Anxiety Disorder ?
What is Anxiety?
Whereas it is normal to experience some anxiety, excessive anxiety, worry or fear that interferes with one’s life characterizes an anxiety disorder.
Fear is a realistic danger encountered in the world. However, anxiety is a conscious signal to us that we think we are about to face a situation that involves danger. This is usually in relation to our internal psychological worries. For example, common worries are over health, loss, death, injury, shame and humiliation, our aggressive or angry feelings, and conflicts over guilt.
Causes of Anxiety
I find the common causes of anxiety range from ongoing general stresses such as the pressures of work or family life. In addition, there are the stresses from specific situations, like job loss, moving house; the experience childhood abuse (physical, psychological or sexual) or from witnessing or being involved in a traumatizing event.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety is intense unpleasant psychological states of apprehension of terror, doom or utter helplessness. As such, associated physical symptoms are palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea, dizziness and gastrointestinal distress.
Panic disorders are frequent out of the blue anxiety attacks accompanied with the fear that one is dying or going crazy lasting minutes to hours. In addition, they are accompanied by physical symptoms mentioned above. As a result of repeated panic, patients may start to avoid situations that bring on the panic. Psychodynamic theory claims panic is related to early experiences of separation-distress or loss of early secure relationships.
Some people are occasionally shy, while others may fear public speaking. However, when casual everyday encounters with people result in a fear of being consistently humiliated or negatively evaluated, it can lead to a pattern of avoidance and getting less out of life.
For instance, early fears of the loss of love can reappear later in life. Then it is felt as failures of self-esteem, or a need for perfectionism, and the development of a harsh inner critic due to an unrealistic, idealized measuring stick.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Concern for the future is normal, and thinking to solve anticipated problems is desirable. However when worry becomes so intense and frequent one can feel out of control and unable to engage in positive and meaningful activities. One may become restless, irritable, have a hard time concentrating. Alternatively, rather than being grounded in the present, relaxed and able to engage fully in the world, one may become fatigued and irritable or engage in catastrophic thinking.
Fears of loss of control in terms of our unclaimed acknowledgment of wishes to win over others or hostile wishes of harm to others that make us feel so guilty that we wind up denying them. Instead they can reappear as continually doubting our motives or indecision or as failure to act. This occurs with Obsessive-compulsive (OCD) symptoms.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
After a traumatic event, such as an assault, witnessing or being a victim in an accident, experiencing life-threatening illness, or hearing of a loved one’s unexpected death; a person can be at risk for developing a number of anxiety-related symptoms in the categories of avoidance, numbing and hyperarousal. Therefore, re-experiencing can include intrusive thoughts, recurrent memories or nightmares, flashbacks. Avoidance and numbing symptoms can be withdrawal from regular activities. Specifically, those that remind one of the event, having trouble remembering details of the event, or even feeling disconnected, from people, loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable. Finally, insomnia, irritability, having difficulty concentrating or a being easily startled are symptoms of hyperarousal.
If you think that you may be in need of therapy, but you aren’t sure where to begin, contact Dr. Jane Algus to schedule an initial consultation.
- Generalized Anxiety
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder
- Social Phobia
- Bipolar Disorder