ANXIETY 101: DO I HAVE ANXIETY OR IS SOMETHING ELSE WRONG WITH ME?
When it comes to anxiety, people frequently think that the main symptoms are something that’s physically wrong with them (i.e heart, cancer, digestive issues, etc.). Usually, when trying to seek medical attention, they would get the--almost too common--response that “There is nothing wrong with you” or “It’s all in your head”. This usually leads people to not know how to deal with anxiety. On the contrary, when you understand the physical symptoms of anxiety, it makes total sense why people suspect various physical ailments. So you may ask yourself: “Why does my anxiety make me shake?” or “Why does my anxiety make me feel sick?” Let’s take a look at how some of your anxiety symptoms could stem from the physical phenomenon's.
It all starts with the parasympathetic nervous system. When your nervous system perceives a threat, your hardwired human instincts, known as your survival mechanism--commonly referred to as “Fight-or-Flight”--goes off. This pump of adrenaline-like impulse starts to course through your veins almost instantly. This psychological response begins a rush of hormones as this unique human instinct begins to help you fight, flight, or freeze. As the body begins to determine what it wants to do (either mobilize itself for fight or run or freeze dead in its tracks), the following things can occur: your digestive system will shut off (which can feel like sickness in the stomach or a sense of wanting to vomit), your mouth then ceases to produce saliva (making it hard to swallow or a sense of choking), your energy is mobilized from organs and redirected to the arms and legs (which can result in shaking), the heart begins beating rapidly which pushes blood to arms and legs (fear of heart attack and feeling of lightheadedness or nausea), your pupils dilate to help you become more aware of your surroundings, and you ultimately have a general, yet strong, sense of fear thinking “I could die!” Sounds familiar? Well, if this sounds like a perfect stepwise fashion that you experience right as you’re beginning to feel symptoms of anxiety overwhelm you, just know, you’re NOT alone!
Remember: Anxiety is NOT a weakness and it most definitely does not mean that you are crazy!
It means your central nervous system, namely your peripheral nervous system, is responding to a perceived threat (can be internal or external) and is responding exactly how it is meant to respond. Yes, even with this intense and overwhelming sense of “get the heck out of here!” But with one issue. The issue? Well, to put it simply, there isn’t a REAL threat (no one has a gun to your head and you aren’t bleeding out). So why does anxiety come and go? That is a great question and one that you would most likely need help to figure out.
But all is not lost. There is a light at the end of the tunnel...
You can go through treatment plans that are catered to you. Treatment can be very straightforward. It consists of no medicine, but instead, it’ll usually address the mind, physical body, emotional body, and the spiritual/existential causes of anxiety. How would therapeutic sessions help treat my anxiety? Long-term studies have shown much better outcomes of anxiety treatment if therapy is used and medication is avoided. Don’t worry, therapy sessions for anxiety actually CAN work for YOU! You don’t need all of the infamous medications to keep your anxiety at bay unless you are unable to go to work, do your mom/dad/student job, and maintain your social network. We believe that it’s just best not to take medication if you can help it. At your therapy sessions, you and your therapist can determine if your functioning is severely impaired, of which medication would then be an option to manage symptoms as you begin the process towards healing and recovery.
Ultimately our goal is to re-regulate your nervous system and eliminate the need for any medications.
If you think you might be experiencing anxiety, give us a call at (720) 370-3010 EXT 100 and let us help. There is no need to suffer, and the sooner you begin the process of recovery, the sooner your symptoms of anxiety will be in the rearview mirror!