Are you feeling nervous and/or on edge? Maybe your thoughts are racing, your sleep is impacted, and you have difficulty concentrating. You might suffer from anxiety if you answered “yes” to the above symptoms.
Symptoms of anxiety are related to feelings of fear. Although fear is part of a gamut of human emotions, anxiety is more than just fear and can be debilitating. Anxiety symptoms frequently involve emotional aspects (feelings), physical aspects (body sensations), and cognitive aspects (fear-based thoughts). Although anxiety can be debilitating, it is not lethal.
“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”
Per the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in the United States. Typical symptoms of anxiety include: feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge; having a sense of danger, panic, or doom; increased heart rate; rapid breathing or hyperventilation; sweating, trembling; feeling weak or tired; difficulty concentrating; difficulty sleeping; and abdominal problems.
What Causes Anxiety?
The cause of the anxiety varies. It is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some people are naturally born with a more sensitive nervous system and may be more prone to anxiety. Those people may need additional tools to manage their sensitivity. For some, the origins of anxiety might be related to negative life experiences such as various traumas like being a victim of bullying, sexual and physical abuse, difficult upbringing or family interactions, or other negative experiences.
Therapy for Anxiety
The goal of therapy for anxiety disorders is to help clients to become less afraid. I teach coping strategies that will help you address anxiety’s emotional, physical, and cognitive aspects. We will also talk about anxiety tolerance – becoming more comfortable with the anxiety, gaining control over the symptom, and reducing the avoidance behavior. In addition, we will explore and address the underlying causes of anxiety, such as trauma, a family of origin, difficult life transition, and so forth. Other factors such as lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, sleep, and self-care habits will also be addressed.
Things You Can Do
- Big 3 – sleep, nutrition, and exercise – basic self-care
- Belly breathing
- Tapping – Thought Field Therapy
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Coloring or creative arts
- Challenge negative thinking
- Approach versus avoid
Adjustment Disorder with Anxiety
Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and worried results from exposure to a stressful life event, multiple events, or stressors. For example, divorce, breakup, marital stress, the birth of a child, moving, job change, getting fired or laid off, taking on a new role or a responsibility, starting college, getting married, and becoming unemployed, to name a few. The symptoms are frequently situational and, in most cases, could be easily addressed and resolved.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is characterized by excessive anxiety or worries about events or circumstances of everyday living such as work, school, finances, safety, health, daily routines, timeliness, and the health of children and family members. The worries are typically difficult to control and are disproportionate to the actual threat or the likelihood of anticipated negative outcomes. The worry can switch from one concern to another. Other symptoms may include restlessness, feeling keyed or on edge, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.
Panic Disorder is characterized by unexpected and recurring panic attacks. The most common panic symptoms include a pounding heart, accelerated heart rate, chest pain, dizziness, choking sensation, nausea, sweating, trembling, chills or hot flashes, and fear of dying. The impacted individual starts to fear a future panic attack and begins to avoid situations and places that have produced panic. The avoidance can be progressive, life-limiting, and debilitating.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Strong fear and/or avoidance of one or more social situations in which a person might be exposed to scrutiny by others. Examples may include fear of acting, performing, presenting in public, meeting new people, urinating in public, interviewing for a job, talking to people in authority, test taking, making phone calls, eating in public, and others. Individuals are concerned that they will be judged as weak, crazy, stupid, boring, incompetent, or unlikable.
Irrational or unreasonable fear of an object or a situation that poses no real threat. Common categories of phobias of certain situations (flying, enclosed spaces, being at a dentist, going to school), nature (thunderstorms or heights), animals or insects (dogs, snakes, spiders), blood or injection (needles, medical procedures), others such as choking, vomiting, loud noises, crowds, etc. The feared object or situation typically poses no real danger; however, a person cannot control or let go of the fear.
If you are experiencing anxiety, you are not alone. Reach out today at (612)559-8704.