We can think of anxiety as one of the most basic symptoms of psychological stress, along with depression. Anxiety is based in the fear response; while depression is based in hopelessness.
Most forms of inner struggle involve a degree of mental tension or emotional fear that we can broadly term, "anxiety." Effective treatment for anxiety includes psychotherapy, mindfulness training, medication, biofeedback and stress reduction techniques.
What is an anxiety disorder?
An anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of apprehension, nervousness, panic, and fear in response to real or perceived stressors. We all feel anxiety at times, but an anxiety disorder is defined as a persistent or overwhelming reaction that causes deep suffering and impairs daily functioning.
The most common anxiety disorders are:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is marked by excessive worry or fear without an obvious stressor.
Panic disorder. Panic attacks are sudden and repeated bouts of terror or fear, which include the persistent dread of such attacks.
Social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety involves feelings of intense discomfort when around others in a social situation, marked by self-consciousness and fear of social condemnation, exclusion or mistreatment.
Phobias. A phobia is an intense irrational fear of certain situations, experiences or objects. Phobias often begin during childhood or after a single frightening experience.
What causes an anxiety disorder and how is it treated?
Anxiety disorders are caused by a blend of social and biological factors, including childhood experiences, trauma, personality style, genetic inheritance, health issues, and various life events.
Treatment must 1) help patients to recover from painful daily symptoms while also 2) addressing the broader themes in a person's life, thinking style, beliefs and habits that have come together to create the anxiety they're experiencing.
To discuss treatment for anxiety, please call 650.851.1952 for a consultation.
I will be happy to speak with you and answer your questions.