How do you know the difference between healthy fear and problematic anxiety?

Watch this introduction to anxiety video

Surprisingly, more than 1 in 5 people will struggle with clinical levels of anxiety during their lifetime. The causes are usually falsely attributed to the environment, but the solution is actually in learning to control your thoughts.  Over time we start to react to normal life situations as if they were a real threat.  The things we naturally do to control anxiety, like avoiding work or scary places, just makes it worse.  Simply put, anxiety is a cycle of worrying thoughts that create anxious feelings causing more worrying thoughts. The solution is to develop the ability to break this cycle.  With the correct training everyone can access this capacity.  Because anxiety is a cycle involving your thoughts, you can learn how to regulate your thoughts and control your anxious feelings.

 

Modified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Anxiety Treatment

Right now the best clinical treatment for anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It really helps people locate and change the thoughts that are causing high levels of anxiety. It’s also crucial to learn about your body’s response to anxiety so that the sensations are no longer a mystery. Basic forms of biofeedback and mindfulness training further help manage anxious thoughts and feelings. I use a simple computer program to teach this. After a few sessions, you will likely find tremendous relief, and by the end of therapy, you will be able to self-regulate your emotions.

After a full investigation into the cause of your anxiety, this treatment follows a few basic stages. People usually start with a discovery phase, followed with a dramatic reduction in symptoms, ending with relapse prevention. In the beginning, you learn what anxiety is and how it affects your brain and nervous system. Usually in the same hour, you will begin to learn how to control and regulate these systems. After lots of practice and training, fear of anxiety becomes a small part of your thoughts. You will know when you have truly mastered your fear as future decisions and the world start to look inviting.  

Over the past 10 years I have helped hundreds of people overcome worrying thoughts and fears without having to dramatically change their environments. Months after treatment, I have received calls where people marvel over the fact that anxiety has not come back. Frequently after treatment, patients no longer have to manage their symptoms with medication. Sick days can be reserved for days of physical illness or to do something fun like skiing. 

I am an expert and will enter your world on your terms. I do not insist that patients adopt new practices that feel artificial or inauthentic. My treatment is modified because it rarely includes filling out forms and unnecessarily directing your attention to the past. The exercises often used in self-help books can actually make anxiety worse for some patients. 30% of our worrying thoughts are about past events that can’t be changed, and there is no point in focusing there. I keep up with the latest discoveries in the field and continue to review the most current research on anxiety treatment. 

 

You may still have questions about Anxiety Treatment.

How long before I start to feel better?

Most people feel relief immediately when they start to define the extent of the problem. When you start to consistently have healthier thoughts about things that used to make you upset, you graduate from treatment. This can happen in as few as 10 sessions. 

Do I have to change my lifestyle?

Usually people don’t have to change their lifestyle directly, meaning you don’t have to get a new job, new friends, or a new relationship. If your boss really is a bully and you can get another job, that’s probably a good idea. For the most part, as soon as you feel differently people actually begin to treat you differently. Most of the change actually happens internally.

 Will I need to take medication?

For some people medication is a necessary part of treatment. If your symptoms appear to be unmanageable, I will refer you for a medication evaluation. If you are already on medication and working with your doctor to stop, I can help you manage this process. 

Dr. Douglass

Dr. Douglass

 What if talking about my problems makes them worse?

You will experience some anxiety as you learn how to cope with it. Being exposed to appropriate levels of worry and anxiety actually reduces your stress about imagined problems. Increasing your natural ability to handle life stress is called “distress tolerance.” You can increase your capacity to handle almost anything life sends your way.

Your future is to leave fear in the past.

Contact Dr. Douglass directly by phone or email at contact@douglasspsychology.com

Phone Number (571) 318-6077