Are you experiencing any of the following anxiety symptoms?
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Excessive sweating
- Tightness in the chest
- Difficulty breathing or dizziness
- Racing, intrusive thoughts
- Feeling on the edge
- Fear of losing control
- Fear of being in public
- Fear of flying
- Sense of impending doom or dread
- Post-traumatic stress
- Sleep problems
- Inability to concentrate
Although normal anxiety is an adaptive function, daily worry, tension, and fear create confusion, distraction, and stress for the anxiety ridden person. The possible causes of anxiety include
- environmental factors such as stress or trauma
- lifestyle habits that both aggravate and continue symptoms
- background characteristics that contribute to developing a predisposition, a brain chemistry that is out of balance
- and physical factors.
Our physical, emotional, and environmental experiences interact with the functioning of the brain in a way that can both cause and sustain this condition. The fight flight symptoms that the anxious person feels are hardwired human responses that are based on natural reactions to stressful situations. Unfortunately for people with anxiety, the reaction occurs even when there is little or no actual threat.
Help with anxiety and panic attacks is available. A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, stress reduction, and person-centered techniques are effective in reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of anxiety and in developing the skills needed to prevent further problems. An anxiety counselor can provide you with effective treatment. You can remember that it is actually safe to relax into life and your experiences and develop the confidence again in your ability to take care of yourself.
The body’s natural abilities to find creative healing itself and to cope with stress can be harnessed. With clarity, compassion, and creativity, I work with you to align with your true self and your higher purpose. Find the exact steps to living an anxiety free life. I will help you with developing an effective anxiety treatment program that puts you back in charge of your reactions to stress symptoms and your life.
What is anxiety?
Although everyone worries once in a while, some people worry all the time. The latter group often fall into the category of an anxious person. Worry is a mind function that allows us to repeatedly assess a situation or problem until we come up with a solution. An anxious person is so overwhelmed that they can no longer utilize the positive attributes of worry and experience only the endless cycle of unanswered questions and fears and often anxiety.
Anxiety is a symptom, or group of symptoms, an uncomfortable reaction, that occurs in the body, mind, emotions or relationships of this anxiety sufferer. These reactions can vary from a mild and infrequent occurrence of symptoms to a debilitating constant sense that life is out of control. It can frequently indicate the presence of an anxiety disorder.
Instinctive bodily responses that were meant for survival can kick in under stress and take hold in the stressed and pressured system. Fight, flight, freeze or collapse become the unfortunate response that replaces the possibilities of responding effectively and adaptively. Reactions become inflexible and rigid and no longer function in an individual’s best interest.
Severe anxiety can occur when an individual’s resources to cope are exceeded in a situation. The ability to regroup and recover are hampered in these situations resulting in uncomfortable symptoms and impediments in a person’s day to day functioning.
The release of adrenaline and cortisol that occurs at these times leads to a malfunctioning in the hippocampus and causes neurotoxicity in the brain, destroying existing neurons and synapses in the brain. The ability of the brain to integrate in a healthy manner is damaged and coping becomes challenging.
Under this type of stress, emotional memory increases potentially causing a difficulty in a persons ability to confront or even be in particular situations. Early childhood neglect or deprivation at particular stages can result in trauma. Trauma impairs the brain’s memory systems and integrative system resulting in:
- flashbacks or full on PTSD
- avoidance behaviors
- flooding of the system
- impaired functioning in daily life
- and negative affects on general health.
Prior experiences prime us for how we will respond in current situations. When your conscious attention is adversely affected by past salient unconscious experiences, the ability to function in the present is affected. It can then be difficult to think clearly under stress, respond calmly during conflict or stay centered in challenging situations.
The ability of the mind to self regulate is impaired as is the ability to rely on productive interpersonal skills. Chaos and impaired integration results. Unhappy relationship, inadequate work performance, or lowered general life satisfaction become the norm. Anxiety takes hold of the individual and his or her relationships. Individuals can become so paralyzed by fear that they are unable to function.
What are the signs and symptoms of an
*Tightness in the chest
*Excessive Worry and Concerns
*Worst Case Scenario Thinking
*What if Thoughts
*Fear of Being Alone
*Fear of Making Decisions
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety develops into a disorder when the symptoms increase in intensity and duration. Reactions that may have been fleeting, mild or infrequent intensify and become daily, hourly, constant, or increasingly unpredictable.
What are the types of Anxiety Disorders?
GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder has some of the following symptoms:
*Difficulty Controlling Worry or Anxiety
*Increased Fear that Interferes with Daily Life
*Feeling like you might suffocate or pass out
* Chest Pain
*Sweating, Chills, or Hot Flashes
*Fear of Dying or Losing Control
PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:
*Repeated Reoccurring Flashbacks
*Reoccurring Memories of a Distressing Event
*Physical Reactions to Triggers that are Similar to the Event
OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:
*Obsessions or Compulsions that interfere with daily life
*Intrusive Thoughts that are Persistent and Distressing
*Driven Repetitive Behaviors such as Handwashing or Counting
*Trying Unsuccessfully to Ignore these Thoughts
*Specific Phobias are intense fears when confronted with an object or situation such as spiders, heights, enclosed spaces or driving.
*Complex Phobias such as Social Phobia which is the fear of embarrassing or humiliating oneself, or Agoraphobia which is the fear of open spaces.
What are the Best Treatments?
*Cognitive Behavioral Therapy– Increasing awareness of and replacing destructive and catastrophic thinking and beliefs.
*Relaxation, Visualization,Mindfulness and Hypnosis– Developing patterns of calm, aware, relaxed states in the body which help to reduce and contain uncomfortable symptoms.
*Diet and Nutrition-Evaliating how current dietary and nutritional habits can be influencing symptoms is an important part of treatment.
*Exercise – a consistent exercise routine has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety
*Psycho-educational– Learning the basics about specific temperament characteristics such as being a highly sensitive person are a crucial step in preventing unnecessary stress and anxiety.
*Medication– can be effective in reducing severe symptoms. Side effects can be problematic for some people.
*Person-Centered Therapy– a psychotherapeutic process that emphasizes developing a strong relationship where trauma, emotions, self soothing and containment can be explored.
Anxiety is a treatable condition. A multifaceted approach is effective in reducing anxiety and in living a life free of anxiety. It is really easy to leave our bodies when we are anxious or frightened and the idea of actually coming back into the body in order to experience healing can feel overwhelming.
Imagination can help us in this process. Our creative ability and our imagination can work for us rather than against us. We can use our imagination to support us rather than scare us.
I can assist you in a gentle process of moving back into a place of safety and strength where you can contain these uncomfortable experiences and move on with your life. Become fearless. Many wise people see love as the opposite of fear and through embodying love you can gain a perspective on fear that will empower and heal you.
Request an appointment for help with severe anxiety and panic attacks here
“Every human being’s essential nature is perfect and faultless, but after years of immersion in the world we easily forget our roots and take on a counterfeit nature.” -Lao-Tzu, philosopher (6th century BCE)