What is Anxiety?

Worries, doubts and fears are a normal part of life.  It’s natural to be anxious when facing challenging circumstances such as an exam, a blind date, or a job interview.  The difference between “normal” worrying and anxiety is when those fears seem overwhelming and interfere with your daily life.

Anxiety can come in a variety of forms.  It can come in the form of worrisome thoughts, physical symptoms, avoidance of specific things or places, or even overpowering compulsive behaviors that severely interfere with a person’s life.  Some mental disorders that are based on anxiety are:

  • Social Anxiety
  • Panic Attacks
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Phobias

Causes of Anxiety

Anxiety is a result of multiple forces in our environment and the way we think and interpret our surroundings.  This interaction can also trigger responses in the body that make us experience physical symptoms, and this interaction between the brain and the body sometimes results in a cycle that is very difficult to break without help.  People that experience frequent of chronic anxiety are often predisposed to an anxiety disorder based on their family genetics.  If the right circumstances arise in life, the condition can be debilitating.

Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms can vary widely depending on the person and depending on the disorder, but the primary symptom is excessive fear and worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel fear.  Common emotional symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Trouble with concentration
  • Feeling apprehensive
  • Expecting the worst to happen
  • Feeling jumpy and tense
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Common physical symptoms include:

  • Feeling tense; tight muscles or body aches
  • Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Stomach problems, nausea, diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pounding heart
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Many people with anxiety also suffer from depression to some degree.  They share many common symptoms and both are related to environmental factors and our perceptions.  It’s also believed they stem from the same biological vulnerability.  Because depression can make anxiety worse and vice versa (depressed because of anxiety or anxious because of depression) it’s important to seek treatment for both when both are present.


Anxiety Treatment

Although self-help strategies can be effective for stress and low levels of anxiety, if your symptoms are causing severe distress or disrupting daily life it’s important to seek anxiety treatment from a mental health professional.  Our mental health professionals can provide an evaluation to diagnose anxiety disorders, recommend treatment options (therapy, medication, or both) and discuss a treatment plan.

How Do I Get Started With Anxiety Treatment?

Taking the first step in seeking anxiety treatment can be difficult, but we’re here to help. Anxiety treatment starts with an initial “intake” session, to help your therapist get to know you, and to help answer your questions about how therapy can help. To speak with our intake coordinator, please fill out our contact form to request a phone call or email.