Has Your Stress Turned Into Panic Or Dread?

woman rubbing her templesAre racing thoughts impacting your ability to manage stress, concentrate on tasks or engage socially? Perhaps you feel overwhelmed, on edge or fearful that something terrible is about to happen. Maybe these feelings have flooded you following a recent distressing event, such as an accident, death of a loved one, break up, move or another major life transition. Or, perhaps you’ve been struggling with worry and self-doubt for as long as you can remember. Has anxiety started to manifest physically as heart palpitations, stomachaches, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, dizziness, nausea or even panic attacks? Do you wish you could better understand what causes these uncomfortable sensations, slow down the racing thoughts, relax and refocus on what you truly want in your life?

Living with anxiety can be an isolating, frustrating and frightening experience. You may wake up from a poor night’s sleep with your heart racing, already thinking about everything you have to accomplish that day. The people around you may not understand what you’re going through, especially if you’re suddenly suffering from decreased energy, motivation and productivity or experiencing bouts of irritability, anger and overall dissatisfaction. As you continue to deal with chaotic, seemingly never ending thoughts that keep you withdrawn or on edge, your physical health may start to suffer, leaving you wondering what’s wrong and why you can’t overcome this anxiety.

Anxiety Is Increasingly Common In Our Culture

If you are struggling to cope with stress, fear, panic or dread, you are not alone. Collectively, anxiety disorders are among the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in America, affecting roughly 18 percent of adults. Stress is something we all deal with. It’s our body’s ancient and natural survival instinct to respond to any perceived threat. Imagine needing to find shelter from a storm. As the wind increases, your body reacts instinctually, speeding up your blood flow, tensing your muscles and narrowing your focus so that you can quickly find warmth and safety. Once you do, then your stress dispels and you can start to relax.

man checking his phoneIn our fast-paced culture, however, resolving stress is often not this simple. The pressures and challenges we often deal with, such as saving for retirement or choosing the right partner or career, cause stress that cannot be immediately removed. You may try hard to relax, but even when you have downtime, you may fill it with more tasks in an attempt to feel productive. You may also use social media as a place to try to relax and connect, but instead may find you are comparing yourself to others and feeling more stressed instead. When you witness a friend, neighbor or coworker enjoying success online, you may feel as though you’ve fallen short of an ideal. The more isolated you become in these beliefs, the less you’re able to see positive prospects for the future and be able to ask for what you need.

When these long-term stressors remain unresolved, they can compound and lead to a variety of issues—everything from relationship discord to uncomfortable emotional and physical sensations. The good news is that anxiety therapy can provide you with effective methods to relieve stress, advocate for yourself and move forward into the relaxed, balanced life you want and deserve.

Anxiety Treatment Can Provide You With Support, Healing And Relief

Anxiety counseling can effectively help you recognize triggers that lead to distress and develop the insight, perspective and tools to heal and thrive. In a secure space, away from the stressors of everyday life, you can openly express your innermost concerns and desires and receive objective, insightful advice from a professional who seeks to understand your issues within the context of your life.

woman looking out a windowThroughout our work together, we can explore your past experiences, relationships, communication patterns and diet and exercise habits and then address how all of these elements contribute to present feelings of chaos and dread. At a pace that feels manageable and comfortable to you, we’ll seek to understand what’s driving your anxiety and explore healthy, effective alternatives to the thoughts and behaviors that may no longer be serving you. It’s common for people struggling with anxiety to lose hope about positive possibilities for the future. But, once you increase self-awareness and recognize your specific anxiety triggers, as well as learn and practice new skills, lifestyle changes and communication techniques, you can begin to transform every aspect of your life. By utilizing the many evidence-based tools available for alleviating anxiety, you can start feeling more relaxed and empowered to make effective decisions and go after what you truly want.

Step by step, we can untangle and heal your unique worries and doubts. Not only can you experience relief from fear and dread, but also move through your relationships, job and world with greater confidence and ease. I’ve been working with people with panic disorders, social phobias and other anxiety disorders for over 30 years. With the support and guidance of an experienced therapist, it’s possible to manage stress and overcome anxiety. It’s possible to feel more balanced in your mind, body and spirit.

You may still have questions or concerns about anxiety treatment…

No one seems to understand how I feel, and I doubt you will either.

It’s true that no one else is living in your body, so no one fully understands how your symptoms interrupt your life. That said, many other people share a similar experience, and you are not alone in your feelings of worry and hopelessness. Talking to a compassionate expert who can truly listen to and validate your experience can relieve some of those painful feelings of loneliness and isolation. And, with support and guidance, you can learn to recognize triggers and attain effective tools for managing stress. You can learn to express and dispel stress rather than being consumed by it.

Will I need to take medication?

The choice to take medication is completely up to you, and I will support whatever choice you make. Although evidence supports that in some cases medication can be beneficial, especially in conjunction with anxiety counseling, we can certainly begin our treatment with other options. I can also provide a trusted referral if need be.

I’m afraid that talking about anxiety will only make it worse.

Talking about anxiety may feel uncomfortable. However, if you’ve tried everything else and nothing seems to help your anxiety, it may be time to seek out professional advice and support. Counseling for anxiety creates the opportunity for you to identify your goals and be guided, step by step, and supported as you work toward those goals. It’s really common for a variety of life influences to drive anxiety. Together, we can prioritize immediate issues and work down the ladder until you experience profound healing and relief.

You Can Overcome Anxiety

If you’re interested in anxiety treatment and live in or near Bettendorf, IA, please call (563) 213-5100 for a free 30-minute consultation. I am happy to discuss any questions you have about my practice or how anxiety therapy can address your needs.