Did you know that anxiety affects eighteen percent of the adults in the United States and that it is the most common form of mental health challenges? The National Institute of Mental Health reports that most people have experienced anxiety at one time or another. Facing a job interview or review, taking an exam or attending a social event may trigger anxiety. Generally this feeling is short-lived and does not interfere with your daily functioning. However, an anxiety disorder is different in a number of ways. It is more than a fleeting feeling. It is a relatively long-lasting experience, which often worsens over time and significantly interferes with an individual’s ability to function on a daily level.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety, Separation Anxiety, Panic Disorder and Selective Mutism in addition to a wide range of specific phobias. While they take different forms, excessive fear is a common quality. Fear is experienced in the expectation of an immediate threat, which might be real or imagined. Anxiety is the anticipation of a future threat resulting is prevalence of behaviors which persist long after the need for it has passed.
The physical expression of a medical condition, as well as substance use or withdrawal from prescribed medications or illicit drugs, can cause the presentation of anxiety symptoms. Anxiety makes moving through your day take on new emotional challenges:
- Have you found yourself worrying excessively over everyday decisions?
- Do you have difficulty concentrating in spite of your own best efforts?
- Do you find that your mind goes blank?
- Are unwanted feelings, thoughts or fears troubling you?
- Are you fearful that something terrible is about to occur?
- Are you feeling angry or irritated?
- Are you attempting to minimize these through the participation in routines or rituals such as counting, repeating or avoiding numbers, sequences, or sites?
On a physical level there are a number of symptoms that may be indicative of anxiety. Examine what you are experiencing physically:
- Does it feel as though your heart is bursting out of your chest?
- Are your hands clammy; are you sweating?
- Do you find yourself shaking, twitching and feeling as though you could jump out of your skin?
- Are you feeling breathless, lightheaded or nauseous?
- Is insomnia your all too present bedtime companion?
If you have answered “Yes” to any of these questions you are probably feeling isolated in your pain and misunderstood in the difficulties you are experiencing. Although it may feel as though these challenges will last forever, they do not have to! Through our therapeutic relationship you will learn how to process life in a very different way. Instead of being rooted in your self-defeating and pain-filled repetitions, you will learn how to move productively through your life and become more effective in your relationships.