Understanding Anxiety

For some individuals, just the thought of getting through the day produces intense levels of anxiety. No matter what they do, they cannot seem to stop the worry and often feel it is out of their control. They might anticipate disaster or be overly concerned about money, health, family, work or other issues.

Emotional Effects

The emotional effects of anxiety may include feelings of apprehension or dread, trouble concentrating, feeling tense or jumpy, anticipating the worst, irritability, restlessness, watching (and waiting) for signs (and occurrences) of danger, and feeling like your mind has gone blank, as well as nightmares/bad dreams, obsessions about sensations, a “trapped in your mind” feeling, and feeling like everything is scary.

Cognitive Effects

The cognitive effects of anxiety may include thoughts about suspected dangers, such as fear of dying. For example, you may fear that the chest pains are a deadly heart attack or that the shooting pains in your head are the result of a tumor or aneurysm. You feel an intense fear when you think of dying, or you may think of it more often than normal, or can’t get it out of your mind.

Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Muscle Tension
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Edginess

Who Is At Risk Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year. Interestingly, women are 60% more likely to be affected by anxiety. Sometimes anxiety can interfere with the individuals’ ability to engage socially and to function in their job, family, etc.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy One of the most effective treatments for anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The cognitive part helps people change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations. For example, CBT can help people with panic disorder learn that their attacks are not really heart attacks, and help people with social phobia learn how to overcome the belief that others are always watching and judging them.

Anxiety Is Treatable Anxiety is treatable and the help of a professional counselor can assist in helping to identify, understand and modify faulty thinking and behavior patterns. Relaxation techniques, meditation and other interventions can be extremely helpful in alleviating the symptoms that interfere with an individual’s ability to function on a healthy level.