Thursday, December 9, 2010

Learning About Your Health: Anxiety

More and more people are looking to the internet and other resources to educate themselves about their health and treatment options. Your physician should always be your primary source of information but the library can be a great supplementary tool in becoming educated on your health.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 18% of Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. I will show you some resources on the internet and in the library to help you educate yourself about these illnesses. In much the same way you should be able to look up many different diseases, illnesses, and other health related material using the library.

Consumer Health Complete is a subscription database accessible through the library website with your library card. This database contains evidence-based reports reference books, fact sheets, pamphlets, news, drug and herb information, alternative sources, images, diagrams, and videos. If I perform a search in this database with the keyword “anxiety” I get a list of nine relevant articles that talk about different types of anxiety. One of those articles provides general information, treatment options, and supplementary information. For example I learned that some lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, exercising regularly, and reducing caffeinated beverages can help reduce anxiety. I also learned some of the many symptoms include diarrhea, difficulty sleeping, muscle tension, and nail biting. If I was going to talk to my doctor about the issue of anxiety I felt a little more comfortable because the article listed different treatment options, possible medications, and other organizations that could provide me with information. I also learned I could check out websites like Anxiety Disorders Association of America and Mental Health America.

MedlinePlus and PubMed are another two databases that are available for free through the National U.S. Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus is the easier of the two to use and provides a a thorough overview of what information is available. I was impressed that they provided resources for different ages and genders. Often your age and gender can greatly influence different types of treatment. It also includes a lot of information at a glance including directories, current clinical trials, statistics, organizations, and other research.

PubMed is a lot more complex to use then the other two databases. PubMed is is meant to support medical professionals . When you perform a search the results will be greater (in the thousands) that is because there are more citations for information and less full text articles. Be careful the articles will be full of technical jargon and may be difficult to follow. If you are looking for general information I highly suggest sticking with Consumer Health Complete as your first resource. Once you are ready to delve into something a little more complex like PubMed they do offer tutorials.

If you are looking for a lighter read then medical articles the library has a plethora of great books and magazines available for you to check out. If you go to the library catalog and do a search for the subject “anxiety” there are many different types of resources you can put on reserve. Some are available immediately like e-books and downloadable audio books. Other items you can put on reserve like books, DVDs, and magazines. Near the end of the blog post there is a list of items I found in our catalog.
*TIP* Remember if you would like to make your search results in the catalog more accurate, limit it by the type of resource you are looking for.

Beyond what resources the library directly provides there are also some websites that are more authoritative and trust worthy then others. Here are a few that I suggest for when you are looking up information on your health.

WebMD is a website that is most famous for helping people self diagnosis illnesses by identifying their symptoms. They also have a great interactive website where you can create your own account, read a current and accurate information, and find things written in plain English. They have an entire area of their website devoted to anxiety disorders where you can find all of the information linked to anxiety on one page. Some extras that you can find on WebMD versus other sites are a “community” or an area to talk about anxiety disorders, a physician directory to find specialists in your area, and recent news stories on anxiety. WebMD offers most of its services for free.

Family Service of Waukesha is a local nonprofit organization that received funding through the United Way to provide services including mental health. Though the website may not provide you with information you are looking for, it gives you the contact information for a local organization that may be able to guide you to resources.

I hope the resources we have provided for you will help your search for information about anxiety disorders. Other health information can also be looked up using the three databases mentioned, and you can use our catalog to look up materials looked at the library. If you have any questions please contact the Mukwonago Community Library reference staff at (262) 363-6456.


-The anxiety cure [electronic resource] : an eight-step program for getting well ( 2003) completely revised and updated 2nd ed. DuPont, Robert L., 1936-

-Anxiety disorders [electronic resource] : a medical dictionary, bibliography and annotated research guide to Internet references (2003)

-School phobia, panic attacks, and anxiety in children [electronic resource] (2003)
Csóti, Márianna.


-Don't panic [electronic resource] : taking control of anxiety attacks (2009)
Wilson, Robert R.


-My anxious mind : a teen's guide to managing anxiety and panic (2009)
Tompkins, Michael A.
-Overcoming anxiety for dummies 2nd ed. (2010)
Elliott, Charles H., 1948-
-Rae : [my true story of fear, anxiety, and social phobia] (2010)
Swiggett, Chelsea Rae.
-The mindful path through worry and rumination : letting go of anxious and depressive thoughts Kumar, Sameet M. (2009)
-Worried sick : defeat your fears and live a happier life (2004)
Burns, David D.
-Yoga for anxiety : meditations and practices for calming the body and mind (2010)
NurrieStearns, Mary.


-High school survival kit [nonfiction videorecording] / CWK Network (2008)


-Psychology today [magazine] : 2006 thru the current year

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