Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life experienced in reaction to a stressful event, making a difficult decision, or in anticipation of a life change. But when that anxiety significantly interferes with daily responsibilities, life goals, and personal relationships counseling is frequently required to identify the reasons underlying the anxiety and to manage persistent worry. Being in constant fear prevents an individual from living in the present moment and detracts from the ability to fully engage with family, friends and life in general. Therapists at Affective Counseling help clients manage their anxiety and be more at ease in their lives by:

  • Identifying and understanding the factors that trigger anxiety
  • Challenging illogical thoughts and fears through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Employing Exposure Therapy to decrease anxiety surrounding a specific fear or phobia
  • Developing and utilizing relaxation techniques
  • “Grounding” (learning to be in your body and not in your head)
  • Learning to identify and control intrusive thoughts
  • Managing medications (with a collaborative psychiatrist)

Anxiety Disorder Articles

Overcoming Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Individuals struggling with generalized anxiety disorder experience a persistent and disruptive anxiety that can be difficult to manage despite one’s best efforts. Worry or intrusive thoughts surrounding health, finances, family or career are common concerns with this type of anxiety. Always anticipating or preparing for a worst-case scenario can cause one to be hypervigilant, irritable and easily overwhelmed. Although an individual may understand that the amount of worry is excessive and disproportionate to the situation, that understanding may nonetheless be accompanied by a belief that relinquishing that worry will make one unprepared for when disaster strikes. The result is that even the act of thinking about decreasing anxiety can increase anxiety. Symptoms of GAD include:

  • Persistent fearfulness with or without cause
  • Irritability
  • Racing thoughts/rumination
  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Headaches/muscles aches/nausea
  • Feeling overwhelmed and unable to make decisions

Social Anxiety

Struggling with feelings of self-doubt in social situations can significantly impact self-esteem and inhibit confidence in developing relationships. Judgment or rejection by others is a persistent fear experienced by those struggling with Social Anxiety. This fear, frequently rooted in past negative social interactions, can lead one to believe he or she is socially deficient, leading the person to avoid social situations. The result is that the opportunities for making positive social interactions or practicing social skills are lost. The combination of anxiety and avoidance of social situations creates a vicious cycle that reaffirms the feeling that one cannot have meaningful relationships. Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder include:

  • Fearfulness in talking to or being around unfamiliar people
  • Difficulty speaking or formulating thoughts when around others
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Increased heart rate, perspiration and racing thoughts when around others
  • Difficulty forming or maintaining relationships
  • Feeling embarrassed or self-conscious around others

Panic Disorder

A panic attack occurs when a person experiences a sudden and overwhelming sense of dread that is accompanied by a multitude of physical symptoms. These terrifying attacks seem to come out of the blue, occurring even during sleep and lasting between 5 and 15 minutes, although longer or shorter durations are not uncommon. A person who has experienced a panic attack will frequently avoid the place or activity in which the attack occurred out of fear that exposure to it will trigger another attack. Such avoidance can be especially problematic if the attack occurred at work, school or while sleeping, since these activities cannot be avoided. Although it is common to experience heightened anxiety about having another attack, that anxiety unfortunately can increase the likelihood that another attack will occur. Symptoms of Panic Disorder include:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Nausea, vomiting or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, light-headed, or faint
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”

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