Is anxiety preventing you from doing what you want in life?
Are you very self-conscious? Do you feel on-edge most of the time? Maybe your heart races, your palms sweat, your stomach churns; you are having panic attacks. Perhaps you have sore muscles and are tired all the time from worrying; you may also have sleeping problems.
Maybe you’re socially anxious. When you’re around others, you may worry about others’ judgement of you. Perhaps you are easily embarrassed. Speaking in front of others may be hard. Or you have difficulty with “performance anxiety”.
Perhaps you react to stress with a racing heart, dizziness, sweats, or shortness of breath. You may feel a sense of panic, or a desire to escape. Chronic anxiety may lead to symptoms that last longer like muscle aches, fatigue, and irritability; or difficulty concentrating, jumpiness or restlessness.
Anxiety is All Too Common
Anxiety is part of the human condition. Stress and anxiety are a daily fact of life. How can it not be? Current political, social, economic, and environmental forces create demanding conditions that place wear and tear on our bodies and minds. As the stress takes its toll, we may miss work, seek help for physical ailments, or conversely hide our difficulties and just “cope” with them. Day after day, the stress wears us down. But it’s important to remember, too, that we would not survive without fear and stress.
Problematic anxiety needs help. Research shows about one-third of people will have a diagnosable level of anxiety symptoms at some time in their lives.1 By definition, diagnosable anxiety consists of symptoms that lead to excessive apprehension, worry, fear, or nervousness.
Common causes of the anxiety can come from internal and external sources. External sources often include bad experiences that stay with you and that you naturally want to avoid. They may be environmental stressors such as work, family, or relationships. These experiences may lead to fear of being embarrassed or feeling other people will judge you. Internal experiences include needing reassurance, expecting the worst, being unable to say no, dwelling on the past, or being a people-pleaser. These causes can also be related to genetic and hereditary anxiety, such as relatives with anxiety, chronic health conditions, or recovery from illness.
Whatever the cause, there is hope. It is possible to overcome the symptoms of panic, social anxiety, and the wide range of other types of anxiety that may be holding you back! With the help of a knowledgeable therapist, you can meet the goals you have in reducing your anxiety. You can achieve high levels of well-being that no longer hold you back from enjoying life.
Studies show measurable reduction in anxiety through the application of evidence-based therapies. Short-term cognitive behavior therapy consisting of 12 to 16 sessions can produce benefits for many. In situations of greater complexity and co-occurring concerns, long-term therapy may be needed. The recommended length of treatment is guided by a number of factors including your goals, degree of severity of symptoms, response to techniques, and level of commitment to therapy.
Treatment for anxiety can help improve your symptoms and your understanding of the relationship between personal experiences and events that trigger anxiety, both recent and in the past. The purpose of therapy is to reshape your behavioral responses to the stress reaction that impedes your thinking. Changing your thoughts and behaviors will decrease the reaction of your body and mind to stress and improve your anxiety. Therapy for anxiety is a good way to be successful in changing the patterns that create the condition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
ABOUT THERAPY FOR ANXIETY
Do I really need treatment for my anxiety?
Almost everyone feels fear or worry occasionally. You may get nervous introducing yourself to a stranger, starting a new job, or going to a new place for the first time. It is common to think that you are experiencing the same level of anxiety that others do. You may be one of many who minimizes common concerns and feels that anxiety is not bad enough to bother with – that you can tough it out.
However, when anxiety gets in the way of daily activities or when you have trouble or discomfort doing all of the things you want to do, you may be helped by a therapist in reducing your anxiety. Problematic anxiety arises when a stress reaction becomes exaggerated or out-of-proportion compared to the trigger that causes it. When this occurs, it may be time to look for assistance in managing your anxiety.
Is asking for help a sign of failure on my part? Can’t I just “get over it” like my friends and family say to?
Anxiety is very real. Rather than a measure of character, it is a combination of both brain-based biological and psychological issues. Asking for help is a sign of courage rather than weakness. Anxiety affects 40 million people every year, and individuals with anxiety are three to five times more likely to visit the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized compared to those without anxiety – but only 36.9 percent get help.2 That help can be the difference that’s needed to live the best version of your life.
What if I’m anxious about coming into your office?
Symptoms of anxiety can range from a constant and generalized state of anxiety to the fear of embarrassment and being judged. These might make you fear coming in to receive assistance for your concerns. Reducing the roadblocks that get in the way is important. Whether it be bringing a friend with you or a book or screen to occupy you while waiting, we can design a plan that works for you and overcome obstacles.
1National Institute of Mental Health, retrieve from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml
2 World Health Organization