Anxiety Treatment in Washington DC

Is your mind constantly worrying or thinking about catastrophes? Are your feeling restless and having trouble sleeping? Perhaps you’re not noticing feeling particularly stressed or anxious, but are experiencing physical symptoms such as headaches, hives, or gastrointestinal problems?

Therapy for anxiety can help you find relief from panic attacks, social anxiety and more, easing your mind and body.

What’s Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal human experience that alerts us when something that we have been avoiding (feelings, thoughts, memories, decisions) are in need of attention. Anxiety is usually accompanied by discomfort, physically and emotionally.

You may experience difficulty with sleep, shortness of breath, restlessness, aches and pains, tension in your body, gastrointestinal problems, or problems with concentration.

Anxiety can also be related to patterns of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that threaten our sense of safety, or our needs for control, certainty, approval, and love.

How Does Therapy for Anxiety Help?

Therapy for Anxiety can help you learn to identify internal and external factors that make you anxious, learn skills to regulate your nervous system, and face those fears that keep you stuck in reactivity or paralysis.

Our Anxiety Therapists in Washington DC

How is anxiety treated in psychotherapy?

Although we tailor treatment of anxiety to the uniqueness of each of our clients, therapy for anxiety involves some common elements:

  • Identifying patterns of thoughts or beliefs that contribute to the anxious mind.
  • Body-based strategies to help regulate (calm down) the nervous system.
  • Exposure to previously avoided triggers (including feelings, thoughts, memories, or stimulus).

Pathways of Anxiety Discharge

Striated Muscle: This type anxiety discharge is often described as tension in the big muscles of our body. This can also result in tension headaches. GREEN LIGHT: this anxiety prepares us for action. We maybe within our window of tolerance.

Smooth Muscle: upset stomach, nausea, throwing up. YELLOW LIGHT: this level of anxiety tells us that we are getting outside of our window of tolerance, and we need to engage in strategies to bring anxiety down.

Cognitive-Perceptual: this is the RED LIGHT kind of anxiety. It tells us that we are way out of our window of tolerance. We may experience dizziness, confusion, blurry vision, ringing in the ears, or may dissociate (feelings of depersonalization, derealization, not being present).

fear, stress, & Anxiety

These three concepts are often use to mean the same things. However, understanding the difference can be helpful because it will help you to figure out what strategies and skills you can use to ease your discomfort.

Fear is the physical response we have when we sense a threat to our physical survival. Fear helps us to notice an external threat, and to prepare to run or fight (or play dead).

Stress (as oppossed to stressor) is an evolutionarily designed response that involves the activation of physiological responses (through the autonomous nervous system) that allows us to survive a threat or adapt to change.

The stress response gets triggered when we interpret a stimulus (internal or external) as dangerous. Sometimes the stress response gets triggered without us being 100% conscious of it.

Stress as an evolutionary respose was meant to be a short-term process. As human beings, our capacity to remember, imagine, and predict, and our very busy, complicated lives, have turned the stress response into a never-ending cycle. Chronic stress has a very negative impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Anxiety is the subjective experience of fear. Usually in the form of worry, apprehension, about a perceived lack of control or safety, or threat to our most important psychological needs such as the need for approval and love.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Anxiety can become a disorder. This is the list of commonly known Anxiety Disorders:

  • Panic Attacks
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Headaches
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Tendency to “ruminate”
  • Problems with sleep
  • Avoidace and Phobias
  • Numbness or tingling in the body
  • Tightness in the chest, difficulty breathing.