- Is anxiety making you feel overwhelmed?
- Are you often worried, fearful, or anxious?
- You may be suffering from anxiety.
- I can help you feel better and enjoy life again.
When you feel overwhelmed and stressed, life’s challenges, big or small, are a lot harder to manage.
Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you?
- “I can’t get my thoughts to stop going round and around.”
- “I wake up with a feeling of dread and I don’t know why.”
- “I can’t stop worrying about my children, whether they are doing well and questioning myself about whether I am doing enough to help them.”
- “I have to buy new curtains for the family room; what if I buy some curtains and then I find better ones or cheaper ones later on? What if I buy new furniture at some point and the curtains I bought don’t match the furniture anymore?”
Maybe you have similar thoughts that race around your head? What does “worry’ look like to you?
Worry usually involves thoughts about negative events that might happen in the future or sometimes about things that you have done or said in the past that you wish you had handled differently and now are concerned with what other people think.
Some good questions to ask yourself if you think you might have an anxiety disorder include:
- Do I worry a lot more than other people do?
- Do people tell me that I worry too much?
- Do I worry even when everything is OK?
- Do I often try to keep busy or distract myself as a way to avoid worrying?
- Is it very difficult for me to stop worrying once I start?
- Do I worry excessively about things that are unlikely to happen, or feel tense and anxious all day long with no real reason?
Everyone gets anxious sometimes, but if your worries and fears are so constant that they interfere with your ability to function and relax, you may have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults (about 18%), causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated.
Symptoms of Anxiety – Everyone’s experience is different but can include emotional and physical symptoms:
- You know that you worry much more than you should?
- You have trouble controlling constant worries
- You are not able to relax?
- You have a hard time concentrating
- You have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- You might feel tired all the time
- You can have headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, or unexplained pains?
- You experience irritability and mood swings
Although Symptoms are Similar, There are Different Types of Anxiety
It is important to get the bottom of exactly what is going on so treatment can be geared to what you need. If you’ve struggled with worry and fears for a long time, it is very likely that you are experiencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. But what if your symptoms are relatively short-term? Some medical conditions and/or medications can actually cause anxiety or perhaps you have recently experienced a traumatic event or situation? Although symptoms are similar, there are different types of anxiety. Which sounds most like your experience?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) This is the most common form of anxiety and is when people have excessive anxiety and worry which occurs more days than not. In addition, symptoms of restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension and sleep disturbance may be present. Someone experiencing GAD finds it really difficult to control or regulate their worry.
Panic Disorder A panic attack is an intense fear or discomfort accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling and chest pain. People’s thoughts are usually about fear of losing control and/or dying. A panic attack can happen with any of the anxiety disorders, but panic disorder itself is characterized by recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and persistent concerns about having additional panic attacks.
Social Phobia This is where people worry about social situations and have a fear of being seen negatively by others. This often leads to people avoiding social situations or if they have to go there is a lot of worry beforehand and often rumination about it afterwards.
Specific Phobia This is when anxiety is a persistent and excessive fear about an anticipated or actual encounter with a specific object or situation e.g. spiders. A phobic person often organizes their life around avoiding it.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) A person with OCD has obsessions (which are persistent thoughts, images or impulses) and compulsions (which are behaviors done to reduce their anxiety). Having OCD is time-consuming and can really impact life activities. People with OCD recognize that their worries and compensating behaviors are excessive but cannot stop for fear of what will happen if they don’t do them. The most frequent compulsions involve washing and cleaning, counting, seeking assurances, checking and/or repeating actions.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) The anxiety in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is clearly associated with a traumatic event that the person experienced or witnessed and involved intense fear, horror or helplessness. In addition, there are recurrent, intrusive recollections of the events which are anxiety-provoking and distressing to the person. There may be avoidance of any situations associated with the original trauma and other anxiety-related symptoms such as hyper-vigilance or exaggerated startle response.
So Why Do People Get Anxious?
Research is looking at how brain chemicals effect your emotions and how your genes may give you at a predisposition to getting anxiety. We often see that worrying runs in the family. I think, and many psychologists agree, that it is a mix of DNA, your environment and the current stressors you are experiencing, as well as brain chemistry that affect whether you get it or not. Anyone can develop anxiety too and at any age. When I talk with my clients and ask them about their first memory of experiencing feeling anxious, they often trace it back to late childhood or teenage years. Others link it to major life events such as going off to college or becoming a parent for the first time.
It is also important to examine whether anxiety co-exists with other issues such as depression, ADHD or addictions. Some people self-medicate with alcohol or food (see my Emotional Eating page). There is a better way though.
The bottom line is that all these issues are very treatable and you don’t need to be feeling like this. Please reach out for help and support. Life doesn’t need to be this hard.
Here Are Some Concerns I Have Heard About Getting Help…
I already feel like I don’t have enough hours in the day to take care of everything I have to do. I just don’t see how I could fit therapy in.
Although you are extremely busy and overwhelmed right now, it’s very important that you make time for yourself and your needs in order to be able to enjoy your life. Specialized therapy will offer you the support you need to get through this and will help you move on with your life. You don’t need to be stuck with these difficult feelings.
Perhaps I should just try medication first, I can’t believe I will get better by just talking?
Talk therapies have been proven to be effective at alleviating anxiety symptoms in hundreds of research studies conducted around the world. For mild to moderate anxiety, talk therapy has been shown to be more effective than medication and does not have intrusive negative physical side effects. A particular type of talk therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been proven to successfully treat anxiety and in many studies patients treated with CBT are more likely to get better and have fewer symptoms of anxiety. And not just by the end of therapy, many studies have reported that patients using therapy rather than medication show more positive improvements at 12 months and longer post therapy. I have 20 years experience of using CBT which allows me to get to the root of problems quickly and show you practical ways to feel more in control of your life.
