Therapy for Anxiety in San Diego

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Developing Skills to Manage Anxiety & Big Emotions

At Family Connections Therapy, we have enormous compassion for those living with anxiety. This mental health condition affects over 7 million adults in the United States alone, and while anyone can develop anxiety, significantly more women than men develop this condition. People who suffer from anxiety experience negative, intense, and overwhelming sensations, both physically and emotionally, that are long lasting and intrusive. The effects of anxiety can make it difficult to just get through the day.

Anxiety Therapy San Diego

Do I Have Anxiety or am I Just Worried?

No doubt we all worry – we worry about our kids, our finances, our health…especially as life fluctuates or takes a downturn. Some amount of worry is normal and healthy, showing we care and are giving attention to what is important. However, when worry or stress cross over into anxiety, help is available, and you don’t have to suffer needlessly. Unlike daily concerns and stresses, anxiety disorders are not just about worrying of feeling tense. They are serious, diagnosable conditions that significantly affect your confidence, judgement, balance, and peace. There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with unique symptoms. The most common include generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorders, and phobias.

Symptoms of anxiety conditions are both emotional and physical, and they may include:

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension, worry, fear, or dread
  • Restlessness or irritability and frustration
  • Feeling tense, jumpy, or unsettled
  • Anticipating the worst or ‘catastrophized’ thinking
  • Lack of confidence or low self esteem

Physical Symptoms:

  • Rapid or racing heartbeat
  • Pressured breathing or shortness of breath
  • Sweating and feeling too hot or cold
  • Tremors or twitches
  • Headaches, stomach aches or cramping, neck or jaw tension
  • Fatigue, low energy, and trouble sleeping
  • Frequent urination or diarrhea
  • Over or under eating
Emotional Stress San Diego

Why am I Anxious?

In our world, it may seem like everyone should be anxious. We have a lot to worry about, so if you’re asking yourself, “Why do I feel like this and other people are fine?” You’re not alone. The underlying causes of anxiety are multi-layered incorporating biological, psycho-social, and genetic factors, but the condition is often induced by big triggers (like a car accident, illness, break-up, or job loss). Alternatively, a continued buildup of stress and difficult circumstances may lead to anxiety, especially for people who have certain personality types and are prone to worry.

Social Anxiety San Diego

Do I Have Social Anxiety?

When we talk about anxiety, we most often discuss generalized anxiety disorder, but this is just one type of anxiety. Because anxiety Disorders are interrelated, have overlapping symptoms, and sometimes people have more than one anxiety condition, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact type of anxiety disorder you’re struggling with. It can be helpful to understand the nuances of these condition because it can change the approach we take during therapy.

For example, both agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder (SAD) can involve the fear of public places. However, people with SAD feel anxiety more commonly in public places when scrutiny by others may occur, than when being in public alone (i.e. like alone in a waiting room). Interestingly, they can also feel tremendous anxiety even when with a known friend if they may be judged or criticized. Those who experience agoraphobia more commonly have fear of leaving the house altogether, fear of having panic attacks in public, and usually feel better when with a trusted friend if they can leave home at all.

Interestingly, introversion, another personality trait that is often thought of as a form of anxiety, is completely distinct from both agoraphobia and social anxiety disorders. Introversion is viewed as much more organic and natural to our personalities – we are born on a continuum of extroversion to introversion. Anxiety disorders, such as social anxiety or agoraphobia, are viewed as learned, developed, or subconscious reactions to survive life stressors. So rather than being a disordered behavior, introverts are often self-sufficient, super-focused, and observant individuals who contentedly see their introversion as their way of being in the world. Conversely, those with anxiety related conditions are often overwhelmed, distracted, or hyper vigilant in focus, viewing their anxiety as a block to being in the world. Additionally, those who are introverted do not usually have negative personalization about being introverts while those with social anxiety or agoraphobia often think something is wrong with them or that others will discover their anxiety and be disappointed.

Does Counseling Really Help with Anxiety?

Many clients attempt to “just deal with it” when addressing anxiety, thinking it is just “a little extra worry.” While this kind of rugged individualism is admirable, it is also unnecessary, and it can leave you feeling worn out and worn down. Research and science show unequivocally that treatment with therapy is highly effective for overcoming anxiety, quickly with lasting results. In fact, therapy is even MORE effective than medication for most people, without the side effects! When therapy is combined with mild medication and/or mind-body techniques (exercise, meditation, breathing techniques), it is an unbeatable combination that can get people through the difficulties surrounding all types of anxiety.

Happy Woman After Depression Thearpy

What Happens During Therapy for Anxiety

At Family Connections Therapy, our counselors partner with you starting from a place of compassion and connection to accurately assess and uncover the causes of your anxiety. From there, a partnership begins to empower you, not only to manage but actually overcome anxiety related conditions. The focus in your sessions includes identifying and managing triggers, transforming negative thoughts that cause “anxiety spiraling,” implementing routines that increase stability and confidence, supportive physical and behavioral interventions, and addressing relevant, underlying causes. Our therapists are client-centered and use attachment based modalities that provide a foundation of trust and support to reach desired goals.

Specifically, we often use two evidence based methods that are highly effective with proven outcomes for anxiety related conditions: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). DBT has a powerful four point focus: increasing mindfulness, deepening interpersonal effectiveness, expanding distress tolerance, and improving emotion regulation. DBT uses specific methods, handouts, effective coping skills, and the ability to tailor treatment to individual needs. CBT pinpoints troubling core thoughts and beliefs that lead to challenging emotions and poor choices or behaviors. The idea is that, if you can change the way you think, you can change the way you feel, and then, change the way you act. While it seems simple, it is incredibly effective in achieving outcomes for those who struggle with anxiety. Put simply, people don’t have to suffer with anxiety symptoms. This condition is highly treatable, and the right interventions equip sufferers to lead more satisfying lives.

Anxiety exists to spur us on and keep us safe during difficult situations, but when elevated anxiety levels keep us from enjoying a satisfying life, it may be time to partner with The Family Connections Therapy team to feel better.

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