Psychological Services Center to Participate in National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day

Release Date: April 18, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Some of your friends, family and neighbors worry constantly and find little peace and joy in life. Some experience great fear in social situations even to the extent that they seldom leave the house. Others experience much anguish in terror of their next panic attack.

You may know people who seem perpetually to feel tired and sad or "blue." They may be unable to sleep, feel little pleasure, have difficulty concentrating or experience heart palpitations, weeping or frequent headaches apparently unrelated to a physical cause. Sometimes they may think they are literally going crazy.

They are not alone.

"More than 38 million Americans a year suffer from an anxiety and/or depressive disorder," according to Beth Cohen, Ph.D., director of the University at Buffalo Psychological Services Center and UB clinical assistant professor of psychology.

And despite the excellent help available today, she adds, people with these disorders often continue to suffer alone with anxious and depressed feelings.

"The reason some people don't get help is that sometimes symptoms of anxiety and depression are mistaken for another medical illness. So the underlying problem is not diagnosed," she says, "or people are ashamed, afraid or don't know enough about anxiety and depressive disorders to put a name to the feelings and symptoms they have. National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day is an opportunity for them to finally get some answers and some help."

As part of National Anxiety Disorders Screening Day of May 2, free screening and information sessions about the symptoms and treatments for these illnesses will be offered from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the center in 168 Park Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus.

A brief video featuring individuals sharing their personal struggles and triumphs with anxiety and depression will be shown every hour on the hour and other information about anxiety disorders and other psychological problems will be available. Attendees will have the opportunity to complete a screening questionnaire and meet individually with a center staff member to review the questionnaire and receive a referral if necessary.

Cohen adds that anxiety disorders and depression "don't discriminate on the basis of age, intelligence, class, race or income. They affect people of all backgrounds."

In fact, she says hundreds of brilliant and accomplished historical figures have been affected. She notes that Robert Frost, Albert Einstein and Eleanor Roosevelt suffered episodes of acute social anxiety. Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, she adds, struggled their entire lives with episodes of profound depression. And Charles Darwin suffered such agonizing social anxiety and agoraphobia that he removed himself from social life and concentrated on his scientific work.

"Many highly successful businessmen, war heroes, government leaders and even Hollywood stars have been incapacitated by anxiety and depression," Cohen says.

"Some of these public figures have acknowledged the enormous suffering that these disorders have produced in their lives. They have also experienced the tremendous benefits of receiving effective treatment," she adds, "and have elected to publicly acknowledge their experiences in the hope that it will encourage others to seek help."

Among them, she says, are Naomi Judd, Carly Simon, Donny Osmond, William Styron, Mike Wallace, Art Buchwald, Dwight Gooden, Tom Wolfe, James Taylor, Harrison Ford, Dick Cavett, Kim Bassinger, Betty Ford, Kurt Vonnegut, Ted Turner, John Kenneth Galbraith, Joan Rivers, James Garner, Anthony Hopkins, Queen Elizabeth and Kitty Dukakis.

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