Most of us will experience some anxiety at one point or another. It is common to feel anxious before an important event, when facing the unknown, or going through a major life transition or a stressful situation. Anxiety Disorders, on the other hand, are forms of pervasive, intrusive and persistent fear, tension and discomfort that can significantly affect the individual’s daily life, functioning, and well being. Anxiety is similar to fear. However, while fear happens in response to immediate danger or thoughts of immediate danger, anxiety happens in response to anticipation of future danger.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health illnesses. Approximately 40 million cases are reported yearly in America alone. The reports of anxiety in females are almost double the number of reports made by males. Anxiety can be also related to, or a part of other mental health conditions, such as Depression Disorders, Bi-Polar disorders, Personality Disorders, substance related disorders, Trauma related disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive disorders and other medical conditions. Anxiety may originate in childhood or in adulthood. It can develop due to chemical imbalance in the brain, as a response to prolonged high stress or traumatic events, in reaction to certain medications or drugs, or as a result of medical conditions such hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Anxiety can also occur due to other forms of physical imbalance and deficiency.
Here are some examples of specific anxiety disorders:
Panic attacks –Repeated experience of sudden and sever sense of fear or terror, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as chest pain, sweating, and shortness of breath.
Social Anxiety Disorder – Extreme worry about being in social situation, often accompanied by negative self-judgment and worries about what other people would think or say. Often may cause avoidance of social situations.
Phobias – Intense and debilitating fear of a specific situation or object (such as snakes, spiders, heights, bridges, flying, being out of the house, etc.). The intensity of the fear is often not appropriate to the situation, and causes avoidance of everyday activities and situations.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Intense and excessive worry, stress and tension in most areas of life; often accompanied by problems in sleep and/or appetite and physical symptoms such as muscle pain, digestive problems and shortness of breath.
Although there are anti-anxiety medications on the market that can provide temporary relief, these do not cure the problem. In addition, some of the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety are habit forming and have serious side effects. It is possible to learn how to manage anxiety with appropriate coping skills and changes in life style or routines (such as diet, exercise, and supplementation). Different forms of psychotherapy such as CBT and Mindfulness Based approaches have proved beneficial as well. Adopting certain forms of relaxation and meditation practices have proved beneficial in improving brain and nervous system functioning, in a way that reduces anxiety over time and builds a higher resilience to stress.
When you’ll decide to explore treatment options with Life Balance Counseling, we will:
- Create a safe, non-judgmental environment in which you could process your thoughts and feelings
- Examine how different areas of your life may be contributing to your anxiety and will develop a plan of action for each of these areas
- Work in collaboration with the medical professional of your choice to address possible physical causes
- Discover existing strengths, resources, and coping skills
- Learn new coping skills, stress management and relaxation techniques