If you frequently experience…
Constant feelings of dread
A pounding heart, the racing heightened by the slightest of frights
Anticipating the worst, regardless of evidence
Physical symptoms like headaches, sweating, shakes and jumpiness, trouble concentrating, a frequent need to urinate and stomach uneasiness.
Or if you often think…
“It’s safer to stay at home.”
“But what if…”
“I can’t breath / do this / relax / stop / switch off!”
“They or I could be in danger!”
…Then I’m glad you are reading this.
These signs and symptoms are common in those suffering from a medical condition called anxiety disorder.
If you’re suffering from anxiety, you might feel like there’s nothing you can do about it — like there’s no solution or no way to make yourself feel better. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however; therapists have been finding success in treating anxiety with therapeutic techniques for years now, and research indicates that certain types of therapy are more effective than others. If you think you might benefit from therapy, read on to learn about the different types of therapy for anxiety, what they involve and how to know if one in particular will be best for your needs.
Is anxiety a mental illness?
Most people experience some anxiety in their lifetime, even if they don’t have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is an emotion that’s often accompanied by physical changes like increased heart rate, muscle tension, and sweating.
People who have anxiety disorders experience these bodily sensations to a significantly greater degree. The degree to which an individual’s anxiety is out of control and interferes with their ability to function daily differentiates a disorder from regular anxiety.
In order to have a diagnosis of anxiety disorder your symptoms have met certain criteria in the DSM 5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), lasting more than 6 months, and significantly interferes with your normal routine, occupational functioning, or social activities or relationships.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety affects people who experience feelings of dread in public and in large groups, pounding their hearts at the slightest suggestion. Additionally, they think, "Maybe if they laugh at me or think what I say is stupid, I'd prefer not to speak out at all." They feel extremely self-conscious and fear judgment in regular, day-to-day situations. Whenever they are around people, they feel severe discomfort and constantly worry about what others think about them.
What are the symptoms?
Physical symptoms: dizziness, difficulty speaking, nausea, blushing, shaking, and rapid heart rate.
Psychological symptoms: constant dread, worry about being humiliated or embarrassed, feeling anxious and panicky before social situations.
If you feel this way, then you may have a social anxiety disorder.
Many people deal with it on a daily basis.
In fact, it is estimated that over fifteen million, or 7% of the adult population experience social anxiety symptoms. The fact that you’re searching for information about social anxiety is already a step in the right direction.
What is the cause of social anxiety?
Social anxiety disorders come from different situations. Sometimes, trauma such as bullying or severe stress may trigger an anxiety disorder. In these cases, genetic factors or a medical disorder are usually to blame. People with an anxiety disorder, for example, often have an overly-reactive fight-or-flight response. It's a natural response when the body recognizes danger and prepares to fight it or to get away from it. People with anxiety disorders, though, overreact to those feelings of fear.
How is it diagnosed?
You can start by talking to your healthcare provider if you are feeling extremely anxious in social situations and it’s affecting your daily functioning. Doctors and mental health counselors can assess for social anxiety disorder based on the DSM-V, the diagnostic manual used to determine disorders
What happens if left untreated?
People with social anxiety disorder will often avoid social situations, resulting in isolation and depression if left untreated. In these cases, substance abuse may be a short-term fix that leads to long-term addiction.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
What are the symptoms of GAD?
People with GAD tend to worry about one or more things for most of the day, nearly every day. They may also have physical symptoms such as muscle tension, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbance, and irritability.
Treatment can include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a form of psychotherapy that helps you understand what's causing your anxiety, and how your thoughts are affecting it. You can also try techniques like deep breathing exercises or meditation.
What cause generalized anxiety disorder?
It is believed that a combination of both genetic and environmental factors contributes to generalized anxiety disorder. If you have a first degree relative, meaning that you have a parent, brother or sister with GAD, then you’re at increased risk for developing GAD.
How to manage and cope with generalized anxiety disorder?
If you're experiencing a anxiety symptoms, focus on breathing deeply and slowly. This will help to regulate your heartbeat, which can have a calming effect on you. There's always the option to speak to a therapist or mental health professional for coping strategies for anxiety.
