Life Free of Anxiety, with Erica & Dr. Charles Barr of CHAANGE

Anxiety Fully Explained, an Excerpt from the CHAANGE Anxiety Treatment Program

September 16, 2020 Erica Episode 40
Life Free of Anxiety, with Erica & Dr. Charles Barr of CHAANGE
Anxiety Fully Explained, an Excerpt from the CHAANGE Anxiety Treatment Program
Show Notes Transcript

Having trouble getting even the most renowned therapists and medical doctors to properly diagnose your anxiety? I was there too... Until I heard what I'm about to play for you.

What you are about to hear is hands down one of the best (if not the best) breakdowns of the anxiety condition out there, and is part of the first audio session from the CHAANGE Anxiety Treatment Program.

In this episode, we hear from psychologist Dr. Lou Owensby of the CHAANGE Anxiety Treatment Program, who will break down what exactly causes anxiety, what kinds of personality types develop this condition, why you haven't gone crazy from a physiological perspective, and a lot more. 

If there was ever an episode of our show to listen to... this is it!

Seriously! Don't miss this one. 

Oh, and be sure to share this episode with anyone you know who is suffering from anxiety. It truly is life changing information.

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To find out more about the new membership options for the CHAANGE Anxiety Treatment Program, head to!

Enjoying the Life Free of Anxiety Podcast? Can you take 10 seconds to leave a rating (or better yet, a short review!) on Apple Podcasts? It REALLY helps new people find the show.

Simply click this link and scroll down and hit 5 stars--it's really that easy!

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Have a question? Want to share how your anxiety journey is going? Need some encouragement or support? Come say hello at:

And don't forget, you can find all episodes at


The most specific explanation of anxiety, why you got it and what it has to do with everything in today's episode. Welcome to the Life Free of Anxiety podcast, where each week we'll bring you another discussion to help you on your way to overcoming your fears. I'm Erica and together with Dr. Charles Barr, a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in anxiety, we'll be your guides on this journey. To find a list of helpful free resources we offer head to Because you are not broken, you are not alone. And you are on your way to living a Life FREE of Anxiety. Great to be back with you. It's Erica. I have a very exciting email to share with you this week from somebody who is in our current CHAANGE group, which is our 16 week anxiety treatment program. I have permission to share this email and I really am excited for it because it connects to what you're about to hear today, which is disc one of the CHAANGE Program. Where Lou Owensby, who is the doctor on CHAANGE. She's a therapist and she breaks down exactly like the most descriptive thing you'll ever hear about anxiety, why you got it, the symptoms, what it has to do with childhood. I mean, you're going to hear so much good stuff. But we got an email this week from one of our friends who said I could share the email. Not giving her name, but this is the email I'm going to read it to you. Between the potential evacuation and the, the virus. It has been a Rocky start. A side note: she had the Coronavirus and she also had some fires threatening her house. So there was a potential evacuation, during this, so it's been really stressful. So let me start over. Between the potential evacuation and the virus, it has been a rocky start. I had an eye exam, which is very important as my eyes are my Achilles heel. Several changes were made because of CHAANGE. I changed eye doctors. This would have been unthinkable before CHAANGE. I drove to my eye doctor by myself without a support person or dog. I went through waiting outside in a long line to get inside of the clinic and did an hour long exam. I'm going to have to have surgery on my eyes, but negotiated waiting until I'm done with change. There will be frequent monitoring to make sure that's okay for my eyes. Then I got a really emotional email from a group people on the first year anniversary of a friend's death. This email was from people, I didn't know, but my late friend did. I felt this stressful rush of adrenaline. So I responded to the email and asked that my name be removed. This was an unnecessary stress. This would never have happened before CHAANGE. As I would have felt I should be filled with sympathy for these strangers. I might be a little behind, but I'm very pleased with what is happening. So this is from somebody in our current CHAANGE group, which is a 16 week anxiety treatment program that we are gearing up to do again here in a couple of weeks. CHAANGE is still changing lives in 2020, which we're super excited about. So if you want, you have incredible results like I did, and Dr. Barr did, we both, you know, used this program. If you want to even find out more about the program, you just can head to That's"CHAANGE" with two A's. dot com. Add your name to the waitlist. And we are limiting the number of people still, so that's the best way to make sure you find out when we open up the doors for the CHAANGE Program again, but, that is coming very soon within the next two weeks. So, definitely at least put your name down for more information. That's"CHAANGE" with two A's dot com. Let's get to this podcast episode. It is one of the most important things I think you will ever hear. I strongly suggest you share this with somebody and even if you never listened to us again, I'm so glad you're going to hear this because that's how good I think it is. Let's get to it.

