Steps Mental Health

Anxiety Treatment

Stephanie Dutson, LPC, CHMC

Anxiety 101

Research tells us that nearly 40 million people in the U.S. live with some form of anxiety, but only about 37% seek out treatment. This means it is highly likely that you or someone you know is living with anxiety.

Anxiety can lead to many uncomfortable symptoms, both physically and psychologically. Everyone experiences anxious distress at some point in their lives, as it is a natural physical alarm of sorts that is designed to alert you to potential threats and keep you safe. However, anxiety becomes a real problem if your alarm doesn’t ever seem to shut off or if you experience high stress over a long period of time.

If left untreated, anxiety can begin to make a real mess of your life – hurting your relationships, your work performance, or simply your ability to function with daily tasks and stressors. Anxiety can stem from many different sources including your genetics, brain chemistry, levels of stress, or experiences of traumatic events.

What does anxiety feel like?

Anxiety can show up in many different ways, depending on how your body responds to stress. Sometimes anxiety can manifest as constant worrying, irritability, fear of future ‘what ifs,’ need for control, or perfectionism. It can also show up in physical symptoms like chronic digestive issues or nausea, heart palpitations, headaches, numbness/tingling, trembling, insomnia, or fatigue. A few other ways anxiety has been described:

  • Feeling like you are at the top of a roller coaster that never goes down or standing on a ledge you can’t back away from
  • Skin crawling or wanting to crawl out of your skin
  • Like you can never catch a deep breath
  • A short fuse or short temper with tears welling up right under the surface
  • Constant tightness (jaw clenching, muscle tension, etc.) leading to exhaustion and headaches

How is anxiety treated?

Treatment of anxiety in large part will depend on your history and symptoms, which your therapist will assess in your initial appointment. There are no treatments that are “one size fits all,” so your therapist will tailor multiple therapeutic approaches to best fit your symptoms and goals. Most treatment options will include evidence-based approaches like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness, but will not be limited to one specific approach. By including holistic and wellness-based models in treatment as well, you can experience a deeper healing to create long-lasting changes and feel more confident in creating the life you’ve always wanted.

Is anxiety treatment right for me?

  • Do you constantly feel on edge or feel like you’re waiting for the worst to happen?
  • Are you overwhelmed or exhausted?
  • Do people often notice you are in your head instead of present with them in the room?
  • Are you irritable and snapping at people you love?
  • Do you find yourself taking control of everything because you are afraid others won’t do it right or do it carefully enough?
  • Do you spend more time worrying about problems than you do taking action on solving problems?
  • Do you procrastinate because you are worried about not getting something done on time or not doing a good enough job?
  • Do you overthink all the possible scenarios of choices in order to make the right or best choice?
  • Do you frequently overprepare or double and triple check your actions?
  • Are you having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep due to overthinking or feeling on edge?
  • Do you excel at identifying every possible ‘what if’ or ways things could go wrong?
  • Have obsessive thoughts about doing things the right way kept you from following through or completing tasks and projects?
  • Do you find yourself overly fixated on replaying social interactions and thinking about how things could have gone differently?

If you answered yes to 1 or more of these questions, you would most likely benefit from therapy. With the right tools and professional help, you can find relief from your anxiety.

Phone: (205) 213-2571

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