A manageable degree of worry isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In some cases, thoughts about the future can help us plan ahead and give us motivation to take care of tasks and responsibilities. Anxiety that affects our ability to function at work, school, or in our relationships interferes with our lives and causes distress.
This type of anxiety requires professional intervention to alleviate so you can live freely.
Though many types of anxiety disorders exist, most are driven by similar underlying processes. Anxiety is often a symptom of another issue. People with anxiety tend to react to future oriented, thoughts, feelings, and situations in a more extreme way and may try to manage those reactions by avoiding the triggers of their anxiety, minimizing them or judging themselves for having anxiety. Unfortunately, these coping responses only reinforce anxiety. When we have suppressed or avoided any emotion for an extended period of time, we may start to have anxiety and panic attacks because it is our body’s way of getting our attention. When you’ve been living with anxiety for an extended period of time, you may not even remember what it was like prior to the onset.
You deserve to live your life to the fullest without unmanageable fear, stress, or worry. Fortunately, anxiety is very treatable with therapy. In treatment, you can learn to cope with anxiety while processing the underlying causes.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety
The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of anxiety:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Trembling or shaking
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tension
- Feeling lightheaded or faint
- Feeling dizzy or unsteady
- Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Chills or hot flashes
- Nausea or abdominal distress
- Feeling tense or on edge/irritability
- Fear of dying
- Racing thoughts
- Constant or persistent worry
- Feeling of choking
- Unable to relax
- Feeling of being unreal
- Avoiding people or places that trigger anxiety
Types of Anxiety
Anxiety is an umbrella term for a number of different disorders. They share in common intense feelings of worry or fear, but the specific symptoms and scenarios that cause the anxiety differ.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
You feel chronic stress, tension, fear, or worry with no clear cause in a variety of areas in your life.
You experience repeated panic attacks, which cause intense fear, feelings of dread or doom, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, and other physical symptoms.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Your anxious feelings are caused by social interactions. You worry intensely about what others think of you, and you fear embarrassment in social situations.
You feel fear, dread, or panic when you encounter a specific item, animal, place, or situation. You go to great lengths to avoid the thing you’re afraid of even if you realize it’s irrational.
You experience unwanted, obsessive thoughts that you can only relieve by engaging in a repetitive behavior or you just experience the thoughts alone. The behavior only quiets the obsessions for a moment, though, so the thoughts may soon come back.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
This disorder mostly occurs in children. It causes extreme distress and fear when you’re away from a loved one or when you’re anticipating being away from a loved one.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Flashbacks or memories of trauma can produce frequent intrusive thoughts and cause an anxiety reaction regarding past trauma that leads to people avoiding reminders and experiencing negative emotions.
Benefits of Therapy
Anxiety can be difficult to alleviate on our own without support from a professional. Our brains form patterns in our way of thinking, and over time, these patterns turn into deeply ingrained habits. A professional can help you learn how to step back from your anxious thoughts, challenge them, and develop space from them.
You might be able to alleviate your anxious symptoms in the moment with deep breathing or meditation, or you may find that medication helps you manage your mental health. These treatments are very helpful for many, but therapy allows you to process your anxiety from its core.
Therapy for anxiety can equip you with coping skills for difficult moments. Additionally, by exploring the root cause of your struggles with your counselor, these difficult moments often become fewer and farther between.
How We Work
Our therapists understand that everyone’s mental health needs differ. Counseling is a personal, vulnerable experience, and it’s important that you work within a framework that feels comfortable. Our therapists use the following methods to treat anxiety in our clients:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is an exploration of the relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When you have an anxiety disorder, your mind might have unhealthy, unhelpful, or illogical coping responses to situations. As you learn to notice these negative thinking patterns, you can start to replace them with more realistic thoughts.
CBT is usually a short-term form of therapy. It involves homework assignments that you’ll complete outside of your therapy session so that you can apply the skills you’re learning to your daily life. CBT is an evidenced-based modality that has been shown to treat anxiety successfully.
Mindfulness is the state of being fully alert and engaged in the present moment. If you struggle with anxious thoughts, your mind is focused mostly on the future. Learning to be mindful will empower you to let go of your worries rather than feed them, acknowledge your thoughts without judgment, and live peacefully here and now. This usually begins with short, guided meditation sessions, but over time, you can incorporate the mindset into your daily life.
Healing the Root Causes of Anxiety
Coping with the symptoms of anxiety is valuable, but treatment does not end there. Our clinicians will help you get to the root of your anxious thoughts, which is the key to minimizing anxiety from your life.
We know how difficult it can be to live with anxiety, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation or an appointment.