Thursday, 19 February 2015 19:27

Anxiety in Teens and Adults

By Karon Warren

In today's busy world, everyone deals with stress. Family, work, friends, life – these all contribute to the organized chaos we face on a daily basis. And when it comes to coping with those stressors, we all experience some level of anxiety. Maybe we lose some sleep, our minds race with worry, or we don't finish dinner because our stomachs are in knots.

But for some people – approximately 40 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Mental Health – anxiety is more than just temporary, reasonable worry. Sometimes worry spirals into trembling hands, a racing heart, nausea, trouble catching a breath and more. If that sounds like you or someone you know, an anxiety disorder may be the culprit.

More Than Worry
When dealing with possible anxiety disorders, it's crucial to know exactly how anxiety is defined. "Anxiety can be described as a feeling of dread, impending doom or excessive worry," says Shannon O'Brien, MS, LAPC, NCC, of The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute in Marietta. "Anxiety, at its core, is a natural and normal bodily response to a potential threat." A potential threat could be something as simple as public speaking or a fear of spiders, but for someone with an anxiety disorder, the natural response to those situations escalates to uncontrollable heights. Sometimes an anxiety response can be provoked by something not typically threatening at all, such as a trip to the grocery store or sitting in a classroom.

quote-1Symptoms of anxiety include physical responses like trembling hands, sweating, tense muscles, shortness of breath and increased heart rate, among others. Mental responses could include feeling nervous, fear, dread and panic. People without anxiety disorders can often reason their way through these feelings, and the symptoms resolve within a short period of time. For those suffering from anxiety disorders, however, these and other symptoms can become crippling.

"When [anxiety] starts to dominate your life, that's when it becomes an anxiety disorder," says Dr. Nadine Kaslow, chief psychologist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. Essentially, anxiety becomes a disorder when a person has difficulty concentrating, starts to isolate himself, avoids certain situations and can't sleep, among other interfering behaviors.

"In order to warrant a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, symptoms of anxiety must be present for at least six months," O'Brien says. Diagnosis may come in several classifications: generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder and illness anxiety disorder, among others, O'Brien adds. The root cause of these disorders is not always clear. According to Dr. Angelo Sambunaris of The Institute for Advanced Medical Research, "Scientists currently think that, like heart disease or Type 1 diabetes, mental illnesses probably result from a combination of genetic, environmental, psychological and developmental factors." That means a solution may not be one simple fix.


A Therapeutic Approach
When struggling with anxiety, it's important first to see your primary care physician to determine if the anxiety is a result of a physical condition such as heart disease, diabetes or even a thyroid problem. Once those possible causes are ruled out, the next common step is therapy, which involves talking with a trained professional to resolve specific problems that trigger anxiety. Dr. Thomas Burns, board-certified clinical psychologist with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, explains that therapy helps you examine fears or cognitive distortions that may be triggering your anxiety. Together with the therapist, you work to resolve or eliminate those thoughts.

Hypnosis is another treatment that can help alleviate anxiety. "The reason it works well is because [anxiety issues] are brought on by the subconscious mind," says Valerie Cobbin, master hypnotherapist with Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy in Atlanta. "I reprogram the subconscious to deal with those issues to eliminate the anxiety."

Cope with Combinations
Medications also can be effective in treating anxiety, particularly when symptoms such as nausea or panic are so bad that you cannot get to the root of the problem. Dr. Dave Davis, medical director of Piedmont Psychiatric Clinic in Atlanta, says, "If [anxiety symptoms] get really bad, I give medicine to decrease symptoms while working on coping skills." He adds, "You should never just treat with medicine," instead advising a combination of any necessary medication with other available therapies.

Also, O'Brien recommends examining your lifestyle to see if changes are warranted, such as cutting out caffeine and exercising regularly. While diet and exercise improvements alone will not fully address an anxiety disorder, they can give an even better chance for overall success when combined with medication and therapy.


