Anxiety is a normal feeling that signals a fear or worry, such as nervousness before a new experience. Anxiety becomes problematic when it causes people to feel frightened for no apparent reason.  Without treatment, problematic anxiety can dramatically reduce one’s ability to work and significantly diminish the quality of one’s life.

Among the most common of mental health problems, anxiety disorders affect more than 40 million Americans each year.

Anxiety disorders take different forms and present various symptoms:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the most common yet least recognized. It is chronic, exaggerated worry about everyday life events and activities, involving anticipation of the worst when there is little reason to expect it.  It may be accompanied by physical feelings such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder involves habitual, repeated, and intrusive thoughts or rituals that seem impossible to control. Obsessions are continuous thoughts, such as a fear of germs or crime that take over one’s mind, even to the point of interrupting sleep. Compulsions are repetitive unreasonable behaviors, such as unnecessarily frequent hand washing or checking again and again that a door has been locked. Drinking and eating behaviors can become compulsive also, as in alcoholism and overeating or binge eating.

Phobia is extreme fear of something that poses little or no danger.

Panic Disorder, manifested in panic attacks, is a sudden feeling of terror often striking “out of nowhere,” accompanied by physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating, heart palpitations, and dizziness. This disorder may bring the sufferer to an emergency room, fearing a heart attack.

Social anxiety is a strong, irrational fear of making embarrassing social missteps and being judged by others. Even when those with social anxiety realize there is no actual reason to be fearful, the anxiety persists. Some individuals have social anxiety only in particular social situations, but for some it can be every-present and lead to to a very constricted life.

Anxiety can be successfully treated with psychotherapy. If you have concerns about anxiety, please call me at (619) 295-7094 or email me at to discuss how I can help you.