You feel your heart racing and your shoulders tense as a feeling of worry comes over you. Thoughts race, and it's becoming harder to breathe. You jitter and stutter as you look for a way to relinquish this unpleasant feeling. Time passes, and your body slowly calms down, leaving you restless.
Anxiety is both a gift and a challenge. It's a mechanism in every person's brain that is connected to our fight or flight system. For some, this can be overwhelming and affect one's daily functioning.
What are the types of Anxiety?
Anxiety is very common, affecting nearly 30% of adults at some point in their lives. There are several different types of anxiety that people can experience. However, anxiety is treatable with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. The most known types of anxiety are:
Generalized anxiety is persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily activities. One might experience physical symptoms of feeling restlessness, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, and physical strain due to constant concern and tension.
Recurring panic attacks as well as physical and psychological distress. When an anxiety attack happens, one can experience some of the following symptoms:
The onset of panic disorder is typically seen between ages 20-24.
Phobias are an excessive and persistent fear of a specific object or situation. The fear can cause the individual distress, and they will take extreme lengths to avoid the object or situation. While it is something that the individual knows is not a threat, it still causes them to experience anxiety.
- Ex. Fear of spiders.
Agoraphobia is the fear of situations where escape can be difficult, embarrassing, or help might not be available.
Social anxiety is when one fears being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or looked down on in social interactions. Those with social anxiety disorder avoid the situation or endure the situation with an extreme bout of anxiety. Some examples include public speaking, meeting new people, and eating/drinking in public.
Separation anxiety is the excessive fear of being away from those they are attached to; while children do this with their parents, those who experience separation anxiety are well beyond that age. This anxiety type can affect your sleep, your comfort going out in public, and potentially cause nightmares.
What is the Treatment for Anxiety?
Medication and therapy options are the most common treatments for anxiety, whether in combination or individually.
Most people respond well to talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has a number of scientific studies that show its effectiveness. This therapeutic technique identifies thought patterns teaching you a different way of thinking and reacting to feel less anxious in a positive manner. In addition to CBT, there are other forms of therapy that can give you tools to manage anxiety effectively including somatic therapy, mindfulness, EMDR, dialectical behavioral therapy.
Medications, while helpful, do not cure anxiety. It is a tool that can enhance the healing process. Those taking medication should note that the anti-anxiety meds are a tool to help you develop coping mechanisms. The end-goal of medication is to have you wean yourself off of the medication and live your life without the medication.
What can I do on my own?
There are many available resources to help you with anxiety in addition to treatment. Meditation is a common practice that can calm your mind. Furthermore, you can find relief through support groups to discuss strategies other people have used to help with their anxiety.
If you think you are experiencing anxiety symptoms, please meet with a professional to get a proper diagnosis. The most important component for effective treatment is you. Our therapists are experts and are here to walk alongside you while you progress through your healing journey. Know that you do not have to go through this experience alone.