Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships. There are several different types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety is the constant feeling of worry and fear that distracts you from your day-to-day activities. People with GAD feel anxious nearly all of the time, and may not even know why. Anxiety related to GAD often shows up as physical symptoms like insomnia, stomach upset, restlessness, and fatigue.
A panic disorder is repeated, unexpected panic attacks, as well as fear of experiencing another episode. A panic disorder may also be accompanied by agoraphobia, which is the fear of being in places where escape or help would be difficult in the event of a panic attack.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is the unwanted thoughts or behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control. You may be troubled by obsessions, such as a recurring worry that you forgot to turn off the oven or that you might hurt someone. You may also suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over and over.
A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals (such as snakes and spiders), fear of flying, and fear of heights.
Social anxiety is the fear of being seen negatively by others and humiliated in public. Social anxiety disorder can be thought of as extreme shyness.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur in the aftermath of a traumatic or life-threatening event. PTSD can be thought of as a panic attack that rarely, if ever, lets up. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares about what happened, hypervigilance, startling easily, withdrawing from others, and avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
It is important to understand the source of your anxiety
· Personal health
· Learned behavior
· Family relationships
· Career and lifestyle
· Emotional and spiritual
· Unrealistic expectations
· Unfulfilling relationships and careers
· Financial stress
Factors involved in Anxiety
Emotional symptoms of anxiety
· Irrational, excessive fear and worry
· Feelings of apprehension or dread, watching for signs of danger, anticipating the worst
· Restlessness, trouble concentrating
· Feeling tense and jumpy, or irritable
· Feeling like your mind's gone blank
Physical symptoms of anxiety
· Pounding heart, sweating
· Headaches, stomach upset, or dizziness
· Frequent urination or diarrhea
· Shortness of breath
· Muscle tension, tremors, and twitches
· Fatigue or insomnia
Researchers are finding that genetic and environmental factors, frequently in interaction with one another, are risk factors for anxiety disorders. Specific factors include:
- Shyness, or behavioral inhibition, in childhood
- Being female
- Having few economic resources
- Being divorced or widowed
- Exposure to stressful life events in childhood and adulthood
- Anxiety disorders in close biological relatives
- Parental history of mental disorders
- Elevated afternoon cortisol levels in the saliva (specifically for social anxiety disorder)
Psychotherapy helps by teaching new ways of thinking and behaving, and changing habits that may be contributing to anxiety. Therapy can help you understand and work through difficult relationships or situations that may be causing your anxiety or making it worse
At DC Counseling, we can help you:
· Adjust to a crisis or other current difficulty
· Identify negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones
· Explore relationships and experiences, and develop positive interactions with others
· Find better ways to cope and solve problems
· Identify issues that contribute to your anxiety and change behaviors that make it worse
· Gain a sense of control in your life
· Learn to set realistic goals for your life
· Develop the ability to tolerate and accept distress using healthier behaviors
· Learn ways to relax and manage your stress through Meditation, guided imagery, EMDR, and EFT
- Locate helpful groups. Many organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, offer education, support groups, counseling and other resources to help with anxiety.
- Don't isolate. Try to participate in social activities, and get together with family or friends regularly. Support groups for people with anxiety can help you connect to others facing similar challenges and share experiences.