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Our hearts are with Manchester today where at least 22 people were killed and at least 59 people were injured Monday night in a terrorist attack. Intentional acts of violence are particularly upsetting and anxiety provoking. The National Association of School Psychologists has outlined the practical tips below to help parents and educators help children cope with anxiety.

  • Model calm and control. Children take their emotional cues from the significant adults in their lives. Avoid appearing anxious or frightened.

  • Reassure children they are safe and (if true) so are the important adults and other loved ones in their lives. Depending on the situation, point out factors that help ensure their immediate safety and that of their community.

  • Remind them trustworthy people are in charge. Explain that emergency workers, police, firefighters, doctors, and the government are helping people who are hurt and are working to ensure that no further tragedies like this occur.

  • Let children know it is okay to feel upset. Explain all...

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Part II: The Fear and Behavior Changes that Define Panic Disorder

A month and a half has passed since Kendra first went to the ER, the night she spent worrying she was dying instead of enjoying her celebratory work dinner with friends. At the ER that night, the doctor ran several tests. They took her blood, hooked her up to an EKG, and gave her a chest X-ray. While she continued to be scared at the ER, her terror was nothing like the minutes leading up to this visit. The doctor gave her a pill for “nerves” and she quickly became sleepy. She started to feel silly that she had even come to the hospital in the first place. The test results came back normal. In fact, the doctor commented that she seemed perfectly healthy. He asked if she was under any sort of stress, which she denied, since her big work deadline had passed. He told her she may have experienced an anxiety attack or that she could have had some...

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1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk

Did you know that 1 in 100 adults and up to 1 in 200 children have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? OCD can be a debilitating disorder; however, it is very treatable. Unfortunately, it takes many people suffering with OCD 14-17 years from initial symptom onset to access effective treatment.

In 2012, Denis Asselin walked over 500 miles (roughly one million steps) from his hometown of Cheyney, PA, to Boston, MA. He walked in memory of his son Nathaniel who took his own life at age 24 after a long struggle with severe body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) and (OCD). To carry on this tradition, the 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk was created in 2013 in the same spirit of raising awareness, funds, and hope.

OCD Texas, an official affiliate of the International OCD Foundation (IOCDF), will be running a grassroots 1 Million Steps 4 OCD Walk in Austin, TX on June 3, 2017!

Venue: Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin, TX 78723

Check-in: 9:00 am


Tips for Managing Anxiety and Stress - Austin Anxiety and Behavioral Health Services

An estimated 40 million American adults and one in eight children experience anxiety disorders. If you or your child is experiencing anxiety and stress, try practicing a few of the strategies outlined above.

For more information about anxiety or to schedule an appointment with one of our anxiety treatment specialists please call (512) 246-7225 or email us at We are currently accepting new patients at our Round Rock and Austin therapy offices.

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Part I: The Unexpected Terror that Defines Panic Attacks

Meet Kendra, a 23-year-old recent college graduate working in a law firm. It’s Friday night and she just finished up at the office. She is headed to a work dinner to celebrate helping the firm win a major case last week. She pushed herself hard over the last month, harder than she anticipated. She slept less, stayed at the office late, and skipped lunch breaks. This week, since the case ended, work has been more relaxed, the calm after the proverbial storm. She feels like she has recovered and now she’s ready to enjoy a good meal and some laughs with her favorite colleagues.

She walks into the restaurant and looks around. She begins to make her way to the hostess stand. She is suddenly very aware of her breathing, the way her lungs are working to expand and contract. The air in her lungs doesn’t feel quite right. Strange. She feels as though she needs more air. She wonders if breathing has always felt this unnatural and maybe she just hasn’t...


Despite being very treatable, it is estimated that 36% of people with social anxiety disorder experience symptoms for 10 years or longer before seeking treatment. If your teen is experiencing anxiety in social situations consider providing them with an opportunity to develop skills to effectively manage their anxiety. Each week group members will learn a new skill that they will proactively put into practice alongside other adolescents who also experience social anxiety.

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What is Social Anxiety?

It is common to feel nervous in some social situations. Many people feel anxious going on a date, interviewing for a job, or giving a presentation. However, in contrast to shyness or nervousness, social anxiety disorder is characterized by significant fear, worry, and avoidance of social interactions that interferes with school, work, relationships, and other activities.

