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Anxiety Disorder Can Wear Many Faces Yet Shares Similar Symptoms

Anxiety Disorder is a Leading Mental Health Condition Worldwide

anxiety disorderMost people have felt it. That momentary flood of fear when the blood is pulsing so rapidly that you seem to feel and hear it. Maybe you were in a near car wreck or perhaps you experienced turbulence during an airplane ride. Anxiety is a normal reaction to situations where someone feels immediately threatened. Yet, for some, anxiety can strike at a time when the threat of danger is minimal or even non-existent and turn into an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorder is a leading mental health condition worldwide, but it is not a one-size-fits-all condition. There are six distinct types of anxiety disorder used in diagnosis: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), panic disorder and phobias. Anxiety may strike under different conditions and situations for each person, yet many times the experience shares similar symptoms: rapid breathing, sweating, pounding heart, edginess or trouble sleeping.

Many people attempt to manage anxiety on their own, usually by trying to avoid people and situations which trigger anxiety. This may not be effective in the long-term. That doesn’t mean that a person must live with uncontrolled anxiety disorder, however. There are steps you can work with a mental health professional on to help manage your symptoms. Lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation and reduced caffeine intake can help. It’s also helpful to actively build a positive support network. These relationships will not only provide comfort and security, but they can help you cope with situations which threaten to trigger anxiety.

If you are experiencing problem anxiety, it’s important that you know that you are far from alone. The steps mentioned above can be useful but it is also important to talk with a mental health professional. They can help you learn positive coping strategies for those times when anxiety threatens and guide you through expanding your boundaries so that anxiety doesn’t hold you in its paralyzing grip and keep you from enjoying life. We encourage you to contact us at Family Guidance Center and learn how to stop anxiety from being a controlling influence in your life.

Social Anxiety is More Than Feeling Nervous

Ignoring Social Anxiety Can Lead to Other Mental Health Challenges

social anxietyWhile most people feel nervous or even scared to be in front of a group of people, those feelings are not the same as social anxiety. Worry about how you’ll appear to others or how you will perform in front of others is a common and natural emotion. Social anxiety includes those things, but it goes beyond the infrequent butterflies of social demands. Anxiety goes hand in hand with the overwhelming conviction that you will fail or be judged negatively. It isn’t just worry, it’s the inner certainty that somehow you just are not good enough.

For the person with this form of anxiety, the fear of experiencing failure or rejection is overpowering enough to cause physical symptoms like sweating, headaches, rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching, stomach ache or dizziness. Those symptoms, while unpleasant don’t seem overly concerning in themselves, however, the desire to avoid them is what makes this kind of anxiety problematic.

The desire to avoid such experiences often leads a person to withdraw from healthy social interaction. If you are dreading every place where you might become the center of attention, you find ways to escape those situations. Pretty soon, you begin avoiding situations where you might be noticed. The social isolation frequently leads to depression.

Social anxiety is not a rare condition. It affects 15 million adult Americans. The symptoms usually begin around age 13 – a time when insecurities are common. More than one-third of those with social anxiety wait 10 years or longer to seek out help. By then, the condition has usually become highly disruptive in terms of everyday living.

If your fear of being judged harshly seems to control where you go and what you do, it’s time to do something about it. Call the Family Guidance Center, we can help. Ignoring your anxiety will only make things worse.

Helping Your Child Deal With Anxiety

Mental Health 11Anxiety is a form of fear that many people deal with at some point in life. However, rather than direct fear of an immediate, in-the-moment situation, anxiety is more comparable to worry – it is a fear of what could be or might be. Sometimes this anxiety can become paralyzing. Unfortunately, it is not only adults whose minds are able to stray into the realm of unpleasant possibilities…children can also deal with anxiety. As the parent of a child with anxiety, you need a plan for teaching your child to cope with this kind of gripping fear. Here are some ways to help them cope with anxiety:

Place Worries in a Box
One way to help your child deal with anxiety is to have them verbalize what frightens or worries them. Maybe they are afraid of dogs or talking to new people or being left in a new place such as a school or daycare. Acknowledge what concerns them and then tell them to imagine placing that worry inside a box. Then lock the box. The worry is not gone, but it isn’t allowed to be present without permission.

