Starting Today Counseling

Therapist located in St. Marys, GA, Yulee, FL & Southside, Jacksonville, FL

Anxiety is a basic human emotion, but if your feelings of anxiety become so overwhelming you can’t function properly, then you could have an anxiety disorder. Michelle Holley, LCSW, is the lead therapist at Starting Today Counseling in St. Marys, Georgia, and she has considerable expertise in helping people who have anxiety disorders to manage and reduce their symptoms and return to health. Call Starting Today Counseling now to schedule a consultation, or book your appointment online.

Anxiety Q & A

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural human emotion that people feel quite frequently as fear or worry about some aspect of their lives. Feeling anxious before an exam, worrying about the results of a blood test, or being afraid of what might happen when your child is off on a school trip are all examples of perfectly normal causes of anxiety.

Anxiety has a practical purpose, as well – it gives you the drive to succeed, to work hard or keep practicing, and gives you an edge when you’re making a big presentation or going for an interview. Anxiety only becomes a problem when it gets excessive, taking over and affecting the way you think about everything so you struggle to enjoy or cope with everyday life.

What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?

Symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

  • Feeling uneasy or afraid
  • Panic attacks
  • Obsessive thoughts or ritualized behaviors
  • Flashbacks
  • Sleeping difficulties and nightmares
  • Palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Gastric upset
  • Numbness or tingling in the extremities
  • Lightheadedness

Having some or even most of these symptoms may be perfectly normal. Your symptoms need to be a constant, long-term problem for you to receive a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.

Are there different types of anxiety disorder?

Under the general umbrella of anxiety, there are several clinical anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder is the constant feeling of being anxious, worried, and afraid about everything, whereas post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops following a particularly distressing event or experience in your life, causing flashbacks, panic attacks, and feelings of guilt.

Panic disorder is a type of anxiety where your feelings of fear and loss of control cause regular panic attacks. Phobias are also forms of anxiety disorder, as is obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), in which you become fixated on certain ideas or objects, have uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts, and feel compelled to carry out ritual behaviors as a coping mechanism.

How does therapy help with anxiety?

Therapy is an essential aspect of recovering from an anxiety disorder. Your primary care physician or mental health provider may prescribe anti-anxiety medications to ease extreme levels of anxiety and treat some of the distressing symptoms of your condition, but therapy provides a long-term solution to resolving your anxiety.

Michelle can teach you to identify what’s causing your anxiety and find healthy ways to manage those causes effectively. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is particularly effective for people who have anxiety disorders, helping you gain a more realistic perspective of your fears and reducing the intensity of your anxious feelings.

If you find fears and worries are taking over your thoughts, call Starting Today Counseling or book an appointment using the online tool.