What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress or danger, often referred to as the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism. While occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, persistent and overwhelming feelings of anxiety can develop into an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can affect various aspects of life, including work, relationships, and overall well-being.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Recognizing the symptoms of anxiety disorder is crucial for seeking help. Common symptoms may include:

  • Excessive Worrying: Constant and uncontrollable worry about various aspects of life.
  • Physical Symptoms: Increased heart rate, muscle tension, restlessness, and fatigue.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • Irrational Fears: Intense fear of specific objects, situations, or activities.
  • Panic Attacks: Sudden and overwhelming surges of fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms.

Types of Anxiety

Anxiety is a broad term that encompasses various disorders. Common types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Persistent and excessive worry about everyday life.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Intrusive thoughts and repetitive behaviors.
  • Panic Disorder: Recurrent and unexpected panic attacks.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Fear of being judged or evaluated by others in social situations.
  • Phobias: Intense fears of specific objects or situations.

Anxiety Fears

Here are  some examples of the different fears people experience under different types of anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • What if I get cancer?
  • My job? My house?
  • What if my thoughts drive me crazy?

Panic Disorder:

  • What if I go crazy?
  • What if I have a heart attack?
  • What if I pass out?
  • What if I lose control of myself?
  • What if (any bad thing that isn’t happening now)?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder:

  • What if my neighborhood burns down because I forgot to turn off the stove?
  • What if people die of poisoning because I mishandled the insecticide?
  • What if I run over a pedestrian while driving?
  • What if I get poked by an HIV-infected needle sticking out of a trash can?

Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • What if I freak out and have a meltdown in front of my coworkers?
  • What if I look so nervous at the grocery store that people think I’m crazy?
  • What if I get panicky in the restaurant but can’t find an excuse to leave?
  • What if I break into a sweat while giving a presentation?
  • What if I can’t urinate in the office bathroom?

Online Therapy for Anxiety Disorders

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a widely used and effective approach in the treatment of anxiety disorders. In the online therapy setting, CBT is adapted to the virtual environment, allowing individuals to receive evidence-based treatment from the comfort of their homes. Key components of online CBT for anxiety include:

  • Identifying Negative Thought Patterns: Recognizing and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to anxiety.
  • Behavioral Experiments: Gradual exposure to anxiety triggers in a controlled manner to promote desensitization.
  • Skill-Building: Learning practical skills and coping strategies to manage anxiety in various situations.

Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approach

Mindfulness-based approaches are gaining popularity in online therapy for anxiety. These approaches, rooted in mindfulness meditation, encourage individuals to focus on the present moment without judgment. Key elements of mindfulness-based treatment for anxiety include:

  • Mindful Breathing: Using focused breathing techniques to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
  • Body Scan Meditation: Paying attention to physical sensations to increase awareness and break the cycle of anxious thoughts.
  • Mindful Awareness: Developing non-judgmental awareness of thoughts and feelings to cultivate a more balanced perspective.

Online therapy for anxiety disorders integrates these evidence-based approaches, providing individuals with accessible and effective tools to manage and overcome anxiety from the convenience of their own homes.

What to Expect from Anxiety Therapy

Virtual therapy for anxiety offers a convenient and effective way to address and manage anxiety disorders. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The great news with Anxiety is that it’s very treat-able. Much progress can be made. Over the years, I have seen people go from crippling anxiety like a raging fire destroying one’s life to minimal anxiety, what I call “sparks.”
  • Together we will explore the specific ways your anxiety is showing up in your life, including your thoughts, moods, and any unhealthy behavior patterns.
  • I will educate you about how to identify anxiety in the moment and how to respond in a healthier way.
  • Over time we will get you to a point where anxiety is no longer in the way of your happiness in the areas of relationships, work, etc. It is possible for anxiety to move from being in control of you to you being back in the driver’s seat.