Strong Support
Along with effective treatments, people struggling with anxiety need a strong support system. If you're parenting one of the eight percent of American teens struggling with anxiety, learn how to approach their condition constructively. "Don't be negative or see anxiety as a weakness," Burns says, because it truly isn't. Kaslow clarifies, "It's a neurochemical issue." Unfortunately, only 18 percent of anxious teens receive mental health care, but that seems to be changing. Dr. Sambunaris says, "As science has advanced and we better understand these diseases and treatments, parents are getting help for their children more quickly."

This compassionate approach will make you a great support for anyone in your life struggling with anxiety, and if you yourself are looking for that support, don't stop until you find it. Whether it's from a therapist, a family member, a friend or a partner, you deserve a support system that can sympathize with your situation and stand alongside you as you work through it.

Don't hesitate to get help if anxiety is interfering with your day-to-day life. "A person might seek help at any stage of experiencing anxiety," O'Brien encourages, and these days, more and more people are doing just that. "Mental illness is slowly shedding its stigma, which means more people are getting the treatment they need," O'Brien says. And with a diagnosis and treatment plan in place, you are well on your way to successfully overcoming anxiety.


Editorial Resources

Thomas Burns, PsyD, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta –

Valerie Cobbin, Brighter Tomorrow Hypnotherapy –

Dave Davis, MD, Piedmont Psychiatric Clinic –

Nadine Kaslow, PhD, Grady Memorial Hospital –

National Institute of Mental Health –

Shannon O'Brien, MS, LAPC, NCC, The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute –

Angelo Sambunaris, MD, Institute for Advanced Medical Research –


Thursday, 19 February 2015 19:07

Molly’s Mojo

By Nicole Letts

Intimidation is not a word or a concept that entrepreneur Molly Mathis finds daunting. On the contrary, intimidation is what keeps Mathis in business. Mathis is the mastermind behind Mojo Active Adventures, a boutique adventure travel company that helps women change their feelings of intimidation about fitness, travel, friendship – you name it – to feelings of empowerment. Mojo Active Adventures achieves that empowerment through outdoor excursions and fitness-focused trips for the female adventure seeker. "We take the intimidation factor out of the equation by offering a safe, supportive and fun environment in which to sample new outdoor activities," Mathis says.

Through her business model, explorers embark on personalized trips organized by Mathis herself. "I personally plan each trip to ensure it meets our extremely high standards. By working closely with experts in each destination, we leverage local knowledge to ensure our guests have special access to the best activities." With Mathis' attention to detail, extensive knowledge in the field and her own empowered attitude, each trip is better than the last. Mojo Adventure participants have gone rappelling, white-water rafting, zip lining and more across the globe.

Before you say, "I could never do something like that," consider that Mathis was once in your very shoes. She spent years working a regular 9-to-5 as an advertising executive. When she stepped away from the advertising world to have her two kids, Mathis experienced the common desire to lose the weight that hangs around after pregnancy. That was when something clicked. Instead of being intimidated at the thought of hitting the gym, Mathis dove in headfirst. She explains, "I started working out with a trainer, began incorporating more strength work and variety into my fitness routine and connected with an awesome group of ladies. It eventually inspired me to get my training certification." Her kids are now ages 12 and 15, and Mathis, 43, is an ISSA certified trainer. She has specialties in boot camp instruction, speed and agility coaching and youth conditioning. She also teaches indoor cycling at Flywheel Sports. Now she guides other women to finding their own fitness activities that excite and inspire them. According to Mathis, Mojo Active Adventures seeks "active adult women who have a basic level of fitness and have a desire to get off the treadmill and try new things." So there's no prior experience needed to try an adventurous trip like this – all you need is the guts to do it.

MOLLY-GROUPWhen organizing her trips, Mathis focuses on destinations that truly go off of the beaten path. She says, "We look for that perfect blend of activities that offer a unique combination of physical and mental challenges with plenty of 'wow' factor." Trips planned for 2015 include San Juan, Puerto Rico as well as Colorado Springs, Colorado. Each trip aims to take wanderers on explorations they've never experienced before. "The caving adventure in Puerto Rico, for example, is ranked among National Geographic's Top 50 Journeys of a Lifetime. You simply have to take a ride into the rainforest to get to something like that," Mathis asserts. In essence, it's that first-time, exhilarating experience trip after trip that helps the Mojo Adventure participants stay excited about fitness. But of course, it's not just the thrills that make Mojo tours a must-have experience; it's equally about taking time to relax. "These trips are not about roughing it," Mathis assures. "We stay at nice places and enjoy well-earned rewards like spa services and wine tastings." The cost, which varies based on each trip's length and locale, covers all those extras up front to ensure a fun time for everyone.

