School has started. The anxiety in the house has increased amongst parents and children. You can almost feel it in the air. Schedule changes and increase in activities add to the normal anxiety of this time of year. But how do you know if your anxiety or your child’s anxiety is a concern? If it is interfering with relationships, school, jobs and your health then it is time to address it. Additional signs of concern are nightmares, panic attacks, can’t sleep, and not eating well. 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. Say you identify with one of the disorders listed, know counseling can help you feel a lot better. Children starting at age 3 can start counseling also. (see the play therapy page on my website for more information).
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) means that general worrier. The anxiety and racing thoughts jump from one thing to another. You could be worrying about your children, your relationships, your health or your job.
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. 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! I have successfully helped people with these fears. They no longer feel intense emotions around these situations. 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.
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.
If you are interested to learn more about each of these categories mentioned, OCD or Panic Attacks see the anxiety page on my website at www.forfindingpeace.com. There are also explanations of the treatments I use to address anxiety on the my approaches to counseling page.
You don’t have to do this alone. Contact me for a 15 min free consultation to see if we are a good fit.