Anxiety Disorders

There are different types of anxiety disorders. The type of anxiety is related to what the fears and worries are about and what behaviors result.

 

Separation anxiety is extreme worry that something bad will happen if the child is separated from the parent (e.g., school).

Generalized anxiety is having extreme and constant worries about a lot of different things. Social anxiety is extreme fear of being humiliated in social situations.

Phobias are unrealistic and extreme fears of situations or things (e.g., snakes, flying).

Panic is the fear of dying or having a heart attack because of physical feelings of anxiety.

Anxiety is a very common mental health problem. Between 5-10% of children have an anxiety condition. One is 4 adults have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety isn't caused by any one thing, but is usually happens because of a combination of things. It can be caused by bad experiences, stress, chronic illness, or chemicals in the brain (not working like they should). Instability and unpredictability at home or in the community are common causes. Or it can seem to come out of the blue. Anxiety can run in families, so someone with a close relative who has anxiety may be more likely to experience it.

Feelings

  • heart pounding 


  • numbness 


  • outbursts of irritability or anger 


  • trouble falling or staying asleep 


  • sweating 


  • muscle tension 


 

Thoughts

  • nausea or stomach aches

  • trouble concentrating


  • jumpiness


  • trouble breathing

  • dizzy, faint or lightheaded

  • trembling and shaking

 

Signs and Symptoms


  • thinking that danger is everywhere; a thing or situation is very dangerous when it is not 


  • worrying way too much about bad things happening 


  • constant thoughts or images of bad things happening 


 

Behavior

  • avoiding situations, people or things (e.g., flying, social situations, memories) 


  • clinging to safe people or refusing to leave them 


  • temper tantrums or outbursts when faced with separation or feared situations 


  • repetitive rituals 


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

 

Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations. This type of steady, all-over anxiety is can sometimes develop into a generalized anxiety disorder. Other anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks (severe episodes of anxiety which happen in response to specific triggers) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (which is marked by persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsions to carry out specific behaviors).

Anxiety so frequently co-occurs with depression that the two are thought to be twin faces of one disorder. Like depression, anxiety strikes twice as many females as males.

Generally, anxiety arises first, often during childhood. Evidence suggests that both biology and the environment can contribute to the disorder. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; however, this does not make the development of the condition inevitable. Early traumatic experiences can also reset the body’s normal fear-processing system so that it is hyper-reactive to stress. (www.psychologytoday.com)

Anxiety isn't always the problem but your response can be! Working with an understanding and empathic counselor can help teach you simple, everyday techniques to better cope with and manage stress and anxiety.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder an anxiety disorder characterized by reoccurring unexpected panic attacks. 

Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, numbness, or a feeling that something terrible is going to happen.

Panic attacks typically include some of these signs or symptoms:

  • Sense of impending doom or danger

  • Fear of loss of control or death

  • Rapid, pounding heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat

  • Chills

  • Hot flashes

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal cramping

  • Chest pain

  • Headache

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness

  • Numbness or tingling sensation

  • Feeling of unreality or detachment

The good news is that there is help for anxiety!

 

There are 2 different types of treatment that work.

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a time-limited, problem-focused intervention that teaches how to change unhelpful or unrealistic thoughts and how to learn new behaviors like calming coping skills, and taking steps toward facing up to fears and worries and finding out that it is possible to lessen anxious feelings. The therapist and client identify the specific type of anxiety, the unhelpful thoughts and behaviors, and come up with new ones to practice and try out.

  2. Antidepressant medicine. These medicines work on the brain and uplift and calm down moods. Medicine is usually not the only treatment but can be taken along with doing therapy.

 

Lifestyle changes also help! Exercise, healthy meal planning and nutritional food choices, deep breathing, stress reduction, reducing alcohol and other drugs, support from loved ones, increased empowerment to make positive changes in your health and wellness.

The majority of people who are anxious can recover and be back to normal with 10-20 sessions of therapy, often without medication. It’s important to know that CBT is a treatment that requires active participation and practicing new ways of thinking and behaving to work. Just like medicine only works when it is taken, therapy only works when people work to actively change.