Anxiety is a natural survival instinct that all humans feel. But if your anxiety causes crushing worry, panic, phobias or obsessions that interfere with or control your life, it’s time to get help.
It’s Time to Consider Therapy for Anxiety
Anxiety is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy. While everyone experiences some anxiety, fears and worry in life, people struggling with a disorder will experience recurrent worries and side effects that disrupt their work, schooling and relationships. It prevents them from fully living life.
There are a variety of anxiety disorders and anxiety-related issues that have similar symptoms. If you’re struggling with anxiety, some of the following situations may be familiar:
- It feels like your brain is always thinking through every single thing that could go wrong — or might already have gone wrong.
- You feel powerless, paralyzed or trapped, like your anxiety dictates every movement of your daily life.
- A crippling fear of failure prevents you from trying (or finishing) things.
- Concentrating is difficult, and decisions feel impossible because you have to consider every possible repercussion of each choice.
- You miss a lot of school or work due to fatigue, exhaustion or specific worries.
- It takes you a long time to fall asleep, because your mind won’t stop going a mile a minute.
- You find yourself repeatedly performing small rituals or purposefully thinking certain thoughts to appease the anxiety, though only for a short period.
- You know many fears are irrational, but you feel powerless to stop them.
- You experience recurring panic attacks that may be accompanied by shortness of breath, increased breath or heart rate, a choking feeling, chills, sweating, nausea, tingling or numbness, a fear of losing control or dying, feelings of altered reality or being detached from oneself, palpitations, dizziness or chest pain.
- The fear of experiencing these symptoms causes you to avoid social situations, specific everyday objects or places. You may even avoid leaving the house, finding it difficult or frightening to do so.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Many of the feelings or experiences listed above are symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), but some can be signs of related disorders, as well. For example, Panic Disorder is when a person suffers from recurrent panic attacks, while a phobia is a fear of a specific thing, like heights, performance situations, enclosed spaces or being outside the home alone.
Another common diagnosis is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), an anxiety disorder characterized by constant unwanted thoughts and fears, and repetitive behaviors that momentarily ease those fears — before bringing them back even stronger.
While many common compulsions of OCD sufferers are well-known (like washing your hands too much, checking that you turned off the stove ten times or needing to arrange things “just so”), many people who suffer from OCD will experience compulsions related only to their own worries and fears. For example, someone who has obsessive thoughts about a loved one’s death may find themselves repeatedly checking that the loved one is still alive. Meanwhile, a person who has obsessive fears of losing something they need may hoard unnecessary items and even junk.
Luckily, all of these anxiety disorders are treatable. You don’t have to let your worries, fears, phobias or compulsions be in charge anymore.
Take Back Control of Your Life
Therapy is an effective tool for overcoming your anxiety. With the guidance of a mental health professional, you can:
- Learn how your anxiety is controlling your actions and decisions
- Identify and treat the sources of your fears
- Learn relaxation, refocusing and coping techniques to disrupt the cycle of worry
- Learn to regulate your thoughts and behaviors in situations that trigger your anxiety
- Regain a sense of control
Your specific treatment plan will depend on your symptoms and goals. Anxiety sufferers may choose Exposure Therapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), while many OCD sufferers find success with Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP). Treatment at Sparlin is always 100% collaborative and transparent, which means our therapists will educate you on your options and help you decide what path is best for you.
OCD and Anxiety Treatment in St. Louis
Sparlin Mental Health (formerly St. Louis Center for Family Development) is a compassionate mental health center that serves the St. Louis area with expert trauma-informed, evidence-based therapy. Our licensed therapists and mental health professionals are trained in the latest treatment methods that are scientifically proven to help people overcome their anxiety and compulsive behaviors.
For children and young adults struggling with extreme levels of anxiety and out-of-control behaviors that cause disruptive behaviors at home, in school or in the community, an in-home intervention may help. Sparlin@Home is designed to stabilize your child’s emotional, behavioral and mental health crises and prevent the need for hospitalization or out-of-home placement.
To find out more about our OCD treatments and therapy for anxiety in St. Louis, contact our office.