Phone: (510) 428-0111



Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting both children and adults.

Anxiety disorders may develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
An estimated 40 million adult Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, which cause significant impairment in social, occupational or other areas of life functioning.
People with an anxiety disorder are three-to-five times more likely to go to a doctor with a medical complaint and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than non-sufferers.
Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering from an anxiety disorder receive treatment.

Anxiety disorders are categorized as:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is characterized by excessive, unrealistic worry that lasts six months or more. The anxiety may focus on issues such as health, money, or career. In addition to chronic worry, GAD symptoms include restlessness, trembling, muscle tension, insomnia, abdominal upset, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, irritability, and fatigue.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). In OCD, individuals are plagued by persistent, recurring thoughts or images (obsessions) that cause significant anxiety or fear. Typical obsessions include worry about being contaminated or fears of behaving improperly or acting violently. The obsessions may lead to an individual performing a ritual or routine (compulsions) such as washing hands, repeating phrases or hoarding in order to relieve the anxiety caused by the obsession.
Panic Disorder. People with panic disorder suffer severe attacks of panic for no apparent reason which may make them feel like they are having a heart attack or are going crazy. Symptoms include heart palpitations, chest pain, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, trembling, dizziness, fear of dying, fear of losing control, and feelings of unreality. Panic disorder often occurs with agoraphobia, in which people are afraid of having a panic attack in a public place from which escape would be difficult, so they avoid these places.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD often follows after an exposure to a traumatic event such as a sexual or physical assault, war, a car accident, a natural disaster, witnessing a death, or the unexpected death of a loved one. These events initially cause intense fear or horror, followed by four main symptoms associated with PTSD: "re-living" of the traumatic event (such as flashbacks and nightmares); avoidance behaviors (such as avoiding places related to the trauma) emotional numbing (detachment from others); and physiological arousal (such as insomnia, irritability, poor concentration, or becoming easily startled).
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia). Those suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder experience extreme anxiety about being judged by others or acting in a way which might cause embarrassment or ridicule in social or performance situations. This intense anxiety may lead to avoidance of social situations. Physical symptoms associated with this disorder may resemble panic disorder: heart palpitations, faintness, blushing and profuse sweating.
Specific Phobia. People with specific phobia suffer from an intense and persistent fear reaction to a specific object or situation (such as flying, heights, insects, or seeing blood). The level of fear is usually inappropriate to the situation, and is recognized by the sufferer as being irrational. The initial reaction includes panic symptoms, and this inordinate fear can lead to the avoidance of common, everyday situations.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable with psychotherapy under the care of a qualified Psychologist.

Different forms of psychotherapy used in the treatment of anxiety disorders include psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and relaxation techniques.
Drugs used to treat anxiety disorders include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), new classes of anti-depressant medications, tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines, beta blockers, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Combination therapies are often utilized (psychotherapy and medication).
In Psychodynamic therapy, one goal is to help an individual understand unconscious conflicts which may be causing their anxiety. Often, there are unresolved issues from childhood which have continued into adulthood that are at the root of their anxiety. The mode of this type of therapy is to explore thoughts, emotions, relationships, behaviors, and dreams. This process can help an individual understand and come to terms with their conflicts, which can in turn decrease their anxiety.
In Cognitive behavioral therapy, one goal is to decrease the anxiety which an individual may be experiencing in their body by using different techniques to desensitize them to feared situations. Another goal is to teach the individual how to recognize and cope with anxious thoughts and feelings to prevent them from spiraling out of control.
In Exposure therapy, the goal is to gradually expose an individual to situations that bring about their anxiety reaction in order to decrease and eventually eliminate that reaction. This is done in the psychologist's office through imagery exercises, but eventually may involve actually going to public places that are feared by the patient.
Relaxation techniques used to treat anxiety disorders include: progressive relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation and biofeedback.


Noah Oderberg, Ph.D.
5435 College Avenue, Suite #201
Oakland, California 94618
Phone: (510) 428-0111