Anxiety, Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder

It is normal to have anxiety from time to time. Anxiety becomes a clinical issue when it interferes with your ability to live your daily life. When anxiety becomes difficult to control, out of proportion, or lasts a long time, that's when you should seek professional help. 

You may find yourself avoiding certain places or situations to prevent feelings of anxiety. Your anxiety symptoms may have started during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood. Or you may experience intense, excessive, and persistent worry or fear about everyday situations. 

Some common symptoms of anxiety are: 

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Sense of impending danger, panic, or doom
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) problems
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Avoiding things that trigger anxiety
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling weak or tired

There are different types of anxiety. Some common anxiety types are:

  • Generalized Anxiety - A general persistent and excessive anxiety and worry. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstance, is difficult to control, and affects how you feel physically. 
  • Panic Disorder - Repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes. Common symptoms experienced are feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, rapid fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations). These attacks often lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they've occurred.
  • Agoraphobia - Fear and often avoidance of places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. This fear often compels you to avoid going out. 
  • Social Anxiety or Social Phobia - Anxiety, fear, and/or avoidance of social situations related to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.

Your anxiety can be effectively treated with talk therapy, sometimes with medication, or a combination of the two. Some very effective therapeutic methods used to treat anxiety are:

     Cognitive Behavior Therapy – I help you explore the patterns of thinking that lead to uncomfortable reactions. You learn to address the emotions and thoughts associated with counterproductive responses and address how those thoughts influence your emotions.

     Exposure Therapy – We addresses how your brain sometimes unnecessarily signals danger. Exposure therapy attempts to counter maladaptive signals by gently challenging the triggers to your anxiety. 

     Mindfulness– You will learn to become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations to achieve higher states of awareness and the ability to stay relaxed and present in the moment.

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