Published 11:54 am Monday, July 25, 2005

By Staff
Storm-related anxiety normal, often healthy
By JULIE RUSSELL The Brewton Standard
Merriam-Webster describes hurricane with words like cyclone, thunder, lightning, and turmoil. No wonder the natural disaster can cause such anxiety among many people.
There are many types of anxiety: generalized anxiety, test anxiety, anxiety due from stress, even anxiety that can cause panic attacks. In the midst of hurricane season, which doesn't officially end until November 1, many people find themselves in distress over the swirling spirals with funny names, especially in the post-Ivan era.
It is true that many people experienced major inconveniences with Hurricane Ivan, and dread duplicating that situation. But there are ways to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane while remaining calm.
Dr. Robert DeFrancisco, a psychologist at Brewton Medical Center, said that anxiety is typically caused when "possibility is confused with probability."
DeFrancisco said the secret to curing anxiety is to "think with your head rather than your emotions."
He also suggests taking frequent breaks from watching and listening to the weather, as constant exposure to the media in this case can increase worry.
However, DeFrancisco is quick to remind people that anxiety is a normal part of life and can sometimes even be helpful.
There is not currently a support group for anxiety, but Ellis suggests finding a friend or loved one to talk with if you are experiencing overly nervous feelings. If that doesn't help, seek a medical professional.

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