What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotion where you may have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. It may cause you to avoid certain situations out of worry or fear. More than 50% of the time, anxiety is also seen in people who have depression.
Signs and symptoms of Anxiety
Anxiety presents itself in many ways. A few examples of symptoms of anxiety include:
- Stomach butterflies
- Racing heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Urgent urination, diarrhea
- Sweaty palms
- Cold sweats/chills
- Hot flashes
These are also the common symptoms of the fight/flight/faint/freeze response. This happens when a huge amount of adrenaline is pumped into your body, allowing you to deal with the event in front of you.
When you feel anxious, you also may present with:
- Nervous habits: scratching, picking your skin, nail-biting, muscle tension, can’t sit still, leg fidgeting, hands restricted (in pockets), shuffling feet, avoiding eye contact, hair twirling/pulling, or coughing
- Anxiety makes your voice crack, provokes tremors, does not let you complete your sentences, or makes you develop nervous laughing or giggles.
- Anxiety also makes you vigilant: you may scan for “dangerous” or triggers, feel easily startled, jumpy, or over-reactive.
- Difficulties falling or staying asleep due to your mind racing
- When you feel anxious your mind may go blank, you may find difficulties concentrating, or cannot proceed with the task at hand, being unable to function
- Your emotions vary tremendously. One moment you can be calm and collect and the next you can start feeling “nervous” (uneasy/vulnerable/edgy/tense), then fearful (frightened/alarmed/frazzled), then terrified (rigid/frozen/panicky/petrified), like you are having a panic attack (you are!).
- You may worry a lot, may ruminate about things, exaggerate the “danger”, feels threatened, feels the need to “escape”, fantasies with scenarios of “attack”, feels “going crazy”/rejected/or abandoned
- You may feel overwhelmed like you cannot control your thoughts, or feel confused
- Your preoccupation with future anxiety attacks may lead to avoidance of people, tasks, or situations
Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety is connected to our primal system of survival – the sympathetic system (also known as the flight/fight/freeze/faint outline). Anxiety can be triggered by thoughts, emotions, the environment, or physical sensations.
How we treat Anxiety
At Tampa Therapy and Wellness, we often use an integrative approach to treat anxiety. We use techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, Mindfulness, ACT, EFT, and other types of therapy.
Typical outcomes of Anxiety treatment
After completing treatment, patients can expect to recover 90 to 95% from anxiety, returning to an optimal level of well-being. Since anxiety is connected to the body’s flight/fight/freeze/faint system, once it is activated, it cannot return to a base level of zero. However, it can return a healthy level of functioning that should not interfere with your overall well-being.
If you feel like you struggle with anxiety, consult with a psychotherapist to get help right away. Coming to therapy may make you feel more anxious but know that our therapist will try their best to meet you where you are and help you build upon your strengths. They will help you build techniques and skills that help reduce your anxiety.