Do you struggle with constant worry about things that occur in everyday life? Do you have panic attacks? Maybe you are afraid of things or social situations that you avoid and interfere with living life fully. Or do you struggle with obsessions and compulsions that interfere with everyday life? Maybe you have been told that you have an anxiety disorder and have been in therapy without success. Anxiety disorders are treatable with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), exposure, and mindfulness and acceptance strategies.
How do I know if I have an anxiety disorder? It is important to make an appointment for an intake assessment, but you may identify with one or more of the following:
GAD is characterized by excessive worry about normal everyday things that people worry about. The different with GAD is that it interferes with everyday functioning, including school, work, and social relationships. Symptoms of GAD include: persistent and excessive anxiety and worry about a number of activities or events, restlessness, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension and/or sleep disturbance.
Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks. A Panic Attack is a discrete period in which there is the sudden onset of intense apprehension, fearfulness, or terror, often associated with feelings of impending doom. During these attacks, symptoms such as shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain or discomfort, choking or smothering sensations, and fear of “going crazy” or losing control are present.
Social phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder) is characterized by significant anxiety provoked by exposure to certain types of social or performance situations. Individuals with this disorder often avoid situations which are anxiety provoking. Individuals are often concerns with potential embarrassment and that others will think that they are anxious, stupid or weird. Individuals with Social Phobia always experience anxiety in these situations and in some situations may have panic attacks.
Specific Phobia is when significant anxiety is provoked by a specific feared object or situation. Individuals with this disorder often avoid the feared object or situation. Social Phobia subtypes are:
PE is an evidence-based treatment developed by Edna B. Foa, PhD, the director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, for the treatment of PTSD and related depression, anger, and anxiety. PE is based on cognitive-behavioral principles and can be tailored to meet individual needs. PE is helps clients process traumatic events and reduce the symptoms associated with PTSD. About 80% of clients with PTSD have been demonstrated clinically significant improvement with PE. PE utilizes in vivo and imaginal exposure to re-experience the traumatic event through remembering it and engaging with, rather than avoiding, reminders of the trauma. In addition, client learn techniques, such as breathing retraining, to cope with symptoms.
Exposure is a treatment for anxiety disorders that teaches you to face your fears and decrease avoidance patterns.
EX/RP is a specific form of exposure therapy for OCD and related disorders. EX/RP teaches you how to approach your fears and decrease avoidance patterns and rituals that maintain the anxiety. Clients typically meet with an individual therapy one or two times weekly. For more severe OCD symptoms, we offer more intensive treatment as well.
Mindfulness helps you become more aware of avoidance patterns and beliefs that contribute to anxiety by allowing you to direct your attention to the present. Acceptance strategies help you to accept unwanted thoughts and feelings without attaching to them.