What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal part of life that everyone experiences. There are times, however, when anxiety can become uncontrollable, excessive, and begin to interfere with the ability to be effective at school, work, and in interpersonal relationships. The American Psychiatric Institute classifies extreme and impairing anxiety under the broad category of "Anxiety Disorders", which includes Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Separation Anxiety Disorder, and Specific Phobia. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problem in the United States, but only one-third of people who struggle with anxiety ever receive treatment.
Although each of the Anxiety Disorders involves different presentations, the current therapeutic approach with the most scientific support is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT for anxiety involves learning how symptoms manifest as physiological sensations, thoughts, and behaviors. Clients learn to tolerate sensations, become more aware of unhelpful thinking patterns, and approach (instead of avoiding) situations associated with their anxiety.