Dr. Lou Owensby:

Hello, this is Dr. Lou Owensby of CHAANGE, the Center for Help for Agoraphobia and Anxiety through New Growth Experiences. I would like at this time to share with you our views of this condition called agoraphobia or severe and incapacitating anxiety. It is our very strong view that this condition is a complex of symptoms brought on by a perfection seeking person's rampant fear of becoming out of control, ignited by an overload of stress. We do not view it as a mental illness. We see it as a complex of symptoms or a physiological condition, which has been brought on and is continuing because of fear. The symptoms often include shaking, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, chills, weakness, a pounding heart, heavy sweating, shallow breathing, tightness of the chest and stomach muscles, trouble swallowing, imbalance, a spinning mind, speeded up thoughts, lightheadedness confusion, weird or uncontrollable thoughts or feeling of impending doom, compulsive behaviors, and so forth. It is our belief that this complex of symptoms developed is a bio psychophysiological response to stress in a person with a very particular type of personality. Biologically, that person is usually very intelligent and is typically overly sensitive to stimuli of all kinds. Psychologically, that person has usually been reared critically; has more than his or her share of anxiety about separation; is perfectionistic; is extremely sensitive to criticism; and has an overriding fear of rejection. Physiologically that person's body is reacting to being in a constant and chronic state of fear--the fear that it, those terrible panicky feelings, might happen again. Although classically agoraphobia is described as a fear of open spaces. Many people do not have that particular fear. Most people with agoraphobia have multiple fears such as going shopping, driving, worrying, excessively traveling, going to grocery stores into shopping centers. So the fear is not typically of open spaces. It is more a fear of becoming out of control in any of these situations or of being so uncomfortable with anxious feelings that it makes what they're doing nearly unbearable. Now that I have explained to you what our view is of agoraphobia. We would like to talk with you a minute about how we feel it developed. The person who develops this complex of symptoms has typically been someone who has not had experience or developed skills in understanding or relating to his or her body as a machine. It is instead to them, a mystery. Typically this person was reared in a situation where there were many rules, either imposed on them or developed by themselves and where bodies and feelings, and the interconnections of those were not discussed. Often we find there was alcoholism and the resulting chaos, or a large effort to keep it secret and to keep things calm. As well as anxiety about separation and some parental reversal where the child in some way took on some parental responsibility and also the view that they are perfect people. Another thing we see is that the person who develops agoraphobia is usually very analytical and intellectual in the way they view things approval for this person was usually performance related. There were often many rules and rearing was often very critical. We find also that there was often a big secret in the family that everyone used a lot of energy keeping covered sometimes too. There has been a feeling of, we must be better than others. We also find that the young child has often heard messages about crazy, which were less than positive ones. It is our view that because of this background and the fact that the person was born intelligent and extremely sensitive to all kinds of stimuli, that person develops into one who tends to deny his body responses, has many"should" rules for himself, is very competent and dependable, has extremely high expectations of self, places a high value on calmness, has a need to always be in control of himself. He's very sensitive to criticism, has a real tendency to see things as total fair or unfair, black or white, either or, right or wrong and has more than his or her share of the fear of rejection that all people have to a certain extent, and is overly concerned that others will not approve of him. He or she is perfectionisti, tends to grade himself either a 100% or zero, seldom allows himself to be average. As one can easily see, this is the kind of person who gets the job done and is valuable to us and to our society. It is our belief that when this person, as described, was in a situation where there was an overload of stress and was unable to respond to the body's message that it needed a rest, the problem began. That stress, by the way, could have been anything and actually could have been good stress as well as bad stress. It may have been over a period of weeks or months or of recent origin. Usually the kind of stresses seen are: new jobs, moving, lots of company, problems with children, illness or surgery, pregnancy or birth, parental demands, relationship problems, and so forth. Because this is the kind of person who has never learned to listen to his body and because there is a real need to be in control and to handle things, the person does not take it easy and get rid of extraneous stresses. It is at this point in our view that the first incapacitating episode occurs, often in the form of a panic attack with pounding heart, dizziness, sweating, and so forth. Usually the person decides, after going to their family doctor and being reassured, that it was just nerves or a fluke and begins to relax about it. Being the kind of person he is, however, he still has not given his body the rest it is demanding. Therefore, soon another attack occurs. It is usually the second episode that begins the spiral of anticipatory fear. Body reaction to that fear, more stress to the body, more anticipatory fear, more body reaction to that fear, more stress to the body. It is at this point that the person can be said to be suffering with the agoraphobic condition. When the body