Anxiety disorders have increased during the pandemic to the point that it is estimated that 18 million people in the United States alone suffer from anxiety. Rest assured that you are not alone if anxiety is interfering with handling your day-to-day life and resulting your feeling apprehensive and fearful most of the time.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress if it keeps one alert to deal with the challenges but does not take over one’s entire life. It is not a disorder when it helps you complete a demanding task at home or work or prepare for an exam or speech. Anxiety is a motivator for completing a demanding, out of the ordinary day to day task is it constructive when it results in the ability to meet the challenge.
What constitutes an anxiety disorder? Anxiety is classified as a disorder if it involves chronic worry, agitation, sweating, or trembling not related to a physical cause or the continuous fear that something awful is going to happen which cannot be handled. Some people’s anxiety disorder shows up in social isolation and avoidance of any situation in which they may be criticized or viewed as inadequate. Crippling feelings, negative though patterns and/or physical symptoms not related to a health problem and which are chronic characterize anxiety disorders.
Two predominant characteristics of an anxiety disorder are the chronic fear and a high level of physical tension. These two characteristics interfere with the ability to concentrate and the ability to effectively problem solve. In fact, the fear of foreboding doom results in those with anxiety disorders expecting the worst even when things are going well. They often experience things going well as what happens before disaster is about to occur.
Panic attacks are another anxiety disorder which product an extreme state of fear in those who experience them and result in people fearing they have a serious health problem. Their attacks not only result in sever fear while experiencing the attack but also result in ongoing fear of another attached happening.
One of the anxiety disorders which severely interferes with a satisfying life where one can function well and enjoy relationships is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The disorder usually stems from a traumatic experience in which the person did not experience needed emotional support. Flashbacks, hypervigilance, sleep problems, and social isolation are some of the symptoms of this disorder.
Anxiety disorders are often difficult to recognize given the fact that their indicators and symptoms tend to be similar to physical condition. Consequently, many people live their lives knowing something is wrong but never finding out what it is. Unfortunately, because of this being the case, often an anxiety disorder is never addressed nor appropriately treated.
When symptoms of anxiety overtake one’s life, it is time to seek professional help. The symptoms do not simply go away on their own and one does not have the accept them as just part of their life. Ruling out a physical cause of the symptoms is imperative. Even if there is a physical cause, psychological counselling can help with the anxiety one may experience as a result of the physical diagnosis. In addition, an anti-anxiety medication can often be helpful whether the symptoms arise from a psychological or physical origin. Psychological counselling will often reduce the need for ongoing anti-anxiety medication.
Questions with affirmative answers that indicate an Anxiety Disorder:
Are you constantly worried without knowing why?
Are you often restless, dissatisfied and/or irritable?
Do you personalize criticism you receive?
Do you dislike change?
Do you go out of your way to avoid other people?
Do you expect the worst outcome in whatever experience you have?
Do you experience flashbacks?
Do you often experience sweating or trembling for no physical cause?
Do you feel pessimistic about both the present and future?
Do you overthink everything?
Does your restlessness and worry interfere with your sleep?
Is it difficult to concentrate?
If you answered yes to even one or two of these questions, you may benefit from psychological counselling which may not need to be that lengthy. If you answered yes to several of these questions, it is in your best interest to seek psychological counselling as well as have your physician determine if there is a physical cause.
Benefits of Counseling for Anxiety Disorders
From Beth Reimel, PhD LMSW
Each person’s experience of anxiety is unique to them. Consequently, I will want to understand you as a person in your total context rather than fitting you into a particular theory of counselling. Initially, I will also want to be sure your physician has ruled out a physical source of your anxiety. Even if there is a physical source, I can still help you deal with your feelings associated with the physical cause.
Exploring the triggers to your anxiety will assist in your being able to confront your anxiety with positive methods of handling the accompanying dreaded feelings instead of a fearful, withdrawal approach that has been maintaining your anxiety.
Learning to challenge your negative thoughts so that you, rather than they, control what you feel and what you do will be another aspect of my counseling with you. This will result in your being able to think more effectively and utilize your mental energy in a way that enhances your life. Changing your worries into problems you can solve will also reduce the patterns of avoidance so characteristic of anxiety disorders. Instead of procrastinating because your energy I sapped by anxiety, you will begin to more effectively meet the demands of your life.
Since anxiety often results in shallow breathing, I will refer you to instruction on how to breathe more deeply. Becoming aware of how to breathe more deeply will be a skill you can readily utilize. The fact that is requires no equipment and can be done wherever you are is very reassuring.
More than just developing positive coping skills and improved ability to problem solve, I will assist you in personal growth. The personal growth will stem from my help in your understanding and appreciating yourself and helping you become aware of your feeling and how to positively express them as well as your needs. Instead of a need to withdraw, you will be better able to connect in a positive way with others, including your family, and better able to deal with challenges.
Call Beth Reimel, PhD LMSW at 616-551-3884 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org today to being your transformation. You deserve a life in which your confident, comfortable with yourself and others and able to achieve your goals.