What is anxiety?

When you think of the word ‘anxiety’ what comes to mind? Perhaps you thought of that time when a family member had to leave a crowded room after suddenly feeling overwhelmed. Or that time when your friend started having difficulty breathing, and stated they were having an anxiety attack. Maybe you thought of that time when you felt nervous before a job interview or a public speaking engagement.  Anxiety is a natural emotional and physiological response to danger. When we feel unsafe, our brains kick into high gear. Our bodies start to prepare for a fight or flight response by quickening our heart and respiratory rate. Our muscles tense and blood flow is directed away from the abdomen to the brain. In an emergency situation, we need these functions in order to react and survive.

How Common Is Anxiety? 

Depending on the individual, symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be experienced quite differently.  Symptoms that one might experience may not be symptoms that other individuals experience. According to Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the US affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older. A certain level of anxiety is to be expected when faced with new or stressful situations, like public speaking or job interviews.  All of the above situations mentioned can indeed be times where one is experiencing anxiety, but when symptoms of anxiety become prolonged or more frequent, it might be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

What does anxiety feel like?

Recently a client mentioned that living with anxiety made them feel like ‘a swimming duck.’ From the outside observer the duck is gliding smoothly through the water, barely rippling the water around it. But just under the surface of the water two webbed feet are paddling furiously and continuously. This client felt as if their mind was constantly in motion and moments of calm, absent of worry, were few.

Perhaps anxiety feels similar to you or a loved one. You frequently feel overwhelmed, are unable to think clearly, find it difficult to concentrate, find that you are constantly worrying or feel like you have no control over situations. If this is the case, consider reaching out for help. The ADAA states that out of the 50 million adults affected by anxiety, only 36.9% seek treatment.  You don’t have to be one of them.

There is hope.

There is hope.

Anxiety Disorder is a very treatable mental health disorder, and there is hope. The counselors at Marriage and Family Counseling Center can help you develop skills and tools that will help you better manage your anxiety. REACH OUT to schedule a consultation or appointment now.

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