Anxiety has nothing to do with courage or character. Absolutely nothing.
Anxiety is a part of life that we deal with frequently. Anxiety is adaptive and essential to our survival. Imagine if we lived in an anxiety-free world. The human race probably would not have survived. Anxiety, our friend, helps us deal with real external threats and problems. You better be anxious if you are about to step off a curb and a large truck is speeding towards you. Anxiety, our enemy is problematic when we have irrational fears and or worry about things we have no control over. So when do you seek help for anxiety?
There are some ‘red flags’ to look for to determine if your anxiety is a problem for you. Avoidance is a ‘safety-behavior’ to help us deal with anxiety. What have you been avoiding? People with social anxiety avoid social interactions. To deal with phobias, people avoid things that trigger their fear (dogs, spiders, snakes, etc.)
Do you worry excessively about things that might seem like a reasonable worry but you might have little control over or it is not an immediate problem. I had a patient tell me he could not sleep at night because of a problem. I asked him what was troubling him. He said he was worried about what college his son was going to attend. Seems like a reasonable concern. I then asked him if his son was a junior or senior. He told me that his son was nine years old.
Does anxiety affect your relationships? Anxiety affects the friends and family members of someone with an anxiety disorder. People with OCD will often have their friends/family members accommodate their compulsions. For instance, a person who must check to make sure all of the appliances are off in the house may insist that family members check too. Anxiety can cause the person with the disorder to be angry which affects their relationships.
Does anxiety affect your ability to work or go to school? Often anxiety disorders affect people’s attendance or performance at school or work. Does your anxiety affect your ability to perform activities of daily living? Anxiety can affect our ability to eat, sleep, bathe, use the toilet, or dress.
Over 40 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder. Anxiety has helped us survive for thousands of years. In fact, we live in the safest time in history (hard to believe, I know.) Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medications can be beneficial in helping people who are struggling with an anxiety disorder. If you are struggling with anxiety disorder or OCD, please call me to discuss your different treatment options.
Michael is a Licensed Mental Heath Counselor and Central Florida’s authority on the treatment of OCD and Anxiety Disorders. Located in Winter Park he helps adolescents, adults and families battling OCD and Anxiety Disorders. He is a Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapist and Diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. Michael is also an active member of the International OCD Foundation. His passion is helping people and families struggling with OCD/anxiety disorders and increasing public awareness about OCD.