What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a problem when there are persistent feelings of fear or apprehension. It is troublesome because it often interferes with daily functioning, personal growth, and creates uncomfortable physical feelings. It can become overwhelming making the ability to stay rational and objective nearly impossible. Anxiety is based in fear.

What is Normal Anxiety verse Problem Anxiety?

Fear is a valuable emotion. It is our first warning of a problem. By paying attention to our feelings of fear or anxiety, we can determine if we are entering into an unsafe situation, relationship, or path. It is warnings that can help us decide to take action or avoid something potentially harmful. This is normal.

Anxiety is a problem when it interferes with our daily living. When anxiety is high, it can keep us from leaving the house, doing things you intellectually know shouldn’t be a problem, being obsessed with recurrent thoughts of disaster and/or forgetting something, and fear of humiliation, being trapped or specific things like spiders. Anxiety can be generalized to all areas where a person can never feel content.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Remember, all people feel anxious at times and this is normal. If you the following symptoms regularly, some help is in order.

  • Persistent worry
  • Thoughts of pending dome or disaster
  • Inability to stay focused
  • Muscle tension or shaking
  • Racing heart or palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty staying focused or blanking out
  • Problems sleeping, racing mind
  • Sudden feeling of being somewhere else or looking through a tunnel
  • Nausea or stomach cramps
  • Thoughts or behaviors your unable to stop
  • Fear of humiliation, being center of attention
  • Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms you experience can be constant or spike to a full blown anxiety attack or panic attack.

What is an Anxiety Attack?

An anxiety attack is a sudden spike in the above symptoms that can feel like a heart attack or that that a person is dying. Having panic attacks can become a vicious cycle. The unpredictability of them can increase the fear of humiliation, fear of being somewhere unsafe as well as fear of dying. The fear of an anxiety attack adds to the list of fears.

What to do about Anxiety?

There are several things that can be done. One is to eliminate the possibility of a physical issue. Have you changed your medicines lately, could you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, are you going through menopause? Are you prone to high anxiety or worry?

Two is to look at how your life has changed recently. Are you in a new job, relationship or situation that would cause stress? Could this be normal stress that time will cure?

Three, seek counseling. Counseling can help you discover what the underlying fears and concerns are, help you find solutions to the causes of your anxiety and change your thought patterns to help you build resiliency. Therapy that helps you identify and change your negative beliefs can give relief. Understanding your unique experiences and triggers can give you prevention tools for the future.

Fourth, medications. Often, medication is conjunction with therapy can offer relief. Since anxiety and depression can go hand in hand, the medications can be the same. Depending on the drug, they can have immediate effects or take a few weeks to help. Sometimes the drugs are needed to help relieve some of the symptoms so you can be more proactive to facilitate change.Taking medications are usually temporary; they help you “get over the hump” toward healing then with doctors supervision are tapered off.  Remember, all drugs have side effects and risks so be well informed before taking them.

For help with your anxiety or depression, call South Denver Psychotherapy at 303-730-1144.

Other resource’s:

Mayo Clinic:

Web MD:

National Institute of Mental Health:

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