Steven J. Hanley Ph.D.

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Having anxiety from time to time is a natural part of being human. You might worry about having enough money or how your kids will do in school. Maybe your anxiety comes from an upcoming big job interview, exam, or social function. Sometimes your anxiety can even motivate you to get things done (studying for that big exam, for example).

For many people though, anxiety can very problematic. In extreme cases it can even be debilitating. If you’ve struggled with anxiety, you know what I am talking about. Here are a few different types of anxieties and their symptoms:

Generalized Anxiety

One of the most common of all mental health diagnoses is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Here are some of the experiences people with GAD might have:

  • Excessive worry or fear
  • Restlessness or feeling “on edge”
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty focussing or your mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulties with sleep

Social Anxiety

Another very difficult kind of anxiety is often called Social Anxiety Disorder (previously known as Social Phobia). This type of anxiety often makes people very isolated and can include these experiences:

  • Fear or anxiety about being judged in certain social situations
  • Worry that you will be embarrassed or humiliated
  • Avoidance of certain social situations
  • Fears about speaking or eating in front of others

Panic

The primary experience of those with Panic Disorder is a Panic Attack. Having a panic attack can be a frightening experience and it can feel like it comes out of nowhere. Here are some of the signs:

  • Pounding or racing heart
  • Sweating, trembling, or shaking
  • Feeling like you can’t breathe or are choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • Fear of dying

Agoraphobia

This type of anxiety usually involves at least two of the following fears:

  • Using public transportation like buses, subways, or planes
  • Being in an open space like a bridge, sports stadium, or mall
  • Being in an enclosed space like an elevator, theater, or store
  • Standing in line
  • Being outside of your home alone

While these experiences often occur along with panic attacks, they can also be experienced separately.

Phobias

Some people have fear or anxiety about a very specific thing or situation. If this fear is immediate, intense, and causes significant distress over a longer period of time, it might be diagnosed as a Specific Phobia. Just because you have a fear of blood or heights or spiders does not mean you have a mental disorder. It really depends on how much this specific anxiety interferes with your day-to-day life. You might develop a fear of driving, for example, that keeps you from going to work or medical appointments.

Summary and Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety can have a tremendous impact on different parts of your life. It can affect your emotions, your thinking, the way your body feels, and even the relationships you are in. You may have experienced it for as long as you can remember or just more recently. While there are often some biological or genetic causes of anxiety, my experience is that there is almost always some psychological reasons as well.

The experience of anxiety can be overwhelming and confusing to understand and address on your own. If you are interested in talking with someone about your worries and fears, I would be happy to help. Together we can help you feel better and manage your anxiety more effectively.

My office is in Southfield, MI with convenient access to Farmington Hills, Birmingham, Royal Oak, and other surrounding cities.

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