Anxiety

What Is Anxiety and How Is It Treated?

Updated on May 22, 2022
Written by Alejandro Sandoval

Anxiety can manifest in a variety of ways. It’s an entirely natural bodily response when someone experiences stress. However, it can give you apprehension or fear about what might occur in the future. Everything from giving a public speech to going through a job interview or walking into a day of classes can make some people feel nervous and fearful.

Everyone experiences anxiety sometimes. However, if you have these feelings for at least six months, notice the anxiety is extreme, or it seems to make life more difficult, this could be because of an anxiety disorder. Your therapist can help you find the right solutions for your situation when dealing with this.

About Anxiety Disorders

Starting a new job, taking an exam, or moving somewhere new can create feelings of anxiety. It might not be pleasant, but it can push you to do better and work harder. This anxiety can be present but go away and doesn’t prevent you from living your life. It’s there for a while and then gone when the stressor isn’t as immediate.

With anxiety disorders, you could feel fearful at all times. It might affect your life and be an intense presence at all times. This anxiety can stop you from doing the things you love. It could keep you from going into an elevator, walking into a store, or leaving your home in the most severe cases. When untreated, these problems may get worse.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Everyone feels different things when experiencing anxiety. For one person, it might create the feeling of a racing heart. For another, it might feel like a few butterflies in the stomach. Sometimes, it can make you feel out of control or like your mind and body aren’t connected.

A few of the common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness

However, as mentioned, anxiety may manifest in different ways. That’s why it’s important to learn how your anxiety manifests so you can learn methods for handling it. That’s what an anxiety specialist therapist can help with.

What Constitutes an Anxiety Attack?

Anxiety attacks are characterized by extreme feelings of worry, fear, distress, and apprehension. Many people find that anxiety attacks start small and slowly build. If a stressful situation is coming up, the attack may get worse.

As with anxiety, anxiety attacks symptoms can be different between various people. Not all people will have the same symptoms of anxiety, and the symptoms present can change as time goes on. However, some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Tingling or numbness
  • Feeling dizzy or faint
  • Fear
  • Shortness of breath
  • Distress
  • Dry mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Worry and apprehension
  • Hot flashes or chills

Anxiety attacks share some symptoms with panic attacks but aren’t the same thing. However, the right therapist in Pasadena, CA, can help with either of these problems.

Why Choose Therapy for Anxiety?

When you work with a therapist for anxiety, you learn more about the reasons you feel the way you do, what triggers might cause anxiety, and methods to change how you react to those things. Depending on the type of therapy, you may learn to reframe the way you think to be more positive while changing your behaviors.

Since there are many anxiety disorders and each works differently, therapy should be individualized to the symptoms and diagnosis-specific to you. Depending on your needs, it might be conducted in a group, couple, family, or individual setting. The frequency and length of time you need a therapist will depend on your diagnosis and symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the ideal treatment choice for many people with anxiety issues. Research indicates that it can help with generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and phobias, among other conditions.

The main idea behind CBT is that a person’s thoughts, rather than the situation, affect how they feel and what behavior occurs because of that. When you engage in CBT, you will learn to identify when you think negatively and understand why that happens. You’ll replace these behaviors with thoughts that are more realistic, more effective actions, and coping mechanisms that can help.

A therapist will help you learn the best strategies to manage anxiety. For instance, if you engage in black and white thinking, where everything is entirely good or wholly bad, you’ll learn to see all the grey areas in between. Practice will be needed to implement the strategies that help you move out of an anxiety mindset.

Once you can recognize triggers and anxiety, the new coping skills can be used to handle worry, panic, and fear that might otherwise take over your entire mind.

Therapy for Anxiety in Pasadena, CA

Alejandro Sandoval at SandovalTherapy is here to help those seeking assistance with anxiety. He works out of Pasadena, CA, with specialties in anxiety, depression, trauma, men’s mental health, and relationship issues.