Anxiety can be described as an unpleasant state of inner turmoil that can cause an interference with the functioning of daily life. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disturbance in the United States affecting millions of Americans yearly. These disorders contribute to the high rates of alcohol and substance abuse and it is also not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression. Nearly one-half of those who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can range from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) to Full blown Panic Disorder. Symptoms will vary depending on the type of disorder but can include shortness of breath, heart palpitations, feelings of anger and panic, cold or sweaty hands, dry mouth, nausea, the inability to stay calm, muscle tension, dizziness and sleep problems.
When working with clients who have anxiety, I believe it is important to validate what my clients are feeling and experiencing. As a clinician, it is vital to the therapeutic process to understand that the client’s anxiety is real, even if the triggering beliefs may not be. It is only then that you can begin to introduce some alternative coping skills through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help to decrease the anxiety and increase their level of functioning.