Anxiety Therapy

Anxiety therapy is one of the most under-utilized mental health services in this country. About 18% of the population (around 58 million people), have an anxiety disorder, yet only about one third of those people ever seek therapy. An anxiety disorder is more than simply feeling nervous or worried. Anxiety is a normal human emotion, but an anxiety disorder has a much deeper impact on a person’s life and relationships. The good news is that anxiety disorders are extremely responsive to anxiety therapy, making significant, lasting changes in a person’s life.

The symptoms of an anxiety disorder can look similar to everyday anxiety. However, an anxiety disorder is different than normal anxiety in that it significantly limits and interferes with a person’s life. The fears are lasting, uncontrollable, overwhelming and defy rational logic or evidence. For example, it would be normal to feel anxiety and sadness following a traumatic event, but with an anxiety disorder there might be persistent nightmares, flashbacks and emotional numbing months or years after the trauma. Instead of normal fears about a job review at work, an anxiety disorder may stop a person from even going to work for the review. The fears may even connect to events or situations that are highly unlikely to occur, like a fear of dying in a plane crash, or have no clear triggering event at all.

Symptoms of an anxiety disorder include:

Physical Symptoms

  • Dry Mouth

  • Rapid, Pounding Heartbeat

  • Hyperventilation

  • Dizziness

  • Butterflies in Stomach

  • Speeded Up Thoughts

  • Sweaty All Over

  • Confusion

Cognitive Symptoms

  • People Are Looking At Me

  • I Can’t Do It

  • I Can’t Breathe

  • I Could Faint

  • Get Me Out Of Here

  • I’m Going Crazy

Emotional Symptoms

  • Panic

  • Keyed Up/ On Edge

  • Feelings of Doom/Gloom

  • Uneasy

  • Trapped-No Way Out

  • Angry

It’s important to realize that the intensity of symptoms and coping strategies can become more extreme over time. So if you believe you may have an anxiety disorder, it’s important to seek treatment soon. A competent anxiety therapist will help with the balance of anxiety therapy and/or medication you need to feel better again soon.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

A panic disorder/panic attack is when a person is flooded with fear of being in danger. They may occur suddenly and with no clear reason, which is why it may initially be confused with symptoms of a heart attack.

A phobia is an uncontrollable, irrational and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. The fear experienced by people with phobias can be so great that some individuals go to extreme lengths to avoid the source of their dread.

Obsessions are frequent, irrational thoughts that create anxiety. No amount of reasoning can control the fear, even if the person realizes it’s irrational. Common obsessions include preoccupations with dirt or germs, or nagging doubts (e.g., “Did I turn off the oven?” or “Did I lock the house?”).

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can happen when a person has been through a severe or terrifying physical or emotional event. The trauma continues to replay in dreams, memories or flashbacks and causes extreme emotional, mental, and physical distress. This can happen spontaneously or when a situation triggers the memory.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is ongoing, exaggerated tension that can interfere with daily functioning. It’s usually related to normal stressors, like family, work and money, but the level of worry makes a person tired, irritable and distracted, and can interfere with health and sleeping. This usually leads to other issues, such as depression or addiction.