If you suffer from anxiety or panic attacks, know that you are not alone. Many people, about 20% of the population experience some form of anxiety, and it is almost certain that everyone will experience anxiety or a panic attack at least once in their lifetime. For those who have minor anxiety and phobias to those who have chronic conditions, we offer San Diego anxiety and panic attack counseling to help manage your fears.
What is Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
Anxiety is the feeling of unease or worriness about an event which is imminent or pending. In addition to the feeling of unease, anxiety is accompanied by physical changes such as a high heart rate, sweating, and increased sensitivity to one’s surroundings.
In small doses this feeling of apprehension is not bad: it is a natural, adaptive response to stress and danger. However, when the anxiety is severe, it can incapacitate your every move and decision. When you feel overwhelmed by your fear of what “could happen” then it’s time to seek help.
What Causes Anxiety?
There are many reasons why a person can be anxious. Some people worry about everyday issues such as finances, family responsibilities, or work interactions. Other people are anxious about very specific things such as in the case of phobias. Experts classify anxiety disorders into six groups.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This is the most common anxiety disorder. It is the chronic or constant worry over nonspecific life events and situations.
- Panic Disorder: A panic attack is when you experience a sudden and intense bout of anxiety such that you have difficulty breathing, you feel nauseous and dizzy, and you may shake uncontrollably. Many people who experience a panic attack think that they are having a heart attack.
- Phobias: Phobias are an irrational fear of an object or situation. Many people who suffer phobias are aware of their situation yet cannot control their emotions. A typical example is the fear of spiders or the fear of small spaces.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD): This is a fear of being judged by other people or the fear of being humiliated. People who suffer from social anxiety may be overly shy or very self-conscious. Being nervous before a public speech or an interview is normal. But too much worry will make it difficult for you to go to school, go to work, or go anywhere.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): This type of anxiety is characterized by a person being obsessed with an idea or action. The stress exhibits itself as repetitive behavior that is unreasonable. For example, a person may wash their hands too often because they obsess over removing germs.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is in the news predominantly in regards to service men and women who return from duty. The trauma they experience affects their ability to resume normal civilian life. However, PTSD includes the anxiety felt by people who have suffered previous trauma such as sexual assault or kidnapping.
- Separation Anxiety Disorder: This type of anxiety comes from the excessive fear of being separated from a place or person who is usually associated with a sense of safety and security. No one wants to be away from familiar people and places but when the anxiety incapacitates you, then you need help.