Anxiety Disorders

Many individuals struggle with symptoms of Anxiety on a regular basis.  While experiencing some anxiety is healthy (watch out for that car!), some anxiety is not very helpful (watch out for that math test!  what if I can’t fall asleep tonight?)

When symptoms of anxiety are distressing, interfere with life tasks and sleep, and impact relationships, it’s generally time to seek treatment.  Counseling or therapy can help you to sort out the helpful anxiety messages from the messages you don’t need to hear.

Symptoms of Anxiety vary by person.  You might experience shaking and trembling, feeling as if you can’t speak, have an upset stomach or headache, or dizziness.  You might feel incompetent (I can’t do this!) or inadequate.  You might worry about germs, cry, have limited eye contact, or fidget.  Feelings of anxiety may be fleeting and intense (as in Panic Disorder), or may be present most days.

No matter the flavor of Anxiety, we can work together to clear your mind, calm your body, and get you back on track for the day.

Diagnoses

There are many diagnostic labels for Anxiety, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social Phobia or Social Anxiety
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Treatment

Many treatments are available for Anxiety Disorders, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), and sometimes medications, depending upon the severity of the symptoms.

Treating Anxiety generally involves: 1) identifying where an individual experiences anxiety in the body (racing heart, feeling faint, etc.), 2) pinpointing the “cause” of the anxiety (often a fear or worry), and 3) assessing if there is actual evidence to support that fear.

For example, is there any evidence that supports such a strong fear of snakes/spiders/public speaking?  Often, there isn’t any rational evidence to support the fear, and we can use coping skills to feel better.  If there is evidence to support a fear (e.g., surviving the tornado in Windsor), we work together to see how this current anxiety-producing situation is not exactly similar, and identify strengths that have helped to facilitate success in the past.

Other resources

The following books and websites may be helpful:

  • How to Control Your Anxiety Before It Controls You by Albert Ellis
  • From Panic to Power : Proven Techniques to Calm Your Anxieties, Conquer Your Fears, and Put You in Control of Your Life by Lucinda Bassett
  • http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/how-to-get-help-for-anxiety-disorders.shtml
  • http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm
  • http://www.childanxiety.net/index.htm