Anxiety is a normal human emotion that, from time to time, everyone might experience. It is primarily a tool to realize eminent danger; however prolonged exposure to anxious feelings and experiencing heightened states of alertness over a long period of time creates a sense of distress and panic. Many of us feel anxious when faced with a major problem, going for a job interview, taking a test, recalling a past event, making an important decision, or in so many other circumstances. The roots of these reactions to situations or places are varied and each requires special attention to its details. The emotional and physiological stress resulting from anxiety interferes with a person’s ability to lead a happy and relaxed life. If anxiety is not treated in a timely manner it can become chronic and cause unbearable conditions for the person, such as physical pains and continuous fear of losing control or dying. Constant fears can be frustrating, overwhelming, and crippling. Some signs of anxiety are accelerated heart rate, feeling of choking, shortness of breathe, and chills or hot flashes among other symptoms.
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Some of the more common forms of anxiety are:
- Panic Attacks: People with certain Anxiety Disorders experience feelings of recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. The sudden and repeated sweating, heart palpation, tightness in breathing with no warning brings on extensive fear of lack of control and eminent death. Other symptoms of panic attack may include chest pain, sense of chocking, and a rush of blood into the body’s extremities, which may feel like having a heart attack or “going crazy.” This feeling may be associated with being in closed places, open markets, or recalling of traumatic events.
- Specific Phobias: Excessive or unreasonable fear in anticipation of a specific situation or object, like animals, height, flying, enclosed places, seeing blood, and receiving an injection causes distress and interferes significantly with the person’s normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, and avoidance of social activities or relationships.
- Social Phobia: Social or performance situations can be fearful for some people when they feel they may act in a humiliating or embarrassing way, by exposure to unfamiliar people. Such fear results in avoidance, distress, or anxious anticipation which interferes with their performance, relationships, and social activities.
- Acute Stress: Exposure to a traumatic event can lead to intense fear, horror, and helplessness when this person experiences, witnesses, or confronts with actual death, a serious injury, or the treat to his/her/others physical integrity. This disturbance impairs the person’s ability to pursue necessary tasks and obtaining necessary assistance from friends or family members.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that can develop following a stressful event. A traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster often result in lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event. People with PTSD experience recurring recollections of the event, frightening dreams, emotional numbness, difficulty in sleeping, problems with concentration, and feeling of detachment or estrangement from others.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): People with OCD are faced with constant thoughts, impulses, or images that are anxiety provoking and are intrusive and inappropriate. It can also cause them to perform certain rituals and routines like hand washing, counting, ordering, or repeating words silently. Such behaviors or mental act are aimed at preventing anxiety but they are usually excessive and not realistic.
- Separation Anxiety:This form of anxiety is diagnosed in children under 18, but it can continue in adulthood. Excessive distress concerning separation from home or primary care-givers is persistent and creates worries about upcoming events, going to school, sleeping away, getting lost, or being kidnapped. Headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting are common physical symptoms.
- Anxiety Due to a General Medical Condition, and Substance Induced Anxiety: These are other types of anxiety with symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, difficulty in concentration, sleep disturbance.
My specialties in dealing with anxieties have helped many of my clients. I specialize in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), an effective way to treat PTSD that has successfully treated hundreds of PTDS cases. I also specialize in Somatic Psychotherapy that focuses on the physical sensation of emotions, another helpful tool in treating anxieties. Guided Imagery is another specialty intervention that I use in cultivating a more relaxed state and calming the distress. For more information, please contact our office directly.