What Is Anxiety? How Can A Orange County Anxiety Counselor Help?
We all feel nervous or worried about certain situations or things on a daily basis. A certain amount of anxiety is normal. It can actually help provide energy and motivation, as long as it is mild to moderate in intensity. When anxiety heightens to a more severe level, it interrupts everyday living. It causes confusion and helplessness. It places you in the state of severe worry that is out of proportion with reality. This level of anxiety is not normal.
It is an anxiety disorder that refers to the feeling of fear and apprehension that is so strong that it creates physical symptoms, including sweating and stress. It goes beyond the mild and short-lived anxiety one feels before giving a speech before a crowd or walking down the aisle. A chronic and long-term illness, it is characterized by unrealistic and persistent worries and fears. It can significantly affect the quality of a person’s life, as the fear can last for weeks or months at a time. Common concerns that affect people with anxiety include finances, family issues, health, and career. These are everyday things that people with anxiety cannot cope with properly.
Even though the illness can affect people of all ages, it most commonly occurs between childhood and middle age. Anxiety as a mental illness can range from mild to severe in intensity. Sufferers with mild anxiety may be able to maintain their jobs and appear to function well in social situations. People with severe anxiety, however, usually face many challenges and difficulties. They may find it unbearable to work and socialize properly. A small change of plans may set them off. Simple everyday tasks and activities may be unbearable for them. Thus, they may withdraw from various situations and scenarios.
The illness may come with numerous emotional and physical symptoms. There are general characteristics of anxiety, and there are specific characteristics depending on the different types of anxiety disorders, which include social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and more. Certain situations or people may trigger the physical symptoms, but they may come and go for years. Since anxiety affects the region of the brain that regulates communication, the emotional symptoms affect creative self-expression and functioning in relationships. It can significantly worsen if the person does not seek professional help. Therefore, it is very important to speak with your primary care physician or an accredited Orange County therapist to get the ball rolling on treatment. Learning more about the disorder is the first step of treatment.
The physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shaking or trembling
- Clammy hands
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fullness in chest or throat
- Body aches and muscle tension
- Having to use the restroom frequently
- Gastrointestinal issues or diarrhea
- Sleep disruption
The emotional symptoms of anxiety include:
- Excessive worry
- Fear of upcoming events or situations
- Feeling of doom
- Difficulty in concentration
Anxiety is often a symptom of another disorder. Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, for example, often go hand in hand.
Orange County Anxiety Counselor – What Causes Anxiety?
We do not know the exact cause of anxiety disorders. Scientists and researchers are always studying the possible causes. What we do know, however, is that certain biological, physiological, and environmental factors to contribute to the development of anxiety. We know that the illness usually runs in families. This lets us know that genes and family atmosphere can play a role in the development of the condition. Researchers believe that brain chemistry also affects the development of anxiety. Neurotransmitters in the brains of people with the condition act differently than the brains of other people. Further, environmental factors like stress and trauma also play a role in the development of anxiety. Thus, a combination of causes, like genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors may contribute to this illness. Anxiety in children may be present.
Some studies link genes to anxiety disorder. Children may be at higher risk of developing the disorder, if close relatives suffer from it. While anxiety may run in families, this is not to say that someone inherits an actual “anxiety” gene. It simply means that certain genes promote the chances of having anxiety disorder. Even if you inherit this likelihood, but if you do not have combination of other stresses in your life, you may not experience anxiety as a disorder. Further, the family environment is a critical factor. If a child is exposed to parents who are in constant fear and dread every day, he or she can be affected in a negative way.
Anxiety disorder has been linked to abnormal amounts of certain neurotransmitters—serotonin and dopamine—in the brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that help transport messages between nerve cells. Dopamine and serotonin are primary neurotransmitters that influence thought and feeling. When they are out of balance, messages are not processed in the brain adequately. This changes the way the brain reacts in certain situations and may lead to anxiety. According to research, some physical symptoms of anxiety, like exaggerated fear and panic, may be the result of the imbalance between the two hemispheres of the brain. Further tests with positron emission tomography (PET) scans are being done to study this further. In many situations, prescription drugs can alleviate the chemical imbalance in the brain that causes anxiety.
Various environmental factors may lead to anxiety disorder. These include traumatic and stressful events like death of a family member, abuse, divorce, career change, pregnancy, and more. Anxiety may escalate during periods of stress. The use of addictive substances, like drugs, nicotine, and caffeine, may also worsen it. The prolonged use of cocaine, for instance, is associated to the feeling of panic. Even when a person stops a regular cocaine habit, he or she may feel this panic for years that follow. Withdrawal from these substances can also worsen it. Experts believe that the fears that a child may experience early in life might escalate over time and develop into an anxiety disorder. Holding back emotions like anger may result in anxiety later in life.
Anxiety Treatment – Should You Medicate Or Meditate?
Finding the right anxiety treatment for you is very important but it can be very difficult to know what will be the most effective for you. So there are several areas for you to think about when you make your decision. A licensed Orange County psychologist can give you additional guidance.
