Is Anxiety Getting In The Way Of Your Ability To Enjoy Life?
Do you find yourself worrying all day long or have a hard time tolerating uncertainty? Are you struggling to manage the daily pressure of your commitments? Do you regularly feel distracted and disconnected, as if you live in a daze?
Living with anxiety makes it difficult to relax, stay present, and manage stress. As a result, you likely have a hard time falling or staying asleep, causing you to wake up overwhelmed and worry about the day ahead. Without proper rest, you can’t keep up with work, school, and daily responsibilities.
Your anxiety might be making you chronically uncomfortable or causing you to make decisions based on fears rather than realistic outcomes. When you think about the future, you may tend to catastrophize or imagine the worst-case scenario. Also, if you experience other mental health obstacles or neurodivergence—including Autism and/or ADHD—anxiety may heighten your discomfort.
Anxiety Manifests In Physiological And Psychological Distress
In addition to the setbacks listed above, other symptoms of anxiety include:
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, restlessness, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, dizziness, chest tightness, tingling or panic attacks
- Cognitive symptoms such as racing thoughts or irrational thinking
- Emotional symptoms such as feeling irritable, on edge or an impending sense of doom
- Behavioral symptoms such as avoiding triggers or certain situations
Anxiety Is Widespread And Often Co-Occurring With Other Mental Health Conditions
Anxiety is the most common obstacle to mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that close to one-third of adolescents and adults will develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime—a statistic that significantly increases in neurodivergent populations, such as those living with Autism. (NIMH reference)
Moreover, there are different types of anxiety:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder – generalized worries about a variety of things—including personal health, work, relationships, and everyday stressors—that persist over long periods of time
- Social Anxiety – intense worries involving social interactions and situations, often leading to isolation and tension in relationships; this kind of anxiety can also show up in perfectionism, a fear of being judged in public, or an overwhelming fear of making mistakes
- Phobias – excessive fear related to specific events, places, and objects (ex. fear of flying, spiders, heights, doctors/dentists, getting shots/needles etc.)
- Separation anxiety – fear of being separated from loved ones or attachment figures; this type of anxiety is more common in children but can occur in adults
- Selective mutism – a form of anxiety that causes individuals to stop speaking in certain social situations or under specific circumstances
Neurodivergent Individuals Experience Higher Rates Of Anxiety And Require Specialized Treatment
When seeking solutions for anxiousness, it’s crucial for neurodivergent individuals to work with a clinician who understands the complexities involved with this population. Anxiety plays a significant role in the management of daily routines, emotional dysregulation, sensory stimuli, social situations, and challenges to executive functioning, so it’s important to work with someone who understands the unique experience inherent in neurodivergence.
Our approach is both identity-affirming and trauma-informed, so you can feel confident that anxiety treatment at Spectrum Connections Therapy is individualized to celebrate your strengths and fit your needs.
Anxiety Treatment At Spectrum Connections Therapy Is Customized To Meet The Needs Of Each Client
It’s often hard to notice that anxiety is disrupting life until symptoms become so intense that they’re unbearable. The goal of counseling, then, is to get in front of your anxiety so that you can minimize the control that it has over your stress response and decision-making. Working with our therapists, you can find out if you have an anxiety disorder and learn effective strategies for coping and calming your nervous system.
Our specialists draw from a variety of methods to provide neurodiverse-affirming and trauma-informed treatment for anxiety disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you adjust your thoughts and feelings so that anxiety doesn’t maintain so much control over your life. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) allows you to live by your values as you learn to accept challenging circumstances. Our family systems and relational approach will help your loved ones learn how to support your anxiety. We also have a background in special education, so we are keenly aware of how anxiety can impact the ability to be successful in school. Finally, our incorporation of mindfulness exercises will help you become more present, curious, and emotionally aware.
As appropriate, we also incorporate exposure therapy into anxiety treatment. This method involves systematically exposing you to your fears in a way that helps you to neutralize the dread and excessive worry you feel when triggered.
Even though anxiety makes life feel uncertain and uncomfortable, overcoming your fears is possible. With the skills you learn in counseling, you can better tolerate discomfort, eliminate avoidance, and face your worries with confidence.
Maybe You’re Interested In Working With An Anxiety Disorder Specialist, But You’re Not Sure If Therapy Is Right For You…
How do I know the difference between normal worries and an anxiety disorder?
Experiencing fear, distress, and concern about what’s next is part of being human. However, when excessive worry affects your relationships and daily functioning, it’s a sign that anxiety is beginning to take control of your life.
Can’t I just take medication for my anxiety instead of going to counseling?
We believe that therapy is an essential facet of anxiety treatment. Medication can certainly be beneficial, but it only helps as long as you take it. Alternatively, counseling gives you an opportunity to develop lifelong skills for coping and regulation so that anxiety no longer interferes with your daily functioning.
If you are still struggling to find relief after a few sessions of therapy, then we can discuss integrating medication into your anxiety treatment plan and make a referral to a prescriber. However, we will encourage you to remain in counseling so that you can continue building coping skills.
The idea of exposure therapy makes me nervous.
Understandably, you’re uncomfortable with the idea of being exposed to your biggest fears. However, exposure therapy is a highly effective component of anxiety treatment. As well, we specialize in treating anxiety and issues of neurodivergence so we know how to gradually incorporate fears into counseling in a way that is both gentle and productive.
We are here to encourage you and make you feel safe, so anxiety treatment will move at a pace that feels comfortable for you.
Blog Posts on Anxiety
5 Ways to Navigate Neurodivergent Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can impact anyone. It refers to any individual who deals with irrational anxiety in social situations or through different interactions. Neurodivergent people often get labeled as “socially anxious,” though it’s even more common that they get mislabeled as shy. For those on the autism spectrum or with other neurodiverse conditions, being around groups
What to Do If Anxiety Is Affecting Your Sleep
Stressful thoughts have a tendency to keep you awake at night. Maybe you struggle to fall asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep. If you have anxiety, that means that these worries affect you consistently and can even interfere with your daily life and activities. Anxiety
5 Telltale Signs Your Child is Suffering From Anxiety
Generally, adults are well acquainted with what anxiety feels like. To shift into “fight or flight” mode is a natural and fairly common occurrence in our chaotic lives. Thus, you’ve likely learned to recognize the effects of stress on your mind and body while finding ways to cope effectively. Perhaps you breathe deeply and process
Is Your Worry Warranted? When It’s Time to Do Something About Anxiety
Anxiety is a mental health condition that requires attention if your worries interfere with your daily life. It is healthy to be anxious about certain events in your life like applying for a job or going on your first date. The story changes if everything around you makes you anxious. Anxiety could creep in every time you
Lazy Eight Breathing: Breathing Technique for Anxiety
Do you or your loved ones live with anxiety? When anxiety shows up, it often can leave a sense of breathlessness or a feeling like you can’t catch your breath. This can be very uncomfortable and even more anxiety-provoking. This post is the second in a series of breathing exercises to try when you feel
Breathing Technique for Anxiety
This will be part of a series of tips and tools to help with managing and understanding anxiety. Breathwork can be helpful when learning to manage your anxiety when it shows up as it helps ground us and calms down the nervous system when we are in fight or flight mode. Breathing correctly and with
You Can Live A Life That Is Pleasurable And Not Driven By Fear
If anxiety negatively impacts your emotional regulation, social life, and daily functioning, treatment at Spectrum Connections Therapy can help you develop strategies for overcoming your worries.