Anxiety: extreme apprehension and worry, a normal reaction to stressful events. It can come in many different forms like panic/anxiety attacks, phobias, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. People can have any of these symptoms briefly from time to time when dealing with stressful things like public speaking, test-taking, financial pressure, first dates, etc. Almost all of us have experienced anxiety-related symptoms at some point in our lives. For some people, though these symptoms occur more frequently and start disrupting their lives.
Anxiety Disorders: A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one's daily activities. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
Symptoms include stress that's out of proportion to the impact of the event; an inability to set aside a worry, and restlessness. Some other symptoms of Anxiety Disorders are as follows: heart palpitations, excessive worry, sweating, racing or unwanted thoughts, insomnia, nausea, poor concentration, irritability, fatigue, restlessness, hypervigilance, and feelings of impending doom. Having any of these symptoms on occasion is normal, but if you are experiencing these symptoms on-going and it is interfering with your daily functioning, you need to consider counseling services.
My Treatment Approach: My treatment approach to anxiety-related issues is multi-faceted. I consider the whole person when developing a treatment plan. I don’t believe in just treating the symptoms, I want my clients to focus on all aspects of their lives that may be contributing to or exacerbating the symptoms they are experiencing. Diet and exercise are addressed and goals for changing these areas are discussed. Eating healthier and getting regular exercise are important no matter who you are, but if you are a fast food, junk food eater and have no exercise regimen, you are feeding your anxiety and giving it no outlet. Cardio exercise 3x/week for at least 30 minutes can improve your anxiety-related symptoms. Combine that with a low-carb, higher protein and “good fats and carbs” diet and you will see even better results. Another area I focus on with my clients is sleep. You need to get consistent uninterrupted sleep that when you wake up your feel rested and refreshed. If you are not getting that, you are setting yourself up for increased anxiety symptoms and you have not even started your day yet!
The next area I focus on is your thoughts. Negative, self-defeating thoughts entrench you further into the anxiety state. They make it more difficult to live in the “here and now”, or live in the moment. People who worry or have anxiety focus more on the past or the future...neither of which we can control. We have to learn to let go of things from our past, because there isn’t much we can really do about it. We have to let go of the fact that we don’t know what is going to happen in the future, and stop trying to control something that isn’t controllable. If we focus more on today, the “here and now”, we can feel more accomplished and more prepared for whatever may happen in the future. I work with each client to find the best way for each them to address their thought processes that lead to anxiety-related issues.
The final area I may focus on is pharmacological treatment. If it seems the interventions put in place are not enough to significantly reduce the client’s anxiety symptoms, I will discuss and refer them to a medical professional who can evaluate and medicate them if need be.
For many of my clients I introduce a form of treatment that is FDA cleared to treat anxiety (as well as depression and insomnia). The product is called Alpha-Stim, and it is a treatment modality called cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES). It is a non-invasive 20 minute treatment that I use simultaneously with the counseling treatment. I have seen significant results with my clients using it, less anxiety-related symptoms, decrease in negative thoughts, improved sleep and mood.
If you have any questions about anxiety or my treatment approach or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact me at (732) 778-2774.