Anxiety, worry, and stress are all a part of most people’s lives today. In fact, Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States affecting 40 million adults . Anxiety Disorders also tend to affect twice as many women as men. Anxiety is part of the body’s “fight or flight” response which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger. Symptoms may include: worry, fear, dread,avoidance of places or situations, panic attacks, and repetitive
behaviors and compulsive hygiene rituals.However when our symptoms start to become chronic and interfere with our daily lives it may be necessary to seek treatment.
Anxiety disorders fall into a set of separate diagnoses, depending upon the symptoms and severity of the anxiety the person experiences.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Panic Disorder(including panic attacks)
- Social anxiety disorder or social phobia
- Phobias (also known as simple phobias)
The most effective treatment for anxiety disorder tends to be Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and/or in some instances, existential psychotherapy and mindfulness training. I also use both EMDR and the Alpha Stim Device, a brain wave technology, for panic disorders. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is based on the principles of Aaron Beck, MD, who uncovered how negative thought patterns create a cycle that leads to self defeating behaviors. CBT helps identify or uncover these negative messages that people have internalized which create feelings of anxiety and low self esteem.Treating anxiety using existential therapy involves clarifying our sense of meaning within the social, cultural, spiritual and personal contexts in which we live. Our values and choices are examined and challenged. For many philosophers, anxiety is seen as part of the human condition and it involves recognizing that we have both a limited time as well as the freedom to chose how we live our lives. According to Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning,when faced with our mortality the most basic of all human wishes is to find meaning in our life so as to combat the trauma of death. If life is short, then it is worth searching for and creating our own meaning and happiness.