Do you feel nervous, or perhaps even worry, when your circumstances do not warrant such a reaction? Do you feel anxious in social situations? Or find yourself obsessing over something, even to the point where you suffer from insomnia? Ever have a panic attack? Or a traumatic event that stays with you?
The above are symptoms of anxiety. For many people, feelings of anxiety are short-term (because let’s face it – we all get nervous or worry over something from time to time.) But for many people, anxiety is more than short term. It’s a way of life.
If that sounds like you, there is hope – you need not go through every day with these feelings.
Some General Anxiety Information
What exactly is Anxiety, and what causes it?
Anxiety is an ongoing feeling of anxiousness, stress, and nervousness. I say “ongoing” because we all feel stressed or nervous from time to time (think about your last job interview.)
However, some people suffer from these feelings even when there is no real cause. They may make up something to worry about, or they worry about things that are there, but don’t warrant such worry.
Anxiety has many causes. Some are triggered by events. For example, if one had a terrible experience in an amusement park, he/she may learn to fear amusement parks. Other times, anxiety can be hereditary, or due to biochemical imbalances in the brain.
Here are some of the “types” of anxiety
-Generalized Anxiety Disorder – this is when one worries about instances in the individual’s life, like jobs, finances, health, etc. The worry never really goes away, either Sometimes, when one source of worry disappears, another “topic” to worry about appears. The worry can oftentimes be profound, and accompanied by dizziness, sweating, etc. Frequently, worries can be health related – when every pain or such has one worrying about being seriously ill.
-Social Phobia – Fear of social situations. The individual feels great stress or fear of embarrassment when accompanied by others. This can reach extreme levels, even affecting whether one partakes in social situations.
-Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – This disorder involves 2 parts. The first part is obsessing over things (like germs, needing your shoes all lined up before going to bed, or constantly worrying about the oven and front door lock). The compulsion part is what you do when you obsess (washing your hands fifteen times an hour, checking the stove and door locks repeatedly, etc). Sometimes, this is harmless (double checking the door or washing your hands a few times is fine. So is wondering whether you left the iron on while on vacation.) Other times, it becomes an issue (for example, getting up ten times a night to check the door does not promote good sleep… washing your hands until they are raw does more harm than good. Thinking about the iron to the point where you ruin your vacation is not healthy.)
-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Usually brought about by a traumatic event (sexual attack, disaster, accident, military combat, etc), PSTD affects many areas of one’s life. Sufferers may re-experience the event in both consciousness and during dreams; they may fear reminders of the event; they could be easily startled, etc. In addition, sufferers of PSTD often do so silently, as they may not wish to discuss the event, which can cripple social interactions.
-Panic Disorder – A sudden, intense fear (sometimes a fear of losing control or even dying) accompanied by panic symptoms such as trembling, a pounding heart, nausea, and/or sweating is usually called a panic attack. Fear of panic attacks will often cause people to avoid situations that may cause another attack. Panic attacks can be very crippling to one’s well-being.
-Specific Phobia – A “specific phobia” is an intense fear of a particular object or situation. Fear of heights, enclosed spaces, the dark, etc. are good examples. Typically, these fears become an anxiety disorder when they interfere with everyday life (for example, it’s fine not to like enclosed spaces and have that fear keep you from exploring caves… but if it’s to the point where you can’t ride an elevator, that could be a reason to seek treatment).
Treatment for Anxiety
As you can see, there are many different types (and reasons for) anxiety. As a licensed clinical psychologist, it’s my job to work with you to define what is causing your anxiety, and get you on the proper path for treatment.
Let’s get you to stop worrying. Please contact me.