Do you feel that your worries are taking over? Are you convinced that rehearsing difficulties from the past offers protection from similar problems in the future? Does your anxiety sometimes keep you from engaging in, and fully enjoying your life?
Doesn’t everyone feel anxious at times? It is important to know that a reasonable amount of anxiety plays an essential role in human existence. It is adaptive for us all—it keeps us from wandering down dark alleys where danger might wait, assures that we will prepare carefully for important events, such as tests and job interviews, and helps us adhere to the rules and norms of our communities.
When does anxiety become a problem? Most anything that serves a useful role in life can become a problem, and anxiety is no exception. If you find yourself anxious in a way that keeps you from performing at your best, if anxiety keeps you from engaging fully at work, gets in the way of your enjoyment of life, or if you have resigned yourself to being a ‘chronic worrier,’ you may have anxiety that would benefit from treatment.
Anxiety disorders are very common, and very treatable: Excessive anxiety is very common, in fact approximately 33% of the population will have a diagnosable anxiety disorder during their lifetime. Given its impact on the body, many people with anxiety find themselves in their doctor’s offices on a regular basis with physical complaints such as stomach aches and headaches. Given its impact on the psyche, anxiety leads to social and professional withdrawal. People with anxiety disorders often complain of restlessness, difficulty concentrating, physical tension and sleep problems. Left untreated, anxiety can become a chronic and worsening condition. While anxiety disorders have a significant impact on life, the good news is, they are very treatable.
What is involved in anxiety disorder treatment? When you meet with me to begin anxiety disorder treatment, we will work together to help you develop new strategies to manage worry and stress in your life. Together we will address beliefs about the protective value of worrying. In anxiety disorder treatment, we will engage in active problem solving and the development of applied relaxation techniques. Anxiety disorder treatment will help you learn evidence-based techniques for managing anxiety and worry in your life. Treatment for anxiety disorders will help you develop productive worry and preparation techniques, and learn to keep excessive anxiety in its place.
I come from a family of worriers, what if this is just the way I am? There is evidence that worrying does run in families. Likely this trait is a result of biological vulnerabilities and environmental learning. In any case, there are numerous evidence-based tools and techniques that are designed to help people learn to put anxiety in its place, and reclaim life from worry.
What if treatment makes me stop worrying completely? Won’t that lead to other problems? There is a big difference between a diagnosable anxiety disorder and the normal anxiety that comes along with being a human in the 21st century. The worries associated with an anxiety disorder are excessive and typically interfere with day-to-day life. People with anxiety disorders recognize their worries are excessive, and that those worries are beyond their control and generally unproductive. In addition, anxiety disorders are often accompanied by a variety of troubling physical symptoms.
When you work with me to learn how to put anxiety in its place, you will learn tools and techniques to manage the cognitive, emotional and physical symptoms of anxiety, and we will help you distinguish productive worrying from excessive anxiety.
I am beginning to see anxiety in my teen, what can I do to help? Anxiety disorders are often first seen in childhood and the teen years, and it is a good idea to address them early. You can serve as a role model for your children in this regard, helping them learn relaxation techniques, assisting them with goal setting and organizational skills, and helping them manage the stress of life. If you are concerned their anxiety is beginning to take over, seeking professional assistance can help them develop life skills that will give them tools for now and their future.
If you are concerned about anxiety in your own life, or in the life of a loved one, please call me for a consultation at 503-490-5793.