Anxiety is a word that gets thrown around a lot. With so much use, the reality that people face when they have an anxiety disorder can be watered down. What does it look like to live with anxiety? It might look like…
- A first grader who will not go into his classroom each morning. He may cling to his mom or dad. His parents reassure him that today will be a great day, and they hope tomorrow’s drop off will be better. But it is not. Every day, is the same or worse. The little boy has even stopped eating his lunch, and during recess, he sits and watches his classmates play.
- A recently college grad who is starting a new job. Each night she might lie awake, running through each day’s scenario. Did she handle that situation correctly? What could she have done differently? What if she makes a mistake on the job? Her mind races. She cannot sleep. Weeks of little to no sleep are taking their toll.
- A dad whose college-age daughter is out with a friend. He may try to watch TV and distract himself, but his muscles are tightening. His mind wanders to all the ways his daughter might be in danger, so he decides to stay up until she is home safely. He has never gone to be before she arrives home, and nothing has ever happened to her. He cannot stop now.
Everyone experiences worry, embarrassment, nervousness, and anxiety in their day-to-day life. It is normal to feel anxiety about a bill that is due, an important business meeting, a tumultuous relationship, and many other situations in life. However, everyday anxiety rises and falls. When the situation passes, people return to their normal selves. Anxiety disorders, however, are constant. They interfere with people’s ability to function in daily life, and people may or may not know why they are feeling anxious. Over 40 million adults in America suffer with some form of anxiety disorder such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Anxiety is a difficult but treatable illness. The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks Harrisonburg understand the options available, and we have helped many people find the help they need.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Even though anxiety comes in many forms, when most people talk about anxiety, they are referencing what mental health professionals call Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives criteria for diagnosing GAD (DSM-5 300.02 [F41.1]). You may have generalized anxiety disorder if you…
- Are feeling above normal anxiety and worry for the majority of the day, on more days than not, and in a variety of setting (such as school, work, home, and more). This feeling will last for at least 6 months.
- Cannot control these feeling of anxiety and worry.
- Are also experiencing a minimum of three of these symptoms (children only need to experience one for a diagnosis):
- Difficulty staying on task or concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disruptions (either hypersomnia or insomnia)
- The symptoms of anxiety will disrupt an individual’s social and professional life as well as cause distress.
- Another medical condition or a substance cannot cause these symptoms.
- The symptoms also cannot be a part of another mental health disorder (such as obsessive compulsive disorder).
GAD affects all kinds of people—men and women, young and old. Age can affect the way that the anxiety manifests. Adolescence may experience the anxiety about peer relationships and school. Adults may worry more about their well-being, their family, and their finances. In all cases of GAD, the object of anxiety may differ, but the emotional symptoms are the same.
Coping with Anxiety
“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
Treatment for anxiety disorders often involves a talk-based therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a medication, or a combination of the two. Nonetheless, there are strategies for managing anxiety at home. If you are feeling the effects of anxiety, here are a few tips for coping…
- Breathe deeply. Inhale while you count to four. Hold. Exhale as you count to four. Repeat this breathing pattern until some of the more difficult feelings dissipate.
- Envision yourself at a safe place. Think about your vacation, your favorite reading spot, a garden, or anywhere you feel rested and relaxed. Envision yourself at that safe place.
- Practice mindfulness. Focus all your energy on noticing what is happening in right here. Think about what you are feeling, emotionally and physically. Notice every sensation.
- Do the next thing. If you need to groceries, go to the grocery store. If you have a meeting at work, prepare for that meeting. Make a reasonable to-do list, and work your way through it. That may help you relax when you are able.
Appointments at Thriveworks Harrisonburg for Anxiety
If you are struggling with anxiety, know that help is available. Thriveworks Harrisonburg offers therapy for anxiety. When you contact our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We offer evening and weekend appointments. We also accept many forms of insurance.
Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Harrisonburg today.