If you are experiencing severe anxiety though there is absolutely nothing wrong in seeking treatment that uses both antidepressants (they work for both depression and anxiety) and talk therapy. When I work with someone who can see that the coping strategies we are talking about in therapy are a great idea but their anxiety levels makes it too hard for them to carry them out, I often suggest having a consultation with a psychiatrist. Used together, therapy and medication can really work well in lifting you to a place where you can utilize the strategies we are discussing. We can then work on making worrying less your normal state of being and after a while you will probably be able to reduce and then stop the medication. You will be thinking and behaving differently so won’t need it anymore.
I’m a little unsure about what to expect, I’ve never had therapy before…
There is nothing scary about meeting with me. You know yourself better than anyone else. At your own pace, you can tell me what has been going on in your life and together we will get to the sources of the issues you are facing. I have many years of experience and between us we will be able figure out the best way to move forward. Although we will talk a little about the past so we know how you have got to the place you are now, our focus will be in the present and how to help you develop the tools you need to worry less and start enjoying your life.
There are many ways we hold ourselves back from happiness. I can empower you with the tools necessary to deal with the stress that life and relationships bring, both in the present and for when they show up again in the future.
Please don’t wait to get help! You don’t have to go through this alone.
What Can I Do Right Now That Will Help?
When clients first come in to see me, the main concerns that come up again and again are:
- How can I feel less stressed, angry and overwhelmed?
- How can I improve my relationships?
- How can I stop worrying about everything: my children, partner, friends, work, my “to do” list….
So I put together a booklet with some strategies I am always giving to my clients to help them begin to improve their mood. I hope that you will find it helpful too.
I invite you to contact me on 847 791-7722 or at email@example.com with any questions you have after reading the report. Also, I have several blog posts on my blog about anxiety and other issues that can affect the way you feel.
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When I started seeing you for therapy I felt so overwhelmed and trapped in daily battles with my three children. Thank you so much for all your help. It has really helped me gain a better perspective. I am now a role model for my children and help them worry less about things by teaching them the tools you taught me.
When I first came to see Dr. Allen, I was sick of struggling with my weight. With her help, I realized that a lot of my eating habits were a way of dealing with the bad relationship I was in. With her support, I made some big changes in my life, increased my self-confidence and found better ways to deal with my stressful job. Now I don’t need to eat my way to feeling better, I have much better ways to cope with life’s difficulties
I have always been on a diet and my mood went up and down as my weight did. My internist thought I might be depressed and referred me to Sarah. I was willing to give anything a try but really thought I just needed more self discipline to stick to my diet. By talking things through with her I quickly realized that not being able to stick to a diet wasn’t really about food, although I certainly craved sweets. I learned to notice how different emotions and situations triggered my overeating and Sarah showed me other ways that don’t involve food to deal with how I felt. I have a much better relationship with food now and don’t view it as the enemy. Sarah showed genuine concern and was very encouraging. I would recommend her services to anyone struggling with eating issues.
I first came to see Dr. Allen I was completely exhausted by battling with my son who has ADHD and angry outbursts. I have learned how to stay calm and that helps him stay calm too and we have a much better relationship. We still have our difficult days but I am in a better position to deal with them and at the end the day I am left feeling that I am done my best, not guilty that I have failed him. The techniques she taught me for helping him deal with his ADHD have been very useful for all of us.
My baby didn’t sleep. She wouldn’t sleep more than a couple of hours at night and no more than 30 minutes during the day. I was completely overwhelmed and my husband and I were at each other’s throats. I was supposed to be going back to work but was barely functioning. Sarah helped us to learn how to get our baby sleeping and then she supported me in my transition back to work. She also helped my husband and I navigate how to share childcare and running the house fairly. She is such a knowledgeable doctor and has really helped us become a healthy, happy family.
When I started seeing Dr. Allen for therapy I felt so overwhelmed and trapped in daily battles with my three children. Thank you so much for all your help. It has really helped me gain a better perspective. I am now a role model for my children and help them worry less about things by teaching them the tools you taught me.
Thank you for all of your support. I am finally feeling so much better. I never thought I would get to such a good place in my life. Your voice and words of encouragement were extremely helpful.
Thank you so much for all the support and counsel you have given me. You have made such a positive impact on my life and I very much appreciate it. I had some very dark days when I first came in to see you but I can now enjoy my life with my husband and two kids and I am emotionally present when I am with them.
I had heard great things about Dr. Allen from a friend so I decided to try her. I have had therapy in the past as I have experienced depression for many years but this is the most productive therapy I have ever had. I have really learned a lot and felt very supported. I feel my mood has improved greatly and my depression has significantly decreased. I would definitely recommend her if you are looking for a therapist.
Dr. Allen has really helped me find my own voice. When I began therapy I would swing between being passive and doing whatever other people wanted me to do to being angry and frustrated. I have been on antidepressants for quite a few years but it wasn’t really working. Through therapy I have learned to listen to my own needs and to speak up. I used to worry that people wouldn’t like me if I didn’t agree with them but when Dr. Allen gave me the support I needed I challenged my fears. I spend a lot less time feeling angry and depressed now and I have really widened my social network. This is how I have always wanted to be but didn’t know how to get there. Dr. Allen has a very reassuring manner and makes you challenge yourself but by using small steps so you feel ready to do it. I have really come out of my shell and would recommend anyone who is feeling depressed to come and talk with her.
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