What’s Anxiety?

As someone who struggles with anxiety, living well can be very elusive. However, living well is something I strive for on a daily basis.

Those of us that experience anxiety do not set out to feel anxious but in fact feel anxious about our anxiety.

It takes work and conscious effort to get through a panic episode. That’s why living well in all areas of my life is so important.

I believe our lives consist of the following areas: spiritual, physical, relational, intellectual, financial, mental, and emotional. I see each area as a spoke to a wheel. When one is lacking or missing, the wheel cannot move forward properly or may come to a complete stop.

That’s when anxiety can set in because if we are stuck in an area, it causes strain to our daily lives. This strain can cause overwhelming feelings which in turn creates anxiety.

I’m not saying that you have to be perfect in all areas of your life. But, being self-aware of the areas that are lacking and working on bettering them is paramount to minimizing distress.

That being said, there are other reasons why individuals experience anxiety and may result from a combination of personal experiences and genetic factors.

The different types of anxiety are as follows:
• Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Individuals that have this form of anxiety worry to the point that activities of daily living are affected and is persistent.
• Panic disorder: People with this disorder have reoccurring panic attacks.
• Phobias: This is excessive and persistent fears of a particular thing or activity and much effort is made to avoid it.
• Social anxiety disorder (social phobia): Distress that comes from social interactions leading to wanting to avoid them.
• Separation anxiety disorder: An extreme fear of being separated from another person.
• Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): A persistent anxiety or fear following a traumatic or life-threatening event.

Some of the physical symptoms that may indicate you are experiencing anxiety are:
• Sleep problems
• Difficulty concentrating
• Irritability
• Chest pressure
• Nervousness
• Trouble breathing

Anxiety is a prevalent disorder and according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15% of people will experience anxiety in their lifetime.

Treatment for anxiety can include:
• Talk therapy
• Medication
• Other natural remedies that may include proper exercise and nutrition

If you are struggling with anxiety and would like help, please reach out. Part of getting help is gaining greater knowledge of the disorder.

The following are some resources you can utilize to get further information regarding anxiety:
• National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI (1-800-950-6264), https://www.nami.org
• Anxiety and Depression Association of America: 1-240-485-1001, http://www.adaa.org
• National Institute of Mental Health: 1-866-615-6464,http://www.nimh.nih.gov/index.shtml
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Mental Health: 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636),http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/
• American Psychological Association: 1-800-374-2721, http://www.apa.org/index.aspx
• American Psychiatric Association: 1-703-907-7300, http://www.psychiatry.org

Written by: Dalma Vazquez-Wackt, MA, CRC, LPC

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