Bobby Verdugo, LCSW

Los Angeles Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Panic Disorder

An experience of a sudden rush of intense fear or anxiety, lasting between
five to ten minutes may indicate a panic attack. These attacks can occur
unexpectedly at any time or place, such as in crowds, work or on the
freeways. Symptoms usually include:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • A feeling that something terrible is about to happen, like fainting,
    a heart attack, going crazy of losing control


Agoraphobia is a condition that often accompanies Panic Disorder. It is
characterized by intense anxiety and panic when a person finds him/herself
in certain situations such as driving, using elevators, going into stores,
traveling long distances or being alone. A pattern of avoidance often
develops in reaction to concerns about not being able to escape or get
help in an anxiety-producing situation.

Social Phobia

Social Phobia is concerned with excess fear of being negatively
evaluated by others. Social phobics feel they will be humiliated or
embarrassed and, as a consequence, they avoid situations in which their
actions may be observed. Some of the more common anxiety provoking
situations include:

  • Public speaking
  • Eating in front of others
  • Being in a group of people

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a disorder where the individual is plagued by uncontrollable
obsessions and compulsions that interfere with his/her daily functioning.
It is an anxiety disorder that can start at any age, although most commonly
it begins in childhood through to early adulthood. While it is a waxing and
waning disorder, if left untreated, it can escalate in severity over time.

Obsessions are characterized by persistent, irrational ideas or images that
keep returning again and again. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that
are intended to prevent or correct some dreaded event.

The most common obsessions are repetitive thoughts, impulses or images
that are anxiety provoking. They occur against one's will, are intrusive and
persistent and are, often, personally repugnant. These can include:

  • Fear of becoming contaminated
  • Fear that something terrible might happen if something isn't done correctly
  • Fear of causing offense
  • Fear of throwing something away that might be important
  • The urge for things to feel just right
  • Scrupulous or religious thoughts

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Often after experiencing a severe trauma such as, but not limited to, an
accident, a death of a relative, or a war experience, excessive anxiety can
develop. A person may feel like they are experiencing the same traumatic
event over and over, in dreams or in flashbacks. They may also become nervous,
withdrawn, lose interest in activities and no longer derive pleasure from
social contacts. These symptoms can continue many years after the traumatic


Depressive disorders are characterized by periods of low mood. Individuals
with clinical depression experience 2 weeks or more of a depressed mood of
loss of interest accompanied by additional depressive symptoms of depression,
such as diminished appetite, poor sleep and decreased energy. Dysthymic
disorder is characterized by at least 2 years of a depressed mood for more
days than not, accompanied by additional depressive symptoms that do not meet
criteria for a major depressive episode.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood shifts into both depression and
mania, alternating with periods of normal mood. A manic episode is
characterized as a distinct period during which there is an abnormal and
persistently elevated, expansive or irritable mood, asting at least one week
or longer, which is sufficiently severe to cause marked impairment in social
or occupational functioning or to require hospitilization. In Bipolar II
disorder, a person has major depressive episodes alternating to hypomanic
rather than manic episodes. Hypomanic episodes are characterized by a
distinct period during which mood is abnormally or persistently elevated,
lasting less than 1 week. In contrast to a manic episode, a hypomanic episode
is not severe enough to cause marked impairment in social or occupational
functioning or to require hospitalization. Cyclothymia is the third form of
bipolar disorder. It describes mood shifts into hypomania and mild depression.
Depressions are not severe enough to meet criteria for major depressive disorder.