Anxiety is a common reason people seek therapy. Most of us can imagine how it feels to feel anxious. Maybe you felt nervous before giving a class presentation. Or you felt stressed when you got lost trying to find your hotel on vacation. Or you felt overwhelmed at a concert in a big crowd of people. Those are all examples of situations and feelings that can be categorized as anxiety.
Anxiety can be useful. For instance, if you see an unleashed big dog growling at you from across the street, you might get feelings of anxiety that are meant to tell you that this situation is unsafe and you need to get away from danger. But anxiety becomes a problem when it negatively interferes with your life in some way.
Imagine worrying to the point that you can't sleep, you start feeling physical symptoms like sweaty palms, feeling tense or on edge, or feeling like something bad is going to happen but you just can't figure out what it's going to be. Some people have anxiety that feels more constant, and we can that generalize anxiety, and some people have more intense anxiety attacks, or panic attacks. Anxiety can impact your ability to do your job, socialize with friends, or be present with your family.
From a clinician perspective, the term anxiety encompasses a few different diagnoses. There are many different presentations of anxiety, but I’ll list three that might be most common. Generalized anxiety disorder refers to anxiety that is persistent, in which suffers can feel irritable, difficulty sleeping and easily tired, difficulty concentrating, and constant worry. In fact, to meet criteria for the diagnosis, those suffering would have this condition for at least six months. There’s also panic disorder, when the person suffers from panic attacks, which are debilitating episodes of high anxiety where the sufferer might experience fast heartbeat, sweating, feeling out of control, feeling impending doom, and/or gastrointestinal issues. Then there’s social phobia, a disorder where the sufferer fears social situations and experiences symptoms such as blushing, sweating, difficulty making eye contact, feeling self conscious, and racing heart beat. These are not all the anxiety disorders or presentations of anxiety, and for more information I’ve included links for further reading at the end of this article.
What's important to remember is, anxiety is treatable. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has a track record of proven results when it comes to treating anxiety disorders. So whether you feel like anxiety might be impacting your life but you're not quite sure, or you feel like you're living in a constant state of anxiety, there's hope. Therapy is a great place to start to explore what the causes are to your anxiety and the solutions that fit your circumstances and life goals.
For more information on anxiety:
National Institute of Mental Health
National Alliance of Mental Illness
Types of Anxiety
There are many types of anxiety. Some can be more generalized which is when it doesn't necessarily stem from a specific place. Other types can stem from or cause panic or are triggered by certain phobeas.
What is High Functioning Anxiety?
When a person is constantly overthinking, aiming for perfection cause your afraid to fail, know for being a people pleasure and constantly dwelling on past mistakes, chances are they are suffering from anxiety but they still manage to function. Completely tasks and daily tasks and responsibilities all while suffering from these anxiety symptoms.
How Do You Calm Anxiety?
When going through an anxiety attack it's important to remember to control your breathing the best you can. Get your breathing under control and distance yourself from whatever trigger you in that state to begin with.
What Causes Anxiety?
It's important to remember that everyone is different and react to things, experiences and people uniquely. However there are some similar causes to anxiety such as child hood or even adult experiences can cause anxiety when faced with certain triggers.