What can be done about all those neuroses which make our lives miserable?  First of all, ask yourself whether the level of anxiety is something which is tolerable enough not to even require any treatment.  A few neuroses as mentioned last week may actually help improve your performance in many tasks.  

Start with avoiding triggers which include caffeine, alcohol and drugs. Consider therapy sessions which might explore your reasons for feeling anxious and even expose you (albeit at low intensity levels) to situations where you feel especially anxious.  Your therapist might ask you to verbally describe your uneasiness, a task which believe it or not helps to make you more aware of your feelings and thus gain more control over them.  Remind your mother that you are thirty now and have already learned how to eat enough vegetables so that you don’t become dangerously vitamin or protein deficient and that yes, you always drive with a seatbelt on.

There are a slew of medications which can help reduce those anxious thoughts and make you feel more at ease. The pharmacy industry, all too eager to spoon feed the masses of anxiety sufferers with valiums, valium cousins and antidepressants, markets these medications heavily.  Without a doubt these drugs work great for many sufferers including those with panic attacks and other intense phobias.

However many of these medications have significant side effects including drowsiness, confusion and paradoxically insomnia. With the notable exception of the antidepressants and a single other agent(Buspar) they are addicting.  Sudden withdrawal can cause seizures, which can be life threatening. Finally, they tend to dull feelings such that the pleasures of life such as enjoying a nice walk on a sunny day morphs into an experience of taking one painful step after another with no end in sight.

My preference is to avoid the medications, trying other means and if these fail to work to start the medications at as low and infrequent dose as possible.