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R******* wrote:

 Dear Dr. Baughman:
 I fully agreed with your commentary on the Time Magazine article on anxiety.
 It really is like an infomercial isn't it?  I particularly liked when you
 said that they seem to have a rule that they can't say anything nonbiological
 about a nonbiological problem.  What this research really amounts to is
 looking for biological correlates of normal fear and then making unwarranted
 speculations about biological abnormalities.  This is like taking a baseball
 player who is in a slump and examining the anatomy of the normal arm and then
 speculating that non-existent anatomical abnormalities in these structures
 must be causing his slump.  And notice how even though their unvalidated
 biological speculations may greatly vary (amygdala, hippocampus, frontal
 cortex) the treatment they recommend is almost always the same: SSRI
 antidepressants.  This seems clearly to be a case of fitting the problem to
 the treatment rather than fitting the treatment to the problem.  This is the
 one "treatment" that they have, so they try and create a rationale for using
 it for practically every imaginable human problem.  And they do this as you
 say by creating the illusion of biological abnormalities usually in the form
 of a "biochemical imbalance" to create a rationale for using drugs.
 As far as anxiety you are right.  There is always a reason.  People are
 always anxious about something, and it always makes sense given the context
 of their life and their past experiences.  There is no such thing as the
 brain simply creating anxiety for no reason except in the case of some rare
 medical conditions which have a truly demonstrable biological pathology.
 What they failed to mention in this article is the one thing of greatest
 importance, which is that in the case of anxiety problems there is a very
 large body of treatment outcome literature all published in professional
 journals including medical journals which shows consistently that
 psychological therapy, particularly cognitive-behavior therapy, is far more
 effective than medications (and of course is far safer).  There are studies
 for example showing success rates for people with panic attacks as high as
 90% (and even 100% in one study published in the Journal of Mental and
 Nervous Disease). These results are very durable (85-100% of people panic
 free at one year follow-up), and this is all achieved typically within 8
 therapy sessions.  Across the board all the research with anxiety problems
 shows consistently that only cognitive-behavior therapy has truly lasting
 results while of course being free of risks and side effects.  Time Magazine
 could have done its readers a real service by informing them about this most
 effective and safest therapy for anxiety problems rather than lending support
 to all of this nonsense about imaginary biological abnormalities.  And it
 would seem to be the responsibility of all practitioners to inform people
 suffering from anxiety as to what is the best and safest therapy available as
 determined by empirical studies rather than telling them they have imaginary
 biochemical imbalances and prescribing drugs.  It is not an exaggeration to
 say that there are thousands of people who could completely overcome an
 anxiety problem in a few sessions who are instead put on drugs for years or
 even life, because they are never informed that this therapy exists. This
 would be similar to not giving people with bacterial infections information
 about antibiotics, and giving them instead a far inferior and riskier
 "treatment," because that just happens to be what the practitioner does. And
 on top of this they actually benefit from the ineffectiveness of their
 "treatment," since they now often have a patient for years or for life.
 Roger Tilton, Ph.D.
 (Dr. Baughman, a couple more comments.  They get around the inferior
 effectiveness of drugs by clever semantics.  They artificially divide symptom
 relief and relapse rates and call symptom relief "effectiveness"  while
 rarely even mentioning relapse rates.  In this way a treatment in which 100%
 of people relapsed when taken off a drug would be considered as "effective"
 as a treatment where 0% relapsed that is where 100%  are permanently cured!
 .........The only thing of merit mentioned in the Time article was the
 Kendler study which I am aware of.  Kendler sees a genetic contribution on a
 normal dimension  such as what we call anxiety sensitivity which interacts
 with experience.  This has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with a genetic
 abnormality or any kind of "genetic determinism" which of course is another
 one of the illusions which they try to promote.)

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