The idea of anxiety gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it look like to struggle day-in and day-out with anxiety? Consider:
- After five years of hard work, she walked across that graduation stage very proud of her accomplishments. Only two weeks later, she was awake all night—the night before her first job started. No one thought she would make it this far, and maybe they were right. What if she can’t do this? What if she makes a mistake or is fired from her first job? Fears, insecurities, and questions wash over her. Maybe tomorrow night will be better. Only it isn’t. On good nights, she has an hour, maybe two, of sleep.
- His kids are out tonight. Of course, they are old enough to take care of themselves. They have their own homes and their own lives, and they are here for a visit. But he is still their dad. It’s still New Year’s Eve. He will just wait up until they come home. Maybe he will watch a show to relax. He can feel his elevated heart rate and his tense muscles. He has to make sure they are safe. He feels a tingling in his arms, shortness of breath. Is he dying? It feels like it, but then the symptoms subside.
- A sweet second-grader will not eat lunch at school. She brings home her full lunch box every day. Her parents and teachers are trying to figure out why. She is still eating some at home, but it isn’t much. She has also stopped playing during recess. She sits on the side, watching the other kids play.
All people worry to some degree: a feeling that arises and then resolves. However, anxiety is different in its severity and also its persistence. Anxiety is like a constant companion. It can last for several months or for many years. Anxiety is a severe and common mental health disorder, but it is also treatable. Thriveworks Counseling in Quincy, MA anxiety therapy understands the many treatment options that are available to those who suffer from anxiety. We also know that anxiety can come in many different forms. Often, a good diagnosis is the basis of good treatment, and our counselors and therapists are ready to help. If you are struggling with anxiety, reach out to Thriveworks Quincy, MA anxiety therapy today.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Understanding the Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety symptoms can vary from one person to the next; however, there are often shared signs as well as symptoms. “The major signs of anxiety are excessive worry that is difficult to control occurring more days than not, for at least 6 months,” says Sherry Kravitsky, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor at our Quincy office. “Some of the symptoms are restlessness, tiredness, muscle tension, shakiness. Also shortness of breath, dry mouth, nausea. Feeling constantly on edge, hard time concentrating, sleep issues, irritability.”
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is that ongoing anxiety that an individual might feel in a range of scenarios. Here are the characteristics of GAD (DSM-5 300.02 [F41.1]):
- Feeling above normal worry and anxiety, throughout the majority of the day, on more days than not, and for at least six months. The feelings will be present in various contexts such as school, work, home, et cetera.
- Trouble managing and regulating this anxiety and worry.
- Experience a minimum of three of the following symptoms. Children only need to experience one to be diagnosed with GAD:
- Sleep disruptions (either hypersomnia or insomnia)
- Difficulty staying on task or concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Anxiety and its symptoms will disrupt a person’s life—impairing their ability to function in their social and professional lives.
- The symptoms cannot be attributable to the physiological effects of a substance such as a medication or drug.
- The symptoms also cannot be associated with another medical or mental health disorder.
GAD affects people of all ages. Teens may experience anxiety over peer relationships, school, and family stress. Adults may feel anxiety about their finances, careers, and family’s well-being. While the issues will vary, the experience of anxiety at any age is often the same.
Anxiety’s Emotional and Physical Effects
Mental health professionals can often help their clients find the right long-term care for their anxiety. “Therapy can reduce the overall frequency, intensity, and duration of the anxiety; resolve the core conflict of the anxiety; enhance the ability to effectively cope with life’s anxieties; and help one learn and implement new coping skills that result in the reduction of anxiety,” Kravitsky explains.
In the short-term, here are a few tricks for managing anxiety.
- Breathe deeply. Inhale while you count to four. Hold for a four-count. Exhale while you count to four. Repeat until you feel yourself relax.
- Picture safety. Think about a person who loves you. Imagine yourself in a safe place.
- Practice mindfulness. Notice how you are feeling, what you are sensing, where your body is tense. Be present and note your experiences.
- Ask yourself, what is next? Is there a reasonable next step? Maybe running an errand or attending a meeting. Focus on the next thing—one step at a time.
An anxiety therapist, counselor, or psychologist at Thriveworks in Quincy, MA can walk you through these tips and tricks for managing your anxiety.
Schedule an Appointment for Anxiety Therapy at Thriveworks Counseling in Quincy, MA
Each year, almost 40 million adults in the United States struggle with some form of an anxiety disorder. If you have anxiety, you are not alone. Treatment options are available. The counselors and therapists at Thriveworks in Quincy have worked with many people who have anxiety, helping them find the diagnosis and relief they need. When you call our office, you may have an appointment the following day. We also accept many forms of insurance.
We are ready to help. Contact our office today.