What is anxiety? Anxiety occurs when your brain starts to run on a loop of worry, fear, or nervousness. This constant stress creates a variety of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. The hypervigilance you experience when you are anxious may make your body tense, cause difficulty sleeping, create issues with memory, give you headaches or stomachaches, cause irritability, or create an anxiety attack. These are just a few of the many symptoms associated with anxiety. Although anxiety is a common experience, your personal reaction to it is as unique as you are.
Causes of anxiety Our brains are programmed to be alert to any potential danger in our environments, and focus on negative experiences in order to not repeat them. These mechanisms initially ensured that our ancestors could survive alongside predators. Our modern brains do not need to watch out for bears or poisonous berries, but the same reactions to danger and frightening experiences exist within us. Once our brains become vigilant, we may create of loop of thinking that causes continued worry, fear, or distress. There are many potential causes or triggers for anxiety. Social situations, changes in our lives or daily routines, experiencing new things, stepping outside our comfort zone, or experiencing a dangerous or life threatening event, are just of few of the things that could potentially create symptoms of anxiety.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety There are many types of anxiety. It’s signs and symptoms are physical, mental, and emotional. These can look different for different people. Here are some questions you might want to ask yourself if you think you might be dealing with anxiety:
Am I worried or nervous all the time?
Am I experiencing any of the following physical symptoms: headaches, muscle tension, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, stomach aches, sweaty palms, frequent urination, IBS, tension in my neck or back, loss of appetite?
Do I have difficulty sleeping because I cannot stop thinking negative thoughts?
Does my stress level feel unbearable?
Do my thoughts make it difficult to concentrate or remember things?
Have I experienced an incident where I was struggling to breathe and thought I was going to die?
Do I avoid social situations because I am nervous?
Do I imagine bad things happening to myself or my loved ones?
Am I always thinking about all the possible scenarios that something could go wrong?
Treatment for anxiety - How we can help Experiencing anxiety can feel overwhelming. We are here to help. We are trained in a variety of therapy approaches, including, but not limited to, exposure therapy for anxiety, dialectical behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Our goal is to address root causes for your symptoms, and empower you with tools to leave you feeling better.