Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Many people worry about things such as health, work, or family problems, but anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. Symptoms of anxiety can appear as restlessness, irritability or being consumed with worry. Individuals can experience looping, negative and fearful thoughts impacting their ability to concentrate on tasks at hand or to be present. Many suffer from heart-racing panic attacks that come on suddenly and make you feel out of control. Some have an intense fear of social situations or meeting new people, expecting to be judged, embarrassed or criticized. Heightened stress may have started to manifest itself physically through muscle tension, changes to eating or sleeping patterns, an increased heart rate, excessive sweating or shortness of breath. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships. There are several types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) usually involves a persistent feeling of anxiety or dread, which can interfere with daily life. It is not the same as occasionally worrying about things or experiencing anxiety due to stressful life events. People living with GAD experience frequent anxiety for months, if not years.
Symptoms of GAD include:
- Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Being irritable
- Having headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep
People with panic disorder have frequent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear, discomfort, or sense of losing control even when there is no clear danger or trigger. Not everyone who experiences a panic attack will develop panic disorder.
During a panic attack, a person may experience:
- Pounding or racing heart
- Trembling or tingling
- Chest pain
- Feelings of impending doom
- Feelings of being out of control
People with panic disorder often worry about when the next attack will happen and actively try to prevent future attacks by avoiding places, situations, or behaviors they associate with panic attacks. Panic attacks can occur as frequently as several times a day or as rarely as a few times a year.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. For people with social anxiety disorder, the fear of social situations may feel so intense that it seems beyond their control. For some people, this fear may get in the way of going to work, attending school, or doing everyday things.
People with social anxiety disorder may experience:
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling
- Pounding or racing heart
- Rigid body posture or speaking with an overly soft voice
- Difficulty making eye contact or being around people they don’t know
- Feelings of self-consciousness or fear that people will judge them negatively
If you or your child is struggling with anxiety, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues in the U.S., affecting tens of millions of people each year. In fact, nearly a quarter of the American population meets the requirements for an anxiety diagnosis. The good news is that there is help and hope. Anxiety can be effectively managed and even overcome. One of our skilled and compassionate therapists with expertise in anxiety counseling can help you or your child cope with symptoms and challenges and live a more balanced life.
Stress is different than anxiety but also can be debilitating:
We are living in a pandemic of chronic stress. When we are not able to manage stress effectively, it can result in physical symptoms. At Mosaic, we provide counseling and support to help you regulate your emotional response to stress through:
- Encouraging regular self-care routines through nutrition, sleep and exercise
- Using therapy skills (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) to promote positive thinking thus strengthening the immune system and improve overall health
- Teaching grounding, breathing and relaxation techniques
- Providing assertiveness training and communication skills
- Promoting the creation and maintenance of a positive support network
Our team of integrated and holistic therapists (Art Therapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Yoga) are committed to treating our clients as a whole to best assist in identifying stress and more healthful ways to adapt.