COUNSELING FOR ANXIETY:
The word Anxiety is used widely and covers a broad range of experience. People can feel anxious about all sorts of things: anxious to get to your vacation spot, anxious to meet someone new. In these examples, the speaker is referring to an eagerness. So, what do therapists and psychologists mean when we refer to an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety that is a mood disorder is an experience that makes it difficult to go about life with a sense of confidence and ease. While it presents differently in everyone, a few of the common signs of an anxiety disorder include:
- Difficulty engaging in daily activities that others seem to do so easily
- A significantly uncomfortable physical experience when approaching certain places, people or situations: racing heart, numbness or tingling in your fingers, suddenly sweating or feeling cold, difficulty breathing, fuzzy thinking, restlessness
- A strong desire to avoid the situations or people that trigger that discomfort
- A predominant feeling of worry about something specific or about a broad range of things that make it difficult for the person to function: can’t turn off the worry and go to sleep; inability to perform uncomfortable work tasks and therefore, unable to get promotions at work; never throws anything away for fear it might be useful some day
- Fears are out of proportion to the perceived threat
Sometimes, but not always, people suffering with severe anxiety can also experience panic attacks. This is also a commonly used phrase in everyday language but it actually has a very specific diagnosis. Signs of a panic attack are:
- Heart palpitations so that you feel you may be having a heart attack
- A feeling like you can’t breathe
- Feeling frozen in place or like you MUST get out of wherever you are
- Overwhelming sense of doom
These symptoms often come out of nowhere and are so uncomfortable, people may describe the experience as, “I thought I was going to die.” Because of how scary and out of control they feel, people can then develop a severe anxiety about having another one.
WHEN TO SEEK COUNSELING
While anxiety and worry are common experiences, indeed just a part of life, they warrant treatment when:
- Your world begins to get smaller and smaller: you stop or significantly limit your driving; the variety of places you are willing to go to are decreasing or you want to be home all the time
- You are having limited experiences in life and are feeling like you’re missing out
- Important people in your life are expressing worry about your number or degree of fear(s)
- You are becoming increasingly reliant on medication, other substances or people to feel comfortable or in control
The number of fears, the degrees to which one feels them, the degree of avoidance, and the level of disruption in one’s life are each unique to every individual. Some people find they can cope with their life with anxiety and others find it so debilitating or exhausting to manage they seek therapy.
THERAPY FOR ANXIETY
The good news is, anxiety is remarkably responsive to effective treatment, with and without the use of medications. Two of the most widely researched and proven treatment approaches is Cognitive Behavioral Treatment and Exposure Therapy. Both of these approaches are very active and involve identifying environmental triggers for your anxiety and/or panic, tracking your thought patterns, your physiological reactivity and behavioral responses. You then create alternative beliefs and thinking habits, learn skills to manage your physiology, and take steps to change your behavior so that you can create greater pleasure and comfort in your life, confidence in yourself, and reach your goals.
A third treatment category that has gained significant evidence of its effectiveness is Mindfulness Therapy and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Therapy (MSBR). This treatment approach focuses on teaching you mindfulness skills (the ability to focus your mind on targets of your choosing and relaxing your body) so that you can better control your thoughts and body. Feeling more grounded and calm also improves your ability to more comfortably move through your life, interact with others, and reach your goals.
If you’d like to talk to someone about help for your anxiety or panic feel free to call us.
ANXIETY TREATMENT AT BLUESTONE:
Any provider practicing at the Bluestone locations can help a client overcome Anxiety, Chronic Worry and Panic Attacks but each has a unique approach. Here is a snap shot of the proven treatment modalities for anxiety disorders and who specializes in them; you may click on any of their names to see their full bios for more information.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
Interpersonal, Somatic (body) focus, Existential Therapy: