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Pass the mic - When fear becomes a burden

Miss Dr. Carola Riedner is a doctor responsible for oncology with additional training in psychotherapy and trained and worked from 1998 to 2002 with the founder of modern psycho-oncology, Prof. Jimmie Holland in New York. Since then she has dedicated herself to family doctor-centred care with a psycho-oncological focus and palliative medical advice and care. She is the honorary head of a hopiz service.

Miss Dr. Riedner, how do I recognize that I suffer from an anxiety disorder?

When the fears become a burden, due to physical symptoms such as tachycardia, pressure on the chest, tightness in the throat area, inner restlessness or being driven and when the fears lead to avoidance behavior.

Can one speak of an anxiety disorder in the case of fear of progression?

In the course of their lives, many people are confronted with a serious, sometimes chronic physical illness such as cancer. The fear of progression of the disease or its consequences is referred to as fear of progression. This fear, which is normal at first, can become so strong that it itself becomes a burden and impairs the quality of life.

What is your specific advice for cancer patients who suffer from fear of progression?

Depending on the severity of the impairment, either psycho-oncological psychotherapy in individual contact or a very good group offer, organized by the IFT psychotherapeutic outpatient clinic.

What can I do if I suffer from fears and circles of thoughts, especially at night?

Sufficient walking in the fresh air during the day (10,000 steps a day) and learning to deal with your thoughts differently through mediation exercises.

Is it possible to "cure" an anxiety disorder and become completely anxiety free again, or is an anxiety disorder chronic in some way?

Fear is an important emotion that belongs to all of us. Being fearless would be life-threatening and not desirable. It's about not being burdened by fears anymore. So to get out of the anxiety disorder and back into the fear.

Can you cope with an anxiety disorder on your own, or is it always advisable to seek psychological help?

As I said, it depends on the severity of the burden of the anxiety disorder. If avoidance behavior has occurred due to the anxiety disorder, then at the latest the person must seek professional help.

Is an anxiety disorder the same as depression?

No, that's something completely different, but there is a mixture of both.

What are the effects of the pandemic on our psyche and what can I do actively for my mental health?

The pandemic is also a crisis and here a global crisis. Above all, it also triggers fears and stress caused by the measures. It is very important to work on your resources, such as going for a walk or meditating every day.

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