Although it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious now and then, intense or chronic anxiety can be a debilitating experience. Dealing with persistent feelings of worry and nervousness can make life difficult, but therapy can provide the tools necessary to cope.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Feeling anxiety before an exciting or daunting experience like a performance, a test, or a first date is normal. However, many individuals suffer from intense or chronic anxiety that is overwhelming and recurring. Some deal with anxiety that is “out of nowhere”—that is, they are simply anxious without a stimulus to be anxious about. Anxiety sufferers may also have intrusive or obsessive thoughts and can even have physical reactions to their anxiety such as racing heartbeats, trembling, dizziness, sweating, and insomnia.
Receiving Therapy for Anxiety
Therapy is a collaborative process where patients and therapists work together to determine the cause of anxiety and develop concrete methods to mitigate and cope with anxiety. Although most patients only see a therapist an hour per week, the process of therapy is ongoing. Therapists will often invite patients to practice their new skills while they are away. According to the American Psychological Association, the majority of patients who seek therapy for anxiety experience reduced or eliminated symptoms in eight to ten sessions.
What Therapy for Anxiety May Look Like
Every therapist has a slightly different technique and method when it comes to treating anxiety. After performing an evaluation, many use a common form of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. In this process, patients learn how to identify thoughts that may be at the root of anxiety, challenge thoughts that may arise during feelings of anxiety, and use healthy coping skills or behaviors to mitigate the feelings. Receiving treatment for anxiety may be daunting, especially if you feel anxious about the process. Our therapy staff at Cross The Bridge Counseling has years of experience treating anxiety in children, teens, and adults, and is available for therapy at our two locations in Middletown and Rock Hill, NY. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (845) 342-5789 today.
Stress and anxiety are buzzwords in nearly every industry. While they may be used interchangeably in casual conversation, they are in fact quite different in how they are triggered, experienced, and treated. Stress is a normal part of life, whereas anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in America, affecting 40 million adults, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America. Understanding the differences is the first step to taking control of both.
Causes of Stress vs. Anxiety
Most people experience stress in everyday life, from juggling projects at work and paying the bills to toting kids to soccer and getting dinner on the table. It may be true that these responsibilities can be stressful, but it is also true that they are stressors that, in these cases, provide motivation to accomplish goals in every aspect of life. On the contrary, anxiety is sometimes triggered by stressors and sometimes comes from seemingly nowhere. It typically undermines productivity.
Signs and Symptoms of Stress vs. Anxiety
Stress can behave like pop-up ads, forcing people to tackle the task at hand. But not too long after the event, their system is back to a normal state. Sometimes the work of handling the tasks can have negative results, such as sleep disturbance, forgetfulness, back and neck pain, low energy, and gastrointestinal problems. Anxiety runs in the background, causing a constant state of worry. Common symptoms include hypervigilance, fatigue, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and an exaggerated startle response. Anxiety can also result in psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches or dizziness and physical symptoms like shortness of breath. Most notably, anxiety can cause impairment at work or within interpersonal relationships.
Coping With Stress and Anxiety
Knowing how to manage stress can be the difference between it having a motivational or detrimental effect. Using calming techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, journaling, and down-tempo music can all contribute to a healthy experience of common stress. The same methods can be applied to coping with anxiety, along with sleep regulation, proper nutrition, and refraining from caffeine or alcohol.
If stress or anxiety continues after trying to cope, there are several resources that can help further. Talk therapy can be beneficial for both stress and anxiety, helping to identify triggers and strategize solutions. For uncontrolled anxiety, a doctor may recommend antidepressants to help alleviate symptoms and offer long-term relief.