How to manage and cope with generalized anxiety disorder?
People with anxiety have a high risk of having another psychiatric disorder. If you have generalized anxiety disorder, you are at a higher risk for having social phobia, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and major depressive disorder. You may also experience symptoms of these disorders.
Generalized anxiety disorder can lead to other mental illnesses if it is not treated properly. One in four people who suffer from generalized anxiety will suffer from a second mental illness if they do not receive treatment.
Generalized anxiety can be treated by antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy but this treatment must be applied soon after the first diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder has been made in order for the best chance at recovery.
Ready to start managing your work stress anxiety? Click here to reach out to us!
We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
— Joseph Campbell
Does online therapy work for anxiety?
Yes, online therapy is just as effective as in person therapy.Multiple published research articles have found online mental health treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy is acceptable, effective, and cost-effective in treating anxiety, depression, panic disorder, and other forms of diagnosis.
Source: 2014 study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders and A 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychological Disorders
How effective is therapy for anxiety?
Seeing a therapist gives you a safe space to explore your deepest thoughts and feelings- feelings that you might not have even known you had. It’s a space where you don’t have to pretend to be okay and you can tell them everything. Doing this will truly open you up to solutions and learning more about yourself and the inner workings of your psyche.
In order to properly address your anxiety, you have to get to the root of the problem. Anxiety can affect your performance in school or work by impairing your energy, memory, concentration, and more. Therapy will help you pinpoint your triggers and become less sensitive to them overtime. Uncovering the problem will help you attack it head on. This will overall improve your mental and physical health.
If you have a cut on your finger and it started looking abnormal, you’d probably make an appointment with a doctor to get it checked out. Going to the doctor will provide you with any kind of treatment if your finger has an infection, and peace of mind that it will get better. The same goes for mental health. If you let something fester for too long it will surely take a toll on your body. Seeing a therapist for your anxiety is a treatment. You have to take care of your mental health just like you would your physical.
Can telehealth treat anxiety?
Yes, like in-person therapy, telehealth or online therapy providers use evidence-based interventions and approaches to help alleviate mental health symptoms and improve your well-being.
What type of therapy is best for anxiety?
The most common treatment for anxiety disorders is therapy, which can help you understand your anxiety and learn how to manage it.
Several different types of therapy can treat anxiety, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
While therapy is helpful, medication may also be prescribed. Different types of medication are available depending on the type of anxiety disorder, and some common medications include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers.
Some people with anxiety disorders benefit from treatment with a combination of therapy and medication, and other people may only need therapy or medication to manage their anxiety disorder. Working with your doctor to determine what treatment is best for you is essential.
How do you self treat anxiety?
When addressing anxiety, the initial step is recognizing what triggers it in you. When you can identify the things that trigger your anxiety, you put a face on the cause. Simply by identifying your triggers, you will have the ability to either create an approach to those triggers or create a barrier to the triggers that so distress you.
A great method to address anxiety in the moment - in the middle of an episode - is an exercise called “grounding” and there are five easy steps to follow:
Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you.
Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you.
Acknowledge THREE things you hear.
Acknowledge TWO things you can smell.
Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste.
This protocol will help you disconnect from the panic and intense overwhelming sensation and bring you “back to Earth”.
Who can I talk to about anxiety near me?
The first step in finding a therapist who understands you is asking yourself what you want to get out of your therapy sessions. So before starting your search, consider the following:
What are your communication preferences? Online? Phone? In-person?
What’s your price range?
What type of anxiety therapy are you looking for?
How often do you want to meet with your therapist?
If you're unsure whether or not you've found a good fit after your first appointment, remember that you may need to try a couple of sessions before getting comfortable. If you're transitioning from in-person sessions to online, expect some discomfort at first. Even if you find a great therapist, online sessions feel different from in-person visits and may take some time to adjust.
Here at Blue Oak Counseling Services, we can help you overcome anxiety symptoms so you can life a calm and happier life.
Through our online therapy sessions, we’ll help you learn new ways of thinking, behaving and reacting in situations that cause you anxiety.
Ready to start managing your anxiety? Click here to reach out to us! A member of our team will be happy to discuss the next steps with you.