of suffering experienced as a result of OCD but, rather, Maran’s book comprises a detailed treatment guide for OCD, much of it gained from her own her sessions with leading New York OCD specialist, Dr. Steven J. Brodsky, who has written the preface to the book. She has struggled with the condition for most of her adult life and understands the problems of others, both in terms of the damage done by the disorder itself and in successfully undergoing treatment. Writing in non-technical, everyday language, she is able to communicate with, and provide strategies, encouragement, tips and direction to, fellow sufferers

Maran’s own motto is “Don’t let OCD bully you!” In order to assist people in not allowing the disorder to control their lives, she provides - in addition to treatment information and success stories - a comprehensive list of resources, including addresses, telephone numbers and website addresses from around the world. There is also a list of books, both about OCD specifically, nutrition and such self-help classics as David Burns’s The Good Feeling Handbook, which address improving mood and anxiety levels.

As any mental health professional will tell you, treating yourself well and eating properly are essential to enabling you to face the rigours of therapy. Many also include humour as a requisite for success. Linda Maran concurs. She suggests:

“Try to laugh every day

       It keeps the OCD at bay.”


Amazon.com


THE PANIC DIARIES

THE PANIC DIARIES by Jeanne Jordan and Julie Pedersen. Ulysses Press (U.S.), Hamlyn/Octopus Group (U.K.). 2004

‘Courage doesn’t mean you don’t experience fear. Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.’ This is the essence of this new book written by two women from the Chicago area who met at a writers group and, on finding that they had both suffered panic disorders since childhood, discovered a mutual realization that ‘conquering panic is less about slaying the beast and more about, well, dancing with it.’ They decided to write a book about what panic attacks are and what they are not and researched the history of them from incidents in Greek mythology to today’s latest high tech treatment options.

While the book covers basic information on symptoms, causes and what to do to stop panic attacks, it is written to sustain the reader’s interest by including personal stories, word puzzles and techniques for managing and overcoming panic. The writers advocate viewing coping techniques as they would dance steps – that is, practice them until the moves become routine. Since both Jordan and Pedersen both write professionally this is effectively communicated – ‘The first step in the panic fox-trot is to turn towards your panic. Yeah, we know it’s not as easy as it sounds. The impulse to turn and fox-trot away from panic is primal, but as you’ve probably noticed, running from your fear just doesn’t work.’

Needless to say, the book is entertaining as well as informative simply because, as pointed out in the introduction, you can’t laugh – not wholeheartedly – and feel anxious in the same time.


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Fight or flight? Overcoming panic and agoraphobia - 48 minute video tape.

Fight or flight? Overcoming panic and agoraphobia by Professor Ron Rapee and Dr. Lisa Lampe. Monkery See, New South Wales, Australia.

Panic overtakes Wayne as he drives his truck, at night, on the highway. The world starts spinning for Sharon during a shopping centre with her sister.

In this 48 minute video, Wayne and Sharon discuss their physical symptoms, eventual diagnosis of panic disorder, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), what it taught them and how they continue to use the tools it provided to enable them to successfully control their disorders today. Australian experts, clinical psychologist Ron Rapee and psychiatrist Dr. Lisa Lampe explain the steps involved in the CBT process and why it works.

Rapee is currently Professor in the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University, N.S.W. and director of the university’s Child and Adolescent Anxiety Clinic. He worked under Professor David Barlowe at the State University of New York and has published extensively and addressed conferences on anxiety disorders around the world. Lampe is in private practice in Sydney and lectures in psychiatry at the University of New South Wales.

Rapee and Lampe explain the common sense approach which is based on years of psychological research that has proven to be the most successful way to treat panic disorder and agoraphobia. A recent effective technique called internal exposure is included. This involves learning that panic symptoms won’t hurt you by deliberately bringing them on. The two panic disorder sufferers talk about how this and the other CBT techniques and tools – self monitoring, breathing retraining, realistic thinking and external exposure changed their attitudes towards panic and the way to deal with fear.


For ordering information, visit Monkey See Productions, N.S.W.,Australia.

Also available from Self Realization Publications, New York.



The Instinct to Heal: Curing Stress, Anxiety and Depression Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy.

The Instinct to Heal: Curing Stress, Anxiety and Depression Without Drugs and Without Talk Therapy by David Servan-Schreiber. Rodale Books 2004.

Millions try medication and/or talk therapy to relieve depression and anxiety. However, scientific studies are proving that many alternative treatments can work as well or better. In this international best-seller award-winning psychiatrist and neuroscientist David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D., shows how seven effective natural approaches are the key to effective healing by reprogramming the emotional brain to cure/control stress, anxiety and depression. Using scientific data, diagrams and case histories, the author explains how his instinct to cure concept impacts on the emotional disturbances that stem from a malfunction of the emotional brain so that, logically, treatment must direct itself toward this part of the brain. The alternative therapies involved include acupuncture, dawn simulation, heart rhythm coherence, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing techniques, Omega-3 fatty acid consumption, the endorphins released by physical activity, love and emotional communication. A nine-step program provides practical guidance in putting all the information together to create faster and permanent changes than medication and talk therapy.

Dr. Servan-Schreiber is the co-founder of the University of Pittsbugh’s Centre for Complementary Medicine and one of the founders of Doctors Without Borders.


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