Anxiety & Depression

The Experience of Anxiety

Anxiety is the most common mental health problem, with an estimated 18% suffering from anxiety disorders at any one time. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are one of the most researched areas of mental health and have numerous treatments with strong research showing a high degree of effectiveness. Anxiety can come in many different forms from specific phobias to an inability to stop worrying about most everything. Anxiety can cause physical illness, pain, difficulty sleeping, weight gain, distress in relationships with partners, children, or parents, and can have a profoundly negative effect on work and school. Your own thoughts and feelings, as well as interactions with others, may trigger anxiety symptoms without your even being aware that they were triggered in the first place. This can be a very frightening experience, and leave you feeling as if your symptoms are random. However, this randomness reflects the unconscious nature of the triggers, and rapid speed at which the process is occurring.

I can work with you to reduce your anxiety and panic symptoms by helping you to identify the patterns of thinking, feeling, and relating that trigger symptoms. By developing an awareness and understanding of the process through which anxiety symptoms are triggered, you can reduce susceptibility to anxiety, and develop greater agency over your emotional state.

Cognitive behavioral therapies and mindfulness based therapies such Acceptance and Change Therapy are effective tools in learning to work with anxiety.

Symptoms of Anxiety can include:

  • Restlessness and sleep disturbances
  • Pressured or racing thoughts
  • Panic or panic attacks
  • A sense of impending doom
  • Fears of dying of a heart attack
  • Fears of embarrassment or humiliation
  • Uncomfortable physical sensations such as heart palpitations, sweating, dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Avoiding certain situations because they make you nervous (bridges, freeways, airplanes, or social and relational situations)
  • Performing certain compulsive rituals such as repeatedly checking of door locks or repetitive hand washing

I treat the following Anxiety Disorders:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Specific Phobia
  • Social anxiety and Public Speaking Anxiety
  • Stress

The Experience of Depression

You have likely been through times when it feels as though you’re trudging through thick mud, when it takes energy to just move. Doing basic chores, and even just being with people, can be painfully hard, if not overwhelming. Then, on top of all that, you may sometimes still find yourself questioning everything, constantly wondering if you’re making the wrong decision, or fearing some unforeseen catastrophe. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and well being. People with depression can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions, and may contemplate, attempt, or commit suicide.

Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms with psychotherapy. I can work with you on managing your depression, working with cognitive distortions that often accompany and safely exploring what’s at its roots and what is keeping it strong.

Symptoms of Depression can include:

  • Pervasive sadness or despair or negativity about your life
  • Feel a sense of disconnection or alienation
  • Hopelessness
  • Restlessness and sleep disturbances
  • Experience disinterest or have difficulty finding motivation or enthusiasm
  • Struggle with tiredness or fatigue or a sense of pervasive heaviness
  • Pressured or racing thoughts
  • A sense of impending doom
  • Having thoughts of suicide or simply not wanting to be around any longer

Both mindfulness-based therapy and insight orientated therapy, as well as cognitive behavioral therapies have been shown effective in treating depression and anxiety.  You will be given the skills to learn to tolerate and safely explore the your feelings and experiences that make up feelings of depression and anxiety.

For more information about anxiety and depression disorders visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Photo credit: rycheme