Anxiety is a basic human emotion that everyone has experienced. Reasonable amounts of anxiety actually act as a protection to keep us from ignoring dangerous situations. Something would be wrong if an individual didn’t feel some anxiety in facing day-to-day stressors. Using problem-solving and relaxation helps individuals handle difficult or anxiety provoking situations. But for some, overwhelming anxiety can produce significant distress and prevent one from functioning in a normal manner either socially, in school, or on the job. In these cases, the anxiety itself is the major disturbance and it can become quite debilitating.
Anxiety can manifest itself in three ways:
In a person’s thoughts – ranging from mild worry to panic (i.e. severe and frightening episodes of apprehension and feelings of impending doom)
In a person’s actions – avoiding anxiety-provoking situations such as social events, public speaking, or job responsibilities
In a person’s body – including shallow breathing, cold hands and feet, heart palpitations, increased perspiration, elevated blood pressure, muscular tenseness and indigestion
What is even more frustrating is those experiencing high amounts of anxiety are aware of the self-defeating nature of some of their behaviors but feel incapable of controlling them. In more severe cases, the individual may spend large amounts of time trying to deal with their often debilitating fears, but are unsuccessful. This preoccupation can lead to increased emotional stress, behaviors that are self-defeating, and disruptions in their significant relationships. I have had success in treating clients with a variety of anxiety disorders and they have been able to return to a more productive level of functioning in their lives.
Some of the more common anxiety disorders include
- Panic Disorder (learn more)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (learn more)
- Agoraphobia/Social Phobias (learn more)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (learn more)
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (learn more)