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Anxiety


Anxiety is a normal and necessary, even adaptive emotion and reaction to a perceived danger. Anxiety serves to warn us of a need to take action, and tells us when we need to prepare for an event or get out of harm’s way. Some degree of anxiety can even help us achieve our goals and perform at our best. Anxiety disorders are generally characterized by feelings of tension, worry, intrusive thoughts and physical symptoms, like increased blood pressure, heart rate, sweating, trembling, and dizziness. When anxiety becomes excessive and disruptive, our therapists can help.



Question

What are the major kinds of anxiety?

There are a number of different types of anxiety disorders.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by recurring and persistent fear and worries and may include a sense of pending doom.
  • Panic disorder is the experience of repeated brief, but intense attacks of fear that something bad will happen.
  • Phobias are intense fears about objects or situations such as insects or flying.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder consists of persistent, uncontrollable and unwanted thoughts, feelings, and sensations (obsessions) and routines or rituals (compulsions) that are often intended to rid the individual of the unwanted obsessions.
  • After a traumatic event such as assault or abuse, a violent crime, a natural disaster, or war, someone may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With PTSD, individuals have any number of experiences of “reliving” the event, try to avoid reminders of the event(s), and may have a heightened sense of arousal both in response to reminders of the event(s) and in general.

Question

How can counseling help my anxiety?

If left untreated, anxiety can increase in frequency and intensity. Meeting with one of our therapists for an assessment of your anxiety allows you and your therapist to develop a treatment plan specific to your experience and that will work for you, by learning where your anxiety originated. This will help you understand how your thoughts contribute to your anxiety symptoms, and help to change thought patterns to reduce your discomfort. With greater understanding of your anxiety, you will be able to change behaviors and gradually confront your fears. This will allow you to develop strategies to tolerate situations that trigger your anxiety.


Question

Do I need to medication to treat anxiety?

Our therapists can assess your anxiety and any co-occurring symptoms to make recommendations for therapy, medication evaluation, or both. We can make recommendations to your primary care physician or refer you to a psychiatrist if medication appears indicated or may be an adjunct to counseling.