Anxiety disorders cause a person to view the world through lenses of predisposed stress, fear, and worry. Some may be constantly on edge knowing that this isn’t how life should feel, while some accept it for what it is and live out their days either in misery or discontent, never seeking any sort of anxiety therapy. Those who are less fortunate hide from the world, refusing any type of connection in fear of activating a trigger that would send their adrenal response into overdrive. Worse yet, some may not even require a trigger; always at the whim of their mind. Anxiety therapy is a proven remedy for people suffering from this disorder.
It’s estimated that 40 million Americans are blighted by anxiety disorders, which is 13% of the U.S population; making anxiety the most common mental health issue in our country. Sadly only 37% of those people seek anxiety therapy, leaving a huge margin of untreated anxiety disorders that affect people’s overall quality of life. Your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers here in Berkeley, or even you may be one of these people.
Untreated anxiety disorders often trickle down, further complicating issues with problems such as substance abuse, impulse control disorders, depression, and even suicidal thoughts or actions. Once anxiety develops comorbidity (more than one disorder in a person) it becomes significantly less likely that the person will seek treatment or even be able to live functionally as before; often requiring months or years of therapy to cope with the symptoms, if they manage to get the help they so desperately need.
Anxiety disorders are very real and very debilitating. If you are one of those suffering and any of this sounds like what you are experiencing; it’s important to know that you have options. Though anxiety is not able to be “cured” it can certainly be remedied and kept at bay for as long as you can keep the remedy in the front of your mind. “The remedy” is different for everyone as anxiety is a very internalized, personal disorder that requires professional assistance to learn the root causes and assess the best course of action.
This may range from mindfulness meditation to conditioning techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (face your fears head-on). Treatment methods are greatly affected by variables regarding how you retained this trauma such as age, personal or other people’s involvement, etc. To learn the root causation of where you may have held onto this trauma is vital to learning to let it go.
Self-treatment can be useful but you still may need assistance in asking yourself the proper questions. From the inside, you may never see the need for certain questions or may never even conceive the notion of some. It’s because some of the questions that are essential for emotional development are the hardest ones to ask ourselves or even see at all.
In my 30 years as a clinical psychologist, I have had many previous and current patients here in Berkeley come up to me and say “Thank you, Dr. Lynn Winsten! You’ve opened my eyes!” To which my reply is always the same… I only shed light on the world so you can see; it is you who opens your eyes. Whatever it is that causes your anxiety, is already there waiting to be seen. It just needs to be brought into the light so that you may examine and release it. This is why anxiety therapy is crucial for your healing, and may even lay to rest unseen auxiliary issues that are hiding deep within!
It is possible to feel better and regain your sense of joy and adventure. You don’t have to live with these excessive fear responses and stressful worries. They don’t have to define your life or make you feel trapped. Anxiety will not simply go away on its own and you must choose to let it go. You can let it go… Chronic worry, fear, stress, sensitivity to excitement, communication, or even excessive noise… these are only symptoms of your anguish. They are the characteristics of your disorder. Even though these feelings are hard to see through most of the time, the questions that need answering are directly on the other side of that fog. Your anxiety and the reason for its presence in your life can be discovered by seeking the root in lieu of the symptoms.
I can help you come to a resolution. My name is Dr. Lynn Winsten, Ph.D. I am a clinical psychologist working for and with those in the greater Berkeley area. Allow me to assist your relief by offering more than 30 years of professional clinical experience working with some of the most highly regarded clinicians of our time, aiding patients from all walks of life suffering from all manner of psychological illnesses.
You are safe, respected, and met with empathetic concern every time you have a consultation with me. Together, we’ll find those answers and have that trauma wrangled with pride instead of fear! In as little time as possible, you’ll be enjoying the perspective you long for; seeing life through a new fearless lens, built by your willpower and tinted with ambition for new horizons!
Bravery doesn’t exist without fear to overcome. Let’s show the world how brave you can be!
A Brief Look At Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety can present in many ways. There are definitive classifications, however not all anxiety disorders fit within the diagnostic criteria. Alternatively, some disorders can show symptoms of multiple diagnoses. Consultation is vital for addressing and overcoming anxiety.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Appropriately named, GAD is the most common form of anxiety. It is characterized by excessive non-specific bouts of moderate stress, worry, and fear that have no time constraint. Though the root of GAD is often not pinpointed, it can usually be attributed to a buildup of stress from everyday responsibilities that goes unchecked for a long time.
People living with GAD often go untreated due to the immersive nature of the disorder. It envelops a person’s entire perspective, giving them a semi-permanent lens of fear through which they have to navigate everyday life. In turn, it may seem as if they are always stressed or on edge.
Described as a sudden unshakable terror or feeling of absolute helpless despair. Characterized by a sudden onset of severe distress for any reason, or no reason at all, which causes elevated heart rate, sweating, nausea, change in breathing patterns, an inability to communicate or function as normal; also called “panic attacks“. Depending on the severity an attack may last 10-15 minutes but could last up to an hour or more.
This is not an anxiety disorder that goes easily unchecked. Those who suffer from its effects are very conscious of its presence in their lives. Causes vary case by case and normally derive from traumatic events or prolonged emotional distress, though it may also present no obvious triggers or causes.
Seeking help is, fortunately, a priority of those suffering from Panic Disorder, due in part to the severe debilitation it presents throughout life as well as the magnitude of suffering that it causes. If left untreated, panic disorder has the potential to make a person dangerous to themselves and those around them.
These are an incredibly diverse classification of anxiety disorders that are very specific to objects, animals, or situations, where the person is only triggered by specific stimuli but never experiences symptoms when the stimuli are not present. Characterization is comparable to panic disorder but must be triggered by specific stimuli. Therapy has the greatest chance of a successful outcome, however complete remediation is rare.
Another common anxiety disorder, which is more prevalent in young adults and teens than in any other age group. Its characteristics can range depending on the severity. One symptom seems static: the person will build up expectations of others’ thoughts and discussions about them, often creating scenarios in their mind that have no real-world accuracy.
The less severe social anxiety disorder may include a minor discomfort when around people and a submissive demeanor that accompanies the feeling. Worsening, may cause moderate changes in heart rate as well as breathing patterns. Even the idea or thought of being around others will trigger this sensation. On the far end of this disorder, those suffering will have a near-impossible chance to form meaningful relationships. Innocuous actions such as walking through a store will take on life-and-death seriousness, causing the person to withdraw and internalize; on par with panic disorder.
Most common in young children, but will manifest itself in different ways well into adulthood. Possible early onset for some unexplained anxiety disorders later in life. Separation anxiety is a severe panic that occurs in a person when someone or some people they trust leave that person’s general vicinity for an arbitrary amount of time.
In some cases, the person suffering doesn’t have to trust anyone at all; they simply always require the comfort of having a companion nearby.