Anxiety an Introduction

In an anxiety-related disorder, your fear or worry does not go away and can get worse over time. Holding onto this fear is the No. 1 mistake. It can influence your life to the extent that it can interfere with daily activities like school, work and/or relationships. Fear, stress, and anxiety are “normal feelings and experiences” but they are completely different than suffering from any of the seven diagnosable disorders plus substance-induced anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and trauma- or stressor-related disorders.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety disorders reflect disorders that share a general feature of excessive fear (i.e. emotional response to perceived or real threat) and/or anxiety (i.e. anticipation of future threat) and demonstrate behavioral and functional disturbances as a result. Depression and panic attacks are features that can occur in the context of many anxiety disorders and reflect a type of fear response. Typical anxiety disorders include, social and separation anxiety, panic disorder and agoraphobia. On a broader level you can have generalized anxiety disorder and you can have substance or medication induced anxiety disorder. Obsessive-compulsive is another related anxiety disorder.

Symptoms

The symptoms are many and varied and are often disorder specific


  1. Separation Anxiety
    1. Recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs (or is anticipated)
    2. Persistent, excessive worry about losing major attachment figures (or something harmful happening to them)
    3. Persistent and excessive worry that something traumatic will lead to separation from a major attachment figure (e.g., being kidnapped)
    4. Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or other places because of fear of separation\
    5. Persistent or excessive fear or reluctance to be alone or without major attachment figures at home or in other settings
    6. Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a near a major attachment figure (or to sleep away from home)
    7. Repeated nightmares involving separation
    8. Repeated complaints of physical symptoms (e.g. headaches, stomachaches, vomiting) when separated from major attachment figures (or separation is anticipated)
  2. Social Disorder
    1. Significant and persistent fear of one (or more) social or performance situations in which the individual is exposed to unfamiliar people, or to possible scrutiny by others due to fear of humiliation or embarrassment. Note: In children, the anxiety must be present in peer situations and not only in interactions with adults.
    2. Exposure to the feared social or performance situation provokes significant anxiety (including panic attack).
    3. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable. Note: In children, there may be limited insight.
    4. The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
  3. Panic Disorder
    1. Recurrent expected or unexpected panic attacks AND one or more of the following symptoms for at least one month:
      • Pounding heart
      • Sweatiness
      • Feeling of weakness
      • Faintness
      • Dizziness
      • Tingling or numbness in hands
      • Feeling flushed
      • Sense of unreality
      • Feeling of loss of control or losing one’s mind
      • Fear of dying or something physically wrong (e.g., heart attack, stroke)
    2. Persistent concern about the consequences of the attacks (e.g. “going crazy”, heart attack) or fears of having additional attacks
    3. A significant change in behavior related to attacks (e.g. avoiding exercise)
  4. Agoraphobia
      • Intense fear in response to (or when anticipating) at least two of the five following situations:

      1. using public transportation (e.g. cars, buses, planes)

      2. being in open spaces (e.g. parking lots, bridges)

      3. being in enclosed spaces (e.g. shops, movie theatre)

      4. standing in line or being in a crowded place

      5. being outside the home alone

      • Immediate anxiety response when confronted with such situations
      • Avoidance of such situations (changes daily routine or restricts travel) or endures such situations with significant distress.
      • Recognition of fear as disproportionate to circumstances
  5. Generalized Disorder
    1. Excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of events or activities, even when nothing is wrong or when the worry is disproportionate to actual risk.
    2. The worry is difficult to control
    3. The worry is associated with at least three (adults) or one (children) of the following physical or cognitive symptoms:
      • Restlessness
      • Fatigue
      • Impaired concentration or feeling that mind is going blank
      • Irritability
      • Increased muscle aches or soreness
      • Difficulty sleeping (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep)
    4. Sometimes associated with other physical symptoms such as nausea or diarrhea
  6. Substance or Medication Disorder
    1. Anxiety or fear reaction following medication or drug use (can include generalized anxiety, panic attacks, or phobic reactions)
    2. Can include physical panic-like symptoms, such as racing heart or shakiness
    3. May occur while individual is intoxicated or after using the drug (withdrawal)

 


Treatment Options and 4 Ways to Fix Anxiety 

Complementary and Alternative Therapies can be used in conjunction with conventional therapies to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. We will always recommend a healthy balance of modalities to enhance the desired outcome of an anxiety free life. There is a growing interest in these types of alternative therapies, since they are non-invasive and can be useful to patients. They are typically not intended to replace conventional therapies but rather can be an adjunct therapy that can improve the overall quality of life of patients.

Stress Management

A collection of activities focused in which an individual consciously produces the relaxation response in their body. This response consists of slower breathing, resulting in lower blood pressure and overall feeling of well-being. These activities include: progressive relaxation, guided imagery, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis and deep-breathing exercises. We practice these in our sessions, in a sense our sessions are rehearsals for the positive activity that your body and mind requires to overcome your anxiety.

Meditation

A mind and body practice in which individuals are instructed to be mindful of thoughts, feelings and sensations in non-judgmental way. It has been shown to be useful in reducing the symptoms of psychological stress in patients with anxiety.

Yoga

A mindfulness practice that combines meditation, physical postures, breathing exercises and a distinct philosophy. It has been shown to be useful in reducing some symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Clinical Hypnotherapy

A mindfulness practice that combines relaxing trance meditations with supportive reframing and coaching structures that adhere to a distinct philosophy can be very beneficial. My methods have been shown to be useful in reducing some symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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