Anxiety and Trauma
If you are reading this you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety. However, Anxiety can be debilitating when the anxiety is long lasting and chronic. But the good news it is very treatable. If you are wondering if you are having symptoms of anxiety let me share some of the most common types of anxiety I treat below. Say you identify with one of the disorders listed just know with treatment you can feel a lot better.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) means that general worrier. The anxiety and racing thoughts jump from one thing to another. Today you worry about your health, tomorrow you worry about your grades or if you will be fired, then your appearance and how you compare to others, then finances, then your family. In addition to the worried thoughts, you may experience: sleep difficulties, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, poor concentration, and feeling on edge. These symptoms may be interfering with your relationships, work or health.
Because anxiety runs in families we will get a family history, symptoms, and other information that will be helpful. You will also be asked to see your physician to rule out physical issues first.
Separation anxiety is when there is excessive fear of being separated from an attachment figure or from home. This can occur at any age. Children may have symptoms of clinging to their parents or having physical symptoms when separated from their attachment figure. There may be a fear of the dark, or excessive worry about a negative event happening to them or the attachment figures which would lead to separation. This may show up in adults as anxiety about traveling, or overly concerned about spouse or children when separated from them.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety does not mean that you lack social skills; this occurs when you have a fear of being scrutinized or judged in social situations, fear you will be embarrassed or mess up, or become anxious performing in front of others. Important to note is that those social situations almost always cause anxiety and are often avoided or experienced with distress. In children, this anxiety can look like crying, tantrums, clinging, freezing, or not speaking.
Specific phobias, such as that fear of dogs, driving at night, swimming, flying etc. are actually the quickest to treat! A specific phobia is an intense anxiety around an object or situation, and is avoided or endured with much displeasure. Imagine no longer feeling a sensation of fear when presented with the situation you feel phobic about. It is possible I have helped many people overcome their phobia through Energy techniques.
Panic Disorder is characterized as unexpected panic attacks, often without any predictable trigger beforehand and can occur as often as several times per day or as few as a couple per year. A panic attack lasts approximately 10-15 minutes, is defined as a period of intense fear, and consists of several symptoms such as difficulty breathing, sweating or chills, feeling weak or faint, racing heart, tingling or numbness, chest pains, feelings of choking, nausea, fear of dying, or feeling a loss of control. Panic Disorder is diagnosed with you are afraid of having additional panic attacks and making changes in your life because of this fear. If worrying about having more panic attacks is increasing your anxiety this is when it is time to seek treatment.
Although in the DSM the following disorders, OCD and PTSD, are on their own, many clinicians agree there is a level of anxiety in both of them so I’m putting them under the anxiety category.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Do you ever feel like you can’t get rid of a thought or an image that is distressing. There are two parts to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessions or intrusive thoughts and Compulsions which are rituals (behaviors) performed to reduce the anxiety.
Some common examples are a fear of contamination. Whether you are a health care provider afraid of contamination from a patient’s fluid or a parent afraid of your child picking up germs so you excessively clean both scenerios could be OCD symptoms. Sometimes the symptoms look like excessive hand washing or counting the number of times you lock the door. Or saying a prayer a certain amount of times so nothing bad will happen. Sometimes the thoughts come in that you may hurt someone, you can not get them out of your head. Energy Psychology techniques and Cognitive Behavioral technique have been helpful in managing these symptoms. Sometimes medication is needed as well.
Sometimes in children and young adults PANS/PANDAS may be at the route cause so you will be asked to rule this out with the pediatrician or PANDAS specific doctor.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Most people think PTSD is only a diagnosis for veterans of war. These individuals may have PTSD but many other people have PTSD as well who have not gone to war. For example there are people who have PTSD from being bullied as child, domestic violence, sexual abuse or neglect, emotional abuse, medical issues, or major disaster. Trauma does not have to come from a huge event. It can be from poor parenting, being adopted, a fender bender. It is the way your brain and nervous system works. I hear many people say well I haven’t gone through any traumatic event but when we look at their life we often find a lot of things that could have been traumatic to a child. When these feelings or symptoms are interfering with your work, school, relationships, or health it is time to start the healing process through counseling.
The first criteria in the DSM-V is that you have experienced a stressor either directly or witnessed it. The second criteria is that you re-experience the trauma. This can be through intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares or triggered (reminded of the event by external stimuli which creates distress). Commonly people try to avoid triggers (people, places, and things) so they do not experience bodily sensations that cause distress. Often there is a feeling of disconnection to others, lack of interest, sleep difficulties, blaming yourself or others, hyper-vigilance (overly cautious), or irritable.
I specialize in two evidence based treatment for PTSD, including Emotional Freedom Technique and Comprehensive Energy Techniques.