Feelings of worry and anxiety are normal and inevitable parts of the human experience. Sometimes, the feelings of fear and worry associated with anxiety can get out of hand and disrupt our ability to show up in our lives the way we want to. When that happens, reaching out for professional support can help you get back on track.
Generalized anxiety is an experience of excessive worry about common daily events without any clear reason to point to. Sometimes, these worries can spiral out of control making it difficult to focus on work, school, friendships, and other relationships. When this is the case, it's time to reach out for help.
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety:
- excessive worrying
- irritability and/or feeling "on edge"
- feeling tense
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling tired and/or having trouble sleeping
Social anxiety describes a fear of engaging with other people in social situations. For some, the fear is connected to a worry that they might be judged or misunderstood. For others, the fear might be connected to "not knowing what to say" or being embarrassed. Whatever the reason, if anxiety is holding you back from experiencing social connections that are important to you, it may be time to get support.
A phobia is a type of anxiety that describes an experience of intense, irrational fear about a specific situation, place, object, or living being. Some of the most common phobias include a fear of being in confined spaces (claustrophobia), fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of spiders (arachnophobia), and fear of flying (aerophobia). If intense fear associated with a phobia is preventing you from doing the things in life you want to do, you may want to consider reaching out to a therapist.
A panic attack is a sudden and intense experience of fear that arises seemingly out of nowhere and with no clear reason or source of danger. When this happens, it can be terrifying and you may even feel as if you are dying. While panic attacks are not life threatening, if they occur frequently they can hold you back from fully engaging in your life. When this is the case, seeking support from a mental health professional may help.
Symptoms of Panic Disorder:
- intense fear
- rapid heart rate
- shortness of breath
- trembling or shaking
- chest pain
- feeling dizzy or light headed
- numbness or a tingling sensation
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder, sometimes abbreviated to "OCD", is a condition in which a person gets stuck in a pattern of obsessions and compulsions that interfere with one's daily functioning. Obsessions are intrusive, unwanted thoughts and ideas that bring on a deep sense of discomfort or distress. Compulsions are behaviors that one engages in to attempt to alleviate the distress brought on by the obsessive thoughts.
Some Common Obsessions:
- Worries of being contaminated by bodily fluids, germs, chemicals, or dirt
- Worries of losing control of oneself and causing harm
- Feeling distressed if one's environment is out of order
- Having unwanted sexual thoughts or impulses
- Preoccupation with morality and/or religion
Some Common Compulsions:
- Excessive cleaning or hand-washing
- Repeating routine activities over and over again
- Checking, double-checking, triple-checking...
- Preoccupation with rearranging one's environment until it "feels right"
Existential anxiety are feelings of uneasiness, distress, or dread that surface when confronted with themes related to one's existence - like death, freedom, choice, and meaninglessness. Sometimes, existential anxiety arises when we don't know "the right choice" when facing a decision, or the feeling of distress that comes up when we aren't experiencing a sense of meaning and purpose in life. Existential anxiety is an inevitable part of the human experience. Being more aware of its presence and purpose allows us to find ways to live with existential anxiety, rather than trying to eradicate it.
While anxiety of any kind can sometimes be an overwhelming and painful experience to endure, the good news is that it is treatable and can be overcome. Some of the most common approaches to treating anxiety are:
- Self-Help: some people are able to manage experiences of anxiety on their own by adjusting one's diet, exercise, and using mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Meditation can be another self-directed practice that can help manage experiences of anxiety.
- Medication Management: a doctor can prescribe a medication to help manage the symptoms of anxiety, like a selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI).
- Counseling and psychotherapy: working with a therapist can help you understand more about what is contributing to your experience of anxiety and help you find ways of managing your anxiety so that you aren't held back by it. Depending on your situation, this could be through behavioral work like cognitive-behavior therapy or exposure therapy, or may involve experiential depth work to address existential themes that may be related to your experience of anxiety.
Therapists at Live True Counseling Can Help
Therapists at Live True Counseling work with clients in a variety of different ways to explore, understand, and treat those who are suffering from experiences of anxiety. We work collaboratively with our clients to create an approach unique to each situation to help them become empowered to address their anxiety with integrity and intention. If you are suffering from anxiety and need support, schedule a free consultation with one of our therapists to see how we can help you.