does respond to fear, it has no way of knowing whether the fear is from someone holding a gun to one's head, an attacking tiger, or whether it is internal fear. The body reacts in exactly the same way by preparing the person to protect himself and or to get away. The fear message from the brain causes adrenaline to be released in the body. This in turn causes the heart to beat faster for the purpose of mobilizing the body to respond to the danger it perceives. The heart pumps faster in order to carry the blood to the brain, to the internal organs and to the arms and legs, to prepare the body for either fight or flight. This can cause dizziness, a feeling of fullness in the head, nausea, shaking weakness, coldness in the feet and hands sweating and chills and a tightness in the muscles. At the same time, all of this activity of the body, in reaction to the fear it perceives, causes the body to need more oxygen. This in turn causes one to breathe faster and in a more shallow manner, this then often leads to over-breathing, which then causes a decrease in carbon dioxide in the blood. This makes one weak and gives a sensation of numbness and tingling of the toes, fingers and mouth. It can also cause one to tremble to be dizzy, to lose balance, to become lightheaded and confused, thus frightening the person even more, which causes more adrenaline to be released into the bloodstream. In addition during this time that the body, because of the message from the brain, is preparing itself to protect the person from the danger. It perceives the person has a heightened awareness of surroundings and even more sensitivity than usual to sight and sound. It is no wonder that people suffering with this kind of physiological reaction are often afraid of dying of having a heart attack or stroke or of going crazy. What is the person like who develops agoraphobic or severe anxiety? That person is neat, competent, dependable, eager to please, intelligent, sensitive to other's needs and feelings, eager to do for others, and able and willing to get the job done. In fact, just the kind of person you would want to work for you in any kind of job. The person with this condition, however, is usually very incapacitated because that person is also very frightened, sometimes incapacitated to the point that he or she cannot leave the home, often is unable to shop, buy groceries, go to any social events, take their child anywhere. You can see, knowing the kind of person this is, how terribly devastating that is to a perfection seeking person who has a real need to be in control and to feel that he or she can handle it. In addition, worrying about what is happening and anticipating when it will happen again, is taking up practically all of their energy so that they are exhausted all of the time. Often the person is depressed also, as a result of the feeling of loss of the person he used to be, as well as the fact that he or she is so physically exhausted. This is because of the constant state of anticipatory fear that has developed by this point. Another complication is the fact that by now those close to the suffering person are just as frustrated and exhausted from the condition. Often they've begun to lose patience and are annoyed that the suffering person won't just stop worrying about it and get on with his or her life. By the time the person seeks our help, he has usually been to many other people for treatment from specialists of all kinds to psychologists, to psychiatrists, and is convinced that he either has a very exotic and unusual disease that no one has been able to find, or that he is indeed going crazy or dying. And it's understandable that the person would feel this way. When so many authorities have been unable to help. It is for this reason that it is imperative to understand that this is a condition that is often missed, misunderstood, misdiagnosed, and mistreated, and to understand and accept that it is not a mental illness, but rather a complex of symptoms brought on by a very particular set of circumstances in a very particular person. What we will be doing throughout this program is teaching you more about that condition. But mainly, in order to help you get over this, we will be helping you learn how to stop frightening yourself so that you can get on with your life. Our purpose in this process is to give you what you need to get on with your life. Remember, we will be doing this over a period of 15 weeks. It is a process and we will be showing you how step by step.


Tell me that wasn't good. That was good, right? I first heard this after I bought the CHAANGE Program. If I had heard this before I bought the CHAANGE Program, I mean, I would have bought the CHAANGE Program like in two seconds. I think it's so good. And that this is just the first disk of the CHAANGE Program. So the rest of the program is very different, but just to get this description in the first week and to understand that they understood me was huge. So if this made an impact on you, please share this with somebody. And leave a review on Apple Podcasts, because that helps other people find the show. And I hope you enjoyed this brief peek into the CHAANGE Program. There's a ton more to the program than this, but I love this first disc. it helped me so much feel less alone and more understood. And like I was on the right path to recovery, which I was. So if you want to find out more about the CHAANGE Program, that's Give us your email. We will send you when it's time for signup times. And I will talk to you next week. Thanks so much for tuning in today. I hope that something in today's conversation provided you with a feeling of hope, determination, or purpose. I know what you're going through, and that's why I want to give you some of the tools that helped me in my anxiety journey to get a free copy of Free From Fears head to To find out more about the CHAANGE Anxiety Treatment Program, find us at Thanks again for listening. And remember you are not broken. You are not alone, and you are on your way to living a Life Free of Anxiety. See you next week.