Let’s Talk About Anxiety

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, May 04, 2022
By Mirta Pont, LCSW,

The most commonly diagnosed mental health disorder in the U.S. is anxiety; and a close second is depression. Both disorders are misunderstood not only by the sufferer, but also by their loved ones.

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Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time but it is the debilitating anxiety symptoms that bring people to my office.

People think that the sufferer can “snap” out of it or have control over the ailment. Some anxiety is situational and temporary. Some anxiety can be chronic. Some anxiety can be specific (i.e., phobias).

People can learn coping skills to deal with anxiety throughout life. However, some may need a more comprehensive treatment plan such as therapy and/or medication to help live a more relaxed and fulfilling life.

Anxiety is usually characterized by worry, nervousness, or uneasiness. The apprehension can be about an upcoming event, situation, or something with an uncertain outcome. To be sure, the anxious person is experiencing ruminating thoughts on how to control the situation. Of course, this is a negative cycle because no one can control every aspect of their lives all the time. This fact affirms the out-of-control feeling the person is experiencing already.

Many individuals describe anxious symptoms as having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom. They can’t stop overthinking a situation to the point that they feel very out of control.

What is less understood or talked about is that anxiety has physical or somatic manifestations. The physical/somatic manifestations of anxiety include but are not limited to the following:

  • headache
  • stomach
  • muscle aches
  • insomnia
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • sweating,
  • trembling.The anxiety symptoms often seen in emergency rooms mimicking a heart attac
  • rapid heart rate
  • dizziness and
  • chest pain.

There are different levels and forms of anxiety. All of them fear-based. The anxious person will think of fifty different thoughts or situations that are seemingly real but distorted. Anxiety affects relationships negatively. For example, someone with a fear of flying will definitely avoid it making it hard for a family to go on trips.

Living with someone with an anxiety disorder can create anxiety in the partner or family overall. Other people try to help by making a suggestion or giving advice. What’s even sadder is that the sufferer is hurting more. At some point, it becomes apparent to them they are impacting their loved ones. They feel

  • like a burden
  • they don’t have control to change
  • depressed.

Then they try to gain control by perhaps engaging in compulsive behaviors (i.e., cleaning). These behaviors provide temporary relief. The person feels in control while engaged in the activity but can’t really relax.

If all this sounds hopeless, fear not! There is help. Cognitive-behavioral therapy possibly combined with medication can help individuals reduce and deal with their anxiety.

Also, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing) therapy works well with anxiety, especially with phobias. The most important thing is to reach out for professional help. You don’t and most likely can’t do it alone.

P.S. For more on Mirta, you can visit her page at https://www.coralgablescounseling.com/team/mirta-pont-lcsw/

And, to schedule an appointment with Mirta, you can reach out to Carolina Navarro, our Intake Coordinator, at 305-445-0477.