Karin Lawson, PsyD, CEDS, RYT-200 is a licensed psychologist, certified eating disorder therapist and writer in private practice. She’s located in Miami, FL. Dr. Lawson is currently the Vice President of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals – Miami Chapter, as well as the President-Elect of the Miami-Dade-Monroe Psychological Association. In this week’s blog post, Dr. Lawson shares some signs of anxiety to be aware of.
Everyone feels anxious from time to time. Perhaps you get a bit nervous speaking in front of people or going on a job interview. New situations and new people can definitely give us all the jitters. Yet, for some people, anxiety becomes a frequent and forceful occurrence that completely takes over their lives.
Since anxiety comes in many forms, for instance panic attacks, phobias and social anxiety, it can often be difficult to tell if what you’re experiencing is “normal” or has crossed the line into an anxiety disorder.
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to speak with a psychologist who can help you cope with your anxiety.
General anxiety disorder (GAD), the broadest type of anxiety, is characterized by excessive worry. People with GAD worry too much about everyday things, both big and small. But what constitutes “too much worry?”
With GAD, people are plagued with persistent, anxious thoughts most days of the week for at least 6 months. This anxiety can become so overwhelming it interferes with their daily life. If you are worrying to a degree that you have trouble doing daily tasks, it may be time to speak with a therapist.
Sleep issues such as falling asleep or staying asleep have been associated with a myriad of health conditions, both physical and psychological. It’s normal for people to have trouble sleeping from time to time. Brief bouts of insomnia aren’t anything to get too concerned about. Perhaps you find yourself tossing and turning before a job interview or before visitors come see you to enjoy south Florida.
However, if you find yourself night after night lying awake, have restless sleep or unsatisfying sleep, it may be one symptom of an anxiety disorder.
While anxiety lives in the mind, it is often manifested in the body through digestive problems, lack of appetite, nausea or diarrhea. Our guts are very sensitive to emotional and psychological stress. Unfortunately, digestive upset can often make a person feel even more anxious, due to it’s unpredictability. Working in therapy to understand how your body responds to anxiety can move you toward preventative strategies to calm the body.
Anxiety disorders can often be accompanied by persistent muscle tension. Do you find yourself clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth or balling your fists throughout the day? You may have lived with this chronic muscular tension for so long you don’t even realize it anymore. While exercise can help relax muscles, your muscles may be one place your anxiety goes to and therapy can help with that mind-body connection.
Panic attacks can be a frightening experience. You are suddenly gripped with an overwhelming feeling of dread and fear. You may assume you’re having a heart attack, because the panic experience can be so intense. Panic attacks are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, racing heart, dizziness, and profuse sweating. Learning new skills to take care of your anxiety can impact the panic experience profoundly.
Anxiety disorders can often keep people from living a joyful and fulfilling life, especially when they’re white knuckling it. Luckily no one has to manage it alone. A therapist can assist in uncovering the root cause of the anxiety and teach tools to cope differently.
If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.