Anxiety

Anxiety is a physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral response characterized by a range of symptomatic changes to a stressor, event or situation.  Since the earliest days of humanity, the approach of incoming danger set off alarms in the body to promote immediate and evasive action as a protective mechanism from threat.

While in present day, our threat is no longer being chased by a predator but can feel just as threatening to our sense of security and safety.  Anxiety can revolve around work, school, finances, family, health, social/relational, and other life demands/stressors that can trigger a similar stress response to our primitive days.     

Symptoms of Anxiety can include:

 Physical symptoms:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle Tension
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Sweaty palms

Mental symptoms:

  •  Ruminating thoughts or worry.
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts.
  • Difficulty focusing/concentrating

 Emotional symptoms:

  • Feeling panic, fear and uneasiness.
  • Difficulty regulating emotions
  • Detachment from emotions.

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Ritualistic/Obsessive behaviors.
  • High-risk behaviors
  • Unhealthy coping behaviors.

While anxiety can be the occasional jitters or nervousness; when it occurs more frequently and with increasing intensity of symptoms, one's work, school, relationships, social activities, and other areas of life can be negatively impacted.  It’s important to know that there is effective treatment.  Treatment can vary based upon individual history, frequency, and severity however, psychotherapy treatment involves working with a therapist in a supportive and encouraging environment on effective ways in managing anxiety.  

There are several steps you can begin now in managing anxiety.  These strategies can also make your treatment more effective when practiced regularly:

  • Identify triggers:  Explore common anxiety triggers so that you can work toward understanding source of triggering response.
  • Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation, relaxation, deep breathing, challenging negative thought patterns, etc.
  • Seek out support: Trusted family, friends, support groups can help you feel like you are not alone as anxiety impacts many people.
  • Work collaboratively with your therapist and health care provider: While not everyone may need therapy and medication; it can be an effective combination depending upon the individual/situation.

 

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