Do you ever find yourself so anxious that you just want to curl up in a corner and cry? Does your anxiety have you worrying and spiraling so much that you can’t control it? Does it keep you from seeing friends, making friends, or even going outside? Do seemingly simple things lead to panic attacks? Anxiety can manifest in many ways. For some it can manifest as social anxiety or generalized anxiety, for others phobias, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and still others as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However it manifests for you, the underlying process is similar.
Anxiety is an evolutionarily adaptive emotion. If we were not afraid then we would all engage in risky behavior. Anxiety tells us there is a threat and to be careful. The problem is when anxiety starts sounding the alarm when there is no threat. Acting on this false alarm by running away is like proving the anxiety right. You are telling the anxiety “Yes, there is a reason to be afraid.” This only makes it more likely that the anxiety is going to sound the alarm in the future and likely even louder next time. The hard part is facing your fear while the alarm is sounding.
A type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called exposure and response prevention (ExRP) has been shown to be very effective for treating anxiety disorders. Similar to the treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), the core component of therapy is for you to realize that you are stronger than you think and have you face your fear (even while the alarm is sounding). We would work together to help you conquer the fear one step at a time. We tell kids that when they fall off the horse the best thing they could do is to get back on it, but we don’t always listen to our advice. It is scary to face our biggest fears, but we would work at your pace to make sure that you can regain control of your life from anxiety.
If this resonates with you then feel free to reach out for a free phone consultation.
To learn more about exposure therapy and anxiety see below.
Long Island Psychological Service treating anxiety