Simply put, anxiety is unrelenting and exaggerated worry about something. That something can be many things; anywhere from anxiety about a future event, to a phobia of spiders. Anxiety treatment allows us to address this range of concerns.
Anxiety can cause is to ruminate for hours about things that we perceive to be threats, but are not actually threats to our well being or survival. For example, if someone had anxiety related to health, they may incessantly worry and ruminate on it, search the web for hours, fly into panicked states or have sleepless nights filled with racing thoughts all despite making a doctor’s appointment.
In anxiety, the sheer size of the worry in relation to the concern, the realistic vs. non-realistic nature of the concern, and the frequency or level of control related to concern matter.
A fear of one object or situation, like spiders or flying.
Characterized by exaggerated or excessive anxiety and worry about life events that don’t necessarily require that type of emotional attention. There are many themes in this area, including:
OCD Relates to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. These items interrupt an individual’s quality of life and are not viewed by the individual as being entirely under their control. There are several types, including hoarding, checking, health (germ) focused, etc. Note that this is distinct from Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder.
An intrusive, disruptive fear of people or certain social situations. Often, we see fears of judgement, body image, looking awkward or stupid, as being thematic in social anxiety thoughts. Often, individuals will isolate themselves or avoid certain situations in order to reduce the worry, panic and stress and anxiety. However, in doing so, they become lonely, desolate and limited in their new experiences. This can lead to further mood disruption.
If you are curious about whether you meet some of the criteria for social anxiety, then here are a few web self-assessments which you can take. Remember, these tests are by no means a diagnosis but only to give you more information about yourself and how it relates to social anxiety.
Panic disorders are often concurrent with physical symptoms like muscle tension, heart palpitations and sweating. They can be proceeded by constant worrying and often cause such side effects. There are many natural remedies and relaxation techniques but often these do not get to the root of the panic disorder.
Anxiety can affect all aspects of your life, including your emotions, behaviour, thinking ability not to mention the residual effects on physical health. No part of the body is immune, but, because people handle anxiety differently, anxiety treatment may be necessary. Many symptoms might not initially seem like they are connected to your anxiety until we take a closer look with the life analysis portion of anxiety treatment.
Our unique protocol will get to the root of your anxiety concerns, which present themselves in the form of what we call limiting beliefs. These are negative beliefs about ourselves and the world around us that impact our thoughts, emotions and behaviours. We use bilateral stimulation to remove these beliefs, resulting in an absence of response and relief from the anxiety.
We’ve all experienced the feeling of fear – whether it’s from a dream, a surprise or a real-life worry. These feelings, however, pass and we return to our non-anxious, hypervigilant state. People with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), however, the individual has experienced a life-threatening or highly traumatic event that they keep re-experiencing. This can come in the form of anxiety disorders, nightmares, night terrors, flashbacks, or constant thoughts and feelings about the event. It can keep the person in a constant state of worry or “edginess,” which interrupts our mood, sleep, concentration, and overall stress levels.
Sometimes the feelings are so overwhelming, that they cause people to “numb” out all feelings – good or bad. This can lead to side effects like depression or suicidal feelings. Alcohol, drugs, anger outbursts and suicidal ideation often become ways to cope with PTSD. Sometimes this causes a mental health misdiagnosis because the addiction or substance abuse is identified, but the trauma piece is missed.
That is why it is so important to target the ‘root’ of the issue, then deal with the negative coping mechanisms afterwards. Often once the root cause or trauma is dealt with, the coping mechanisms are easier to manage because the individual no longer needs to numb the negative emotions.
At Shift, our therapy is a branch of Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – which was developed specifically for PTSD. It is the most effective PTSD treatment because it is trauma-focused and targets deep-rooted beliefs that are fear based. Through the bilateral stimulation, both sides of the brain are stimulated by auditory cues as you think about the trauma. This removes the emotion and negative thoughts associated with that memory, and in turn, you won’t be as triggered by that memory anymore.
Teagan* came into Shift looking for an effective treatment for people with PTSD. She had many traumatic experiences growing up in her childhood home surrounding abuse, and the effects were starting to affect her daily life. In the past, Teagan had attended regular talk therapy and group therapy but found those methods did not work for her long-term.
She reached out to Shift for EMDR therapy, hoping to find ways to eliminate those traumatic experiences. Teagan found that coping mechanisms she learned in previous therapy was certainly helpful, but the traumas were still there and so were the haunting effects.
Teagan attended therapy at Shift once a week for 16 weeks. In the first five weeks, she was able to reprocess her first traumatic childhood memory. Teagan previously was triggered by common household sounds, to the point where she kept re-experiencing certain traumatic events in her own home which was different from that she grew up in. But following the bilateral stimulation, she was no longer affected by them.
She continued therapy for 11 weeks and was able to reprocess four more traumatic memories. Teagan says that being at home isn’t an issue for her anymore and that she doesn’t feel as ‘on edge’ in the rest of her life either.
Common Limiting Beliefs associated with PTSD, that Teagan also worked on at Shift, were:
These beliefs are the result of the extremely traumatic events experienced by the individual. The individual may apply these beliefs across all areas of life, rather than it just being situational. At Shift, we will help clients understand how and why these beliefs come up in other areas of their life. We make it clear that these beliefs do not define the individual, and with regular intensive therapy, can be completely eliminated.
*All names and all identifying information have been altered. Case studies are posted with client permission.
At Shift, we use a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and our philosophy to educate the client about where their thoughts, feelings and emotional responses come from. Then, we go a step further with this effective treatment, into the bi-lateral stimulation reprocessing (based on EMDR therapy) portion, which clears out the beliefs that re-activate the traumatic experiences and clients are left with symptoms removed, rather than just managed.
Supporting a loved one with an anxiety disorder can be difficult. They may suffer from an obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder or social anxiety – all of which can make their behaviour difficult to understand. Worse, their anxiety and panic can impact your relationship and your life. Consequently, supporting them can involve a delicate balance of your needs and theirs during treatment. Below are some helpful tips:
This is the classic anxiety, paranoia or worry-inducing cognition. The one that gives rise to all kinds of things: obsessive worry, checking, feeling unsafe or vulnerable, and a lot more. And it isn’t just triggered by physical danger. It can even generate physical symptoms like chest pain or excessive sweating just to name a few. It could create fear of looking stupid in social situations, worry about bad things happening to loved ones, or a panic attack before a presentation at work. Far-reaching and diverse in its expression- this internalized belief can have a great, global impact when removed.
by Andrea McTague
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