Everyone feels anxious from time to time. That sense of fear, uneasiness, or worry is a normal human emotion — but when you feel that way for weeks, months, or years, it could be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
About 3 in 10 American adults experience anxiety disorders in their lifetimes. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions, and if you think you might have it, it’s important to take steps to remedy your symptoms.
Persistent worry has the power to interfere with your everyday life, but you can learn to cope with it. The psychotherapy team at Psychology Beverly Hills offers evidence-based therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mentalization-based therapy (MBT) to give you the tools you need to understand and overcome anxiety.
Recognizing the signs of common anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders generally involve feelings of persistent worry and fear. Although symptoms are similar, there’s more than one type of anxiety. Here are four of the most common types of anxiety we treat:
1. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
General anxiety, or GAD, is the most common type of anxiety. Symptoms usually include:
- Persistent worrying
- Difficulty handling uncertainty
- Inability to stop worrying
- Difficulty sleeping
If you have GAD, you might feel unable to stop worrying even if you want to. Your anxiety may be so severe that it gets in the way of your daily life.
2. Social anxiety disorder
Like GAD, social anxiety is characterized by persistent worrying. Social anxiety disorder is sometimes called social phobia. The difference between it and GAD is that your worries center more around being in public or around other people.
If you struggle with social anxiety, you might fear embarrassing or humiliating yourself in front of others, you might be overly concerned about being judged, or may excessively worry about what others think of you. You may avoid going out in public, participating in social activities, or even talking to people due to your anxiety.
3. Panic disorder
If you have panic disorder, you experience recurring panic attacks. These panic attacks come on suddenly and usually don’t have warning signs or clear triggers.
Symptoms can include:
- Dissociation from reality
- Sense of impending doom
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Panic attacks feel intense and scary, but symptoms are generally short-lived. Most panic attacks resolve within about 20 minutes.
4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a type of anxiety related to a specific event or experience. Anxiety following trauma is normal, but most people notice that anxiety fades within a few months. If you have PTSD, symptoms don’t go away, and they can get even more intense with time.
Signs of PTSD include:
- Vivid flashbacks
- Recurring thoughts
- Anger or irritability
- Difficulty sleeping
You may also find yourself avoiding situations, places, or people that remind you of the trauma in an effort to prevent anxiety and fear.
Coping with your anxiety
Anxiety disorders can be very unpleasant and may significantly interfere with regular life activities, but they are treatable, and our team of experts can help.
Evidence-based psychotherapy treatment for anxiety has proven to be effective in helping people cope with, manage, and overcome symptoms. In therapy, we first work with each person to better understand their anxiety in context and then collaboratively tailor treatment models to best help each person with their unique needs. Over time, treatment helps you learn specific skills that reduce your anxiety symptoms and allow you to live with fewer worries resulting in living a more enjoyable and fulfilling life.
Anxiety can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Schedule your first therapy session at Psychology Beverly Hills to get started. Reach us at 424-331-1570 or request an appointment online now.