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    5:30 pm, 1st Monday of every month, and 7:30 am every 3rd Monday at: First United Methodist Church in Albuquerque Call 797-6003 for details

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New Mexico Lawyers and Judges Assistance Program


You don’t have to manage alone.  Help and Support are only a phone call away.
Confidential Assistance-- 24 Hours Every Day
Judges: Call 888-502-1289
Lawyers & law students: Call 505-228-1948 or 800-860-4914

Anxiety and Other Panic Disorders



Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, exaggerated anxiety and unrealistic worry about everyday life events. This worry occurs on more days than not for a period of at least six months. People with GAD feel that worrying is beyond their control, that they are powerless to stop it. They worry about health, money, family, work, or school and tend to expect the worst outcome in most situations. For people with GAD life becomes a constant state of worry, fear, and dread that eventually interferes with their ability to function on a daily basis.

Symptoms of GAD


While GAD affects the way a person thinks and feels, the anxiety they experience can produce physical symptoms which may include :

  • trembling, twitching, or feeling shaky
  • muscle tension, aches, or soreness
  • shortness of breath or smothering sensations
  • sweating or cold clammy hands
  • nausea, diarrhea, or other abdominal distress
  • dry mouth
  • palpitations or accelerated heart rate
  • feeling keyed up or on edge
  • difficulty concentrating or “mind going blank” because of anxiety
  • trouble falling or staying asleep

Panic Attacks


A panic attack is a sudden feeling of terror that strikes without warning or rational reason. An episode can occur at any time, even while a person is sleeping, and it may feel to the person as though they are having a heart attack, or that death is imminent. Panic attacks are generally brief, lasting ten minutes or less, although some symptoms may persist for a longer period. The fear and terror a person experiences in a panic attack is out of proportion to the actual event and may even be unrelated to what is actually happening around the person. A person who suffers from panic attacks will experience at least four of the following symptoms during at least one attack :

  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness or faintness
  • palpitations or accelerated heart rate
  • trembling or shaking
  • sweating, flushes, or chills
  • choking
  • nausea or abdominal distress
  • numbness or tingling sensations
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • fear of dying
  • fear of going crazy or of doing something uncontrolled

Treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attacks


GAD and/or panic attacks can be treated with medications or therapy. The most commonly used medications, antidepressants and benzodiazepines, tend to work a little more quickly than therapy, but are less effective in the long-run. Both types of medications are associated with an array of side effects and benzodiazepines in particular, have the same addictive potential as that of Valium.

Research suggests that a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach may be the most effective treatment for GAD and panic attacks. CBT, which generally lasts 10-12 weeks, is based on a 4-step process:
1. learning what causes panic attacks
2. learning to breath differently so as to reduce anxiety and panic
3. learning how to handle panic thoughts
4. testing your new abilities in low-anxiety situations, then higher-anxiety situations

If you or someone you care about exhibits symptoms of GAD or panic disorder, contact the NMJLAP. We can help you assess the situation, explore treatment options, and provide professional referrals.