February 14, 2014

Anxiety…Friend or Foe?

Posted in cognitive behavioral therapy tagged , , , , , , at 4:15 pm by kellyfdennis

anxiety-fear-puzzle-means-anxious-and-afraid-100236308Many of the clients with whom I work struggle with anxiety; we all have a little anxiety. It helps us study harder for tests, or to be more cautious in a dark alley late at night. Anxiety is adaptive and helpful in normal amounts. However, sometimes, our normal anxiety gets ramped up. Our primitive flight or flight response switch gets triggered when it really doesn’t need to be. Our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes shallow, all of our physical resources rally to confront the danger…but there really is no danger. The “danger” switched got flipped when it didn’t need to be flipped.

This kind of anxiety for some people becomes a panic attack. Fear increases to the point where s/he thinks s/he is going crazy or is going to die of a heart attack. It becomes debilitating because once a panic attack happens, the person then becomes fearful that a panic attack will happen again and takes great precautions not to have this happen. The individual may stop going to places with a lot of people, may stop riding mass transit, and may stop interacting with friends. The fear of having a panic attack becomes all-encompassing.

For others anxiety manifests in social situations; the individual becomes increasingly self-conscious to the point of desiring to leave the situation. There are also people who become severely anxious around feared objects or animals.

There are many different forms of anxiety. If you find that the amount of anxiety you are experiencing is causing any of the symptoms above or is getting in the way of being able to work or have relationships, then it’s time to get it checked out. The first stop should be to you primary care physician to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical conditions that can masquerade as anxiety. If not, then give therapy a try. Cognitive-Behavioral therapy has been found to be very beneficial in the treatment of anxiety disorders. There are also some helpful visualizations and grounding exercises on my You Tube Channel. I hope you’ll check them out and help yourself on the journey to feeling better!

Be Well and Have A Wonderful Day!


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