Everyone experiences stress and worry at some point in their life. These feelings are often quite helpful and serve as motivation to take some sort of action. Study for that test, get to work on time, do your taxes. Although feeling anxious can often help us achieve our goals, pervasive and constant anxiety can drastically affect one’s life satisfaction.
Many people who struggle with anxiety feel constantly worried, on alert, and unsafe or unprepared. You do not have to let those feelings dictate your day. If you or a loved one need help overcoming anxiety, I can help.
Anxiety disorder is one of the most common psychological disorders in the United States, with approximately 18% of all adults experiencing enough symptoms to qualify for a clinical anxiety disorder in 2017 (Mental Health by the Numbers, 2017).To make matters worse, the distress brought by anxiety often leads to other issues if left untreated. Anxiety commonly co-occurs with depression, as the emotional pain often leads to feelings of hopelessness (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Anxiety can make the things that are doable seem impossible. Research suggests that experiential avoidance is a significant contributor to the maintenance of anxiety disorders (Spinhoven, van Hemert, & Penninx, 2017). Experiential avoidance is when you avoid what is making you anxious in an effort to keep the anxious feelings at bay. Over time, this means that when you encounter that same anxiety-provoking experience, you will continue to avoid it as it makes you more and more anxious –much like a trigger. Experiential avoidance can cause your anxiety to increase as the experience is put on a pedestal of fear.
Although anxiety is very normal, these feelings can often build into a clinically significant disorder that requires professional help to overcome. If your anxiety keeps you from living the life you want, you may struggle with an anxiety disorder.
These fears and worries manifest in a variety of ways, as each person will respond to anxiety differently. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) outlines the various types of anxiety disorders, and they include:
- Specific Phobia
- Used to describe particular fears surrounding a specific situation, such as riding in cars, or object, such as an intense fear of blood.
- Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
- Used to describe a pattern of anxiety that arises in social contexts, such as school or work, or in situations that require public performance, such as speaking in front of a crowd.
- Panic Disorder
- Used to describe frequent experiences of feeling a loss of control, breathlessness, racing heartbeat, dizziness, and intense fearful emotions.
- Used to describe fears about going outside or being in public, often resulting in never leaving the home.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Used to describe pervasive, broad, and constant worries that seem to arise in most life situations
- Specific Phobia
The hallmark of all of these disorders is the persistence of anxiety of what will happen in the future. This fear can keep you from doing the things in your life that are important to you as you avoid situations and interactions.
What are some of the warning signs of an Anxiety Disorder?
Some common symptoms of these disorders include (DSM-V):
- Excessive anxiety and worry most days of the week for at least 6 months
- Difficulty in controlling the worrying
- Muscle tension
- Sleep difficulties
- Difficulty concentrating
Panic attacks are also a common occurrence in these disorders and symptoms include (DSM-V):
- A surge of intense fear or discomfort
- Accelerated heart rate and/or pounding heart
- Trembling or shaking
- Fear of dying
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Chills or heat sensations
How can I overcome Anxiety?
Therapy is an effective treatment for anxiety as you are able to pinpoint what is causing you to feel anxious and what you are avoiding as a result. At times, even just discussing what is distressing you in therapy can be helpful as you are able to put words to your experience. I can help you come up with effective strategies that will allow you to slowly begin to take your life back as you face the things that make you anxious head on and learn to cope with the anxious emotions you are feeling.
Let’s use skydiving as an example. If you tried to go skydiving, but every time you got up on the plane you were too scared to do it, this would lead to feelings of dread about getting on the plane. Perhaps even seeing airplanes might evoke fearful feelings. But, if you were able to stay on the plane, complete the jump, overcome the avoidance and regain control, the fear would decrease. However, the process would be much easier if you had someone to go with you. That is where I come in.
How Can Paula L. Marcolin Help?
Anxiety is a constant struggle that may feel like an uphill battle. Let me help you make that climb a little easier as we find ways for you to overcome anxious feelings.
I am a psychotherapist in private practice with 20+ years working experience in the field of mental health and have been in private practice for 11 years. I work with individuals (adults & adolescents), couples, and group. My credentials include a B.A. in Psychology and a Master of Science from Johns Hopkins University graduating with Honors, and I am a member of Northern Virginia Licensed Professional Counselor Association. In addition, I have over two years of experience in facilitating court-ordered groups for domestic violence, anger management, and substance abuse and am certified in The Stage Page: An effective tool to help individuals create healthy relationships.
I believe in holistic care of every individual and attempt to infuse hope into the lives of every person with which I meet.
I believe you have the ability to make lasting changes in your life.
Interested in Connecting? Contact me!
If you are interested in therapy, please contact me using the information at the top of my webpage. I am excited to discuss what therapy could look like for you. Schedule an appointment with me today! I am eager to connect with you!
More about Integrative Holistic Therapy
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Take a look at my About Me page to learn more!
My office is based in Leesburg, Virginia and I love to connect with individuals and couples in my community.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
Mental Health by the Numbers. (2017). NationalAlliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers
Spinhoven, P., van Hemert, A. M., & Penninx, B. W. J. H. (2017). Experiential avoidance and bordering psychological constructs as predictors of the onset, relapse and maintenance of anxiety disorders: One or many? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 41(6), 867–880. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-017-9856-7