Mathis has her sights set on Iceland for 2016, but next on the horizon for Mojo Active Adventures is helping expand their participants' fitness opportunities when the trips are over. "We are looking into enhancing some of our partnerships with area retailers and outfitters by offering 'Mini-Mojo' events in and around the Atlanta area. If someone learns, for example, that they really enjoy stand-up paddleboarding on a full-length trip, they have a path to explore that further when they get back home."

And that home portion is key since, of course, every workout can't be a trip through the rainforest. Mathis knows that an exciting, healthy getaway is only the beginning of a lifestyle of fitness, which she herself maintains. "When it comes to working out, I'm always mixing things up to keep it fun and get the best results." And while she doesn't stick to a diet regimen, Mathis does say that it's important to be cognizant of what's fueling your body. "I do believe in keeping it simple with basic, whole foods. As a trainer, I tell clients that 80 percent of success has to do with what you put in your mouth. Don't get me wrong, though – I'm all about healthy indulgences too."

When asked how she stays motivated, Mathis explains, "Honestly, it's a part of who I am. For sure, there are days when I'm feeling less than motivated or struggling to make it happen. However, find activities you love to do, surround yourself with others who share your interests and encourage you, and just make it a non-negotiable part of your day."

Another non-negotiable for Mathis: appreciating how far she's come and what she's built. Mathis acknowledges, "Starting this business has honestly been more fun than I could have imagined. To have the opportunity to meet so many incredible women, have an impact on their overall well-being and help create lasting memories and experiences is an unbelievable feeling." And those positive feelings are what make Molly Mathis and Mojo Active Adventures so successful; they spill over and give other women confidence, support and a whole lot of mojo.

Monday, 26 January 2015 22:14

Gwinnett Medical

Friday, 23 January 2015 16:37

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

Friday, 23 January 2015 16:36

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

Friday, 23 January 2015 16:22

Atlanta Gastroenterology Associates

Friday, 23 January 2015 15:21

Causes of Chronic Cough

A cough can be a nuisance to your day or it can evolve into something more. Maybe you have a simple cold, bronchitis, or allergies? It usually goes away without having to worry too much about it or seek medical attention. But what if your symptoms last longer than a few weeks? We all understand that coughing serves an important purpose – a function of our body that is used to clear our airway of secretions and foreign bodies in order to prevent infections, obstruction, and inflammation. Most people have developed an occasional cough that can persist for a few days or even weeks, but it's important to recognize when it becomes classified as a chronic cough and when you should see your medical professional.

A chronic cough can significantly impact your day and make it hard to sleep at night. You may have other associated symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, heart burn, chest pain, coughing up blood, wheezing, or shortness of breath. It can lead to fatigue, frustration, and affect your ability to function. Physicians classify a cough as chronic when it lasts more than 8 weeks, meaning there may be an underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated.

In people who smoke, the most common cause, not surprisingly, is smoking! The harmful smoking particles can irritate your airways, leading to cough and other much more harmful effects, such as recurrent infections and tumor.

CoughIn the non-smoker, there are three main diseases that can lead to a chronic cough. In fact, 90% of the time, one of these three diseases is responsible for that persistent cough. The first is asthma, which can start in childhood or adulthood. Asthma can be associated with allergy, exercise, non-allergy, or just manifest as cough with no other associated symptoms. One common scenario is the person who has had allergy for most of their life but never has been diagnosed with asthma. They can develop a pneumonia or bronchitis that leads to persistent coughing for weeks or months. They often have an underlying predisposition to asthma, known as reactive airways, that may require treatment with asthma medications to resolve the symptoms.

The second cause of chronic cough is post nasal drainage. Nasal drainage can lead to mucous running down the back of your throat, irritating the lining of the upper and lower airways vocal cords, and resulting in sore throat and cough. Chronic infections of the sinuses and sinus allergies are the major culprits here.

