All About Anxiety Treatment
What is anxiety?
As a therapist who specializes in working with anxiety, you can probably imagine that I get lots of questions about anxiety treatment or anxiety in general. So, I want to have a place that's dedicated to providing anxiety information. This is that place.
What is anxiety?
Let's start with the basics. Anxiety is an uncomfortable feeling you have when thinking about something happening (or something that may happen) in the future. Often, anxiety happens when you're thinking about "what ifs" or focusing on what can go wrong. We can call it a “physical emotion.” There are physical symptoms of anxiety including feeling scared, worried, nervous, tense, even angry.
What are common anxiety symptoms?
Like I mentioned above, anxiety has physical and emotional symptoms. And everyone experiences anxiety symptoms differently. Here are a few of the most common symptoms of anxiety:
- Feeling tense
- Feeling scared
- Trouble concentrating or focusing
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling “jittery” or having trouble being still
- Feeling tired
- Sick at your stomach
- Feeling extra hot or cold
- “Butterflies in the stomach”
What if Anxiety isn't my only issue?
You may not only feel anxious. Other stuff can come up too. Anxiety can cause many different kinds of issues in your life. For example, anxiety can cause extra stress and affect your relationships, your grades, or your work. You may also have depression, irritability, or even the urge to self-harm. The good thing is, no matter how bad it gets, things can get better. You can get rid of anxiety and any other issues. I can help you get back to feeling the way you want.
What causes anxiety?
There isn’t a simple answer to this question. Some people are naturally more anxious than others. Sometimes, anxiety is caused by something really shitty that happened in the past. A lot of times, people become anxious after a traumatic event in their life. Often, anxiety is caused by both biology and past events. And, to make things worse, our thoughts don't totally make sense when we're anxious. But, that's not something you can control. It's biological. Unfortunately, it can be pretty hard to stop worrying, because you can't just turn off your anxiety.
Are there different types of anxiety, or anxiety disorders?
Yeah, there are. In therapy, I don’t focus on giving you a label or putting your anxiety in a specific box. Because, I feel like it is more important to help you meet your goals, rather than to try to tell you “what you are.” Truthfully, I’m not crazy about using the word “disorder." However, sometimes it helps to have a little more information about the different ways anxiety can impact you. So, I’ve listed some of the names and diagnosable types of anxiety below:
Anxiety Attack / Panic Attack
This anxiety disorder is kind of like "anxiety on steroids." People having panic attacks sometimes talk about feeling like they’ll have a heart attack. They often say they have a tough time breathing or have a really tight feeling in their chest. The symptoms of a panic attack may look different for each person.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety can negatively affect your desire to spend with your friends, family, or "going out" in general. You may worry that people don’t like you, have a tough time talking, or feel super shy - even when you don't want to be.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, you may catch yourself feeling anxious about lots of different things. Anxiety may just jump around from one thing to the next. In fact, you might even feel anxious for no reason at all.
Phobias may include things like a fear of heights, fear of flying/flight anxiety, fear of spiders, and other fears. But it's usually a pretty strong fear and your reaction to your fear is often irrational. Phobias are more common than you think. I’ve actually talked a fellow passenger through a plane landing before.
This is a type of anxiety that comes up when you can't be with a certain person. It can also be worrying about not being with that person in the future or feeling really worried about that person being harmed, getting sick, dying, etc.
Adjusting to life changes can be tough. It can cause plenty of problems, including anxiety. Just a few examples of changes may include moving, starting college, going to a new school, or losing friends. These changes are common here in middle Tennessee, with tons of people moving here from out of state. I'm happy to have you, btw 🙂
Anxiety in Teens
Anxiety symptoms as a teen may look like...
- "Freaking out" - sometimes with no reason.
- Perfection running (ruining?) your life.
- Irritability and grouchiness.
- Not doing fun things with people you like.
- Constant worry about what others think of you.
Anxiety in Young Adults
Anxiety in 20 somethings may look like...
- Worry about "the rest of your life."
- Trouble adjusting to independence.
- The need to be the "perfect adult."
- Considering just "quitting" on your goals.
- Wondering if anxiety will ever stop?
Anxiety makes life hard, no matter how old you are.
While there are a lot of ways that anxiety looks different in teens and young adults, there are just as many ways that it looks the same. Anxiety affects things like relationships, grades, jobs, and your feelings in general, no matter your age.
Also, anxiety symptoms and disorders can look different for each person. Sometimes, they are terrible and obvious. Other times, people are really good at hiding their anxiety or their symptoms may just not be as intense. Remember, what you see on the outside isn't always how someone actually feels on the inside.
How many times have you told someone you're "fine" when you were actually having a horrible day, month, or even a horrible year?
What are the best treatments for anxiety?
"How do I get rid of my anxiety?"
