Switch to Accessible Site
Therapy for IndividualsCouples, & Children in Malibu, CA.
Couple Therapy Session

Anxiety

Having anxiety can prevent a person from living the life they desire. In psychotherapy, I can help you develop the skills to combat that which interferes with your daily life while we try to figure out why the anxiety is there, what it's purpose is, as it is there for a reason. Anxiety is like a poltergeist that haunts the mind, and until it's spirit is avenged, it will not stop it's destruction. 

Contrary to popular beleif, anxiety is not something that's just in the mind. The belief that it is, often perpetuated by the media, is based upon a story that captures the zeitgeist of the 20th and 21st century, which asserts that humans posses the capability of controlling their thoughts and feelings. This story puts forth an idea that anxiety is just a set of tangential false beliefs that can be modified through some sort of mental gymnastics, controlled through will, and this is ironic, because this story, which posit that we are always in control of our lives, originates from anxeity itself. How scary to realize and then accept that there is so much out of our control. And, despite the belief that we can all control our anxious thoughts, anxiety disorders are prevalent within all demographics of people, and are one of the most common mental disorders.

In our society we are taught to plan and prepare for the unexpected , which is really a contradiction, because that which is truly unexpected can not be planned for and can not be anticipated. It's a fine endeavor to plan for the future, but too often people believe they can spoon out their lives in measured servings, that they can control everything, and they worry and experience stress about the inevitability of losing control.   

TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Anxiety is prevalent and chronic, an everyday thing, and the worries are about everything rather than one specific theme or concern. Another common symptom of GAD are it's physical manifestations, which can include nausea, faintness, and even vomiting. Often a person with GAD will experience concomitant mental disorders, with depression being most common, as anxiety and depression are opposing sides of the same coin *(I think one reason for this is when a person comes to understand that they are not in control of certain things the concept of free will as well as a belief in one's own omnipotence is somewhat depleated, and accepting this can be depressing). 

Social Anxiety: Intense worry about being criticized, embarrassed, and humiliated in social situations. As a result social interactions are avoided.

Specific Phobias: A person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid it.

Panic Disorder: Intense and uncontrollable panic attacks (a physical manifestation of anxiety including shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and excessive perspiration). Often as a result the person develops concomitant mental disorders, most commonly agoraphobia, in which a person perceives open spaces, often simply being outside the home, to be unsafe. *Someone suffering from panic disorder is most afraid of experiencing a panic attack outside of the safety of home, which is a main reason for agoraphbia to develop. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): A person has ongoing unwanted and intrusive thoughts and fears that cause anxiety. Although the person may acknowledge these thoughts as silly and illogical, they often try to relieve the accompanying anxiety by engaging in certain behaviors or rituals. For example, excessive hand washing and a ritual of tapping self or objects and counting before leaving the home. Sometimes other concomitant mental disorders can result such as hoarding and eating disorders (anorexia).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This can happen after a person experiences a traumatic event such as war, an accident, or a natural disaster. Symptoms can include difficulty relaxing, relating to others, dreams, night terrors or flashbacks of the event, rage and depressive symptoms. 

TYPES OF TREATMENT FOR ANXIETY

Anxiety requires diverse treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy is useful but often is not enough on its own. Since anxiety effusses into a persons thoughts, feelings, and physical body it's important to work holistically. A combination of talk therapy, CBT, EMDR, psychoanalysis, psychiatric medication, yoga, exercise and nutrition, improved sleep, lifestyle change, and stress reduction techniques can all be helpful interventions.