Everyone has worries and stress from time to time. But for people with anxiety disorders, these worries and fears are not temporary and can get worse over time. Anxiety disorders can severely impact a person’s functioning at work, at school and in relationships. Fortunately, individual psychotherapy (and medication in some instances) is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders.
Do you feel worried or keyed up all the time? Are you feeling so distracted by all of your negative thoughts? It is hard to live in the present? Have you ever felt like your worries getting in the way of doing your best at work? Are you too nervous to just relax and spend time with friends?
Anxiety disorders are common in both children and adults. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 18% of adults and 25% of children experience anxiety in the United States.
There are different types of anxiety
Generalized anxiety disorder occurs with persistent worry and anxious feelings that something bad is going to happen. People with this disorder worry about any number of things and have this pervasive sense that something terrible is going to happen. They often experience restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability and problems with sleep.
Panic disorder is when a person experience abrupt surge of intense fear. This fear results in sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, pounding/racing heart rate, fear of dying or “going crazy.” After such an intense episode, many are often fearful of having another attack and will avoid anything that can bring on such an experience. Many people will go to the ER convinced they are having a heart attack only to find out it was a panic attack.
Social anxiety (also known as social phobia) is when a person is fearful of social situation in which they feel judged. These situations can include public speaking, social gatherings, dating, eating in public, using public restrooms, and disagreeing with others (especially at work). They feel very self-conscious in front of others and worry about not being liked or rejected by others. Other symptoms include having a hard time making friends, avoiding social situations, worrying for days prior to a social event, and even cancelling meeting with friends or family.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is when a person has persistent, uncontrollable thoughts and feelings (obsessions) and routines or behaviors (compulsions). Some of the more commons forms include excessive hand washing due to a fear of germs and repeatedly checking behaviors (making sure the doors are locked or stove is turned off).
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop in response to severe physical or emotional trauma that can occur during natural disaster, victim of crime, auto accident, or in combat. Symptoms include flashbacks of the trauma, nightmares, frightening thoughts can impact a person’s life for months or years after the traumatic experience.
How can therapy help?
Although there are many types of anxiety, research suggests that most types of anxiety are driven by a similar process. People with anxiety disorders can have a sensitive trigger to feeling overwhelmed by their emotions. When faced with feeling intense and overwhelming emotions, they tend to avoid those situations that can cause it. For the short term, it can relieve those unpleasant experiences. For the long term, it can really change a person’s life so that they are not able to enjoy things.
Psychologists are trained to help people understand their thoughts about reactions to anxiety. We can help people develop coping skills to manage their anxiety and reduce not only the frequency but also the intensity of their unpleasant or painful emotions.
If you’re interested in becoming a better, happier, more fulfilled you, we would love to work with you every step of the way. Please contact us today!