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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

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How can the symptoms regarding the real versus irrational thoughts due to anxiety be discerned?

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Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1991

Answered : 3083 Questions

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Posted on Wed, 12 Dec 2018 in Mental Health
Question: Hi, for the past couple of years after leaving school I've been having constant anxious thoughts about my health. Once I finally stop worrying about one thing I start to worry about another, in some cases worrying about multiple things at the same time and Im finally making the decision to try and get rid of it. I was just wondering if there is any way to discern the symptoms I think I'm experiencing or seeing from actual symptoms. Any help will be greatly appreciated, thank you.
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Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 23 minutes later
Brief Answer:

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Detailed Answer:

Hello and welcome!

I'm trying to sort out your question:

"I was just wondering if there is any way to discern the symptoms I think I'm experiencing or seeing from actual symptoms."

Do you mean is there a way to discern what is real versus what are irrational thoughts due to anxiety?

Anxiety can make us turn things into more extreme or unrealistic situations. One technique for dealing with that is to try to train yourself to be aware/mindful of when you are feeling anxious and what the thought is behind that.

For example, maybe the thought is that something will turn into a catastrophe.

Then ask yourself, has that situation turned into a catastrophe in the past? Were you able to deal with it? In other words, bring in other variables to analyze the reality of what you are worried about.

And try to refocus it in a positive way, that the thing you are worried about has not happened yet and might not happen, etc.

Cognitive behavioral training with a psychologist can help you to train yourself in this way.

If the anxious thoughts are coming excessively though, you may benefit from an antidepressant such as an SSRI.

These can help decrease anxiety (without being addicting like anxiolytic medications) enough for you to be able to work on your thoughts more easily.

Escitalopram (Lexapro) is an SSRI which has a good (low) side effect profile. It can take a few weeks for it to kick in.

Hope I have answered your query.

Regards,

Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh,
General & Family Physician


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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