Anxiety can be experienced in any of the following ways:
- Tense Muscles, Shakiness, Tremor, Nervousness
- Tight Chest, Shortness of Breath/Difficulty Breathing
- Heart Racing or Pounding, Redness in Face
- Numbness or Tingling in Hands and Feet
- Dry Mouth/ Tightness or Lump in Throat. Difficulty Swallowing
- Light Headedness, Dizziness, Unsteadiness
- Clammy, Sweaty Palms
- Racing Thoughts, Uneasiness, Feeling Strange
- Nausea, Gastrointestinal Difficulties
- Sleep Problems, Anger
- Blurred Vision, Unsteadiness
These anxiety symptoms can result from any of several disorders:
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This is known as the “worry disease”. This is where you repeatedly engage in self-defeating thoughts about things like; failure, rejection, misfortune, worthlessness, incompetence, incapability, lack of resilience, and other problems that are largely unrealistic, even though they don’t seem so at the time. The resulting anxiety can be quite uncomfortable, and even make it difficult for you to concentrate, sleep, or function effectively. CBT uses techniques like Cognitive Restructuring and Targeted Muscle Relaxation that can help you stop worrying and allow you to live a happy life.
- Fears and Phobias: You experience anxiety about particular situations or objects, such that you experience severe discomfort when around these circumstances, or avoid them completely. These can be any number of things like: Swallowing pills, high places, flying, elevators, school, swimming, insects, open spaces, being alone or separated, etc. We can teach you specific techniques that will help you relax, stop being afraid, and stop avoiding.
- Social Anxiety: This is where you feel overwhelming anxiety because of the fear of being scrutinized and judged negatively by others. You don’t know what to say, you may say it wrong, you think you’re not interesting, everyone is looking at you and scrutinizing you. You avoid doing things, or even going out in public. You are shy and afraid of embarrassment, ridicule and rejection. It’s difficult to make acquaintances and friends. Your anxiety makes you behave and speak in a funny way. STOP. There’s nothing wrong with you. With CBT, there are a myriad of techniques you can learn to fix this and take control. You can eliminate the feeling of embarrassment and never worry about scrutiny. You can learn how to relax and not to be socially anxious in any situation. You can learn resilience and no longer be afraid. Really.
- Panic Disorder: All of a sudden, you feel like you are in severe danger. You become extremely nervous because you are convinced that the particular sensations of anxiety (light-headedness, blurred vision, heart racing, shortness of breath, etc.) mean that you are going to have a stroke or heart attack, choke, faint, lose your mind, act bizarre, suffocate, lose control, vomit, or even have a panic attack. This can be paralyzing. It is also very treatable with CBT and exposure training. Panic will be a thing of the past.
- Health Anxiety: This is where you detect a sensation of pressure, pain, swelling, discoloration, etc. somewhere in or on your body and begin to worry excessively that it is an indication of some serious disease (i.e., tumor, cancer, loss of mind, etc.). You repeatedly focus on the sensation serves as a reminder, and the anxiety consumes you throughout the day. You have seen many doctors and they all have clearly indicated there is nothing to indicate a life-threatening issue. Yet, any sensation triggers worry and high anxiety. You can finally relax. With CBT, you can stop being haunted by this anxiety, and free yourself from your misery.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): This is when you experience sudden, strange, uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts or urges at random called Obsessions. These Obsessions come out of nowhere and they frighten you causing extreme anxiety and uncertainty. As a result, you desperately and repeatedly behave in compulsive ways, called Compulsions, to try to make the anxiety-producing Obsessions stop and go away. The more you try to eliminate the uncertainty of what might happen if you don’t stop these obsessioned thoughts, the stronger the uncomfortable and frightening, intrusive thoughts and urges become. Consequently, these compulsive behaviors can become so time-consuming and difficult to stop, that they can interfere with everything you try to do in life, and can even result in harm to yourself and others.Some Obsession Examples: a) Intrusive thoughts that you or another will become contaminated; diseased; lose intelligence, life, job, personality; change gender; become someone else; forget everything, never wake up, etc., and b) Intrusive Urges to do (or not do) something that could result in negative consequences such as consuming all your time, or cause harm to yourself or another such as driving too fast or too slow, driving with your eyes closed, seeing how close you can come to a hot iron with your finger without getting burned, etc. Some Compulsion Examples: Repeatedly washing your hands; touching or tapping something a certain number at times, in a certain way, or with a certain pattern; repeatedly doing something until it feels “just right”; pausing before entering a room; repeatedly re-reading a passage in a book: avoiding getting close to something or someone; repeatedly asking for reassurance; repeatedly checking something, giving into an urge, etc., all in an attempt to stop the uncertainty and anxiety caused by the obsession. Good news. You can stop your life from spiraling out of control by stopping the painful anxiety with a specific CBT procedure called: Exposure and Response Prevention.
Separation Anxiety: Mostly, children, but also some adults, experience this terrorizing feeling of anxiety whenever they separate from their parents or loved ones. Leaving your child at school, a play-date; even going into another room without your child, can trigger this, and prove extremely frustrating, difficult and time-consuming. Being separated from family by going away to college, or moving away because of circumstances, can trigger these feelings of anxiety as well. Your child, or you, can learn with CBT to be brave and resilient, and the high anxiety will no longer occur whenever you separate from loved ones.
Anxiety-Induced Physical Problems: Anxiety can compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to disease and making it difficult for you to get better and sooner. It can also exacerbate chronic diseases. It can induce physical symptoms like those seen with Irritable Bowel Syndrome causing disruption in the functioning of your colon (e.g., loose stools, unpredictable bowel movements and constipation). CBT, using: Acceptance-training, Imagery, Relaxation techniques, Cognitive Restructuring and other stress and anxiety reduction techniques can restore normalcy to your life. By learning to cope more effectively with them, by reducing the occurrence and intensity of many physical symptoms; as well as helping you.