Struggling with intense confusion, chronic tension and worry, intrusive thoughts, irrational fears, and doubts about your mental health, are classic concerns that describe an adult Anxiety Disorder. Often those effected have consistently worked hard to maintain mental focus and have made sincere commitments to redirect cycling thoughts and/or stop compulsive “habits,” but can’t seem to follow through. You are not alone. There are many faces and voices to an anxiety disorder AND there is relief from the symptoms and behaviors that disrupt your daily life.
Yes, of course, but let me clarify. We all have experienced general anxiety connected to transitions. As humans, we don’t relish change in our daily routines or the disruption that may incur when experiencing a major milestone: new job, purchasing a home, birth of a child, moving residence, etc.; but these are typically events that create temporary anxiety and/or can be creative periods in life that help us to grow. Therefore, you would be correct in describing anxiety as a “normal” response to change, however, chronic anxiety is more extreme and can inhibit one’s ability to navigate through life’s challenges. Anxiety Disorders (ADO’s) are the most common of emotional disorders and affect more than 25 million Americans. The term “anxiety disorder” refers to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), pediatric obsessive compulsive disorder (POCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder (also called social phobia), specific phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety Disorders can be debilitating and are often misdiagnosed. In addition, the behaviors may cause you to feel an excessive, irrational dread of everyday situations and interfere with daily functioning.
When you finally decide to look for help, it’s CRISIS time and you want to know you’ve found someone who is down to earth, effective, direct, warm, and helpful. It is important here to take the time to do that search to identify a therapist who has the education and experience to work with your issues. A specific skills set to look for in an ADO therapist include: completion of specialized training in all areas of ADO, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Exposure Response Prevention (E/RP), and a therapist who is seasoned in helping clients develop effective tools to manage their stress, and challenge their negative beliefs about who they are in the world. That together you have an alliance with a mental health professional that will help you explore the reasons you developed your behaviors, identify alternate ways to manage distress, and cultivate awareness so that you have more freedom and control in your life.