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Posted October. 30, 2006 07:03,   


People with anxiety disorder are in a higher tension state than others. It is helpful for them to relieve tension through meditation, abdominal breathing, and yoga, and to engage in activities such as painting that give them a sense of security. As are with other diseases, early diagnosis is important.

Symptoms of this disorder include a voice that is shaky when you speak in public, that you believe that others hate you, or that you can’t make eye contacts with others. In other words, you are afraid of social relationships or doing something in front of others. More and more people are suffering this disorder as the competition has intensified inside companies or organizations. Korea has an estimated 3 percent patients with such symptoms, but there are concerns that it is likely to soar.

Social phobia is also called as “voice fear,” “eye contact phobia,” and “hand tremor fear” depending on its symptoms. Professor Oh Kanng-seop said, “Most people with social phobia are extremely timid or perfectionists. It is important for them to accept nothing is perfect.”

People with anxiety disorder are worried about everything in everyday life. But nobody is free from worries so the person does not realize that he has a problem. Even though he knows something is wring with him, people around him consider he just fakes sickness.

Professor Oh at Samsung Medical Center explained the illness: “Anybody can get involved with traffic accidents or develop cancer. Chances are low but those with generalized anxiety disorders believe such incidents definitely happen to them anytime soon.”

When people get stressed, they soon adjust to it and overcome, but those with generalized anxiety disorders are highly sensitive so stress can bring physical symptoms such as frequent headache, muscle-ache, frequent urge to urinate, dry mouth, and cold sweat. They almost always feel heavy on the stomach, and tired, so they go to see internal medicine or the neurology doctor only to be told nothing is wrong. One-third of patients are experiencing depression. Psychiatrist Jung Sang-geun at Chonbuk National University Hospital said, “Treatment starts when patients accept they have illness.”

After horrible incidents that one does not want to remember happened to one or the loved one, the memory keeps haunting the patient.

Patients cannot sleep at night and feel as if they are experiencing the horrifying accident and it feels so real. They always feel insecure and exhibit mood swings. When it gets serious, they lose sense of reality and feel numb and suffer depression.

Many of the survivors of the collapse of Sampoong department store and Daegu subway arson suffer trauma. Survivors or veterans injured during the Korean war or the Vietnamese war also suffer similar symptoms.

Antidepressants are not very helpful for them. They can overcome illness after undergoing “cognitive restructuring,” which means restructuring the causes and results of the trauma-causing incident.

Neuropsychiatry professor of Catholic University of Korea St. Mary’s Hospital said:, “A 26 year old graduate student who suffered sexual abuse from her step father since she was 5 years old underwent cognitive restructuring procedures and now maintains an ordinary life. First she thought it was her fault and that it can happen to her again. But after the procedure, now she thinks it was her father’s fault and now she is okay. If you do not come forward to tell the truth about the trauma-causing experience, you cannot be healed. So you have to trust doctors.”

Anxiety disorders are often found in people who are responsible and obsessive in hygiene. Some of them check several times whether to turn off gas range or to close the door before going out and do not drink water outside saying public bathroom is too dirty. After their friends visit them and leave, they obsessively mop where their friends sit or wash the cushion their friends sit on. Some people wash hands all the time even when they haven’t done anything to make their hands dirty.

The degree can differ from person to person, but if the one cannot do anything else doing checking and washing, the one has a problem. Neuropsychiatry professor, Kwon Jun-woo of the Seoul National University Hospital said, “To help those who wash hands all the time because they can’t stand anything dirty, we make them to touch something dirty on purpose for behavioral treatment and encourage them to think germs do not always cause problems for cognitive treatment. Those are helpful for them.”