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Guided Imagery Replaces Xanax for Panicky Hopkins Patient

30 Jan

We got this delightful message from Annie Umbricht MD, a general internist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  What she says about how difficult it is to introduce healthy behavior change to patients is something we can all relate to.  

And the way she responded to her patient who had his heart set on a Xanax refill for his panic attacks, was nothing short of brilliant, if you ask us.

She writes:

Although not all my patients follow through and listen to the guided imagery CDs, those who do are really doing well. 

I tried the Panic Attack CD on a patient who wanted a "refill" on his Xanax that had been started by another provider.  I told him he didn't need it and that it was likely making matters worse.... 

As I was not making progress, I gave him both the CD and the prescription, warning him that the prescription was a one time deal...

Sure enough, a few weeks later the unfilled prescription was returned to me.  When I saw the patient 3-4 months later, he was enchanted, did not suffer any panic any more and was also using the skills he’d learned to deal with pain and ... itches...

We don't win with every patient, and more often than not, we feel powerless when trying to help folks find healthier behaviors.  But a few here and there makes it all worth it ;-)

Thank you very much


[Ed. Note:  We found a great story about Annie Umbricht, M.D. Assistant Professor, Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, here.]

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award