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15
Nov

Curious About Anxiety Treatment? We Have Answers.

Article written by: Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACS

Anxiety comes in many forms and it isn’t always a negative experience.

A healthy amount of anxiety motivates us to get things done, like homework, responding to emails, tasks on your to-do list.

It is normal to feel anxious before the start of a big game, a piano concert, a job interview or your first day of work or school.

Too much anxiety, however, can be disruptive to getting things accomplished and can lead to maladaptive ways of coping.

Avoidance, isolating, over or under eating, using drugs or alcohol to minimize feelings of anxiety, are some of the unhelpful, maladaptive ways of managing anxiety.

What is anxiety?

Image of a woman biting her thumbnail, anxious. Read More: “Common Questions About Anxiety Answered” 

Anxiety is an intense, persistent experience of worry or fear that interferes with ones ability to function in daily life.

Generalized anxiety disorder is a persistent and excessive worry about many things in life and requires a diagnosis by a mental health professional or medical doctor.

According to the Mayo Clinic, people with generalized anxiety disorder, may experience the following:

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • severe and persistent worry that is disproportional to the impact of the event or situation
  • perceive situations as threatening even if they aren’t
  • difficulty handling uncertainty
  • indecisiveness and fear of making the wrong decision
  • inability to set aside or let go of worry
  • inability to relax, feeling restless, and feeling keyed up or on edge
  • difficulty concentrating, or the feeling that your mind goes blank
  • panic or panic attacks

Physical Symptoms of Anxiety include: 

  • fatigue, trouble sleeping, muscle tension or muscle aches
  • trembling
  • stomach aches, nausea or other gastrointestinal issues
  • nervousness or easily startled
  • irritability

Some other types of anxiety that can cause great distress are:

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):
A psychiatric disorder that occurs after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event or has experienced abuse, neglect or unhealthy relationships throughout their life.

PTSD not only impacts a person’s physical and mental well-being, it can also interrupt relationships, work, and school.

Some symptoms a person with PTSD might experience include:

  • vivid flashbacks
  • Intrusive thoughts or images of event or relational experiences
  • nightmares
  • Intense distress at real or symbolic reminders of event or relational experiences
  • Physical symptoms such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling
  • Avoidance of triggers
  • hyperarousal
  • depersonalization/derealization/dissociation

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
Though typically people associate cleanliness with OCD, a true diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder is much more complicated and nuanced.

OCD is a chronic and long-lasting pattern of recurring, unwanted thoughts and fears, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that lead one to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions) in order to alleviate obsessive thoughts and/or decrease distress.

Some common obsessions people with OCD may experience according to the International OCD Foundation:

  • contamination obsessions
  • violent obsessions
  • Responsibility Obsessions
  • Perfectionism-related Obsessions
  • Sexual Obsessions
  • Religious/Moral Obsessions
  • Identity Obsessions

Some common compulsive behaviors one may experience with OCD:

  • Washing and Cleaning
  • Checking
  • Repeating
  • Mental Compulsions

Social Anxiety Disorder:

Image of a young woman walking arm-in-arm with her grandmother in the parkRead More: “What To Know About Anxiety Due To Generational Trauma”

Social anxiety disorder is more than just shyness.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health social anxiety disorder is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other daily activities.

A person with social anxiety disorder feels symptoms of anxiety and fear in situations where they may be scrutinized, evaluated, or judged by others.

The fear people with social anxiety disorder experience is so intense that they feel it is out of their control.

These are experiences of anxiety, that while may be debilitating, a mental health professional can support you.

It is important to seek the help of a professional, rather than self-diagnosing to get an accurate picture of what is going on for you and what may be helpful for you based on your symptoms.

If you are experiencing difficulty managing your anxiety; feeling stuck, overwhelmed or paralyzed by worry, anxiety treatment might be a good next step for you to consider.

Read More About Anxiety

What is anxiety treatment?

Treatment for anxiety comes in many forms. Counseling or therapy for anxiety with a therapist who understands how to help with anxiety can be extremely helpful.

Some helpful therapeutic approaches including both talk therapy and body-based therapies often used in the treatment of anxiety are: 

Mindfulness-based Therapy
Somatic or body-based therapy
Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing or EMDR therapy
Exposure Therapy (often used for OCD)
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

A licensed mental health professional who uses a trauma-informed approach to anxiety therapy in their practices might be a good first step.

