February 11

A Brief Overview of Anxiety

Thoughts race, and it's becoming harder to breathe. You jitter and stutter as you look for a way to relinquish this unpleasant feeling. Time passes, and your body slowly calms down, leaving you restless.

Anxiety is both a gift and a challenge. After all, it is a mechanism in our brain's that is connected to our fight or flight system. For some however, this can be overwhelming and negatively impact one's daily functioning.

This is one of the most common issues, affecting nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. There are several types of anxiety that people can experience. And while this can affect our daily functioning, anxiety is treatable with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.

What are the types of Anxiety Disorders?

There are several different types of anxiety. Each type has it's own conditions and symptoms. Although some are similar, there are distinct differences and reasonings behind each type. The ones listed below are some of the more common forms of anxiety:

Generalized Anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder is when you have persistent and excessive worry that interferes with your daily activities. You can experience physical symptoms of restlessness, become easily fatigued, have difficulty concentrating, and physical strain due to constant concern and tension.

 

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is when you have recurring panic attacks as well as physical and psychological distress. A combination of the following symptoms are usually experienced during a panic attack:

  • Heart Palpitations
  •  Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Feeling of Choking
  • Numbness
  • Chills or Hot Flashes
  • Nausea
  • Feeling detached
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying

These symptoms can make it seem like you are having a heart attack. The onset of panic disorder is typically between ages 20-24.

Phobias

Phobias are an excessive and persistent fear of a specific object or situation. The fear can cause you feelings of distress, influencing you to take extreme measures to avoid the object or situation. Even though the object is not a threat, it is still a challenge to overcome. 

  • Ex. Fear of spiders.

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is the fear of situations where escape can be difficult, embarrassing, or help might not be available to you.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is when you fear being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or looked down on in social interactions. Those with social anxiety will avoid or endure the situation with an extreme bout of anxiety. Some examples include:

  • Public Speaking
  • Meeting New People
  • Eating/drinking in Public. 
 

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is the excessive fear of being away from those you are attached to. While children do this with their parents, those with separation anxiety are well beyond that age. Having this type of anxiety can result in refusing to go to sleep without the person you are attached to knowingly nearby as well as potential nightmares. Also, going out in public is another result of separation anxiety. 

 

What is the Treatment for Anxiety?

Medication and therapy are the most common treatment options for anxiety, whether in combination or individually. If you are considering only medication, please note that while it is effective on its own, medication is not a long-term solution. In turn, most people respond well to talk therapy which does provide you tools and strategies that work well in the long-run.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is one of the more common forms of talk therapy due to its overall effectiveness with anxiety, as well as a myriad of other issues such as depression and stress. CBT has a number of scientific studies that show its effectiveness. This therapeutic technique can help you learn another way of thinking and reacting toward negative automatic thoughts. In addition to CBT, there are several forms of therapy that can give you tools and strategies to effectively manage anxiety such as:

Medications, while helpful, do not cure anxiety. Meds are more so a tool that can enhance the healing process. The end goal of medication is to develop ways of managing anxiety symptoms; and, once developed, live independently without needing anti-anxiety meds to manage anxiety symptoms.

Woman with Anxiety staring out into the ocean

Photo Credit: Cosiela BortaUnsplash

What can I do on my own?

There are many resources are available to help with anxiety in addition to treatment. Meditation is a common practice that can help calm your mind. Furthermore, you can find relief through support groups to discuss strategies that other people have used to help with their anxiety.

There are many Seattle anxiety specialists that can conduct a proper diagnosis. The sooner one begins treatment, the more effective it will be. If you are currently looking for counseling services for anxiety, our therapists at Seattle Wellness Center are experts. They understand the struggle and will walk alongside you on your healing journey. Know that you do not have go on this trek alone.

Sources

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/anxiety-disorders/what-are-anxiety-disorders

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470241/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3918025/

Written by: Dave Bugg

Tags

anxiety, anxiety therapy, cbt, healing journey, healthy habits, Mental health, psychology, talk therapy, therapist, therapy


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