Anxiety

Greene Psychology Group in Raleigh, North Carolina provides a range of therapies for mental health conditions, including anxiety. If you suffer this common disorder, you know how it affects daily functioning and your ability to achieve your goals. But through treatment provided by our experienced therapists, you can learn to cope with stress and avoid the struggles associated with feeling anxious.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is anticipation of a future problem. The resulting muscle tension, fear and avoidance behaviors are actually a normal reaction in dangerous situations. As your fight or flight response, anxiety can help you remain alert and focused on what you need to do to keep yourself safe from harm. But anxiety disorders involve excessive anxiety or fear in otherwise normal circumstances. As part of your condition, you experience a range of troublesome symptoms.

Symptoms of anxiety include:
Anxiety
Nervousness, restlessness or feeling tense
Feeling a sense of doom or panic
Increased heart rate
Rapid breathing
Sweating and trembling
Weakness or fatigue
Concentration problems
Sleep problems
Gastrointestinal problems
Excessive worry
Avoidance behaviors
Anxiety disorders can affect your work performance, schooling and personal relationships. Though you can feel quite isolated by your symptoms, about 30 percent of American adults share this condition at some point in their lifetime. The good news is that through treatment you can enjoy a normal and productive life.

Treatment

Treatment starts with diagnosis by a qualified therapist. Your diagnosis may be for one of several types of disorders related to anxiety, such as:
• Generalized anxiety disorder
• Panic disorder
• Specific phobias
• Agoraphobia
• Social anxiety disorder
• Post-traumatic stress disorder
• Separation anxiety disorder
• Obsessive compulsive disorder

Psychotherapy is one of the most effective treatment methods. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one type of talk therapy that provides great results for many people. This treatment method can help you learn how your thought patterns, feelings and behaviors relate to your symptoms. As part of CBT, you also learn how to change negative thinking to a more objective view, along with healthy coping skills.

How common are these disorders?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, these disorders affect a significant number of Americans. These population statistics include:
• Seven to nine percent have specific phobias
• Seven percent have social anxiety disorder
• Two to three percent have panic disorder
• Two percent have agoraphobia
• Two percent have generalized anxiety disorder
• One to two percent have separation anxiety disorder

Women are particularly susceptible to these conditions. As you can see, you are not alone in your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Risk for developing one of the above disorders includes genetic, psychological, developmental and environmental factors. These conditions can even run in families.

Specific Types of Anxiety Disorders

As mentioned above, there are multiple types of these disorders. Some of the most common include:

Generalized Anxiety
Generalized anxiety disorder is a pattern of excessive worry that disrupts daily living. If you have this condition, you experience a range of physical and mental symptoms, including restlessness, ongoing worry, muscle tension, edginess, concentration problems, sleep problems and fatigue. Your worry is often about work, family matters, car repairs, appointments or other minor events.

Panic Disorder
Panic disorder causes recurring panic attacks with a range of symptoms, such as:
• Heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat
• Sweating, trembling and shaking
• Shortness of breath or choking feeling
• Chest pain or abdominal pains
• Dizziness, light-headedness or feeling faint
• Chills or hot flashes
• Tingling or numbness
• Feelings of detachment
• Fear of dying or losing control

Many people suffering these attacks believe they are having a heart attack. It is often in a hospital emergency department that the first diagnosis of panic attacks occurs.

Specific Phobias
Specific phobias are excessive fear of a specific situation, activity or object. More often than not, these objects of fear are not harmful. Most people with phobias know their fear is excessive. Still, they cannot overcome their symptoms without treatment. Common phobias like these are fear of flying and spiders.

Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is a specific phobia related to situations where the person fears escape is difficult. It can also relate to fear of being embarrassed, such as by panic symptoms. This fear typically lasts at least six months and causes disruption in daily activities. Symptoms relate to at least two of these situations:
• Being outside of your home
• Using public transportation
• Being in enclosed spaces
• Being in open spaces
• Standing in line
• Being in a crowd

To deal with their symptoms, the person typically avoids putting himself or herself in these situations, particularly alone. Many people with this condition stop leaving their house.

Social Anxiety
Social anxiety relates to fear of being humiliated, embarrassed, rejected or looked down upon as part of social interaction. If you suffer this condition, you possibly have an extreme fear of eating or drinking in public, meeting new people or public speaking.

Separation Anxiety
This disorder causes excessive fear about being separated from people close to you. Someone affected this way typically worries about losing the closest person to them, to the point that they suffer a range of distressful symptoms like nightmares. It can cause reluctance to go out or be away from the other individual.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD includes repeated obsessions that cause distress which the affected person tries to relieve by performing actions called compulsions. Common obsessions include excessive worry of harm coming to certain people, germ contamination or needing exactness or symmetry. To alleviate these obsessions, the person performs actions like repeated checking, counting or organizing. Related disorders include hoarding, body dysmorphia, skin-picking or excoriation, and hair-pulling, also called trichotillomania.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Your Anxiety

If you believe you suffer an anxiety disorder, the experienced psychologists of Greene Psychology Group in Raleigh, NC can help. Schedule your first in-person, online therapy or teletherapy visit today by calling 919-205-5339.
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