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Treatment For Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common ailments in modern society. Individuals suffering from anxiety feel as though they can’t control their reactions to events which result in thoughts or feelings that can seem overwhelming. As a result of these feelings, many begin to have difficulty concentrating and can even experience panic attacks. These negative feelings can also lead to an inability to perform basic day-to- tasks, thus interrupting one’s life. However, by seeking anxiety counselling, individuals can better understand the root cause of their anxiety and learn effective coping mechanisms to reduce its impact on their lives. Effective counselling can also heal the problem at the root and completely dissipate the anxiety all together.
Causes of Anxiety
The term anxiety is used to describe a large group of mental disorders which adversely affect an individual’s ability to cope with ordinary stressful events. Unexpected bills, uncomfortable social settings, or an important business meeting all create high levels of anxiety. These anxious feelings are simply the mind and body’s reaction to stress, and the feelings typically dissipate once the individual is no longer in the specific situation. However, some individuals are unable to deal with stressful situations such as these and the anxious feelings persist long after the situation that caused them has passed. Ultimately, unhealthy levels of anxiety occur when an individual can no longer adequately perform in a situation because they have developed an irrational fear. This fear builds until the anxiety disorder changes the individual’s perception of the outside world as well as their own ability to cope.
Someone with an anxiety disorder is unable to move beyond the realization that this inability to cope or perform is occurring. They often begin envisioning every possible worst case scenario, known as catastrophizing, rather than working toward a solution. As a result, the individuals will often come to a standstill, refusing to engage in other actions that could remedy or improve the situation such as job-hunting or reaching out to family and friends for help with a financial situation. Essentially, the anxiety disorder takes over, and the individual agonizes over the negative situation until they reach a breaking point.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety in Men
- Tightness in shoulders and back
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty or inability to sleep
- Feelings of frustration or anger
- Being overwhelmed
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent agitation
- Chest pains
Types of Anxiety
There are many different classifications of anxiety disorders. Please note, you do not need a diagnosis to reach out for help.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most common mental disorder affecting both men and women, and it encompasses all non-specified forms of anxiety. Extreme anxiety over daily responsibilities or activities without being able to pinpoint a specific cause falls into this category.
Social Phobic Disorder (Social Anxiety) – Social Phobic Disorder exists when an individual develops severe anxiety when they are in social situations, such as work, school or social gatherings. Often, simply thinking about being in these situations can cause elevated feelings of anxiety to occur.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Following a traumatic event, some individuals develop severe anxiety over the event and similar situations. These feelings of anxiety are called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and can occur any time that an individual is exposed to a similar experience. Some traumatic occurrences that cause the development of PTSD include domestic violence, combat experiences, hostage situations, car accidents and many other terrifying events. Some common characteristics of PTSD include flashbacks, panic attacks, crying, and an inability to function.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – OCD occurs when a person develops severe anxiety when a certain task is not performed in a specific manner. As a result, individuals suffering from OCD are often unable to perform basic daily responsibilities due to the extreme compulsion to complete these tasks in the optimal way. Individuals suffering from OCD often perform the same task repeatedly in an attempt to get it right, or they experience an irrational fear of negative consequences if the given tasks are not performed as expected. Often the compulsory tasks are simple such as closing a door, washing hands or brushing hair.
Panic Disorder – Panic disorder can occur for many of the same reasons as the other forms of anxiety disorder. However, individuals suffering from panic disorder also experience panic attacks, which many describe as feeling like a heart attack. Furthermore, panic attacks may occur even when nothing triggers them. Individuals suffering from this disorder can be fine one second and in a highly-charged state of panic the next.
Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders
Medication – Anti-anxiety medications are sometimes used to alleviate the symptoms off anxiety disorders. However, medication only masks the feelings of anxiety and does not actually cure the underlying cause. Individuals must also utilize anxiety counseling, including psychotherapy, to work through the causes of their anxiety disorder.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – EMDR uses alternating right and left stimuli to help individuals unlock the causes of their anxiety by constantly accessing different sides of their brain. This treatment method has been shown to have significant impact on those suffering from traumatic experiences, such as PTSD, Panic Disorder and other anxiety disorders. The session begins by allowing the patient to speak about their experiences. The therapist then moves her fingers back and forth just outside of the patient’s peripheral vision. As the patient watches the movements of the therapist’s hands and continues relating their experiences, their mind reprocesses information between the right and left sides of the brain. The therapist is able to identify what caused the initial anxiety and devise a plan to overcome it.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT may also be used to treat anxiety disorders and involves discussing the factors that are causing the anxiety with a therapist. Patients also discuss how their situation translates into irrational thought processes, which result in the manifestation of anxiety symptoms, and go through writing exercises to change one’s thoughts and feelings about the events. CBT may also be used with exposure therapy. For example, gradual exposure to social situations can help alleviate the symptoms of Social Phobia. These experiences serve as a positive reinforcement allowing your mind to recognize that you can survive the situation and desensitization can occur.
Contact Me for Help
If you suffer from an irrational fear, feelings of intense dread of specific situations, or a feeling of overwhelming anxiety, contact me today for a consultation or to set up an appointment. I can work with you to develop a treatment plan and provide the help that you need.