Anxiety is a central feature of Social Anxiety, Health Anxiety, Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorders and Specific Phobias. Lauren provides specialized treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Learn more about their symptoms and treatment below.
People with Social Anxiety worry that others will judge them as a result of their behavior or symptoms. As a result, they may avoid social settings. They may also face the feared situation. If they do so, they are likely to feel fear and panic .
Social Anxiety looks different from person to person. For instance, some people are only anxious when it comes to public speaking. In contrast, others are anxious to interact in the workplace. Still others find that eating in front of others or by speaking with strangers triggers them. Even so, plenty of people are shy or anxious. The main difference between those with and without the disorder is the impact that symptoms have on a person’s function as well as the levels of distress. Those with Social Anxiety disorder feel intense anxiety and their worries impair their functioning.
TREATMENT FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY
If you or someone you know are struggling with Social Anxiety, there is help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective, evidence-based treatment for Anxiety Disorders, including Social Anxiety. CBT involves a number of approaches, like education and relaxation training. To start, people learn how to view their thoughts through a rational lens, a process known as cognitive restructuring. CBT also includes Exposure and Ritual Prevention (ERP). In this treatment, people face feared situations. For example, they might give a speech or speak with someone at a party. After, they learn to accept the anxiety that comes up without trying to get rid of it with safety behaviors.
Mindfulness is also useful in helping those with Social Anxiety. Individuals with social anxiety can benefit from viewing thoughts, feelings and sensations without judgment. Placing attention on the present moment is also a useful tool for those with this disorder.
Known by various names like hypochondria, Illness Anxiety Disorder is marked by fear about problems with physical health. While anyone can experience concern about physical symptoms, those with this disorder have excessive concerns in the face of few or no symptoms. They may worry, for example, that they have Cancer, a terminal diagnosis or degenerative diseases such as ALS.
When their fears arise, those with this disorder take any number of actions to address their worries. For instance, they may google their symptoms, avoid doctors, ask for a lot of reassurance from doctors, check physical sensations and analyze them too. This is all done to get insight into the state of their health. Ultimately, their symptoms lead to distress and impair their lives.
THERAPY FOR HEALTH ANXIETY
While Health Anxiety can cause a lot of distress, it does respond to treatment. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for Anxiety Disorders, including Health Anxiety. CBT includes a number of approaches, such as education, cognitive restructuring, and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). To begin with, individuals learn to address their thoughts from a rational view point through a process called cognitive restructuring. Next, therapists guide individuals through ERP, helping them to face their fears and increase their anxiety on purpose so that they can learn how to tolerate their anxiety. While many are scared at the prospect of ERP, this process is taken gradually and at the pace of the individual. Mindfulness-based tools can be incredibly helpful for those with Health Anxiety, too. Through mindfulness, individuals can learn to approach their thoughts and feelings with an objective curious stance, thus supporting a better relationship with these internal experiences.
Those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder tend to worry about many areas of life. For example, they may be concerned with romance and friendships. Likewise, someone with the disorder could be anxious about schoolwork and work performance. While most people experience anxiety throughout the course of their lives, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder have excessive anxiety and find it difficult to control their worry.
Those with Generalized Anxiety also experience a number of symptoms. For instance, they may have muscle tension, irritability, fatigue, difficulty with concentration, sleep issues and a sense of feeling on edge. Anxiety is something that everyone experiences, however Generalized Anxiety Disorder is different in that it leads to significant distress and also impedes an individual’s life.
TREATMENT FOR GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
While Generalized Anxiety Disorder can invade so many aspects of an individual’s life, there is hope and help available. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a first line treatment for Anxiety Disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This involves different interventions, such as education, cognitive restructuring and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Initially people learn to consider their thoughts from a more rational point of view through the process of cognitive restructuring. Next, individuals learn to practice ERP and begin systematically facing the things that cause anxiety in order to learn how to navigate fear. Oftentimes, people experience habituation. That is to say, while doing exposures they get used to the things that cause their fear. Mindfulness can also be a helpful approach with this disorder as it supports people in accepting the presence of thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Those with Panic Disorder are afraid of having more panic attacks as a result of having a number of panic attacks without warning. People with Panic Disorder are also afraid of “losing control” or “going crazy” when their panic symptoms arise. In response to their fears, those with Panic Disorder change their behaviors in order to avoid experiencing panic, and these changes disrupt their lives.
