News Article Details

Mental health series offers tips for coping

Sanford Herald - 6/7/2019

June 07-- Jun. 7--Anxiety is a emotion that is frequently experienced in today's fast-paced society, but there are ways to deal with it.

That was the focus of a monthly Lunch & Learn Series on mental health given Wednesday by Vicki Rhodes, a member of the Sandhills Geriatric/Adult Specialty Mental Health team. Rhodes spoke to about a dozen people, most of whom for agencies that support families, the homeless, the mentally ill and other outreach organizations.

She talked about ways to help a person handle anxiety and the local resources available to help those who suffer from consternation, fear, agitation or angst.

Her 90-minute talk at the Lee County Enrichment Center dealt with what leads to anxiety and how it can be treated.

Anxiety can cause problems, Rhodes said, but it's also useful, in that it acts as a defense mechanism when someone feels threatened or frightened, by heightening the senses, making a person more alert.

"This is a good emotion, but in small amounts," she said.

More often, Rhodes said, anxiety may overwhelm a person.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services lists five major types of anxiety disorders: generalized; obsessive-compulsive; panic; post-traumatic stress; and social phobia.

Nearly all involve thoughts of exaggerated worry; a panic disorder can result in physical symptoms including chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath, according to the HHS website.

"It's when you start anticipating problems that are going to happen," Rhodes said, "but in all likelihood it will not happen. If this continues for long period of time, it can damage your heart and body."

Anxiety, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, can result from a terrifying event such as trauma experienced as a child or a violent attack or assault.

Women are more likely to have an anxiety disorder, Rhodes said, and age can factor in as well.

There are several ways to handle anxiety, she said.

"Acupuncture, aromatherapy, breathing exercises and therapy are some of the things that can be done," she said. "Create a worry period for yourself, and set an hour to worry about things, but after that just let it go."

Rhonda Lee, 50, of Sanford, who works for the Coalition for Families, said she takes an hour timeout to deal with her anxiety.

"I always do mine at night," she said. "It helps and is a very good technique."

Lee said she enjoyed the talk and it was just enough.

"It was good information and short and to the point, and gave us some good examples," she said.

Annie McIver, 82, of Sanford, said the discussion was informative.

"I learned a lot from it," she said. "I really did. I pray a lot and ask God to help me."

Rhodes said she believed the group was receptive to the topic.

"It was a nice group, and I believe some recognized that I'm not alone in this," she said.

By offering these monthly gatherings, Rhodes said she hopes to take away the stigma surrounding issues of mental health.

For more information Lunch & Learn Series call the Enrichment Center at 919-776-0501

Reach Reporter David Pollard at 919-718-1229.


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