Survivor of house fire deals with chronic anxiety

Survivor of house fire deals with chronic anxiety. Q: My husband escaped a house fire a couple of years ago. Everything turned out OK, as far as physical health and insurance went, but now, he sees a potential catastrophe around every turn. What can be done to get him back to his old self?—Jayne D., Aurora, Colo. A: Chances are that cognitive behavioral therapy is the best place to start for this kind of post-traumatic stress disorder and resulting anxiety (catastrophizing is an anxiety disorder). One of the things you can tell your husband is that everyone catastrophizes from time to time, and he’s not losing his marbles—he just needs to line them up better! If your husband agrees to get help, he’s going to be in the vanguard of smart mental health care. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, tens of millions of Americans need help dealing with feelings that seem beyond their control (they’re not) and only half of them ask for assistance. You and he can start by finding out what his medical plan offers for mental health care. Then, suggests the American Psychological Association, he should ask his physician or another health care provider for referrals to several well-trained and certified therapists. You also can ask friends if they know of therapists who deal with anxiety issues. Then he can start interviewing the therapists so he can find a
good match. Assure your husband that once he decides on a therapist, he’s taken an important step forward. He will discover that there’s a lot that can be done to help him deal with his anxiety. And if his therapist is a medical doctor, the doc may prescribe an antidepressant as part of his therapy. The combination of talk therapy and meds often is the most effective approach. Just by looking for help, you both are ahead of the game.   Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. Email your health

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