Your doctor may recommend that you take anti-anxiety medication; while there is no substitute for your doctor’s advice there are some pros and cons for you to consider.
Side Effects — one of the biggest disadvantages of medication is the side effects you may experience. It will depend on how your body reacts to specific medication but some of the common side effects include palpitations, dizziness, depression or nausea. You will need to think about whether the relief you get from the anxiety symptoms is worth the side effects. Many of the side effects are similar to the anxiety symptoms so you may find that while your anxiety is reduced, the way you feel remains the same!
Short Term — one advantage of medication is that it helps you in the short term. You can get some relief from your anxiety symptoms which gives you a much needed break. It also gives you the chance to practice natural techniques to manage your anxiety symptoms. But remember that medication does not solve your anxiety symptoms nor is it an anxiety treatment which you can use for long periods.
Ask Questions — speak to a doctor you feel comfortable with and ask as many questions as you want. You may wish to ask how long you will be taking the medication for, whether it is safe to take with other medication, whether you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the medication. If you change your mind about taking medication.
This natural technique for managing your anxiety symptoms is a tried and tested method. Meditation helps you reduce the effects of your anxiety. It helps you keep calm and lower your heart rate. The key is to practise every day — find 15 to 20 minutes each day when you can practice your meditation. Many people find that early morning or late evening works well. In fact, practicing before you go to bed can also help you beat insomnia. It is important to find a time of the day which works for you – if you don’t practice consistently you won’t reap the full benefits of meditation.
Other Natural Anxiety Treatments
Alongside meditation, there are many other natural anxiety treatments you can use to manage your anxiety symptoms – a healthy diet including specific foods, visualization, progressive relaxation, emotional freedom technique and talk therapy.
While natural anxiety treatments offer a safe way to reduce your anxiety, anti anxiety medication may be appropriate in the short term. Consider all the options, speak to your doctor and listen to your body. Use this directory to find a licensed, experienced Orange County Anxiety Counselor for more information.
What Are The Most Commonly Prescribed Anxiety Medications?
Everyone has experienced anxiety at one point and time in their lives. Anxiety keeps us alert when dealing with a stressful situation. Anxiety causes us to worry about a situation, it can interfere sometime with our daily routine, but also can be used much to our advantage.
Take for instance someone who fears giving a speech in front of someone. They have the all too familiar butterfly sensation going on, but yet they give the speech anyway and it blows peoples socks off. Anxiety is supposed to be there to help us through a situation, normally when someone becomes overwhelmed at a task at hand, it causes them to concentrate on it more, and therefore they do a better job at getting it completed.
I know we all wish that anxiety could bring out the best in us, but for some people it has been shown to bring out the very worse. Anxiety attacks affect your mood, work, and any social experiences with other people. Many people who suffer from these attacks are left almost in a paralytic’s state where they feel they can not function in normal society.
There are two ways in which to treat anxiety, and they are through prescriptions and psychotherapy. Doctors have been a lot more successful treating their patients with psychotherapy compared to medication. The main purpose for the medication is simply to allow the person to relax and take their concentration off of bad experiences. This would explain why a doctor will regularly prescribe an anti-depressant for someone who suffers anxiety attacks. An experienced Orange County Anxiety Counselor is used to working in conjunction with Medical Doctors who are prescribing medication.
The most common anti-anxiety medications prescribed today are Valium, Xanax, and Ativan. These medications are preferred because they consist of Benzodiazepines. A few other medications that do not contain Benzodiazepine that a doctor may prescribe are Buspirone, Beta-blockers, and Gabapentin. Anti-depressants have been known to be successful to fight an anxiety attack, especially when the attack is accompanied by some form of depression.
A few other medications that have been seen to work for people suffering an anxiety disorder are Trcyclic, and SSRIs. A few other prescriptions that may be prescribed depending on your particular condition are Barbiturates, Atarax, Vistaril, Phenobarbital, Propranolol. All medications must be prescribed by a doctor, for some of these medications may come with some serious side effects.
A natural cure to your anxiety attacks is a supplement known as Seredyn. This supplement allows you to relax and has been known to help people reduce stress. Which, we all know is the main trigger to every disorder. People who suffer from severe attacks may also try this herbal supplement to see if it can help their symptoms as well.
After you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, be sure to ask your doctor what the best level of treatment for your particular disorder will be. Treatments will vary from person to person depending on your symptoms. Not all medications work for all the different anxiety disorders there are. If you are seeing an Orange County Anxiety Counselor, make sure you let her/him know which medications you are taking.
Anxiety While Driving – Orange County Anxiety Counselor
One of the worst times to experience anxiety attack is when you are driving down a busy road or highway. Sudden chills and inability to breathe normally are disturbing. You feel as if you are going to faint or lose control of the car and die right then and there. So, what can you do to stop anxiety attacks while driving?
