You don't have to suffer from debilitating fear and anxiety. We're here to help.
Fear and anxiety are emotions hard-wired into our brains to help us detect threat or danger. Unfortunately, the fear system can become overactive, making us feel fearful or anxious when threat or danger is only perceived. This can manifest itself in many ways. For example, fear and anxiety can be generalized, or unspecific, as evidenced by:
- Constant worry about potentially detrimental events or circumstances across domains, such as work, family, health, etc.
- Physical symptoms associated with worries like restlessness or feeling on edge, fatigue, mind going blank or difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, irritability, and difficulty falling or staying asleep
Fear and anxiety can be specific to certain circumstances or objects.
- Fear of heights, flying, bugs, etc.
- Fear of scrutiny in a social setting
- Fear of crowded or enclosed places in which it would be difficult to escape (e.g., subways, movie theaters, elevators)
- Separation anxiety
In some cases, people with anxiety experience panic attacks, either as cued by fear or seemingly “out of the blue”. In the latter case, panic attacks themselves can become feared.
Did You Know?*
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 years and older (18% of U.S. population).
- Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only about one-third of those suffering receive treatment.
- Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
Reference: Anxiety and Depression Association of America
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders can take many forms, but all involve an intense, exaggerated, and irrational fear, terror, or feeling of dread and physical symptoms of a “fight or flight” response including sweating, trembling, heart palpitations, nausea, chest pains, or a sensation that one is choking.
Some of the most common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Persistent and excessive worry about everyday life events.
- Panic Disorder: A sudden feeling of terror that comes on without warning, or in response to a feared object or situation.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A disabling condition in which the sufferer is plagued with recurring intrusive and unwanted thoughts and/or compelling urges to engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts.
- Social Anxiety: Excessive fear and anxiety over being scrutinized in social situations.
- Specific Phobia: Intense anxiety and physical symptoms in response to specific objects or situations; the anxiety is out of proportion to actual threat or danger.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening intrusive thoughts and memories of the event that impair their ability to function in daily life.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Recurrent thoughts and worries that interfere with general well-being
- Constant feelings of being overwhelmed
- Racing heart, sweaty palms, upset stomach, etc.
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension or unexplained body aches
- Increase or decrease in appetite while feeling stressed or anxious
- Inability to go to sleep or stay asleep
- Driving urge to put your worries at ease (constant Internet searches about your worry or fear, talking excessively to friends/family about your worry or fear)
- Continuously asking ‘what if’ or always looking at the negative despite the existence of alternative explanations
Effects of anxiety range in type and severity, and include:
- Physical illness (constant worry can run down your immune system)
- Isolation (in order to avoid feeling more anxious, you may begin avoiding a number of situations)
- Harmful habits
- Strained relationships with peers, friends, and family members
- Difficulty maintaining success in work and/or school
Stress does not have to take over your life. Make a change, make an appointment with Great Lakes Psychology Group and learn effective stress management techniques.
Stress and anxiety are often referred to as the same thing, and for good reason – after all, they are both negative emotional states associated with physical symptoms like rapid breathing, racing heart, and muscle tension. Technically, however, they can be differentiated. Stress is a reaction to a stressor, or any situation or thought that upsets you. On the contrary, people who suffer from anxiety have a harder time identifying the source of their anxiety at the moment.
Further, the underlying emotions contributing to feelings of stress and anxiety can be differentiated; that is, feelings of stress often stem from feelings of frustration and nervousness, whereas anxiety is rooted in fear and a general sense of helplessness. Although stress is uncomfortable, sufferers usually have an understanding that if they get to work confronting their stressors, they will feel better. Since the source of anxiety is usually less clear, sufferers often do not know what actions to take toward reducing their anxiety.
Whereas only a small subset of people will develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, most people will suffer from stress at some point. However, some people are better at managing stress than others. Suffering from chronic stress without the right tools can put you at a higher risk of developing mental and physical health problems; that’s why it’s important to learn effective stress management techniques. Stress therapists at Great Lakes Psychology Group have the training and tools to help.
Our network of qualified and effective therapists have night and weekend availability for your convenience. To schedule an appointment with our friendly office staff, you can do so online or by calling 800-693-1916. Browse therapists on our website, or leave it to our trained office staff to match you with a therapist who specializes in your requested problem area(s).
Stress does not have to take over your life. To make a change, make an appointment today.
If you or someone you know suffers from fear and anxiety, we can help. Great Lakes Psychology Group employs a team of counselors who specialize in anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). Nobody should have to suffer through anxiety alone – get relief through professional counseling.