Anxiety in Arlington, MA—Therapy and Counseling

People use the word “anxiety” a lot, but what does it really mean to have anxiety? Consider these circumstances…

A little girl will not go into her kindergarten classroom. She clings to her mom’s leg. Her mom reassures her that she is going to have a great day and that tomorrow will be better. Only, tomorrow is not better. Each day, they go through the same dance. The little girl has stopped eating her lunches and does not seem interested in playing at recess.

He worked hard for five years and walked across the stage at graduation. No one imagined he could earn a college degree, but he did it. Now, he is taking on the working world. The night before his first day of work, a familiar feeling crept down his spine—that worry and anxiety. Can he do this? What if he messes up? Questions and fears swirl through his head for hours. Finally, sleep came, but he only got an hour of rest before starting his new job. The next night and the next and the next are not any better.

His daughter is out with friends at a concert. He is watching TV, trying to relax, but his muscles tighten. He wants to distract himself, but his mind keeps focusing upon all the ways his daughter might be in danger. He will just stay up until she gets home. He wants to make sure she is safe.

Sometimes, people talk about anxiety as a feeling that arises and then passes with time. This kind of worry is a normal experience that all people feel, but anxiety is also a disorder that disrupts people’s ability to function well in their personal and professional tasks. Anxiety disorders often last for at least six months, and they can hang around for years. And yet, anxiety is also a mental health disorder that has treatments.

The therapists and counselors at Thriveworks Arlington understand what it is like to suffer with anxiety because we have helped many people find treatment for their anxiety disorder. Help is available. Healing is possible.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety can come in many forms. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), for example, is a form of anxiety. When most people speak of anxiety, they are referencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines what it looks like to struggle with GAD (DSM-5 300.02 [F41.1]).

  • Experiencing excessive and above normal worry and anxiety on more days than not and for a minimum of six months and through various settings (work, school, home, et cetera)
  • Difficulty controlling this worry and anxiety.
  • Also experiencing at least three of these symptoms (a child may only experience one):
    • Restlessness
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty staying on task or concentrating
    • Irritability
    • Muscle tension
    • Sleep disruptions (either hypersomnia or insomnia)
  • These symptoms can cause significant impairment or distress in one’s professional or social life.
  • A substance or other medical condition cannot cause these symptoms.
  • The symptoms also cannot be attributable to a different mental health or medical disorder.

Generalized anxiety disorder can strike people of all ages, and often, the object of people’s anxiety is often dependent upon their age. Teens may stress over tests and peer relationships. Adults may worry about finances and their family’s well-being. The surface issue may vary, but the internal experience is often the same.

Coping with Anxiety’s Physical and Emotional Effects

“If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days.” —Kris Carr

Long-term management of an anxiety disorder often requires therapy, medication, or both. However, there are a few things people can do at home, on their own to help themselves cope with anxiety’s physical and emotional effects.

  • Breathe deeply to reduce anxiety. Inhale to a four count. Hold. Exhale to a four count. Repeat until some of the worry dissipates.
  • Envision a safe place. While breathing deeply, think about a vacation, a serene park, or your favorite spot to read. Picture yourself relaxed and safe, enjoying a beautiful and peaceful day.
  • Practice mindfulness. If your mind wanders to the future, bring it back to the present by noticing everything in this present moment. Think about your emotions, your body, your context. Note any feelings or sensations. Be fully in the present.
  • Do the next thing. Do you need to run an errand? Clean your house? Attending a work meeting? Start checking things off your to-do list. Busyness can be helpful at times. Completing a reasonable to-do list may help you relax.

Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks Arlington for Anxiety

One of the lies that anxiety whispers to people is that no one else understands. But the truth is that over 40 million Americans struggle with an anxiety disorder each year. Support and help are available. Thriveworks Arlington is taking clients for anxiety, and when you contact our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. Weekend and evening appointments are offered, and we do not put our clients on a waitlist. Our office also works with many insurance providers and accepts a variety of plans.

Let’s fight anxiety together. Call Thriveworks Arlington today.

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