Atlanta Therapy for AnxietyKathleen Leser, LCSW. Atlanta Therapist.
On a daily basis, each of us may be confronted by challenges at work or in school, a decision that needs to be made, or concern about a loved one. In these cases, it’s typical for a person to temporarily experience fear or anxiety. Fear is described as an emotional response to a real or perceived threat. Anxiety refers to anticipating a future threat. However, when the fear or anxiety that you feel is excessive or worsens over time, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
People who have anxiety disorders experience a level of worry or fear that seems excessive and perhaps paralyzing. Thoughts can be intrusive and obsessive in nature. Anxiety can impair social interactions and relationships, effectiveness and efficiency in work or school and limits a person’s ability to live in and enjoy the present.
Anxiety is a medical condition that can be treated. Treatment choices are usually medication, therapy or both.
There are different types of anxiety. As an Atlanta counselor, I work with clients who experience the following:
Worrying about something for a brief time and letting it go may be a typical occurrence in our busy and demanding lives. Ongoing and excessive worry about everyday matters with the inability to let it go may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder. People who have GAD tend to worry too much, to the extent that they can no longer function at their best in routine and seemingly harmless situations.
This involves anxiety with sudden and extreme bouts of fear to the point of panic. Recurrent unexpected panic attacks happen, which include physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, difficulty breathing and so on. In addition to uncomfortable physical sensations, there can be fear about losing control or “going crazy” and fear of dying.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Social phobia gets triggered in the presence of other people or perhaps thinking about attending an event where others will be gathered. Individuals who experience this have difficulty talking to other people, feel very self-conscious and embarrassed and tend to avoid social situations.
Causes of anxiety
Studies indicate that anxiety disorders can develop from different factors including genetics, biology, environmental influences and adverse life events. It has been found that activation of some parts of the brain play a role in fear and anxiety. From an evolutionary perspective, we are hard wired to protect ourselves from real and perceived threats.
Irrespective of the cause, anxiety is a limiting condition that needs to be treated. With treatment, such as counseling, you can experience relief, healing and hope.
Signs and Symptoms
Anxiety is usually considered to be a problem requiring treatment when it is severe and lasts longer than six months. Experiencing excessive, irrational worries and fears and dread are common elements.
Each anxiety type has specific signs and symptoms. Here are some of them:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Heightened anxiety and worry about various activities or events
- The anxiety is excessive and out of proportion to the actual likelihood of the anticipated activity or event
- Difficulty controlling the worry
- Sleep problems including difficulty falling and staying asleep, interrupted sleep
- Feeling wound or keyed up, on edge
- Concentration problems, mind draws a blank
- Fatigued easily
- Tension in body and muscles
- Sudden unexpected panic attacks that happen repeatedly
- Numerous physical symptoms that occur during a panic attack including but not limited to: rapid heartbeat; shortness of breath; sweating; weakness; dizziness; shaking or trembling; stomach or chest pains
- Fear of “going crazy” or losing control
- Fear of dying
- Feelings of being detached from oneself or feelings of unreality
- Heightened fear of places or situations where panic attacks happened in the past
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
- Excessive fear and anxiety about social interaction or being in the presence of other people
- Tendency to worry about an upcoming social event
- Feeling really self-conscious and embarrassed around others. Fearful of being judged.
- Difficulty in making new friends or keeping current relationships
- Sweating, abnormal trembling, feelings of physical discomfort or nausea in the presence of others
- Avoids social situations or tolerates them with extreme anxiety or fear
Persons at risk
2005 data from the National Institute of Mental Health shows that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the U.S., effecting nearly 40 million people or 18% of adults. Women have a 60% higher risk of experiencing an anxiety disorder than men. This difference may be due to a combination of brain chemistry, hormonal and psychosocial factors.
Ready to talk?
I welcome the opportunity to talk with you about your concerns. I offer an initial fifteen minute phone consultation at no charge. I look forward to talking with you.