Therapy for Anxiety Disorders
Everyone experiences anxiety at one time or another. We all have those things we are afraid of… snakes and spiders, monsters & ghosts, those sorts of things… We become anxious and afraid when we have a big test coming up whether we are prepared or not, we become anxious when the boss calls us into their office, we may become anxious and afraid to drive on the freeway to work following a particularly bad accident…
When does normal anxiety and “being afraid” become a disorder? Like all Mental Health Diagnosis, Anxiety, and for that matter, Depression and Grief are not diagnosed until they begin to interfere in your life in some way. That can mean that it becomes difficult for you to go to work because you are afraid you might get in another automobile accident. You go out to dinner with friends; but, you always make reservations ahead of time, check out the place, and sit so that you can monitor the entrances and exits and know how to get out and to your car, you no longer leave your home to go shopping because you are afraid you will have a panic attack or you will never go anywhere alone because you are afraid of being approached by a stranger. In some cases, before you leave the house, you must check that the lights are off and everything is unplugged and the door is locked so many times that you are always late to work or school. Once your anxiety begins to interfere in personal/social, work and or school life it can be diagnosed as a disorder. Not to worry, anxiety is treatable; and, the earlier you seek effective treatment for your anxiety disorder, the better.
Research has demonstrated that therapy is often the most effective treatment approach to managing anxiety disorders. Unlike medication, which temporarily treats the symptoms of anxiety with a highly addictive medication, psychotherapy treats the root-cause of the anxiety in addition to providing you with the skills necessary to manage the symptoms of anxiety (a normal feeling that almost everyone will experience to some degree or another throughout their lifetime). The primary difference is that
Some of the Symptoms of Anxiety are:
- Nervousness, restlessness or being tense
- Feelings of danger, panic or dread
- Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
- Increased or heavy sweating
- Trembling or muscle twitching
- Weakness or lethargy
- Difficulty focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than the thing you’re worried about
- Sleep Disorders – trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up
- Obsessions about certain ideas, a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Anxiety surrounding a particular life event or experience that has occurred in the past, a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Hypervigilance / Checking
Therapy will help you discover the root cause of your fear, worries and anxiety. You will also learn how to manage symptoms associated with anxiety which may include: mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, deep-breathing techniques, stretching, yoga and other self-care techniques including distraction exercises and reframing. In addition to this techniques you will also learn problem-solving skills and gain a greater understanding of the source of your anxiety. Many of the psychotherapy techniques that we use for PTSD are also effective with the Anxiety Disorders as is relational therapies if the source of the anxiety/fear is early trauma as understood by completing the ACES.
If you wish to learn more about how we treat anxiety disorder, I invite you to contact me for a free phone consultation.