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Anxiety Treatment  




Anxiety is a very common mental health disorder.  In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population).  There are several different types of anxiety disorders.  We will focus on two of the most common disorders; Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder. 


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 


Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about everyday things.  People with this disorder experience exaggerated worry and tension, often expecting the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern. They typically are overly concerned about everyday things such as money, health, family, work, or even how to get through the day.  GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months.  It disrupts social activities and interferes with work, school, or family. 


Generalized Anxiety Disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. Women are twice as likely to be affected.  Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role. 


When their anxiety level is mild, people with GAD can function socially and be gainfully employed. Although they may avoid some situations because they have the disorder, some people can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities when their anxiety is severe. 


Generalized Anxiety Symptoms: 

   muscle tension 



   difficulty sleeping 



   gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea 


Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment 

Like other anxiety disorders, GAD is treatable. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is effective for many people, helping them to identify, understand, and modify faulty thinking and behavior patterns. This enables people with GAD learn to control their worry.   Other treatments include relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and exercise.  If the problem persists, psychotropic medications may be recommended. 


Social Anxiety Disorder 


Social Anxiety Disorder is another common mental health disorder that is characterized by an extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations.  The symptoms may be so extreme that they disrupt daily life.  People with this disorder, also called Social Phobia, may have few or no social or romantic relationships, making them feel powerless, alone, or even ashamed.  Although they recognize that the fear is excessive and unreasonable, people with Social Anxiety Disorder feel powerless against their anxiety. They are terrified they will humiliate or embarrass themselves. 


The typical age of onset is 13 years old.  Approximately 15 million American adults are diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder.  Many of those diagnosed experienced symptoms for 10+ years before seeking help.  


Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms 

   Profuse sweating 

   nausea/gastrointestinal upset 

   shortness of breath 

   rapid heartbeat/heart palpitations 

   dizziness or lightheadedness 

   feelings of detachment 


   fear of losing control 


This disorder is often selective, in that it can affect you in some situations and not others.  For example, some people may have an intense fear of talking to a salesperson or giving a speech, but they may be comfortable in other similar settings. Other people may become anxious during routine activities such as starting a conversation with a stranger or a person in authority, participating in meetings or classes, or dating and attending parties. 


Social Anxiety Disorder Treatment 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an effective treatment technique for many people afflicted with Social Anxiety Disorder.  CBT helps people to identify distorted thought patterns that are contributing to their anxiety and behavioral patterns.  Other treatments include systematic desensitization, relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and exercise.  If the problem persists, psychotropic medications may be recommended. 


Treating Anxiety at Counseling Connections & Associates 

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at some point in their lives.  For the average person, stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress. Whether in good times or bad, most people say that stress interferes at least moderately with their lives. Chronic stress can affect your health, causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep. 


At Counseling Connections & Associates, our licensed mental health counselors can help teach effective ways to reduce the impact of stress and manage symptoms of anxiety. Physical activity is a proven way to reduce stress. Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, and improve sleep and self-esteem. Other effective methods include mind-body practices of breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. Contact Us Today!! 


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