Anxiety is an emotion of distress which causes unpleasant feelings of restlessness often associated with nervous behavior, such as pacing, sleep problems and rumination. It is often identified by unpleasant feelings of alarm over stressful or difficult to control situations. Anxiety exhibits feelings of worry, usually as an overreaction to a situation that is only generally viewed as threatening. In addition, it tends to create feelings of agitation, restlessness, over-all discomfort, concentration problems and fatigue.
Anxiety can be a normal, and even positive, reaction in certain situations as it can warn us to dangers, help us to pay attention and prepare for an event. Feelings of anxiety are not only normal but necessary for survival. However, anxiety disorders are different from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness. Anxiety disorder involves an excessive amount of worry, and negatively impacts your life. here are different types of Anxiety Disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): A chronic disorder involving extensive anxiety about a situation, object, and/or event that is not specific. People with GAD struggle with persistent and excessive worry or dread. They often get stuck in a negative thinking patterns about disaster or concerns regarding money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. The anxiety sufferer often makes a “mountain out of mole hill” and over exaggerate or over-reaact to potential problems. Individuals with this type of anxiety are not always able to identify the root cause.
Panic Disorder: Often experienced as uncontrollable heart pounding, sweating, difficult in breaking and thinking. They occur unpredictably, often without any trigger. They often cause confusion, dizziness, shaking, breathing problems, and nausea. They tend to escalate rapidly and can peak after 10 minutes, or they can last for hours. Panic Disorders normally occur after a frightening event or prolonged stress but can also occur without a specific trigger.
Phobias: An illogical fear and avoidance of a situation or object. The fear is recognized as irrational, despite the individual’s inability to control the anxiety. An estimate 13% of the population experiences a phobia. The top eight include:
Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD): An anxiety disorder identified by thoughts or actions that are repetitive and intrusive. Individuals with this disorder realize that their compulsions are not rational, but will not stop until they are completed – over and over again. Individuals with this disorder may constantly need to wash their hands, clean personal items, or constantly check their stoves or locks.
Social Anxiety Disorder: The fear of being judged in a negative way in social settings or a fear of being embarrassed in front of others. Individuals with this disorder avoid being in public and having contact with others.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: This is identified by high levels of anxiety when separated from a place or person that gives security or provides a safe environment. Sometimes separation anxiety disorders cause panic-like symptoms.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): This type of anxiety occurs after a previous trauma such as a sexual assault, military combat, or a serious accident. PTSD can lead to having flashbacks. Most people who have experienced severe trauma overcome the psychological effects over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. The cause of anxiety disorders is only partially understood. It is known that a person’s genetics, environmental stressors or challenges, and/or their childhood attachment history play an important role. It is quite common that individuals diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety often have at least one family member with the same problem (often not diagnosed or not treated).
The first step in alleviating anxiety. A mental health professional can work with you on the best treatment. Anxiety disorders best respond to psychotherapy and/or medications. Research shows that psychotherapy is normally the most effective option because, unlike medication, it treats the symptoms of the disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy can teach a person to learn a different way of thinking, reacting, and behaving in a way that they can feel less anxious.
Although medications are used with great success, they will not cure anxiety. They address the biological cause of the problem by adjusting the brains neuro-chemicals that cause the anxiety. Many people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, report complete anxiety relief with medication, and do not require psychotherapy. However, anxiety is not as simple as taking a pill to make it go away. Most anxiety sufferers who respond well to medication, greatly benefit from the supportive and educating elements of psychotherapy.
Not only does psychotherapy help a person manage their stress, learn effecting coping strategies, and address the relationship challenges, they feel affirmed and supported during this process. In addition, psychotherapy addresses the self-esteem and relationship/interpersonal challenges that often come with a life-long experience of anxiety.
If you should struggle from any of the forms of anxiety discussed in this article, consider my services. I would be honored to help you overcome it, while leading you down a more relaxed, optimistic and stress-free path.
Clinical Care Consultants specialize in and offer a range of counseling, behavioral health, addiction and psychological services to fit your needs. CCC provides counseling / psychotherapy from a variety of disciplines, theoretical orientations, and styles. Each of our clinicians, who average 19 years in the field, specialize in several counseling modalities, client populations, and problem types, including individual counseling, marriage / marital counseling, couples counseling, and group therapy. CCC is proud of its diversity, clinical depth, and broad range of services in therapy and counseling in Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Inverness, Palatine and the surrounding communities.