The final cause of chronic cough is one that we may not intuitively think of – gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or heartburn. GERD occurs when stomach contents travel upwards into the esophagus and irritate the nerves of the esophagus that can trigger the cough reflex. This can be tricky to diagnose, as many times cough is the only symptom noticed, without the classic heartburn presentation.

Cough is one of the top five reasons that people see their doctor, and specifically, pulmonologists are lung physicians who specialize in the evaluation and treatment of chronic cough. Along with taking a thorough history and physical examination, they may order further workup such as pulmonary function testing, oxygen measurements, and a chest xray or chest ct scan. They can perform a bronchoscopy if indicated, which is a camera inspection of the upper and lower airways. You may need to be referred to other specialists such as an ENT, allergist, or a GI doctor in order to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to treating the cough. So if these symptoms apply to you, consider seeing your pulmonologist for evaluation of all the common, and the not so common, causes of a cough.


Sachin Lavania, MD, FCCP
North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists

Dr. Lavania has dedicated his career to the clinical and scientific understanding of pulmonary diseases and respiratory-related critical illnesses so that he can help his patients "breathe easier" and maintain a high quality of life. At North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists, he diagnoses and treats a range of medical issues, including shortness of breath, cough, COPD, asthma, lung nodules, lung cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, pulmonary hypertension, sarcoidosis, interstitial lung disease, and pulmonary embolism.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his medical degree from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Dr. Lavania did his residency in internal medicine at the University of South Carolina/Palmetto Health Richland, also in Columbia. He then completed his fellowship training at the University of Maryland, in Baltimore, in pulmonary/critical care.

Dr. Lavania is board-certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, and critical care medicine.
He has published and presented on pulmonary hypertension in patients with advanced interstitial pneumonia, as well as on asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, and other pulmonary diseases.

Dr. Lavania currently is the Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit and Respiratory Therapy at North Fulton Hospital. He is a member of both the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians.


Sponsored by: North Fulton Pulmonary Specialists | 2500 Hospital Boulevard, Ste 340 | Roswell, GA 30076
Phone: (770) 740-1753 |



Friday, 23 January 2015 15:04

Freeze Your Fat Away in 2015



The New Year traditionally rings in with personal resolutions to improve some aspect of our lives. This often results in promises to improve healthful living habits including exercise and nutritious diet. These healthful daily routines contribute greatly to wellness, personal success and appearance. Despite our best efforts, many times we confront stubborn areas of fat or uneven contours, which detract from the aesthetic effect we have worked so hard to achieve.

CoolSculpting is an FDA-approved method of non-surgical fat reduction and tissue contouring. It effectively eliminates rolls and bulges with no incisions, no anesthesia and no downtime. Fat cells are frozen and destroyed by apoptosis, a natural process for elimination of dead cells without any trauma to the surrounding tissues. Patients can comfortably complete this office treatment in a few hours and return to their regular activities the following day, expecting to enjoy their fat reduction results in just a few weeks.

CoolSculpting results are best when performed at a center where the physician and staff are fully trained in assessment and treatment techniques, preferably at Zeltiq's CoolSculpt University program. Adding a nutrition program and fitness counseling, along with body composition monitoring, can further enhance results and optimize appearance, health and success.



Mark M. Beaty, MD, Double Board Certified Facial
Plastic Surgeon, Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery

Dr. Beaty is an expert in personalized facial aesthetic enhancement, employing both surgical and non-surgical techniques. CoolSculpting is the only triple FDA-approved, non-surgical fat reduction treatment that uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat.


Sponsored by: Beaty Facial Plastic Surgery | 2365 Old Milton Parkway, Suite #400 | Alpharetta, GA 30009
Phone: (770) 753-0053 |


Thursday, 22 January 2015 22:01

Trust Your Face to an Expert





Aging of the face is inevitable. Over the years, we are subjected to sun, environmental pollutants and natural loss of elasticity. While less firm skin is also less able to renew itself, fortunately there are safe and innovative ways to help reverse signs of aging.

