Is Anxiety Taking Over Your Or Your Child’s Life?
Do you often feel on edge, restless, irritable or consumed with worry? Are looping, negative and fearful thoughts impacting your ability to concentrate on tasks at hand or to be present with the people around you? Maybe you are suffering from heart-racing panic attacks that come on suddenly and make you feel out of control or even like you’re dying, and you worry about how, when or where the next attack will come on. Or perhaps you have an intense fear of social situations or meeting new people, expecting to be judged, embarrassed or criticized. Heightened stress may have started to manifest itself physically through muscle tension, changes to eating or sleeping patterns, an increased heart rate, excessive sweating or shortness of breath. Have you attempted to self-medicate through the use of drugs or alcohol in an attempt to relax or to numb yourself to triggers? Does it feel like anxiety is running your life and keeping you from fulfilling your responsibilities or engaging in activities you enjoy? Do you wish you could feel okay and calm, know that you are safe and develop the skills needed to live an empowered and balanced life?
You may be worried that your child or teen is suffering from anxiety. Your child might be struggling at school, irritable, experiencing difficulties with sleep and acting highly self-conscious. Perhaps he or she talks incessantly about worries and fears or fixates on a specific topic and struggles to pay attention to anything else going on. Or maybe your child or teen is obsessed with doing things perfectly and fears rejection or failure. You may be highly concerned about your child and teen and even feel anxious yourself, especially when it comes to his or her happiness and future. Do you wish you could understand what is going on for your child and know how to help him or her feel calm, balanced and successful in life?
Anxiety Is Extremely Common In Our Culture
If you or your child is struggling with anxiety, you are not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues in the U.S., affecting tens of millions of people each year. In fact, nearly a quarter of the American population meets the requirements for an anxiety diagnosis.
Anxiety can be caused by many factors, and symptoms range in manifestation and severity. Genetics and environmental factors play a role in anxiety. However, many people with no family history of anxiety develop the disorder following a trauma or loss and during stressful life circumstances or transitions, such as divorce or times of financial strain. The increase in technology use and social media may also be contributing high anxiety rates, especially in teens. In today’s world, teens are expected to navigate not only an increasingly more complex social network at school, but also the expectations and often bullying that infiltrates the virtual aspects of their lives. Families are also juggling so much, especially those with single parents or both caregivers working. And, while a certain level of stress is normal and can even be helpful as a motivational tool or safety mechanism, if “stress” has begun to impact your or your child’s ability to feel good and function normally, it may have crossed over into anxiety.
The good news is that there is help and hope. Anxiety can be effectively managed and even overcome. A skilled and compassionate therapist with expertise in anxiety counseling can help you or your child cope with symptoms and challenges and live a balanced, confident and successful life.
Anxiety Treatment Can Provide You With Support, Skills And Guidance
Anxiety often arises around the things that we care about the most, which can make it a great tool for self-discovery. In the safe space of anxiety counseling sessions, you can get to the root of what’s causing your anxiety. You can understand what anxiety is, address how it’s manifesting in your life and develop effective tools to respond differently to your anxiety triggers.
In anxiety treatment sessions, your Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry therapist can help you confront the fears that live in the underbelly of your anxiety. You can begin to challenge the looping, negative thoughts that are keeping you stuck or spinning and gain a more positive and realistic perspective of yourself and your current experience. You can learn that many of the thoughts you entertain are not absolute truth and that most of what we stress about never becomes reality. As you stop fighting fearful thoughts and accept them as they are—just thoughts—they lose their power and anxiety begins to naturally subside.
In initial sessions, your therapist may guide your through value-based work, which you can draw from throughout your healing experience, especially when you’re feeling discouraged, over stimulated or overwhelmed. It’s important to connect with what is truly of value to you—whether it be getting over a social anxiety so you can attract a partner or learning how to manage panic so you can attend your daughter’s play or go on a camping trip with a friend. Returning to your values throughout your therapy experience can help you build tolerance and stay motivated and committed to the work. Connecting with your emotionally charged “why” can help you get comfortable with being uncomfortable, increase your resilience and, inevitably, feel more confident and empowered in your life.
Throughout sessions, your therapist can also provide you with effective stress management, visualization, mindfulness and breathing techniques that you can use daily and/or to calm and ground yourself when anxiety heightens. You can also explore activities and lifestyle changes, such as yoga and exercise, journaling or altering your diet, that can improve your mood and promote relaxation. You can increase your awareness around what is working and what is not working in your life and begin making the conscious choice to engage in more of the activities that promote feelings of wellbeing.
If you know or suspect that your child is suffering from anxiety, we offer child counseling and teen counseling with an anxiety treatment focus. Using age appropriate approaches, your child’s therapist can help him or her learn how to identify and express difficult thoughts and emotions. Everyone experiences anxiety differently, including children and teens, which is why your child’s therapist will tailor create a therapy strategy that best addresses his or her specific developmental stage, type of anxiety, needs, personality, history and therapy goals. As your child learns how to manage anxiety, he or she can also develop effective and healthy stress management and communication skills that can be used throughout life.
With the right approach, the help and support of an experienced and trusted therapist and a willingness to engage in the therapy process, it is possible for you or your child to experience relief. You truly can step into your life and do what is meaningful and important to you. When anxiety shows up, you’ll have the tools to not only manage it, but also to use it productively. You can learn how to stop struggling with your anxiety and, instead, accept it and live an empowered, balanced and fulfilling life.
You still may have questions or concerns about anxiety treatment…
Does an anxiety diagnosis mean that my child or I will have to go on anti-anxiety medication?
Anti-anxiety medication can reduce symptoms and take the edge off for some people, and in cases of severe or chronic anxiety, therapy in combination with medication has been shown to be a very effective treatment for anxiety. That said, there is a lot that can be done to mitigate anxiety symptoms that does not include medication, and the decision to take medication is up to you. At the Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry, our experienced and skilled team of mental health professionals can provide you with information, options and support so you can make the most informed decision for you and/or your family when it comes to medication and all other aspects of your mental health and wellbeing.
I have been highly anxious for longer than I can remember, and I’ve tried everything to get rid of my anxiety. I’m not sure that anything—even anxiety treatment—can help me.
It can be frustrating to struggle with anxiety for years, and the experience certainly can create feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. But, regardless of what you’ve tried in the past, there is hope for healing and relief. In all honestly, you may never be totally free of anxiety, but it is possible to learn how to stop fighting it. Once you learn how to accept anxiety, it loses some of its power, making it easier to manage symptoms and live according to your true values. The important part is that you don’t give up. With the help of an experienced therapist and the right approach for you, you can experience relief.
I’m worried that talking about my anxiety and all the stressors in my life will make me feel even worse.
Often the idea of doing something is far worse than the actual experience. And, the fear of therapy is likely the anxiety part of you talking. Although some sessions may be difficult, you won’t be alone. Your skilled and supportive therapist will meet you where you are emotionally and help pace the sessions so you don’t feel overwhelmed. In sessions, you can work through feelings of fear, learn healthy ways to cope with stress and develop skills to manage anxiety. With help and support, life can become more manageable, balanced and enjoyable.
You Can Live A Peaceful, Empowered Life
You don’t have to navigate this challenging time on your own. We invite you to call 847-214-3651 to schedule an initial appointment and/or for a brief phone consultation. We’re happy to discuss your specific needs and to answer any questions you have about anxiety counseling, child counseling, teen counseling and our practice.