Anxiety and depression are the two most frequent symptoms present in those who come in for professional help. And in truth, of course, we all have plenty of both over our lifetime. Anxitey is a large topic that can not be adequately handled on this page, so I'm going to help you understand a little more about it and point you to further help.
Here are some general facts about anxiety:
- Anxiety tends to run in families...it often has a genetic component.
- Anxiety has a variety of treatments, and different forms of anxiety respond differently to different types of treatment. They include...
- Cognitive-behavioral techniques
- Systematic desensitization
- Mindfulness practices
- EMDR for Post-traumatic stress (see resources)
- Gestalt therapy, Internal Family Systems, and other somewhat experiential therapies
- A variety of more "talk therapy" techniques including psychodynamic therapy
- Anxiety comes in many forms. Typical "diagnostic categories" include:
- Panic Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Obsessive Compuslive Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder tends to come from traumatic experiences that a person thinks might happen again. If seems to be significantly related to the unpleasantness of the original experience of anxiety itself: the fear that the anxious feelings are going to happen again in the presence of a less dramatic triggering event causes the feelings to happen again.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a kind of "freezing" in the brain of a traumatic experience. The experience tends to feel like it just happened, though it may have been many years before. For a more complete discussion go to the PTSD page on this site.
- Specific phobias--such as the fear of riding in elevators or a fear of heights--have to be unlearned. That typically involves both psychoeducation and experiential methods.
- Obsessive Compulsion Disorder can be difficult to treat. Medication and a combination of cognitive-behavioral techniques are often helpful.
- Social Anxiety Disorder also responds well to cognitive-behavioral techniques, including behavioral practice and some techniques that are similar to the treatment of phobias.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder is often treated with cognitive-behavioral techniques.
I use a variety of techniques to treat anxiety, depending on the type of anxiety. A varied approach can be helpful...not all things work for each person, and treatment needs to be individualized.
There are many good websites on anxiety. Check the list to the left for some you may find helpful.