Anxiety

 

We all feel anxious.  In fact, occasional anxiety can be beneficial and motivate us to perform better or help us to react more quickly in a situation requiring immediate action. However, for many people, their anxiety is excessive and can actually impede their performance.  It may negatively affect and interfere with their daily lives, whether at home, at work, or in social situations. For these individuals, they know that their anxiety is excessive but often feel helpless to manage it and their anxiety-related behaviors.

 

If you are experiencing anxiety that is causing you distress and interfering with your everyday life, you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Heath, Anxiety Disorders affect 18% of the adult population in America. That’s 40 million people!

What are Anxiety Disorders? 

The term Anxiety Disorders encompasses a wide range and spectrum of anxieties including Generalized Anxiety (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and Specific Phobias.

 

What you might be experiencing.

Symptoms of anxiety vary for each individual and for each specific condition or combination of conditions and can include body alarms or sensations, emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Symptoms may include:

 

  • Rapid breathing, heart pounding, chest heaviness;

  • Sweating or feeling hot or cold;

  • Fatigue;

  • Nausea or stomachache;

  • Headaches;

  • Muscle tension;

  • Insomnia: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep;

  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions or mind going blank;

  • Feelings of dread, fear or impending doom;

  • Irritability;

  • Feeling nervous, on edge.

  • Worry thoughts, anticipating the worst case scenario;

  • Obsessive thoughts or worries;

  • Intrusive or scary thoughts that are inconsistent with who you know yourself to be;

  • Mental or physical rituals; and

  • Anxious and avoidant behavior.

 

What causes Anxiety Disorders?

We don’t know exactly what causes Anxiety Disorders. There may not be just one cause, but rather a complex interaction of both genetic and environmental factors that can play a role. These factors may include:

 

  • Family history and genetics;

  • Stressful life events;

  • A medical diagnosis or chronic illness;

  • Substance abuse;

  • Death of a loved one; or

  • Major life transitions such as going off to college, graduating from college, becoming pregnant and/or giving birth, the transition to parenthood.

 

What can you do?

Treatment can be very effective. Treatment varies depending on individual symptoms and needs. It is a collaborative process and includes evidenced-based psychotherapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposures Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Therapy and practices. In some instances, medication can be helpful. As a psychotherapist, I often work collaboratively with psychiatrists and can make referrals as needed. 

 

Information on these pages is not meant to be advice and is not a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.

© 2015 by Terry Wohlberg

License: LMFT 21154

PLEASE CALL: 310-622-4414 for more information or to schedule an appointment.