While an old adage advises that we “expect the best and plan for the worst,” some people foresee an unfavorable outcome to an event and decide that, if it occurs, the result will be disastrous. For instance, a surgery patient may decide that if she does not quickly recover from the procedure, it will leave her disabled. This kind of thinking, known as “catastrophizing,” is different from anxiety in that it can be far more harmful than helpful to a person’s well-being. While anxiety may help a person protect them self, catastrophizing does not usually produce any such benefits. To help clear up the ambiguity, fear, and misevaluation that lead a person to catastrophize, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful.
Research shows that therapy is usually the most effective option for treating anxiety disorders. Unlike anxiety medications, anxiety therapy treats more than just the symptoms of the problem. Therapy can help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears; learn how to relax; look at situations in new, less frightening ways; and develop better coping and problem-solving skills. Please contact Plains Area Mental Health if you would like to make an appointment with one of our compassionate counselors. Whether you face life’s daily stress or a chronic mental illness, we are here for you. Call one of our offices for an appointment or take our free on-line assessment.

P.S. People with prolonged feelings of hopelessness (a symptom of depression) may tend to catastrophize and imagine the worst will happen.