Help! Anxiety is controlling my life!
Anxiety or fear is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel. It’s actually a good thing most of the time, because it can keep us out of danger. However, if anxiety becomes excessive you can start to feel like your life is slipping out of your control. You can feel sick, helpless, or powerless over it. Since I offer counseling for anxiety here in the Tri-Cities, I’ll try to address typical questions I think you might have about it here.
The good news is that anxiety of any kind is treatable. You may be plagued by panic attacks, which are abrupt surges of intense fear that often come out of the blue. You may have social anxiety. You may have fears about being in crowded spaces, wide open places, or places where escape might be difficult–often called agoraphobia. You may have generalized anxiety, where you seem to worry about everything.
How do I know if I need counseling for anxiety?
The gold standard for whether or not you need counseling is if your anxiety causes you significant distress or impairment. In other words, do you hate having anxiety, or is it causing so much trouble in your life that you can’t do the things you need to do? Is it affecting your sleep? Is it a seldom-experienced, or have your symptoms been bothering you regularly for a month, six months or longer?
It’s best to visit your doctor first, to rule out purely medical causes. Anxiety can be caused by medical conditions such as thyroid problems, heart problems, hypoglycemia and PMS. Anxiety can also be heightened by caffeine use, amphetamines, appetite suppressants, asthma medications and even nasal decongestants. If your anxiety is severe enough that it lowers your quality of life or makes you miserable, then it may be time to consider counseling.
What about anti-anxiety medications?
When you are feeling a high amount of anxiety, you just want it to stop. Especially if you feel a high level of anxiety on a regular basis. As a clinical social worker I don’t prescribe medications, however, even if you are prescribed anxiety medication counseling is crucial for long-term healing.
While anxiety medication can be very helpful in reducing intense anxiety, the effects go away when the medication wears off. Over time, many anxiety medications lose their helpfulness as our bodies adjust to it as well, and some anxiety medications can be addicting. Only counseling can help you permanently overcome anxiety, so you can reclaim your life!
What does anxiety treatment look like?
The first thing I do is educate about anxiety, and give you some tools to help evaluate your anxiety objectively. Information is like a life preserver to most folks who have significant anxiety. The second phase involves giving you better ways to cope with your anxiety; these can include breathing skills, thinking skills, and others. You’ll learn how to deal with anxiety, and not let it control you as much as it may have. The third phase is where we integrate your knowledge and skills into treatment to allow you to confront and conquer your anxiety once and for all! I’ll be with you every step of the way.
Length of treatment for anxiety varies, but typically is not less than six sessions. Everyone wants help quickly, and as your therapist I can offer you things that will help from the very first session.
What’s my next step?
I offer counseling for those suffering from many kinds of anxiety disorders here in the Tri-Cities. Please write me or give me a call. Click here to be taken to a form to contact me via email, or call my office directly at 509-579-0200. It’s tempting to put things off when you have anxiety, it can be a very debilitating disorder. Do something today to help yourself take your life back, you deserve it!