Having anxiety is a normal part of everyday life. There are pressures, stress, and worry that we all endure on a regular basis. It is when the physiological symptoms of anxiety become so prevalent that it effects our day profoundly and is causing some degree of impairment. Avoidance is a primary feature of anxiety disorders. The intent is to avoid that which is causing the heightened physiological response. Anxiety can make a person limit activities in their life for fear of experiencing the symptoms that feel out of control. The DSM V has categorized each specific anxiety disorder with its own distinct set of symptoms and impairments. They are briefly listed and described below. For a more thorough understanding you can access the Anxiety Disorder Association of America (ADAA) website. Various psychotherapies have proven to be effective with treatment for anxiety disorders. It is important to realize that most symptoms can be relieved, and normal functioning can be restored.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
This is characterized by excessive and constant worry in multiple areas of one’s life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
This occurs when a person experiences a traumatic event and is in a state of physiological arousal, easily triggered by memories of the event. There are symptoms of intrusive memories and thoughts around the event.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
There are two components to this disorder: intrusive thoughts called obsessions, coupled with compulsions, or unwanted behaviors that attempt to mitigate the thoughts. Individuals may have ritualistic behaviors like excessive checking or washing.
Social Anxiety Disorder
This is characterized by fear and anxiety in social situations, leading to avoidance of social interactions and conditions.
This exists as an intense fear of a specific object, leading to avoidance of that object.
Panic Attacks & Agoraphobia
These are extreme fear responses that seemingly come without warning. The person becomes preoccupied with having another attack, and may avoid certain situations for fear of experiencing an attack. Agoraphobia is an extreme case in which a person limits himself/herself so much that they fear leaving their house, or "safe zones."
I use an integrative treatment approaches of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Relaxation Exercises, Polyvagal Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. If there are symptoms and distress coming from an origin of traumatic events and memories, we can utilize EMDR and ART to reduce the emotional and physical charge caused by traumatic life events.
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