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How to Combat Anxiety in the Wake of Terror Attacks

by Ali Dimoff


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The Paris attacks on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, may be causing people in the United States to suffer from different forms of anxiety.

Is this normal? Is there something can be done to fix it?

“It’s not surprising that the kind of random attacks like those carried out in Paris last week could cause increased anxiety in people here, or anywhere in the world where governments have spoken or acted against ISIS,” said Gayle Pamerleau, Director of Counseling at Pitt-Greensburg.

It is the random nature of the attacks that causes a perceived loss of control over our safety  – prompting people with anxiety to have increased symptoms, especially those with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Pamerleau said.

You do not need to be diagnosed with anxiety to have symptoms. Pamerleau said that common symptoms can be: increased worry, difficulty sleeping and overall edginess.

Knowing the symptoms is one thing, but what can we do to overcome the anxiety?

Pamerleau offered some suggestions:

  • Challenge your fears with rational thoughts.
  • Exercise. Regular aerobic activity 3-4 times per week for 20-30 minutes.
  • Relaxation techniques – such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Talk about your fears with those you trust. Get feedback from people you know are level-headed and well-informed.
  • Don’t become consumed with watching reports on Paris.

For those still seeking additional help, contact Gayle Pamerleau at: 724-836-9870 or

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