When Anxiety is Too Much

By Letisha Erb, L.M.S.W.

We all know that feeling when we are beginning something new, that feeling of “butterflies in the stomach.” That feeling is what our minds and bodies use as energy to engage in an unfamiliar task. It also helps us to focus on such tasks as exams and sports and gives us the energy to do our best. However, there can be such a time when this energy turns from being helpful to harmful. When this energy turns from helpful to harmful it becomes anxiety. Anxiety is an intense worry that robs the mind and body of helpful energy. It directs the energy in negative ways causing our bodies to have continuous symptoms such as sweaty palms, a racing heart, excessive muscle tension, worry, loss of sleep, and an overall lack of focus for a necessary task. Over time these symptoms can also give way to full blown panic attacks. A therapist trained in the cognitive behavioral approach to treating anxiety can help. It is important to get help as anxiety can be crippling; potentially stunting the emotional and social growth of youth and causing young adults to lose focus and find it difficult to complete tasks necessary to function daily. There are many different forms anxiety as defined by the DSM IV-TR. Anxiety disorders can include, generalized anxiety, OCD, (obsessive compulsive disorder), agoraphobia, acute stress, and substance induced anxiety. To address your particular struggle with anxiety it is important to consult a therapist trained in the Cognitive Behavioral approach to treatment.