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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2000
Psychologist Denise F. Beckfield specializes in treating panic and anxiety. She has maintained a clinical practice for more than fifteen years, as well as written and lectured extensively about panic and anxiety. The second edition of Master Your Panic And Take Back Your Life: Twelve Treatment Sessions To Overcome High Anxiety updates research used in the popular first edition. It includes new information on how family backgrounds can contribute to anxiety disorders, an update on medications, and easier-to-use forms.
Dr. Beckfield set up the book "in twelve step-by-step 'sessions' that parallel those of an in-person treatment program." Each session includes exercises that "will help you tailor the lessons to your own unique circumstances." Most chapters also include "Special Help" summaries that provide additional information for specific situations.
The first few chapters discuss exactly what panic and anxiety are, and how they develop in various individuals. Dr. Beckfield then explains why panic and anxiety attacks happen in some circumstances and not in others that may seem similar. She then describes the "triggers" and teaches readers how to stop a developing attack.
One chapter discusses the various medications available, and how each one works. Dr. Beckfield says that the decision as to whether or not to take medication is an individual one, but emphasizes that it's important to work on overcoming anxiety by other means even when taking medications. That's because most medications are effective only in the short term and can't be relied upon for long-term relief.
She includes appendices on relaxation and breathing techniques, what to do when nothing seems to be working, and record-keeping forms that can be duplicated.
Dr. Beckfield says that people who suffer from panic or anxiety have had "your freedom taken away; your freedom to go where you wish, when you wish with whom you wish; your freedom to make choices in life without always having to consider your panic." Master Your Panic And Take Back Your Life will help readers take back their lives and regain that lost freedom. It's a must for anyone whose joy in life has been curtailed by any form of panic or anxiety.
Sandra I. Smith Reviewer
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2001
After being diagnosed with Panic Disorder and informing my psychotherapist that I DID NOT want medicine to deal with it, I set out to educate myself as much as I could. There are many books out there on the subject and I looked at so many that were filled with hard-to-understand language and information about the different medications used to treat Panic Disorder. Luckily, I happened upon this book! From the moment I began reading it, I knew I could deal with the anxiety attacks on my own. It offers valuable and simple techniques for both getting rid of the anxiety when it chooses to set in and for overcoming the agoraphobia that often accompanies panic disorder. Before I had this book, I was afraid to leave my house for fear I would die somewhere out in the street or in my car. While reading this book, I was empowered with techniques to live more confidently and not be so afraid of the uncomfortable feelings of anxiety. I am happy to say that I rarely, if ever, get panic attacks anymore and I credit this book 100% with helping me to overcome them.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2004
If you're in the middle of a panic attack, you don't want to have to wade through a lot of psych theory to explore the underlying causes of your fears and vulnerabilities. You want fast relief. The beauty of this book is, you can use it like a first aid manual to get a grip immediately. Later, when you're calmer, you can go back and work through its very practical exercises to help you better understand the nature of your attacks and what you can do next time to halt them.
Forget standard psychobabble; Beckfield uses her in-depth understanding of important emotional themes underlying panic to help you figure out your own, unique sensitivities. You're encouraged to look at aspects like genetics, personality traits, and early experiences that may have lowered your anxiety threshold, as well as touchy issues like loss and anger that feed into panic attacks. Eye-opening quizzes and exercises are a big help here -- you'll learn a lot about your feelings and thought patterns that cause physical reactions like shaking, palpitations, dizziness, chills, nausea, chest pain, and that horrible sensation of losing control or "going crazy." Using simple techniques like the controlled breathing exercise to help you chill out quickly during anxious times, you'll realize the scary sensations not only do pass; in time, you can make them disappear completely.
Beckfield advocates keeping a journal to note panic episodes, record your feelings at the time, and also chart positive actions and successes. It really personalizes this conscious, ongoing process of creating your own "comfort zone." The book also includes an up-to-date discussion of the latest medications used to control panic attacks, as well as a section on mindful meditation. Even if you don't suffer from full-blown panic attacks, but have near-panic episodes, anxiety in specific situations, or chronic low-level anxiety, you'll find useful ways of taking charge and staying calm.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2000
The techniques in the book help me overcome panic attacks that had become overwhelming and kept me from doing many of the things I most enjoyed. If you have panic attacks and want to learn how to deal with them and overcome them, please read this book. I know it can work for you too.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2003
I've read darn near every book there is on panic and anxiety. This is by far the best book I've read on the subject. The author discusses the possible reasons behind having panic attacks, and I'm a poster child for most of them! To some, knowing the "whys" isn't as important as knowing how to stop them, but to some people like me, knowing why validates it and makes me realize that there are outside forces involved. Definitely worth checking out and following.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2000
I have never reviewed nor written to anyone about a book but this one spoke in such down to earth terms and put perspective on the perceived notion a lot of us get that, "we're going crazy". The simple step by step assignments were very helpful and gave me basic tools to address anxiety and panic. You feel like the author is talking directly to you. I recommend this book for anyone with generalized anxiety or those having full blown attacks.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2005
Master Your Panic and Take Back Your Life, Third Edition, by Denise F. Beckfield,PhD. , written in lay language instead of "medicalese" is a step-by-step, straight forward how to help yourself if you suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, or agoraphobia. Explaining what constitutes a panic attack, the doctor shows what causes the frightening attacks to happen and how to trace and ammend their root causes. She details the warning signals to become alert to in order to sense an attack coming on before it really kicks in. Then Dr. Beckfield gives excellent yet simple methods of what to do to prevent the panic attack from occurring. The book helps the sufferer to analyse attack triggers and how to challenge catastrophic beliefs, how to practice situations that cause panic while learning the steps to prevent the attack. Her methods include his SRB formula which, when practiced can become automatic and restore the calm state of life which the panick attack sufferer has lost, giving back one's ease and control. The book has some excellent methods and is helpful also for family and friends to read in order to understand what the panic attack victim is experiencing and to help him or her conquer these overwhelming experiences. A very helpful book and an easy and interesting read.The First Aid for Panic is alone worth the price, from Impact Publishers in California.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2005
This book was very helpful to me. Just reading it seems to cause one's anxious thoughts to subside, as the book describes the causes and physical aspects of a panic attack and helps the reader to identify the process and isolate it as an objective physical and mental phenomenon which can be dealt with rationally using simple techniques described in the book. There are also questions to guide the reader to identify aspects of their personal and family history that may be contributing to the anxiety and panic attacks, and it includes information about standard treatments and medications for anxiety.

The phenomenon of anxiety is rooted in a panicky feeling of being overwhelmed in a crisis. The mere act of objectively studying the anxiety and panic helps to defuse it. Also it is a great help to see that anxiety symptoms are common to other people who have successfully learned to live with and/or overcome them.

Additionally this book is good because it allows you to practice "bibliotherapy" in the privacy of your own home, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of going through the formal mental health system to get some help, and helps you to realize whether your problem is severe enough to need professional assistance, or if you can manage it yourself.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2008
After having my first panic attack years ago, I decided to educate myself and I purchased this book. This book helped me realize why I was having these attacks and allowed me to get on the path of getting my life back. It was a critical piece of the puzzle to this healing process and I am so glad that this was the book that I chose.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2007
I was quite dissapointed after reading most of this book. It refers to Agoraphobia simply as an avoidance! It gives the general common sence answers for anexiety ; both social and common. I have had Agoraphobia (housebound) for almost 13 years...this time. But have been plagued by it most of my life. It seems by her saying Agoraphobia is merely an avoidance, it is trivalizing the seriousness of it! Wish I had not bought this waste of time! J. Dalton, Swansea, MA.
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