Anxiety Therapy

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
Persistent and ongoing anxiety can make your world smaller and your life less enjoyable, but anxious thinking is not your only option. In anxiety treatment, you can develop skills for managing your fears so that you can feel confident and engage fully in your life again.
A young woman stares at a computer screen and grabs her head in frustration

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
Anxiety can serve a beneficial function, and it makes sense that we avoid the things that cause distress, fear, and worry. However, when our stress response is left unchecked, we run the risk of becoming avoidant, missing out on learning essential coping skills, and making fear-based decisions. Soon, our lives can begin to lack the joy and purpose that once motivated us.

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 us you can find out if you have an anxiety disorder and learn effective strategies for coping and calming your nervous system. 

Spectrum Connections Therapy draws from a variety of methods to provide neurodiversity-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. Dr. Gurash also has a background in special education, so she is 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 will 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. 

At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we are invested in helping you to manage anxiety symptoms so that you can live a healthy, enjoyable life. By going to counseling, you can learn to manage your stress response before anxiety further affects you, regardless of how long you have experienced symptoms.

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 we can make a referral to a prescriber. However, we will likely 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

Taking a Deeper Look at the Freeze and Fawn Responses

Most people have heard of the fight-or-flight responses regarding how your mind comprehends fear. When you’re in a dangerous situation — even a perceived one — your mind tells the rest of your body that it needs to defend itself somehow.  Fight means standing up to the threat, while flight means running away from it or avoiding it.

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How Social Anxiety Takes a Toll on Neurodivergent Folks

Social anxiety casts a wide net. It’s a type of anxiety that can practically paralyze you in social situations or even make you fearful when you think about social settings. But, for people living with autism, ADHD, and/or another form of neurodivergence, social anxiety can feel even more overwhelming.  Unfortunately, anxiety is fairly common in

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How to Know the Difference Between an Autistic Meltdown Vs. Panic Attack

It’s often hard enough to understand the differences between an anxiety attack and a panic attack. But when you or someone you care for has autism, understanding the differences between an autism meltdown and a panic attack is a whole different ballgame. There’s no question that autism can often cause distress and dysregulation. Sometimes, it

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Is OCD an Anxiety Disorder?

While historically OCD was considered a form of an anxiety disorder, because the intrusive thoughts trigger an anxious response, most recently in 2013 OCD has been classified as its own disorder by the American Psychological Association. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions in the world. But there are several different types

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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

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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

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You Can Live A Life That Is Meaningful 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. 

Contact us to schedule a free, 20-minute consultation or to find out more about your anxiety treatment options.

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