What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a fear response we experience without the presence of imminent danger or threat. All of us experience some passing feelings of anxiety in Tampa FL, and Brandon FL, that are normal. For example, it is normal to feel some anxiety before a job interview or an important exam. When the anxiety become chronic or pervasive, or disproportionate to the stressor it becomes an anxiety disorder.
Is there anything I can do to help myself if I experience frequent anxiety?
The good news is that there are several strategies you can use on your own to help yourself:
Develop a routine to unwind before you go to sleep.
Learn relaxation strategies and regularly practice them.
Learn to meditate and practice regularly.
Develop a stress management plan.
Try to get a good night’s sleep; about 7-8 hours every night.
Reduce the amount of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine you consume.
Maintain a balanced diet that is low in processed foods & refined sugars and eat plenty of fresh fruits & vegetables. Develop an exercise regimen 3-5 times a week and stick to it.
Make room for friends and fun in your life.
Get a medical check-up to rule out any physical causes that may trigger or worsen anxiety.
How do I know when it’s time to seek professional help?
Consider seeking professional at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa FL, and Brandon FL, help if you have trouble controlling your worry and trying things on your own doesn’t seem to have much effect. If your anxiety significantly interferes with your work, family, or social life and if you have experienced anxiety on most days during a six-month period it is also a good idea to seek help.
What are the different types of anxiety problems?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
You have long-standing worry and anxiety in Tampa FL, and Brandon FL, that stays with you on a regular basis for six month or longer. Your worries may be regarding health, money, children, or job stresses. You have a difficult time turning off the worry switch even when you need some rest. Other symptoms you may have include: feeling restless or keyed up, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance. Research shows that about 5% of people struggle with GAD during their life.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
If you have obsessive compulsive disorder, you have recurrent thoughts or images (obsessions). Examples of obsessions are: being contaminated with germs or disease, or fears of behaving inappropriately. The obsessions may lead to performing a ritual (compulsion) to relieve the anxious feeling the obsession brings on. Some examples of rituals are: hand-washing, checking, retracing steps, counting and hoarding. The obsessions or compulsions are difficult to stop and they interfere with an important area of your life such as school, work, or relationships. You may know that these obsessions or compulsions are unreasonable or excessive but feel unable to stop or control them. About 2.5% of people will experience OCD during their life.
Social Anxiety Disorder/Social Phobia
If you have social anxiety in Tampa FL, and Brandon FL, you may be extremely uncomfortable in social situations and try to avoid them. You may feel intense anxiety about being judged by others and live in fear of doing or saying something shameful or embarrassing. When you do participate socially, it may feel as though there is a spotlight shining on you, and all your mistakes will be visible. Because these situations are so difficult for you, you may not be able to do the things that you would like such as dating, and certain social, school or work activities. Between 3-13% of people struggle with social anxiety during their life.
If you have panic disorder, you experience unexpected repeated panic attacks. During a panic attack you may experience some of these symptoms: sweating, rapid heart beat or heart palpitations, feeling dizzy, choking sensation, chest pressure or pain, trembling or shaking, feelings of unreality, fear of losing control or going crazy, fear of dying, numbness sensation, chills or hot flashes. You may worry about having additional attacks, or worry about there being something physically wrong with you. As a result, you may have stopped some of the activities that you used to enjoy or have become afraid to leave the house out of fear of having another attack (this is called agoraphobia). About 1-3% of people experience panic disorder during their life.
You have a strong fear of a specific situation or objects. The degree of fear is disproportionate to the situation and often leads to avoidance. Some examples of phobias are: heights, elevators, bridges, using public transportation, driving, going to the dentist/doctor and fear of a specific animal/insect.
What do I do if I suspect I have an anxiety disorder?
If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, you can consult with a licensed mental health counselor at Star Point Counseling Center in Tampa FL, and Brandon FL, in order to be properly diagnosed and treated. Many people with anxiety disorders show a positive response when treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.