Understanding and Treating Anxiety
We all worry. But if you're someone struggling with chronic anxiety, you know that worrying is only the tip of the iceberg. The symptoms are all too familiar. Waking up to that feeling of dread when facing the day, second-guessing even the smallest decisions, struggling to keep track of mounting obligations, finding it impossible to get out of your head long enough to enjoy the moment—anxiety can easily take control of a person's life. To make matters worse, being anxious is exhausting. It puts relentless strain on the body and mind which can weaken the immune system and make us more susceptible to illness and a host of other physical ailments. If you are suffering from anxiety, getting the right help can make a world of difference and dramatically improve your quality of life.
It's important to note that anxiety can take a number of forms, and symptoms can manifest in different ways to create the various known “anxiety disorders”. For some, anxiety is limited to social interactions (social phobia), for others the challenge is constant worry/fear (generalized anxiety). Some struggle with obsessive thought patterns that seemingly can only be stopped by engaging in certain ritualized behaviors (obsessive-compulsive disorder). These are but a few of the many ways anxiety can manifest, so to find the treatment that’s right for you, it’s important to discuss your subjective experience with anxiety with a trained mental health professional.
Our treatment for anxiety doesn't follow a recipe. We believe that a person cannot simply pair learning about his/her triggers with relaxation techniques and hope to affect real change. Us humans are complex creatures, and the origin and manifestations of our anxiety can range greatly from person to person. Many who have lived with anxiety for long periods of time have come to rely on it for their very survival. Anxiety keeps us alert and vigilant, protecting us from danger or embarrassment. These are valuable traits that are not easily cast aside, making the anxious mind one of the most difficult to master. Because to some extent, we all need anxiety.
When this self-protective instinct becomes over-developed, and stops defending and starts hindering our ADL's (Activities of Daily Living), it may be time to seek treatment. Below are some of the most common symptoms of anxiety:
- Racing thoughts
- Difficulty focusing on tasks
- Uncontrollable worry or dread
- Frequent self-doubt or questioning one's own judgement
- Rigid, inflexible ways of thinking
- Heightened self-criticism
- Difficulty making decisions
- Rumination (frequently reliving unpleasant past events)
- Obsessive thought patterns
- Restlessness, fidgeting, or being "on edge"
- Frequent irritability
- Impatience with self and/or others
- A consistent urge to take control
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep, insomnia
- Loss of appetite
- Avoiding people and situations which trigger anxiety
- Isolating from friends and/or relatives
- Mood swings
- Low frustration tolerance
- Difficulty managing stress
- Heightened emotional reactivity
- Compulsive behavior
- Frequent picking at hair, skin, nails, lips, etc.
You may believe you have some, all, or none of these symptoms, however it is important to remember that simply because you identify with the above symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that you have an anxiety disorder. If you are curious about treatment, or would like to learn more about treatment options, please call for a FREE phone consultation.