What is Anxiety?
Does it feel like you can’t control it no matter how hard you try? Have you already tried therapy but found it ineffective? If this sounds like you, I’m confident I can help.
Anxiety disorders are very common and frequently a treatment issue in psychotherapy. The most common signs of anxiety include uncontrollable worry, feeling tense or “on edge,” and physiological arousal such as rapid heart beat and breathing, nausea, and dizziness.
My practice offers highly-effective forms of treatment, to get the relief from anxiety that you deserve. When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, research shows that therapy is usually the most effective option. That’s because anxiety therapy – as opposed to anxiety medication – treats more than just symptoms to the problem.
Most people are familiar with the typical day-to-day anxieties surrounding uncertain, unfamiliar, and stressful situations such as an upcoming exam, a job interview, or a public speaking event. While this type of anxiety can certainly cause discomfort and get in the way of performing one’s best, this alone does not constitute an anxiety disorder.
When anxiety becomes persistent, begins to interfere with living one’s life in a valued manner, and/or causes health or safety concerns, seeking professional help from a trained mental health professional is recommended.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
- EMOTIONAL – nervousness, irritability, stress
- COGNITIVE– uncontrollable worry, racing thoughts, intrusive/unwanted thoughts, excessive planning, recurring distressing thoughts, preoccupation with uncertainty, obsessive thinking
- PHYSICAL – rapid heart beat, nausea, rapid breathing (e.g., hyperventilation), dizziness or feeling faint, chest tightness, frequent headaches, low energy, fatigue
- BEHAVIORAL – avoiding places that elicit anxiety, fidgeting, shaking or trembling, speaking faster than usual, hypervigilance, compulsive behavior
Treatment Approaches for Anxiety
While anxiety can present in various forms therapy for most anxiety conditions involves some form of confronting the feared trigger and developing a new response to it. Instead of fighting or fleeing (or freezing), treatment helps people learn how to navigate the discomfort of anxiety in order to do what is important or valued.By positively responding to threatening events instead of being reactive you can overcome an erroneous fight-or-flight response.
- MINDFULNESS – When treatment incorporates mindfulness based practices, the focus of treatment will be on the bodily sensations that arise when you’re anxious. Instead of avoiding or withdrawing from these feelings, you remain present and fully experiences the symptoms of anxiety. Instead of avoiding distressing thoughts, you will open up to them in an effort to realize and acknowledge that they are not literally true. By remaining present in the body, you learn that the anxiety you experience is merely a reaction to perceived threats.
- ACCEPTANCE & COMMITMENT THERAPY – ACT is a behaviorally-oriented therapeutic approach that aims to modify how a person relates and responds to their internal experiences (i.e., thoughts, emotions, physical sensations, and urges) in order to more fully engage in values-based behaviors.
- COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY (CBT) – CBT is the most common treatment for anxiety disorders. CBT therapists assist individuals with identifying and challenging unhelpful cognitive patterns, analyzing the connection between thoughts and behaviors, and developing more effective thought processes and behavioral patterns.
- EXPOSURE THERAPY – Exposure therapy is a behaviorally-focused treatment that involves confronting feared triggers, experiences, and/or situations in a systematic manner. Exposure therapy is among the most effective psychotherapeutic interventions.
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