TREATMENT FOR PANIC DISORDER
Even though Panic Disorder can be extremely difficult to live with, there is support. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for Anxiety Disorders, including Panic Disorder. This treatment involves multiple approaches, for example, education, cognitive restructuring and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). When it comes to cognitive restructuring, people learn how to approach their thoughts through a more rational lens. After learning about restructuring, people practice ERP by gradually facing the things that provoke anxiety. ERP for someone with panic disorder might, for example, include interoceptive exposure, which involves purposefully causing and facing anxiety symptoms – like a rapid heart beat, shortness of breath or dizziness. Mindfulness can also be an incredibly helpful tool in the treatment of panic disorder. This is because it can help individuals to have a nonjudgmental attitude toward panic and help to change the trajectory of panic attacks.
Specific Phobias are excessive fears that are caused by certain circumstances or stimuli. Even though people can have phobic fear about anything, phobias often surround common themes. For instance, people often have phobias about animals, needles, natural disasters, airplanes, elevators, enclosed spaces, vomit, and clowns. When they are faced with the thing they fear, they almost always experience immediate anxiety. They also try to retreat when faced with the subject of their phobia. Sometimes they simply avoid circumstances that would expose them to their fears. In order for a phobia to be diagnosed, the fear or avoidance must also lead to distress or impairment in functioning.
TREATMENT FOR SPECIFIC PHOBIAS
If you or someone you love has a phobia, there is help and hope. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for Anxiety Disorders and, thus, is used to help people to overcome the obstacles posed by phobias. In CBT, individuals are initially taught about the disorder and how they will address it with their therapist. Next, in the “cognitive” part of therapy, individuals consider their thoughts against the facts. For example, “If I ever experience _______, I will not be able to handle it” is pretty catastrophic in nature and probably shouldn’t be taken as truth. CBT also involves ERP, that is, learning to face your fears slowly but surely so that you get used to them and the anxiety they cause. In addition to CBT, Mindfulness can also support people in learning to have a better relationship with their thoughts and feelings.
INTERESTED IN THERAPY?
Are you or a loved one struggling with anxiety and interested in therapy? Lauren specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. You can learn more about the treatments and services she provides here.
Lauren is a licensed psychotherapist in
several states. Learn more about where
Lauren sees Clients, below.
When she is offering face to face work, Lauren does in-person therapy in Newport Beach. She also provides online treatment for Anxiety Disorders throughout California. Her Clients span from San Francisco down to Southern Orange County and San Diego.
Lauren provides treatment for Anxiety Disorders in the state of Utah. She provides teletherapy to different areas of the Beehive State: from Salt Lake City and its suburbs, like West Jordan, Syracuse, Highland and Riverton, to Park City and St. George.
Lauren offers treatment for Anxiety Disorders online in Florida and sees people from all corners of the Sunshine state. Whether you’re from Naples, Orlando, Miami, or Boca Raton, Lauren can provide specialized counseling remotely in your area.
Lauren practices teletherapy in Arizona. If you’re seeking help with your fears in Phoenix, Sedona, Scottsdale or Tucson, Lauren offers specialized treatment for Anxiety Disorders online across the Grand Canyon State.
In addition to all of the locations previously listed, Lauren offers teletherapy for Anxiety Disorders to a number of countries internationally.
Online therapy isn’t right for everyone. An assessment must be done to determine if online therapy is appropriate for your needs. You can reach out here to learn more.
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©2021 by Lauren McMeikan Rosen, LMFT.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this website is intended for informational and education purposes only and is not meant to be a replacement for therapy. If you are interested in treatment, you can email me and I will happily provide you with more information