Anxiety presents itself in so many different ways depending on the individual. The common theme that I see with my clients is the persistent worry about past or present events. Each client tends to ruminate on the “what-ifs”, which is a quick identifier that the person struggles with anxiety. The worry usually stems from the fixation of the outcome of future events.
Clients also tend to worry about worry. This means that they become concerned about the amount of time they spend worrying, as well as the worry of the biological symptoms that are associated with anxiety. The physical sensation of elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, and lack of concentration can trigger individuals to have a panic attack. Clients then become worried about having a panic attack.
What clients need to learn most is that avoiding the feared situation, person, or event can actually lead to increased anxiety over time. We learn that avoidance of the situation makes us feel better, therefore we reinforce the benefits of avoiding the behaviour.
Over time, individuals become fatigued, irritable, and mental tension can lead to headaches or other bodily pain. Irrational fears contribute to insomnia which can then magnify the symptoms.
All of these symptoms can be relieved through therapy. The most common treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is where we identify the irrational thoughts behind the anxiety and replace them with more rational thoughts. In therapy, you learn to challenge your beliefs as well as become more mindful and in tune with your body. In only a few sessions, clients tend to see improvements in their symptoms, and reduced stress about their anxiety.
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