This is one of the most common questions I hear in my office. It makes sense for a counselor who specializes in anxiety to get that question, right? Luckily, there are tons of great treatments to help you get rid of anxiety. It's important that anxiety treatment is unique to your needs because we don't all like to do things the same way, including counseling. Here are a few anxiety treatments I use in my Franklin, TN counseling clinic:
Therapy & Counseling: How I Treat Anxiety
Here's the gist of how I do therapy. If you'll get bored with this, feel free to skip it:
Basically, we look at what is causing your problems. A lot of times, we figure out things that were completely off our radar. We can learn how to "deal with" issues using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). And, we make sure we're working on exactly what's important to you using Person-Centered Therapy. But, it's important to know where problems come from in the first place. Sometimes, it takes some out-of-the-box digging to figure those things out, but people usually find it helpful.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Anxiety
In CBT, we look at how thoughts, actions, and feelings work with each other. Each plays off the others, and it can help things go really well, or really...not so well. We'll work to figure out how to get them working the right way!
But wait - there's more! A lot of times, CBT helps with specific problems. We need more for long-term change, though.
Person-Centered Therapy for Anxiety
I use Person-Centered Therapy to focus on us having a good therapeutic relationship. This is important so that you always feel like we're working on what matters to you. Our relationship in therapy is really important because it helps you gain self-confidence and feel good about who you are. I want to make sure we have that. So, when you come to counseling at my office, you don't get judged or anything like that. You can be you. Like for real.
I also use some Radically Open Dialectical Behavior Therapy (RO-DBT), Reality Therapy, and Narrative Therapy. Ultimately, I make things work for what you're wanting and what you're comfortable with.
Anxiety can be treated with or without medication.
Some people want anxiety medicine, and others don’t. Whatever you want, just know there are options. I don’t push either option, but both are available for you. While therapists don't prescribe medication, I can recommend an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner if you think medication may be for you. I typically work as a team with prescribing physicians when they see a client that I work with. It's important to know that in a lot of cases, medication isn't the most effective long-term fix to get rid of anxiety. In fact, a lot of psychiatrists will discuss with you that medication isn't intended to be a life-long thing.
Other options for Anxiety Treatment
What's best: medication, therapy, herbal treatments? It's great that we have plenty of options. Here are some of the natural means and alternative therapies or activities to treat anxiety.
Before you read these, please keep in mind that this isn't a weight loss plan, trying to make you "look better," or anything like that. If you're concerned about the way you look (or the way your teen looks), that might be something to talk about. Also, "just exercise and eat healthy" is generally not the fix for any mental health issue.
A balanced diet and avoiding processed foods can be helpful for feeling better in general. In fact, regular exercise can also help with mood and anxiety. A brisk walk is fine, you don’t have to run a marathon every day. This is one reason I offer Walk + Talk Therapy Some other therapies or activities that may be helpful: massage, yoga, reiki, and acupuncture, among others.
Finally, pet your pet. If you don't have a pet, pet a friend's pet. If you're not able to do either of those things, you can always consider volunteering at the animal shelter or with an animal rescue. There's a ton of research that says petting animals (dogs in particular) can help you feel better. You can also pet my canine therapy assistant, Edge. He's in the office most days, and you can read a little about him on my home page.
There are several supplements that may have some calming effects or decrease anxiety. If you consider these, you should follow directions and consult your doctor before taking them.
It seems like the anxiety will never go away. Will it ever stop? Can I ever get rid of anxiety?
Life can get better! Anxiety is tough, and it definitely can seem like it will never stop. Even though anxiety is a pretty common feeling, it can get out of hand and mess up your life. When we say "get rid of anxiety," we're talking about the anxiety that happens so often, lasts so long, or is so strong that it makes life stuck.
It definitely doesn't have to be that way forever. You can have the life you want. Without anxiety messing things up. I’ve seen it happen for plenty of folx in the past, and I know it can happen for you.
Just in case you didn’t read that last part, you can have the life you want. I’ve seen it happen before. I KNOW it can happen for you.
Begin Counseling for Anxiety and Low Self-Worth in Franklin, TN
Anxiety doesn't have to keep messing things up for you. Through counseling, I help folx every day to overcome anxiety. You can take your life back. To begin counseling in Franklin, TN, follow these three steps:
Other Counseling Services Provided by Cody and Edge
In addition to anxiety treatment, We offer a variety of counseling services at our Franklin, TN therapy office. Cody and Edge offer Teen Counseling, Counseling for Young Women, Walk + Talk Therapy, LGBTQ+ Affirming Counseling, and Group Therapy for Teen Girls. Cody and Edge are also available to provide online therapy in Tennessee. If you have questions about anxiety treatment or counseling, please visit my FAQ page. Contact my office to learn more about the ways I can help you or your loved one!