Find a Distraction
Getting your child’s mind off of their anxiety is key to leaving worries inside the box. Think of this as changing the channel in your child’s brain. Tell your child they hold the remote control and they can change channels. Read a book, watch a movie, play a game, bake some cookies – whatever is needed to redirect thinking.

The Power of Words
Words are powerful. Tell your child that when they hear worries talking to them, they are free to talk right back. Teach your child to say things like “that may not even happen”, “it could be easy”, “I don’t have to listen to this” or “that is not necessarily true”. Spoken words have power.

There are other helpful techniques for overcoming anxiety. At Family Guidance Center we have helped many children learn to deal with intrusive fears and we can help your family too, give us a call today.

Dealing with Social Anxiety During a Busy Holiday Season

While many people look forward to the busy schedule of glitzy holiday parties and get-togethers, for thoseHoliday Stress 1 with social anxiety it can be a season of difficult situations. If you are a person who dreads rather than anticipates social occasions you may be affected by social anxiety disorder. Here are some coping strategies to help you get through the holiday season if you live with social anxiety:

  • Be Selective
    You don’t have to attend every event to which you are invited. Choose the ones where you’ll feel most comfortable and graciously decline the rest. However, responding “yes” to a few social events is good as you connect with others on a small scale.
  • Be Healthy
    Eat right, get regular sleep and exercise often. These healthful habits will strengthen you toward overcoming stress and anxiety.
  • Be Prepared
    Not knowing what to say can be a big part of social anxiety. Spend some time catching up on current events or informing yourself about the hobbies and interests of your host or fellow guests before a social event.
  • Be Early
    Another factor in social anxiety is dread of being the object of attention. To help with anxiety over this arrive at events early.
  • Be Sober
    Drinking to calm anxiety can lead to deeper anxiety. Try deep-breathing and positive self-talk instead.
  • Attend With a Friend
    If you ask someone to accompany you and be your support at social functions it can make attending much less of an uncertainty.

At Family Guidance Center, we understand social anxiety and can help you learn positive skills for overcoming the paralysis of fear. You can come in at any point during the holiday season and start gaining control over the negative thinking that keeps you from enjoying social interactions.

New School Year Anxiety for Children and Adolescents

Most of us entering a new situation experience a certain degree of anxiety. It is the case for adults starting a new job or moving into a new town and for kids facing a brand new year of school. Parents may be tuned in to potential anxiety when their child enters school for the very first time but, actually, every new school year can bring on fresh bouts of fear and worry.

Children and adolescents often feel a desire to return to the social world of the classroom by summer’s end9773503_s even as they fear it. Will they succeed academically? Will they connect socially? And if they are beginning in a new school building – will they be able to find classrooms, lockers and bathrooms without looking foolish? These concerns are often present even if your child doesn’t verbalize them to you. So how can you, the parent, know when your child is struggling with anxiety about going back to school?

Clues to Unspoken Anxiety

  • Lots of questions pertaining to school
  • Increased nervous behaviors such as nail chewing, disturbed sleep, unexplained stomach problems or headaches
  • Irritability or sudden attachment

How to Help
As a parent you can help your child work through their anxiety by talking over specific fears. Visits to the bus stop or the school can defuse some of the worry about finding things, making them less of an unknown. It will also lower stress if your home has a prepared atmosphere. Make sure book bags, school supplies and lunch items are all in place before the first day of class. Let children know that it is perfectly normal to feel anxious about walking into a new environment and that anxiety will not last forever.

Most of the time, as things at school start to become routine, your child’s level of anxiety will start to go down. If fears and unease persist after the first month or six weeks it may be a good idea to have your child evaluated by a mental health professional. Behavioral Health Professionals at Family Guidance work with children and adolescents every day, helping them learn to cope positively with anxiety and other powerful emotions.