Anxiety: Is This What I Am Feeling?
Do you experience a certain sense of dread before starting your day? Have you noticed your heart racing and the palms of your hands feeling suddenly sweaty? When you feel anxious, do you tend to withdraw and to disconnect from yourself and others? Do you suffer from excessive worrying and fears?
The discomfort of anxiety is one of the most common reasons why people choose to enter therapy. As you know, anxiety can interfere with accomplishing important goals in life, in intimate relationships, friendships, parenting, and in your job. If you believe that you have anxiety, know that you are not alone and that there are methods for reducing or eliminating the symptoms.
Some people experience anxiety without symptoms of depression. Others may experience a combination of depressive and anxious feelings. Severe anxiety can make a person feel as if they are “going crazy” or even dying. That is why so many people make multiple visits to a physician’s office or to the emergency room before finally calling a psychologist.
Why Do I Feel Anxious?
There are many reasons why you feel anxious. The exact causes of anxiety are unknown, however, in all likelihood, they are multiple. Physiological reasons can include a genetic predisposition, alcohol and drug use/abuse, dietary sensitivities or allergies, and hormonal shifts that can occur around pregnancy or menopause can play a role.
Psychological factors that feel uncomfortable or frightening may be expressed through the body and emerge during points of transition such as with separations, loss, career and geographical moves. A person may lack the coping skills so that over time an accumulation of stress manifests in symptoms of anxiety.
Root causes, some of the time, are located in the past and are uncovered over the course of therapy. Childhood experiences of neglect or abuse that were denied, dissociated or ignored can get communicated through bodily symptoms such as anxiety. Certainly, all types of trauma and significant events or stressors may trigger anxiety symptoms.
What Are The Different Types of Anxiety:
There are many different types of anxiety including:
- Generalized Anxiety (GAD)- Typically one experiences GAD as excessive unrealistic worry and tension about seemingly unrelated events, thoughts, or feelings.
- Social Anxiety (Social Phobia)- Social anxiety is excessive worry, doubt and self-consciousness about everyday situations and interactions. The worry typically revolves around being judged, disliked or humiliated. Often, the critical script comes from within and may reflect childhood experiences with harsh and critical caretakers. Repressive environments in which one feels like an outsider or is not accepted can also play a role.
- Specific Phobias- Specific Phobias involve intense fear of a specific object or situation (i.e. spiders, bridges, flying). The phobic response may relate to an upsetting encounter with that object or event. In most cases, the fear is unrelated to that object or situation and has its roots in past childhood experiences that are unknown.
- Panic Attacks – Sudden and repeated feelings of terror that result in physical symptoms such as chest pain, sweating, heart palpitations and the feeling of “going crazy” or that simulates a “heart attack.” All medical causation has been ruled out.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – I recommend a psychologist who specializes in trauma for the proper diagnosis and treatment. Please click on the link and read more about PTSD and the therapy I provide for safely reprocessing of your trauma and healing.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Heart palpitations, sweating, shaking
- Shortness of breath, feeling faint
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Heightened sense of alertness
- Anticipating feeling anxious or a persistent worry
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feeling of unreality or detachment from oneself
- Fear of dying or losing control
- Irritability, restlessness
- Dry Mouth
- Muscle tension
- Sleep difficulties
- Cold or sweaty hands
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
- Withdrawal from normal activities and friends (avoidance)
- Appetite change or weight change (usually loss)
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
Approaches to Treating Anxiety
I bring a variety of approaches to healing the emotional, physiological and psychological wounds that typically cause anxiety. I modulate the therapy according to what feels safe for you; this is a collaborative process.
Therapeutic approaches for treating anxiety:
- Attachment Focused-EMDR
- Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
- Somatic Approaches
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Guided Mediation and Relaxation
- Dietary Changes
- Medication Consultation by a Psychiatrist
Addressing The Costs and Benefits of Therapy for Anxiety
Indeed, therapy is an investment, and oftentimes, there are financial sacrifices. The answer involves a cost/benefit analysis. What is the relational, emotional, psychological and physical health toll and consequences of not attending to the reasons that bring you to this page?
The research is replete with studies that demonstrate the individual and societal toll on ignoring stressors, anxiety or traumatic experiences on one’s soma/psyche/spiritual being. When therapy addresses the whole person, and moves at a safe, comfortable pace revealing insights and processing old or new wounds, it leads to greater physical health as well as to a more satisfying and meaningful way of life.
Are You Feeling Ambivalent About Starting Therapy?
It is common to feel vulnerable or anxious about beginning therapy. Who would not feel some trepidation about entering a room with a stranger and exploring one’s soul? In fact, if that ambivalence were absent, it would be unusual. To pick up the phone and to schedule an appointment, takes courage. Therapy demands commitment, time, and the willingness to engage in a difficult, but rewarding process.
I find that the people who commit to therapy are the healthiest members of their family. They are moved to seek alternative perspectives, and insights about their own behaviors and emotions. They are the ones who work to construct a life that differs from the one they experienced in the past.
I provide a warm, welcoming and non-judgmental environment. We will track your feelings, what you hope to accomplish in therapy and together we will pursue your declared goals. Questions are welcome and respected.
Initial Sessions: What You Can Expect
I will provide a thorough evaluation (2-3 sessions) and history taking in the context of a warm, compassionate and containing environment. I will offer feedback; recommendations and a treatment plan will be discussed with you so that we may pursue the proper course of therapy with the aim of alleviating or diminishing the pain of living with anxiety.
In general, the goals of any good therapy is symptom reduction, gaining therapeutic techniques that you can apply on your own, and changing one’s internal landscape which leads to growth, stabilization and restoring your mind and body to harmony.
I invite you to Contact Me directly with any questions or concerns or to schedule an appointment.