Regardless of whether you identify having experienced trauma or trauma response, finding a trauma-informed therapist or other healer-type to help you navigate your anxiety can be a self-nurturing and healing experience.

Image of a woman thinking with glasses on, finger on mouth and a wall with question marks behind her. Read More: “Considering Therapy? Here’s What You Should Look For When Choosing A Therapist For You”

A trauma-informed anxiety therapist can help you understand how anxiety impacts your relationships, work, school, physical well-being and emotional well-being.

A trauma-informed therapist takes a person-centered approach with you as the expert of your experience and the person who can speak best about it. They will choose therapeutic approaches that align with your identities, values, preferences, and abilities.

A trauma-informed anxiety therapist can help you understand how anxiety impacts your relationship, work, school, physical well-being and emotional well-being.

They can help you understand the root cause of your anxiety, so that you have a better understanding of you and your anxiety.

Anxiety can be caused by environmental factors including daily stressors, life events, traumatic events or experiences, environmental toxins, food sensitivities, and some medical conditions.

In order to understand what may be causing your anxiety, it is also important to consider having a consultation with your primary care physician or a functional medicine doctor.

Finding an individual therapist to help you understand your anxiety and what would be most helpful for you can be life changing.

In addition to therapy, other forms of body and mind-based methods that many find helpful in managing symptoms of anxiety include: vibrational sound healing, yoga, exercise, spending time in nature mindfully, meditation, infrared sauna, acupuncture, and massage.

While these are great tools in calming your body and reducing symptoms of anxiety, for most who struggle with an anxiety disorder, combining these with therapy focused on the root of anxiety is most helpful.

For some, medications to help reduce the intensity of their anxiety might also be helpful.

It is important to also learn how to cope with anxiety. A therapist can help give you tools so you can make adjustments and form healthy, adaptive ways of coping with anxiety.

A therapist can also help you integrate body and mind-based methods listed above using reflection, providing perspective and feedback, and helping you process what you learn about your anxiety and self.

How long is anxiety treatment?

The amount of time one spends engaging in therapy supports for anxiety varies based on each persons situation.

Finding relief from anxiety is not a race though the desire may feel urgent. It takes time to unlearn maladaptive coping skills that at one time served their purpose, and over time, have proven to be ineffective.

Making the choice to engage with help for managing and reducing anxiety is a choice in supporting you.

Anxiety is a common experience among people of all ages and many people suffer longer than they need to for several reasons.

Some include feeling anxious about reaching out for help, feeling shame about needing or wanting help, not knowing help is available or what kind of help they might need, feeling their current approach should be enough, and stigma in seeking help for very human experiences.

Living with anxiety doesn’t have to be all-consuming.

While there are many options available for treatment and therapy, it is important to find one that resonates with you.

If you are seeking help and guidance from a healer or therapist, it is also important that you feel comfortable with that person.

Don’t let anxiety run your life. There is help available to meet your specific needs and preferences. Getting help for your anxiety can start you on your path to living life on your terms.

Get Help For Anxiety Today

 

Julie is the owner of Denver Metro Counseling and has been working with teens and adults since 2006. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Associate Certified Coach, Approved Clinical Supervisor, EMDR Certified and an EMDRIA Approved Consultant.

Julie specializes in working with trauma, suicide risk, ADHD, anxiety, depression, and supporting other therapist through personal and professional growth. 

Denver Metro Counseling is a group of Denver therapists who provide teen therapy, young adult therapy, adult therapy, family therapy and other counseling and therapy in Denver and throughout Colorado.

In addition to providing anxiety treatment in Colorado, we specialize in relationships, codependency, communication and boundaries and provide supportive therapy for people struggling with life transitions, trauma, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, ADHD, negative body image, and more.

Our clinicians are trained and comfortable working with people who struggle with thoughts of suicide and work collaboratively with our clients and their loved ones to maintain safety through a trauma-informed approach.
Denver Metro Counseling

Our Clinician’s Bios:
Shelby Aronoff, LSW
Jessica Wright, MS, LPC, LPCC
Audrey Bristol, LSW
Molly Ward, LCSW
Karan Steuart, LCSW, LAC
Julie Reichenberger, MA, LPC, ACC, ACS

Follow Julie on Instagram: @julie_thetherapist and Denver Metro Counseling on Facebook: Denver Metro Counseling and Instagram: @denvermetrocounseling for other helpful information.