Psychiatrist Offers Simple Steps for Coping With Uncertainty

Psychiatrist Offers Simple Steps for Coping With...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Some Simple Steps for the Stressed-Out By James S. Gordon Special to The Washington Post Tuesday, September 29, 2009 A middle-aged, working-class woman recently came to my medical office complaining that her back had "seized up." Her husband had lost both his jobs and was feeling quite disheartened; not long after, her blood pressure had "jumped though the ceiling" and she began sleeping poorly. Another patient came to see me suffering from crippling anxiety attacks. He had lost the better part of his considerable fortune in the economic collapse. Now he was waking in the middle of each night feeling his chest crushed, unable to breathe, half fearing and half wishing he would die. I have been practicing psychiatry for 40 years, but I've never seen this much stress and worry about economic well-being and the future. There is a sense that the ground is no longer solid, that a system we all thought would sustain us no longer works as we were told it would. In the past, when patients reported job-related stress, it was from unfulfilling work and the anxiety of making choices. "Should I stay in this job that I can't stand and keep feeling so unhappy?" they would say. Now, I hear about unmeetable mortgages, months without work, fears of ending life in a low-paying, entry-level job. "What went wrong?" my patients say. "What could I have done?" "How can I manage?"
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
In this uncertain time, symptoms of chronic illnesses -- hypertension, back pain, diabetes -- that were controlled or dormant are erupting. Low-level depression, whose hallmarks are feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, is endemic. Large numbers of people across the country are trying to quiet their apprehension with drugs or drink, or have turned to antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills. But after decades working not only in Washington but also with war-traumatized populations overseas, I've found there are simple strategies for helping people cope that are easy to learn, practice at home and, in these stressful times, free. 1. Begin a simple meditation practice. Loss -- of jobs or economic security, as well as of a beloved person -- is perhaps the greatest and most common of stressors, and the most frequent cause of anxiety and depression. Slow, deep breathing -- in through the nose, out through the mouth, with the belly relaxed and soft, and the eyes
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course HPRF 135 at San Jose State.

Page1 / 6

Psychiatrist Offers Simple Steps for Coping With...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online