Anxiety and stress are often mistaken as the same thing. Understand that while stress can motivate you to pay attention and perform well, anxiety hinders your ability to focus and perform. When people assign too much importance to a situation or perceive a situation as overwhelming, stress transforms into anxiety with its excess of worry, restless energy, and, at times, exhaustion.
Anxiety has both genetic and situational causes. Many anxious people come from a family with a history of anxiety, and then the person also lives with anxious parents and siblings, accentuating anxious thoughts and behaviors. Other causes of anxiety could include major life changes, trauma, or other stressful events.
If you’re ready for change, consider coming to counseling. We know it takes courage to cross that bridge and we want you to have an idea of what to expect. The first counseling session is an assessment session—designed to help your therapist gather background information as they listen to your concerns and create a treatment plan tailored to you. In the treatment visits that follow, your therapist will teach you skills as well as draw insights from you to help you manage the various anxiety symptoms you are experiencing. When you’ve tried to figure things out on your own long enough and come to therapy, you’re ready for some practical guidance and direction. And that’s just what you’ll get.
Some anxiety symptoms that we will help you work through include:
Social anxiety can make people feel afraid that others are judging them or that they’ll accidentally embarrass themselves. This anxiety may increase during social events, such as attending a crowded venue, meeting new people, interacting with authority figures, asking someone on a date, or public speaking.
One way we help treat social anxiety is by role-playing specific situations. Being prepared can help you cope and manage your anxiety before a social event happens. Together, we will construct a plan that will help you feel more confident in social situations.
Panic attacks occur when you experience a cluster of physical anxiety symptoms all at the same time. Your symptoms may include an increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, headache, dizziness, or change in breathing, etc. The symptoms usually last about 15 minutes or so, and you may then feel quite tired for a while thereafter. Fortunately, these events are usually not life-threatening or harmful to your body. They happen as your body reacts to a stressful event or as your mind starts to worry about something.
In some cases, a person may feel they are coping well enough with their stress, and they may still have a panic attack. It may seem to come “out of the blue.” In such cases, you should visit your physician to rule out medical reasons. If your physician suggests that panic attacks are the likely explanation, a well-trained therapist can teach you mental and behavioral skills that will help you cope with stress and manage panic attacks.
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