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According to the ADAA, approximately 55% of individuals struggling with general anxiety do not receive treatment. Since there are approximately 6.8 million adults in the United States impacted by general anxiety, this means that over 3 million people are not receiving proper support.
This doesn’t include all of the individuals struggling with social anxiety, panic disorder, OCD, etc. This would be unheard of if we were talking about a medical struggle, especially one that is treatable. Why is this?
Oftentimes, individuals are reluctant to seek treatment due to the unknowns of what therapy may entail. Therapy, although scary at first, has been proven effective in helping relieve the symptoms of anxiety.
In fact, studies show that 80% of people who seek treatment, find it helpful. Many people may not know when to seek treatment. This post will help you determine when it might be time to seek counseling for anxiety.
Most people will deal with some sort of anxiety throughout their lives. This is normal. Anxiety, at the root of it, serves a natural purpose- to protect us from danger. Oftentimes, we experience anxiety when we perceive that we are in some sort of ‘danger.’
I put quotation marks around danger because what is dangerous to one person may not be dangerous to another. One person may be fearful of flying on an airplane while another may be fearful of failure or rejection. What we perceive as dangerous is usually based on our individual experiences and what we are taught throughout our lives. Anxiety is not the result of our experiences but the way we interpret and perceive these experiences.
So when is it time to seek help for your anxiety?
If you notice that your anxiety symptoms are causing trouble at work or home, it may signify it is time to reach out for help.
Here are additional symptoms that may help you determine if you could benefit from speaking with a therapist.
Symptoms of Anxiety:
1) Thinking Changes
Have you been experiencing struggles related to your thinking such as difficulty concentrating, forgetting things easily, or overthinking? Do you, at times, feel like you are going crazy? This can be normal for individuals who struggle with anxiety.
When experiencing anxiety, changes in thinking occur for many different reasons. When there is perceived danger/stress, our body tends to focus on that, which leads us to overlook other things that we may not usually overlook. It can be easy to forget things when the mind and body are focused on protecting themselves from a future threat.
Overthinking or ruminating can be a way to shift the focus off the uncomfortable physical symptoms of anxiety. Or it may be a way for you to take back control of your thoughts or find some sort of safety.
For example: If you find yourself walking into a new social situation and start to hyper-focus on your appearance or ask yourself over and over again, “did I say the right thing?”, ”Are they going to like me?”, “I can’t believe I said that”, you may be trying to protect yourself from rejection.
2) Physical/Somatic Symptoms
Do you notice that you are experiencing physical symptoms such as stomach pains, increased heart rate, nausea, dizziness, flinching or twitching, etc. that have no medical cause? This may be related to our body’s flight or fight response when perceived danger is approaching.
For example, let’s say you were driving to work and got into a fender bender. The next time you are getting ready for work, an automatic thought of “driving is dangerous” may occur. Your body then detects danger as you start to get your keys out. This could lead to a fight or flight response that releases hormones into our body such as adrenaline. The increased adrenaline will cause a variety of physical symptoms. For more information on physical symptoms associated with anxiety click here.
3) Feeling Burnout or Fatigue
Living with anxiety can be exhausting. You may overthink normal day-to-day tasks or question yourself and your abilities constantly. This will naturally lead to burnout and fatigue. You may wake up feeling like you can’t get out of bed with very low energy. You may find yourself calling out of work frequently, canceling plans with friends, or feeling unmotivated to accomplish tasks that used to be easy.
4) Need to Be in Control
Do you find yourself needing to be in control of everything around you?
Oftentimes, experiencing anxiety can feel like a total loss of control. You may not understand what is happening in your body/mind which may lead you to seek control in other ways.
“You are afraid of surrender because you don’t want to lose control. But you never had control; all you had was anxiety.”– Elizabeth Gilbert
For example, as a parent, who has been in a fender bender, you may notice increased anxiety when your teenager begins to drive. Unfortunately, once they reach a certain age, you will not have control over their driving, nor do you have control over others’ driving which will naturally cause anxiety. You may find yourself coping with that anxiety by seeking control in other areas of your life.
Do you find yourself having difficulty falling asleep or frequently waking up during the night? Have you been staying up late? Do you struggle with sitting still?
Insomnia and restlessness are two common symptoms of anxiety.
Seeking Therapy for Anxiety
There are many great techniques and strategies that have been proven effective in the treatment of anxiety including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.
Research indicates that on average, 15 to 20 sessions are required for patients to reach all of their goals in therapy. Once these sessions are completed, many individuals find that their anxiety has reduced significantly. They are happier and feel like they are part of their lives again. They are better equipped to manage any symptoms that arise due to newly learned coping skills and increased insight.
Life is too precious to spend one more minute crippled by your anxiety. Our team of psychologists and therapists are experts in treating anxiety. We can teach you the techniques and skills to manage your anxiety so you can live the life you want to live.
Are you not sure if you should see a therapist for your anxiety?
Take this quick quiz to see if therapy for anxiety could be right for you.
Sarah DeSantis is a licensed clinical social worker and is an expert in depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma-related issues, mood disorders, and eating disorders. Call 954-488-2933 or email today to discuss how our services can help you.
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