Jared Alden, Counsellor and Psychotherapist at the GNC Dubai: I would like to report about a great follow-up patient I saw last week. Cases like this make me as a professional happy and give hope to many sufferers out there. Most people cannot imagine how powerful psychotherapy is and how fast it works.
This is what happened:
When Nadia¹ came bursting into my office and it took me a moment to remember who she was because she was so positive and full of energy. Only two weeks ago a met a totally different woman who had stopped going out after dark, who would come home on a Thursday night and not leave until work on Sunday morning. Nadia had anxiety. In fact, she had anxiety since her teenage years but the last 2 years it had been really a problem. She reported that it kind of snuck up on her. She did not realize how strong her anxiety was getting until she had trouble leaving the house. She was shocked, she was only 27 and she thought things like this only happened to older people. Leaving the house was not the only problem. Nadia had always struggled with big crowds and she would never go to the mall on a Thursday night. She wasn’t that fond of flying either. She would always say, “Why would I want to be stuffed into a metal box for several hours with no control on when I can leave!” As a result of all this her life kept getting smaller and smaller. Her life just became about work and getting home as soon as possible.
Nadia was friendly and easy to talk to and she had a great sense of humor. Despite all this it was clear she was really suffering with her anxiety. Her sleep was not that great either. From interviewing she revealed that a couple of her relatives suffered with anxiety as well. It was clear she needed to consult with a psychiatrist to see if medication could restore her sleep and reduce her anxiety. She resisted this at first because she feared becoming addicted to some kind of sleeping pill. I educated her about how anti-depressants are not sleeping pills, they are not addictive and they are often used for anxiety as well as depression. I could tell she was not convinced but she went for the consultation anyway.
Fast forward two weeks and Nadia clearly feels better.
Her sleep is much better and she is looking forward to start living again. I educated her about her illness. I told her she had Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I said this is like the common cold of psychiatry. It is very treatable and you don’t have to be afraid. We set up a plan of action using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to make small adjustments to her behavior and thinking.
It was great to see Nadia so happy. She never believed that her life could change so fast. She said her anxiety is not complete gone but she has control over it and can live a completely normal life. These are beautiful moments in my professional life as a counsellor. Have a nice week everybody!
¹Name changed due to confidentiality