WHAT IS AN ANXIETY DISORDER?
Anxiety is a state of fearful, agitated uneasiness that we can experience physically (as in knots in the stomach, tension in our muscles, shallow breathing, shaking, rapid heart rate, tunnel vision, sweating) as well as cognitively and emotionally (intense apprehension or worry about something bad happening or freezing in fear in response to a current stimulus that we find frightening).
A certain degree of anxiety is a normal part of the human experience. It is common to feel anxious about speaking in public or just before a job interview.
The difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder, however, is that the latter involves a degree of fear or worry that is so intense or pervasive that it causes clinically significant distress, over and above what the majority of individuals might experience in the same situation. An anxiety disorder also causes some form of impairment in a person’s ability to function in daily life. Your ability to perform well at work, for example, to interact with others socially, to travel, to engage in certain activities with friends, or to feel safe certain settings can be made very difficult by an anxiety disorder.
WHAT ARE COMMON ANXIETY DISORDERS?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by excessive and chronic anxiety and worries about a variety of events or activities. This worry is pervasive even in the absence of anything bad happening or is out of proportion to the actual risk involved. Accompanying the excessive worry is restlessness, fatigue, impaired concentration, irritability, increased muscle aches and/or difficulty sleeping (note that some of the symptoms of generalized anxiety listed here are also symptoms of depression; there are additional features that distinguish depression from anxiety).
Social Anxiety Disorder (or social phobia) is fear of being humiliated or embarrassed in a social or performance situation, where the individual is exposed to unfamiliar people or close scrutiny. The person fears to call attention to themselves or looking and sounding foolish, and either avoids social settings or performance situations or endures them while experiencing intense anxiety.
Panic Disorder involves experiencing persistent and unanticipated panic attacks (a sudden surge of intense fear or anxiety that reaches a peak within minutes and includes at least four of the following: racing heart sensations, shortness of breath, shaking, trembling, a feeling of choking, chest pain, nausea, feeling chills, dizziness, paresthesias (numbing or tingling sensations), derealization (feelings of unreality), depersonalization (feeling detached from oneself), fear of losing control, or fear of dying), followed by at least one month of persistent worry about experiencing additional panic attacks or engaging in maladaptive behavior intended to avoid experiencing further panic attacks.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder consists of having obsessions and compulsions that are debilitating to a person’s life. Obsessions are recurrent and intrusive ideas, thoughts and images that are unwanted and that cause significant anxiety unless certain actions (compulsions) are taken to relieve the anxiety. Compulsions are certain repetitive and ritualistic behaviors that are undertaken to temporarily relieve the anxiety brought on by the obsessions. For example, you might become obsessed with the recurrent thought that you will contract a deadly bacteria and die if you don’t wash your hands twenty times in a certain way. The compulsion is then washing your hands that many times.
HOW CAN COUNSELLING HELP WITH ANXIETY?
At Bevill and Associates LLC serving Birmingham and surrounding areas, our qualified counselors can work with you to provide two essential components for recovery: 1) a safe and trusting environment for healing to take place, and 2) guidance in applying specific techniques for recovery.
Anxiety Disorders–include the helping relationship that you develop with a caring and trusted professional, who will listen to you carefully and provide guidance and support and an environment that instills hope, or a positive expectancy.
TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT
Call us 205-610-9319 or use our easy online scheduler here.
If you have any questions or would like to contact us by email, you can complete a brief confidential contact form here. Once you submit the contact form, a Bevill and Associates intake staff member will respond as soon as possible.
Bevill and Associates LLC is located in Birmingham, AL (on Valleydale Rd between I65 and Hwy. 280). Please click here for our full address and a map to our location. We are currently accepting new clients and warmly welcome self-referrals and referrals from physicians and other professionals.