Most people can relate to the feeling we call anxiety: your heart races, your palms feel sweaty, your thoughts may be frantic or repetitive. As a response to stress, these feelings are normal and not necessarily harmful. In fact, anxiety is a useful reaction to danger, triggering our internal “alarm system” and preparing us to either confront or escape a threat.
Anxiety may also come in the form of worries. We all worry. Worries are thoughts about what may happen in the future. Worries are the warnings our mind sends us that something bad might happen, so we’d better prepare.
Anxious feelings and worries can serve a useful purpose. Anxiety can motivate us to prepare for dangers or challenges. Worries help us to identify potential problems and proactively seek solutions. But for some people, these feelings of worry and anxiety are overwhelming or do not subside once the problem is resolved. When anxiety prevents you from living life the way you want, or when worries become obsessive intrusions, it is time to seek help.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in our country. It is estimated that 40 million adult Americans, or 18% of the population, suffer from anxiety disorders. The term “anxiety disorder” encompasses several types of conditions, including panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias. Closely related disorders and ones that often occur alongside anxiety include obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and depression.
The good news is that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Getting help for anxiety that is out of control or impacting your life is a sign of strength, not weakness. A good counselor, like those at Sun Point Wellness Center, can help evaluate the causes and impact of your anxiety and will help you to develop strategies for coping and regaining control.
It is normal to be nervous about starting therapy. Particularly for people who struggle with anxiety, talking about your most private feelings with a stranger may seem overwhelming and frightening. Your therapist understands this, and will work together with you to make the experience as comfortable and stress free as possible. Making the decision to see a therapist is an empowering first step to changing your life, and you should feel proud of yourself for making this commitment.
Signs that it is time to seek help:
• You are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
• You’ve become unable to concentrate, have a short temper, or are irritable
• Your anxiety is interfering with your work or relationships
• You feel anxious or worried most of the time for no obvious reason, or even after the stressful event has passed
• You have physical symptoms, such as headaches, tension, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue or chest pain, that are not explained by another medical condition
• You are using alcohol or drugs to cope or mask your symptoms
• You find yourself worrying obsessively and feeling constant impending dread
• You have withdrawn from social relationships and/or activities you once enjoyed
• You feel like you’ve tried everything, but you just can’t climb out of this hole
If you or a loved one needs help with anxiety, contact us at Sun Point Wellness Center, or find a therapist near you.