Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, & Stress
Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, and Stress are common mental health problems faced by many people. While anxiety and stress problems are very treatable, they can cause a person a huge amount of pain until they are dealt with. Anxiety and stress can start as small nagging worries in the back of your mind but then progress in to a much bigger issues. Below are some common examples of anxiety and stress-related problems.
Types of Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, and Stress Problems
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A pattern of worrying about almost anything and everything to an excessive degree. Controlling when and how much you worry feels like it is out of your control.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): Feeling a lot of stress around social situations, especially if you are expected to perform or speak in front of others. SAD can make it difficult to spend time with people without "being in your head" the whole time.
Panic Disorder/Panic Attacks: Experiencing sudden and intense anxiety that can peak at such a scary level that you are sometimes unable to function. Panic Attacks can be such frightening experiences that you start avoiding life situations because it could cause another panic attack.
Phobias: Becoming extremely stressed by particular situations or things. A common phobia is "agoraphobia", or being afraid of a situation where you might have a medical problem and then you cannot escape or get help. There are many other kinds of phobias, such as a fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of dogs (cynophobia), or a fear of flying (aerophobia).
Unspecified Anxiety Disorder (UAD): A kind of anxiety problem that doesn't fit any of the categories listed above, but still causes people to suffer and experience dysfunction. There are many people with anxiety and stress issues that just don't have a "type", but are still living with excessive stress and need relief.
Signs of Anxiety or Stress
- Feeling restless, ‘keyed up’, or ‘on edge’
- Getting tired easily.
- Difficulty concentrating or your ‘mind goes blank’
- Being annoyed easily
- Tense muscles.
- Sleep difficulties (can’t fall asleep, stay asleep, or tired after sleeping)
- Avoidance of situations that cause the anxiety or stress
- Difficulty with daily tasks (working, socializing, bathing, finishing chores, etc)
Signs of a Panic Attack
- Racing heart
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling short of breath
- Feelings of choking
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
- Chilis or heat sensations
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Derealization (feelings of unreality)
- Depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
- Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
- Fear of dying
How Treatment Works
My approach to treating Anxiety, Anxiety Disorders, and Stress is based on scientific principles found in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies (CBT). CBT emphasizes changing thinking patterns and adjusting behaviors to alleviate negative emotional experiences. I provide in-session education, thought challenging activities, relaxation coping skills, and behavioral experiments to help you understand and change ineffective cycles. To make sure you are getting the most out of therapy, I will also help you create customized in-between session assignments to enhance your progress and ensure that you are reaching your goals.
What Healing Looks Like
With consistent effort and energy from both of us over time your anxiety should decrease more and more. You will find yourself feeling more relaxed, less worried, and more free to make desired choices. You may notice that you are less 'wirey' and quick to judge, or that you have more patience when things don't go your way. You will feel more in control.
The goal of any good anxiety treatment is not make anxiety or stress "go away", but to get your worrying to be more "reasonable". Everyone gets anxious or stressed out at times - that is 100% normal. What we are looking for in a positive treatment outcome is to transform your anxiety and stress so that you can live with a healthy version of it - that means that it no longer dominates your life.
Another positive outcome in anxiety therapy can be that you actually see your anxiety as something healthy (when it is under control)! When properly managed, anxiety can be that little reminder to lock your car, get back to that important email, or look both ways before you cross the street. If you can shift that big voice that scares you into a little voice that helps you, you know you made it.