Symptoms of social anxiety include:

  • fear of being negatively evaluated or judged
  • worry about being embarrassed or humiliated
  • fear of anxiety being noticeable to others; fear of blushing, sweating, or trembling in front of others
  • significant anxiety interacting with strangers
  • fear of offending others
  • avoiding being the center of attention
  • avoiding completing tasks or speaking in front of others
  • experiencing anxiety leading up to social...
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While every election causes some anxiety, this year’s election is particularly contentious and it is something we are discussing a lot in our offices. People are reporting anxiety, worry, anger, and uncertainty about the future. The American Psychological Association reports that, regardless of political affiliation, Americans are citing the election as a significant source of stress. For many, anxiety and uncertainty seem to be increasing as election day draws nearer. If you are among the many people feeling anxious about the election, here are a few tips that may be helpful.

Read and Watch Just Enough to Stay Informed. Limit exposure to the news to 20 minutes each day then change the channel to something more enjoyable. Also consider taking a break from social media.

Talk About Something Else. Be aware of how often the election is the topic of conversation with colleagues, friends, and family. Avoid conversations about politics if they are likely to lead to stress or conflict.

Take Time for Yourself. Go for a...

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When Someone You Love Has OCD

Recognizing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in a loved one is not always easy as symptoms are often confused with other disorders. The following warning signs may be indications that your loved one is struggling with OCD:

  • Significant periods of unaccounted for time (often this time is spent privately engaging in rituals or compulsions)
  • Avoidance
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Change in eating patterns
  • Repeating tasks or behaviors
  • Taking a longer than usual amount of time to complete seemingly simple or routine tasks
  • Excessive concern for detail
  • Asking the same questions repetitively; seeking excessive reassurance
  • Irritability (meltdowns in children)
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Tardiness
  • Uncharacteristic, emotional responses
  • Requiring increased amounts of time to complete everyday tasks

As a family member of someone with OCD, you may feel confused and helpless. The first step is seeking support from a...

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Evidence-based Treatment for OCD

Unfortunately, it often takes people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) many years to receive proper diagnosis and treatment after symptom onset. In fact, due to stigma, embarrassment, lack of public awareness about OCD, financial barriers, and lack of access to a properly trained mental health professional, some estimates suggest that it takes an average of 14-17 years to obtain proper treatment. There are, however, very effective treatments available.

Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is considered the gold standard, first-line treatment for OCD. ERP is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Exposure therapy involves gradual exposure to anxiety provoking thoughts, images, objects or situations that typically lead to obsessions. Response prevention refers to not engaging in unhelpful coping strategies or compulsive behaviors. Initially, this work...

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What OCD Is Not – 4 Common Misconceptions

Now that we’ve discussed what Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is, let’s talk about what it is not. Here are four common misconceptions about OCD.

“Everyone’s a little OCD”

Everyone has idiosyncrasies or quirks; however, this is not the same as OCD. People with OCD experience debilitating anxiety that interferes with school, work, relationships, and daily activities. Unfortunately, misuse of the term OCD perpetuates misunderstanding and trivializes the experience of those struggling with OCD.

“OCD is only about being clean and organized”

While many people with OCD do experience obsessions and compulsions related to cleanliness and order, these symptoms account for only a small portion of the different types of OCD. People with OCD often worry about losing control, hurting themselves, harming others, making mistakes, sexuality, offending God,...

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Who is Affected by OCD?

Between 2 to 3 million adults in the United States alone have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The World Health Organization has identified OCD as one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability for those between 15 and 44 years old.

It is also estimated that approximately 1 in 100 children and adolescents experience OCD. These numbers have been growing over the years, but experts believe this is not because of an actual rise in the disorder, but rather, more people seeking treatment as a result of vigorous awareness efforts. The good news is that more people are actively seeking relief from their OCD symptoms.

OCD equally affects women, men, and children of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. People of any age can be diagnosed with OCD. The two most common time periods that OCD symptoms emerge are between the ages of 8 and 12, and between the late teen years and early adulthood. OCD tends to run in families. Research indicates that differences in the...


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