How do I know if I have an anxiety disorder?
We all experience varying amounts of anxiety in this life. At Wildflower Therapy, we like to think of all humans sitting on a continuum of these types of experiences. Some of us are born naturally sitting higher on the anxiety continuum than others. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have an Anxiety Disorder.
But when the symptoms of anxiety begin to negatively impact overall functioning (think work performance, sleep, appetite, and relationships) then you may have an Anxiety Disorder. And actually, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Anxiety is the most common mental health diagnosis in the United States, affecting an estimated 40 million adults, or 19.1% of the population annually. Therapy for anxiety can help!
So what are the different Anxiety Disorders?
The DSM 5 defines seven different types of Anxiety Disorders:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Folks with GAD experience excessive anxiety or worry for months with little to no reprieve.
Symptoms include: Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, difficulty controlling worry, and sleep issues.
Folks with Panic Disorder experience panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include heart palpitations, accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling, sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking, and feeling of impending doom.
Symptoms include: sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear, feelings of being out of control during a panic attack, intense worries about when the next attack will happen, and fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
Agoraphobia is anxiety related to finding oneself in a situation that would be difficult to escape. It often leads to isolation at home, because fears of leaving the house become overwhelming.
Symptoms include: Fear of using public transportation, fear of being in open spaces, fear of being in enclosed spaces, fear of standing in line or being in a crowd, or fear of being outside of the home alone
Separation Anxiety Disorder
Separation anxiety disorder involves symptoms related to excessive anxiety triggered by the separation of a child from their home or caregiver. This disorder can occur in children or adults. Symptoms include:
- Recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated.
- Persistent and excessive worry about losing, or about possible harm befalling major attachment figures.
- Consistent and excessive worry that an untoward event will lead to separation from a major attachment figure.
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation. Consistent and excessively fearful or reluctant to be alone or without major attachment figures at home or without significant adults in other settings.
- Persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without being near a major attachment figure or to sleep away from home.
- Repeated nightmares involving the theme of separation, or repeated complaints of physical symptoms when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated
Selective Mutism Disorder
Folks with Selective mutism display anxiety that manifests in a persistent failure to speak in specific social situations where speaking is expected, despite speaking in other situations Symptoms include excessive shyness, fear of social embarrassment, social isolation, withdrawal, clinging, or temper tantrums.
Specific phobias are intense, irrational fears of certain things or situations. The fears surpass an intense feeling and create overwhelming experiences of anxiety.
Symptoms include fear, triggered by the specific object or situation, or anticipating it, that is excessive or unreasonable. Exposure to the phobic stimulus provokes an immediate anxiety response. The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation, The phobic situation or situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress.
Social Phobia Disorder
Folks with social phobia experience a great deal of fear surrounding social or performance-related situations. There is a fear of feeling embarrassed or judged.
Symptoms include: Feeling highly anxious about being around and talking to people, feeling highly self-conscious in front of other people, excessive worry about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, rejected, or judged, avoidance of places where there are other people, and difficulty making and keeping friends.
So how can therapy for anxiety help?
Our therapists at Wildflower Therapy have years of experience helping people work through various Anxiety Disorders. We typically use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a type of therapy that helps you to understand the connection between your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy involves unearthing core beliefs that we may have held since childhood that keep us stuck. CBT also provides solutions for how to shake these core beliefs loose, and eventually change the way we think, feel, and behave.
We also utilize exposure therapy if appropriate. Exposure therapy involves creating a safe environment in which to “expose” folks to the things they fear and avoid. The exposure has been shown to help reduce fear and decrease avoidance.
Who can we help with therapy for anxiety?
If you are struggling with any of the above-listed experiences of anxiety, our team of skilled therapists can help! We also have very specific experiences helping the following populations manage and overcome their anxiety:
- College students with anxiety
- Athletes with anxiety
- High schoolers with anxiety
- People across the LGBTQIA2S+ spectrum struggle with anxiety that may be related to various intersecting parts of identity.
- New moms with anxiety
- Pregnant folks with anxiety
How Can Therapy for Anxiety in Philadelphia Help You?
If you are struggling with anxiety that is impacting your ability to function in your daily life, we would be honored to help you address those needs. Whether you prefer in-person anxiety therapy or virtual anxiety therapy, our therapists are available and ready to help. Below are some steps to follow if you feel overwhelmed and would like to ask for help:
Step One: Read our Statement of Beliefs to get a better understanding of who we are and what we stand for!
Step Two: We encourage you to get to know a little bit about our therapists, their specializations, and their credentials. Get to know our anxiety therapist here.
Step Three: If you feel like we would be a good fit for you, please reach out to us to set up a free 30-minute consultation here- We look forward to hearing from you!
Step Four: Begin your journey to self-healing and understanding!
Mental Health Services Provided by Wildflower Therapy, Philadelphia, PA
Life is a unique journey for each of us and we all have our individual battles to fight. We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to any of life’s difficulties and we offer many unique perspectives and approaches to help meet you where you are with our Philadelphia, PA Therapy services. We offer services for eating disorder therapy, and services for depression, and have practitioners who specialize in LGBTQ therapies and therapy for college students and athletes. There are even therapists who specialize in perinatal and postnatal support.
As you can see we have something to offer just about anyone in our Philadelphia, PA office. Reaching out is often the most difficult step you can take to improve your mental health. We look forward to helping you on this journey!