Coping with generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety. That word is everywhere today. Coworkers talk about it. So do your friends. Even your mom does! Anxiety involves feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. And it’s typically experienced on cognitive, emotional, and physical levels. Maybe you have negative thoughts. Or you might feel scared and out-of-control. You might get really sweaty or start to tremble. Some people even feel short of breath. Does anxiety affect your life on a constant basis? Here are different treatment methods you can use to cope!
Presenting Concerns of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Feeling anxious is just…yucky. There are days it can feel like anxiety is taking over your life. Intrusive thoughts feel like bricks piling up on top of you. There are days where you’re equipped to carry a few at a time. But when they come in a wave, it’s hard to brace for impact. Or perhaps you’ve been functioning well in day to day life. But anxiety is beginning to impair your social or work life.
There are a few different treatment methods for dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
This first method may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s the most important. You must develop a comfortable sense of rapport with your counselor. And I am so sorry to be the one to tell you this, but it’s going to take a bit of trial and error to find the right counselor for you. You are special and unique and full of one-of-a-kind experiences. You need a counselor who gets that. Who gets you. Counseling is all about trust, honesty, and vulnerability. If you can’t be those things with each other your sessions (and treatment) won’t get very far. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of people walking away from counseling entirely when all they needed to do was try a new counselor!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most popular and effective treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. CBT helps you to identify the triggers of your anxiety and intrusive thoughts. Through the tools learned, you are then able to identify if they are realistic or unrealistic. With the guidance of your counselor, you two can then begin to challenge those unrealistic thoughts. By learning to cope, you can begin optimal daily functioning!
Self-care techniques. That’s another phrase that’s everywhere today. By practicing the act of self-care, you are also cultivating self-love. Self-care reminds you that you do have worth. And helps us all to be a bit kinder and easier on ourselves. There are a number of ways to practice self-care. You can try finding a new hobby. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Or it’s been ages since you read a good book. Maybe you want to learn to knit. Or get good at cooking. By finding a hobby, you may also find new people in your circle that share common interests!
Another thing you can do to practice self-care is to partake in physical activity. “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!”. Does anyone else remember this iconic Legally Blonde scene? I mean, Elle Woods did get into Harvard – and she has a point. Okay, okay, endorphins aren’t magic. You aren’t going to feel like you can cure cancer and run a marathon at the same time by doing some extra crunches. BUT. If you begin to incorporate bits of physical activity into each and every day, you might notice some big changes. Physical activity also forces you to take time for yourself. By exercising, you are saying “I’m going to take the next (insert amount of time here) to focus on my physical, mental, and emotional self.”. And that’s so cool! You might then start taking time for yourself in other ways!
The fourth treatment method is one that gets a lot of negative attention. And that is a referral to a psychiatrist to include medication in the treatment process. There is no shame in needing medication. None. Zero. Think of it as a means of preparation. If you’re ready to do a home improvement project, can you start without any tools? No! I mean, you could try tearing out those outdated kitchen cabinets with your bare hands. But sooner or later, you’re going to need to go to Home Depot. Think of medication as one of the many tools in your toolbox. It’s there to help you build up the perseverance to take on life’s challenges.
Why Treatment Works
To summarize, treatment works for a whole heck of a lot of reasons. One: Developing a positive rapport with a counselor allows you to feel comfortable. As a result, you’ll be able to more readily share your thoughts, anxieties and other circumstances that may surround these thoughts. Two: CBT has been proven to be one of the most effective treatments for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. And CBT also helps to begin challenging unrealistic thoughts. CBT is also somewhat brief therapy that can assist the client to get back to functioning fairly quickly. Three: Medication Assistance is not always required for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. But it is recognized that it is necessary at times to assist the client with daily functioning and intrusive thoughts. A referral would be necessary for medication. At this point, the therapist and psychiatrist would coordinate care to ensure the best treatment possible.
Let CPA Help Too!
We know you need a toolbox full of skills in order to cope with the challenges life throws at us. At CPA, we will always encourage patients to explore coping mechanisms that work best for them. However, we also know that a number of those skills come from counseling and different methods of therapy. Cristina Panaccione and Associates has two locations in the South Hills. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help teach you the skills to fight depression and anxiety!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.
Crystal Norcott received her Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from Carlow University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She has been in the counseling profession for 10 years and has had a variety of clinical experiences. Her experiences include working with children and adolescents in a variety of settings including residential, school, community, and in the home. She has also worked with adults who may be experiencing a life event that they are struggling with, including but not limited to – addiction, depression, and anxiety.
Her counseling technique varies depending on the need and personality of the person, as there is no one technique that works for everyone. Don’t ever feel like you have to deal with life’s difficulties on your own.