Reassurance and explanation

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Most patients are reassured by being told that the symptoms they have are common and rarely associated with disease and that their doctor is familiar with them. This is especially so if accompanied by the promise of further review should the symptoms persist.

Reassurance needs to be used carefully, however. It is essential to elicit patients' specific concerns about their symptoms and to target reassurance appropriately. The simple repetition of bland reassurance that fails to address patients' fears is ineffective. If patients have severe anxiety about disease (hypochondriasis) repeated reassurance is not only ineffective but may even perpetuate the problem.

A positive explanation for symptoms is usually more helpful that a simple statement that there is no disease. Most patients will accept explanations that include psychological and social factors as well as physiological ones as long as the reality of symptom is accepted. The explanation can usefully show the link between these factors—for example, how anxiety can lead to physiological changes in the autonomic nervous system that cause somatic symptoms, which, if regarded as further evidence of disease, lead to more anxiety

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Free Yourself from Panic Attacks

Free Yourself from Panic Attacks

With all the stresses and strains of modern living, panic attacks are become a common problem for many people. Panic attacks occur when the pressure we are living under starts to creep up and overwhelm us. Often it's a result of running on the treadmill of life and forgetting to watch the signs and symptoms of the effects of excessive stress on our bodies. Thankfully panic attacks are very treatable. Often it is just a matter of learning to recognize the symptoms and learn simple but effective techniques that help you release yourself from the crippling effects a panic attack can bring.

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