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Excerpted from When Panic Attacks by David Burns. Copyright © 2006 by David Burns. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 

"I want you to be able to wake up in the morning free of fears and eager to meet the day, telling yourself it's great to be alive."

  David Burns, When Panic Attacks, Part 1

Practically everybody knows what it's like to feel anxious, worried, nervous, afraid, uptight, or panicky. Often anxiety is just a nuisance, but sometimes it can cripple you and prevent you from doing what you really want with your life. But I have some great news for you: You can change the way you feel.

Powerful new, drug-free treatments have been developed for depression and for every conceivable type of anxiety, such as chronic worrying, shyness, public speaking anxiety, test anxiety, phobias, and panic attacks. The goal of the treatment is not just partial improvement but full recovery. I want you to be able to wake up in the morning free of fears and eager to meet the day, telling yourself it's great to be alive.

Anxiety comes in many different forms. See if you can recognize yourself in any of these patterns.

Chronic Worrying. You constantly worry about your family, health, career, or finances. Your stomach churns, and it seems as if something bad is about to happen, but you can't figure out exactly what the problem is.

Fears and Phobias. You may be afraid of needles, blood, heights, elevators, driving, flying, water, spiders, snakes, dogs, storms, bridges, or getting trapped in closed spaces.

Performance Anxiety. You freeze up whenever you have to take a test, perform in front of other people, or compete in an athletic event.

Public Speaking Anxiety. You get nervous whenever you have to talk in front of a group because you tell yourself, "I'll tremble and everyone will see how nervous I am. My mind will go blank and I'll make a complete fool of myself. Everyone will look down on me and think I'm a total neurotic."

Shyness. You feel nervous and self-conscious at social gatherings because you tell yourself, "Everyone seems so charming and relaxed. But I don't have anything interesting to say. They can probably tell how shy and awkward I feel. They must think I'm some kind of weirdo or loser. I'm the only one who feels this way. What's wrong with me?"

Panic Attacks. You experience sudden, terrifying panic attacks that seem to come from out of the blue and strike unexpectedly, like lightning. During each attack, you feel dizzy, your heart pounds, and your fingers tingle. You may tell yourself, "I must be having a heart attack. What if I pass out or die? I can't breathe right! What if I suffocate?" You try to hang on for dear life. Before long, the feelings of panic disappear as mysteriously as they came, leaving you bewildered, frightened, and humiliated. You wonder what happened and when it's going to strike again.

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