Anxiety can show up in many ways and disrupt people’s lives on a daily basis. While everyone feels anxiety from time to time, anxiety can be quite debilitating and disrupt individual daily lives and relationships. When this is the case, therapy is a good option so that you can learn how to manage the anxiety. Anxiety is very common and you are not alone. Recent statistics show that up to 20% of adults suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. Up to 30% of adolescents can also struggle with anxiety. Upwards of 40% of children with autism spectrum also struggle with some form of an anxiety disorder (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics).
Unmanaged anxiety can lead to unhealthy coping skills, avoidance, making fear-based decisions, negatively affect relationships, impact academic and work functioning, and lead to increased social isolation. Generally, anxiety causes you to miss out on the things you enjoy in life because the anxiety prevents you from engaging in your life fully. At Spectrum Connections Therapy, we specialize in helping you manage your anxiety in the way that is presented in your daily routines. Usually, the first response to managing anxiety is to generally avoid the thing that causes the anxiety in the first place. This makes logical sense at first! Why would you want to do the things that cause you distress, uncertainty, panic, and discomfort? However, while this may work in the moment or short term, it will not be sustainable in the long term. As a result of making fear-based decisions and avoiding anxiety triggers, you are actually reinforcing more avoidance. As a result, your world becomes smaller and you start missing out on the things you enjoy most. Our goal is to help you get in front of the anxiety, not let it have so much power over how you live your life, and help you get back to doing the things that matter to you most so you can live life fully.
Symptoms of anxiety can include: feeling on edge, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, irritability, racing thoughts, distractibility, muscle tension, changes in appetite, lack of focus, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like something bad is going to happen, difficulty sitting still, feeling out of control, panic attacks, physiological symptoms (e.g. heart palpitations, racing heart, difficulty breathing, dizziness, tightness in the chest, numbness, and tingling, feeling like one is having a life-threatening experience).
Different Types of Anxiety:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety can be generalized and worries tend to persist daily over long periods of time. The anxiety can be about a variety of things such as personal health, work, relationships, and everyday life routines.
- Social Anxiety: This kind of anxiety is related to social interactions and social situations. It can lead to social isolation and negatively impact relationships. It can also show up with perfectionism and a fear of making mistakes.
- Phobias: These are intense fears related to specific events, places, or objects. These fears are disproportionate in relation to the actual threat. Examples are fear of spiders, flying, elevators, heights, going to the doctor to receive shots or blood draws, and dentists.
- Separation Anxiety: This kind of anxiety can show up when people have fears of being away from their loved ones and attachment figures. It is more common in children, but can also be present in adults.
- Selective Mutism: This is a form of anxiety where individuals fail to speak under certain circumstances or specific social situations.