First of all, you need to prevent the attacks from happening. Listen to music while on the road. If you have a cassette tape, CD, or MP3 that you enjoy listening to, put it on the player. Try to relax while driving. Stop thinking that you are behind steering wheel and another vehicle might crash into you any moment.
Focus on the road and the scenery around you. Think of the things or events you look forward to later on during the day. Have something ready to eat while driving. This can be a fruit or some crackers. Munching on light snacks will keep you occupied and prevent you from forming negative thoughts in your mind.
It is also a good idea to have an anxiety attack kit in your car. The contents of this kit may come in handy in case you were not able to prevent or stop anxiety attacks while driving. You must prepare an unopened bottle of clean drinking water, ½ Xanex pill or valium, and a brown paper bag. You may also include other medications that your doctor has advised you to take. Your Orange County therapist can give you additional tips on how to deal with anxiety while driving.
Let us say that the worst thing has happened and you are already having attacks. What do you need to do at this moment? First, you need to pull over. Do not stop in the middle of the road. Calm down, close your eyes, and breathe slowly. Realize that the attacks are momentary, and you are going to be alright soon.
If the attacks are intense and you are starting to hyperventilate, reach for your anxiety attack kit. Get the brown paper bag and breathe into it. When you hyperventilate, your body expels too much carbon dioxide; so you need to breathe into the brown paper bag to re-breathe exhaled air and restore that lost gas. Once you are breathing normally again, pop the ½ Xanex pill or Valium into your mouth and swallow it with water. Rest for a while and resume driving.
Another way to stop anxiety while driving is to check for muscle tension and ease it. Let your muscles relax while breathing deeply. Keep your cool and stay calm the whole time. Do not even try to puff on a cigarette. A lot of people have this wrong notion that cigarette smoking can calm the body and relieve tension. Cigarette smoke contains various elements that can actually worsen anxiety attack symptoms. Studies have also shown that carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke can directly induce panic symptoms.
Experiencing anxiety attacks while driving is truly frightening. However, you should never ever give in to your fear and stop driving. Giving in to your fear will just reinforce your driving anxiety. So, stay strong and believe that you can overcome anxiety and its symptoms.
Orange County Anxiety Counselor For Children
Anxiety disorders also affect children and adolescents. They can interfere with the quality of a child’s life and instill it with worry, fear, and uneasiness. If left untreated the anxiety may increase. The result of this condition may include missing school, improper socialization, lowered self-esteem, use of alcohol and drugs, adjustment problems when it comes to work and other situations, as well as a future of anxiety. Children and adolescents can develop the following types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: With this disorder, young children and adolescents have severe and unrealistic worry. They are self-conscious, nervous, need reassurance, and have frequent stomachaches and other discomforts.
Phobias: Young people will avoid the situations and things they fear. Thus, this generalized anxiety can cause restrictions in their daily lives.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Children and adolescents with social anxiety disorder fear criticism and judgment by others.
Panic Disorder: Young people with this condition lives in constant fear that they may experience an attack. She or he might go to great lengths to avoid school.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A child becomes stuck in a cycle of repeated behaviors and thoughts. These thoughts or actions are uncontrollable. The child may repeatedly wash his or her hands, rearrange objects, etc.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This disorder follows a traumatic event, like sexual or physical abuse, violence, or natural disaster. Young people experience the trauma in their memories or thoughts. Thus, the child or adolescent may avoid things connected to the trauma.
When it comes to children and adolescents, anxiety disorders are among the most common conditions that affect life. Around one in ten youngsters may suffer from an anxiety disorder, with girls being affected more often than boys. Approximately 50% of youngsters under 18 with one disorder condition have additional anxiety issues or other mental illness like depression. According to researchers, a person’s basic personality contribute to anxiety disorders. Being very shy, for example, may signal an increased risk of suffering from some type of anxiety disorder.
Based on the most up-to-date information, researchers advise to look out for any sign of excessive anxiety for children who are between the ages of six and eight. This is when children start to become more concerned about school and friendships. A significant increase in anxiety level during these ages may signal a future anxiety disorder. As a child ages, the types of fears may become different. Further, according to studies, children under 18 are at an increased risk of developing at least one kind of anxiety disorder if the child’s parents also suffer from the condition. It is not known if the anxiety disorders are purely inherited. Studies are constantly being done on this issue.
Treatments for children suffering from anxiety disorders include seeing an Orange County anxiety counselor for cognitive-behavioral therapy, individual therapy, parent training, family therapy, and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a trained and experienced child psychologist Orange County is often effective. Medications often work more effectively for others. Many times, two or more types of treatments(psychotherapy and medication, for example) benefit the child suffering from an anxiety disorder.
If parents notice symptoms of what appear to be an anxiety problem with their child, they should consult the child’s pediatrician. The physician can determine if the symptoms being displayed are the result of an anxiety disorder or another illness. If necessary, the physician may refer the child to an Orange County anxiety counselor. It is best to have an anxiety counselor who is trained and experienced in working with the younger generation and familiar with the use of cognitive-behavioral or other type of behavior therapy.