Atlanta’s Dr. Sinha offers different types of facelift procedures to suit each patient’s needs. A customized facelift grants the most dramatic and long-lasting improvement for most people, and other options, such as mini-facelifts, can improve specific areas. For example, the “s-lift” targets the mid-face with less expense and less invasion, and a “j-lift” addresses the lower face and neck.

During the facelift, Dr. Sinha removes excess skin and sculpts the jaw and neckline, restoring a more youthful position to the skin and underlying tissue. Facelift incisions are hidden in the fold in front of and behind the ear into the hairline. The skin and the deep tissue layer are repositioned to eliminate wrinkles and provide a long-lasting lifted look.


Q & A with Dr. Sinha

BnAWhat’s the recovery process like?

Patients typically stay overnight and are discharged the next morning. The patient will apply a dressing to the face for a few days, and stitches are typically removed after two weeks.

What types of reactions should I look out for?

You might experience mild bruising or discoloration for the first week or two after surgery. An esthetician from the Atlanta Institute for Facial Aesthetic Surgery can help you apply makeup to cover up any bruising or discoloration. Swelling is also common and should go down on its own within the first few weeks.

What factors do you consider before going ahead with the procedure?

A patient’s skin type, ethnicity, individual healing, bone structure and desired outcome are all taken into account in order to plan the ideal facelift.


Dr. Sinha is a Double Board Certified Facial Plastic Surgeon specializing in cosmetic and functional surgery of the head and neck. He has successfully treated thousands of patients and is highly regarded and well respected by his peers in the medical community.


Sponsored by: Atlanta Institute For Facial Aesthetic Surgery  |  980 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite 110  |  Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 256-5428  |

Thursday, 22 January 2015 21:50

Make Massage Part of Your Fitness Routine

Maggie Alfieri, Program Director at Atlanta School of Massage, tells us that a truly holistic fitness routine should include caring for the wear-and-tear that comes with strenuous physical activity. "Massage can shorten your recovery time between workouts, reduce the chance of injury by improving your range of motion and muscle flexibility, and help increase your overall power and performance. It enables you to push yourself a little harder while reducing stiffness and soreness, which adds up to getting in shape a little faster!"

3In addition to aiding general recovery, massage can also target specific muscles used in specialized fitness activities. For example, areas of the body that are more likely to be tight or sore and lose flexibility are the legs of runners, the upper body of swimmers, the arms of tennis players or the lower backs of golfers.

A well-trained massage therapist understands how to assess each client's needs and tailor sessions to promote healing and improve performance. Anyone seeking better conditioning, faster recovery, injury prevention and assistance in maintaining peak fitness can enjoy wide-ranging benefits from a massage program provided by a professional massage therapist working within their scope of practice.

And don't stop at just getting a good massage – consider giving them, too! Atlanta School of Massage is the perfect place to launch a career in massage therapy. Founded in 1980, Atlanta School of Massage has trained more professional massage therapists than any other school in Georgia. Because ASM is a nationally recognized school of excellence, many regional employers actively recruit ASM graduates over those from other massage schools. Massage students commonly go on to work in day and destination spas, chiropractic offices, wellness centers, private offices, health clubs, cruise ships and hospitals.

For more information about Atlanta School of Massage and a career in massage therapy, visit



2Dedric Carroll
Massage therapist on a mission

Atlanta School of Massage is committed to changing the lives of its students – whether they're walking across the stage with a career certification, starting their own businesses or creating journeys of their own.

ASM graduate Dedric Carroll is embarking on his journey by participating in a research partnership between Atlanta School of Massage and Emory University. "What separates Atlanta School of Massage from other massage schools is its commitment to research," says Mr. Carroll, "and through our partnership with Emory, we're on the leading edge of pushing the science, and the education, forward."

Contributing to research for "How Can Massage Therapy Impact the Level of Fatigue for Cancer Patients?" is giving Carroll a meaningful way to give back to the community and showcase his passion for massage therapy.


Sponsored by:  Atlanta School of Massage  |  2 Dunwoody Park South  |  Atlanta, GA 30338
Phone: (770) 615-7198  |