Hong Lam, LMFT
Is it hard for you to control your emotions? When you're having a discussion with your spouse or significant other, do you often times lose control and wish you could stay calm?
Anxiety takes on many forms. For some it makes it difficult to go out in public, for others it makes socializing feel impossible. Some become obsessed with avoiding germs or washing their hands, while others get caught up in a horrible cycle of negative thoughts. A common but excruciating experience is going through a panic attack. It is like a 8.0 earthquake ravaging through your body; Your heart statrts pounding, your palms are sweaty, your thoughts are running a mile a minute, you feel like you might die and may even run out of the house.
Life is hard enough to deal with in general, but when you are plagued with anxiety, it can make coping with problems feel impossible. You may lay awake at night, wondering if you will ever get better.
How Common is Anxiety?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness. It affects almost 40 million people in the United Statese alone. (that does not even include children) Unlike some other problems, anxiety is highly treatable, yet only about 1/3 or those receive treatment. In other words, many people suffer unnecessarily.
What Causes Anxiety?
With the rush of life, with so many responsibilities, it is no wonder why anxiety problems are so abundant. Death of a spouse, loss of youth, feelings of loneliness can all contribute. When life throws you a curve ball and you start hating the way you feel, anxiety can prevail. Genetics is another factor. If you have relatives who also suffer from anxiety, you are more at risk to get it yourself. Finally, family upbringing can have a big impact on whether you develop an anxiety disorder. If you were raised by a parent who ruled with an iron fist, yelled regularly, this disrupts your emotional growth and sets you up for anxiety. The good news is that almost all forms of anxiety are completely treatable with high success outcomes.
What If I Don't Know Where My Anxiety Is Coming From?
Not knowing where your anxiety is coming from can be quite confusing. When everything in your life seems to be ok and your job is fine and your relationships are good, you be scratching your head and wondering why you are experiencing all these dreadful symptoms. It might even feel a bit scary that there is no discernable source. Rest assured that you are not going crazy. Often times what happens is that there are things happening on the subconscious level. That simply means that there is something causing the anxiety, but it is too complicated and hidden to be able to be identified. The good news is that a qualified counselor can help you explore things that are outside your awareness and provide insight to the source of your anxiety.
What Keeps Anxiety Going?
We've briefly discussed what causes anxiety, but what sustains anxiety? If you monitor your thoughts while anxious, notice that your thoughts are primarily negative. You might even be overexaggerating the negative belief and have thoughts like "I will never be good enough" or "I am not worthy of love". The anxiety is speaking to you loudly and is making you believe this is true. So one thing that keeps your anxiety alive are negative thought cycles. It is then obvious to say that the way you think affects the way you feel and act. Good counselors help you focus on changing those negative thought patterns and challenging them in factual ways that alter your feelings towards the good.
The biggest and most common mistake people make when dealing with their anxiety is ignoring it. After all, why would you want to face the very emotions you are trying to escape. When you ignore the problem, it gives your anxiety the opportunity to grow and grow until it starts to take control over your life. Your symptoms can progressively get worse. So by dealing with your anxiety now, you begin to develop new skills to cope with the anxiety that is in you whether you deal with it or not. Anxiety is best dealt with in small increments.
How To Treat Anxiety?
The first thing you need to do to properly treat your anxiety is to figure what kind of anxiety you are going through. Depending on the type anxiety, different types of treatment are recommended. Do you have a form of generalized anxiety or do you have a specific fear? Have you been traumatized by an event or do you get stuck in harmful repetitive behaviors?
Some problems need to be treated with Mindfulness, others will needed to be treated with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (or simply , just CBT) and yet others will need to be treated with Exposure therapy. Furthermore, if you have a lot of trauma or serious emotional wounds from your past, you might need to go back and explore those wounds before feeling confident to address your anxiety directly.
The success rate of treating anxiety at New Paths Family counseling is extremely high. Even with the difficulty of things like trauma and OCD, we have managed to help people make significant improvements in their daily functioning and relief from pain.
The Benefits of Treatment
By going through the proper treatment, you can begin to face your worries and train yourself and your mind to stay in a calm relaxed place. Imagine what your life would be like without panic attacks. Imagine a world where you replace ruminating thoughts with peaceful feelings. Don't suffer needlessly. Get your anxiety assessed and get the help to put you on the right path to treating your anxiety.
Call Me Today for a Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation
If you are having trouble with your child or family please Contact Me for a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have for me.