What is Anxiety?

You might be wondering what’s going on in your body. Anxiety happens when your body begins to respond to a safe, ordinary situation as if it were a threat.

Anxiety is felt and expressed in a variety of ways. Not all anxiety fits into a specific category, but there are a number of anxiety disorders that we see regularly in treatment.

For example, you might be worrying about everything under the sun and have great difficulty relaxing and feeling at peace. When you worry a lot, often your muscles are tense and you can’t sleep well at night. This worry-type anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Another form of anxiety tends to manifest as panic attacks (also known as anxiety attacks), which are intense, frightening experiences where you feel out of control. Panic attacks involve a huge surge of fear along with symptoms like pounding heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, a choking feeling, nausea, dizziness, chills or hot flashes, tingling, a feeling like things are not real, a fear of dying and a fear that you are “going crazy.” If you begin to have panic attacks on a regular basis, you might have Panic Disorder. We can help you to learn to cope with panic attacks and to even stop them from coming back.

Anxiety can also take the form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), where thoughts that just don’t make sense that keep popping into your mind (obsessions). Then in order to try to stop these thoughts you do certain activities (compulsions).  The problem with the OCD is that the compulsions only help stop the thoughts temporarily. The best treatment for OCD is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy called Exposure and Response Prevention (EX-RP), which we offer at Ward & Associates.

The form of anxiety called Social Anxiety Disorder (formerly Social Phobia) looks like intense feelings of being shy and awkward in social situations. It’s common in unfamiliar social settings, when you’re being watched or when you’re performing in front of others.

Finally, maybe your anxiety is related to one specific thing, like heights, needles, flying, public speaking or spiders. This is called Specific Phobia. The good news…this type responds very quickly to exposure-based treatments.

If your anxiety doesn’t fit neatly into any of these categories, that’s fine too. The treatments for anxiety all have similar components and they can be mix-and-matched according to what you are specifically experiencing. Check out our blog post on managing anxiety here.

Treatments for Anxiety

At Ward & Associates Psychological Services, we’re experts in treatment of anxiety. We can help you through your symptoms using strategies that really work. We are trained in exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). These treatments have been proven through research to be effective at treating anxiety.

We specialize in treatment of all of the anxiety disorders. We’ll help you understand why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and guide you through a treatment process that will help you to get better.

If you’re interested in booking an appointment to treat your anxiety, we’d love to help you out.