Different Kinds of Anxiety and Treatment
- Specific Phobia
- GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
- Social Phobia
- Anxiety Treatment
When I work with patients who struggle with anxiety, I first try to help the to person become aware of what they are thinking. We feel what we think. I use Cognitive Behavioral techniques to understand what your thoughts and beliefs are. Once you have awareness you can make choices.
When a person deals with anxiety because of a specific event or object we call this a Specific Phobia. It could be a fear of flying, driving, spiders or being in crowded places like the mall.
For this I use exposure therapy. We start with a picture of the feared object or place and we match your anxiety while looking at the picture with relaxation. When you are ready you might drive to the mall and come home. Next time I might ask you to go in the mall for 5 minutes and then leave. Basically, we slowly work you towards your fear until it is resolved.Through exposure therapy, I find that the anxiety lessens in intensity and frequency and usually gets resolved.
It’s more complex when working with someone with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). I tell these patients that when your anxiety is physiological and/or genetic it usually cannot be cured but it certainly can be managed!
People with GAD may wake up everyday feeling anxious and it can last for most of the day everyday. It is very exhausting to get through a day like that.
I encourage clients diagnosed with GAD to try and structure your day with time-outs for centering and time for relaxation. When you are feeling anxious you can learn tools and techniques to replace unhealthy coping skills. I suggest moderate exercise like walking and yoga but any kind of exercise will release tension.
I also think keeping a journal is an excellent way to give your feelings away to the paper. Other ways to manage your anxiety is to listen to music, dance, paint, nap, call a good friend, imagine yourself in a happy place , or close your eyes and sit quietly for at least 10 minutes. I’m sure you can think of other things to do that will help you feel less anxious. Again it’s something we manage.
What’s nice is that as you get older you begin to accept how you are and what works for you. You can then begin to set up your life so that it plays into your strengths rather than your anxieties.
Some people choose to use medication as they work through their anxieties in therapy. Sometimes this can be very helpful and helps a person to feel good enough to focus on their anxiety treatment. The goal here is a better quality of life.
When a person has a Social Phobia it can be lonely. We slowly get you to that party or other feared social event. We will also work on your self-esteem, communication and assertiveness. We’ll figure out why you have a social phobia. Was it environmental or genetic or a combination of both? I have worked with many clients who resolve their social phobia and they feel less isolated.
PTSD is another form of anxiety. This results when a person experiences or observes something traumatic. They will have various symptoms afterwards like flashbacks, nightmares, and even acting out of a sense of fear. PTSD can be treated. Many patients have recovered successfully. The treatment is similar to the other phobias described. I see PTSD in veterans that have returned home from war.
Anxiety is very common.
I would say that most of my patients have some form of it. There are so many things you can do to help yourself; starting with awareness and discovering your triggers.
Working with a professional therapist like myself can guide you to a healthier way of feeling and being in the world. The first thing you need to do is to accept that you struggle with anxiety and to realize you are not alone and that you can still live a full life. The next step is for me to listen to and validate you as share about your anxiety. Next, I’ll help you compile a list of coping skills for those anxious times.
Are you ready to get started? Do you want to feel more comfortable in your own skin?
It’s very probable that together we can get you in control of your feelings rather than having your anxiety control you!