“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
― Lao Tzu
Living with Anxiety
You might have heard that people say they are shy, self-conscious, insecure, apprehensive, fearful, worried, tense, nervous, obsessive, panicky, and so forth. These words do capture what people with anxiety are struggling with. A child who appears aggressive or has a tantrum/meltdown may be reacting to anxiety she or he cannot articulate. An adolescent might often complain of somatic symptoms and avoids social situations or begins experimenting drugs to self-medicate. A parent might be at their wits’ end in the process of helping their children. Childhood anxiety is often a precursor for adult anxiety, especially for children or teens who do not receive treatment. An adult might struggle with depression or substance misuse due to chronic anxiety struggles and feeling trapped.
Action over Avoidance
An anxiety is a treatable condition. Overcoming anxiety can be defined as having the skills and confidence to take charge of the anxiety or fear to the point where it no longer matters. When it no longer matters, anxiety has no power over us. In order to overcome fear or anxiety, it is necessary to face it directly. In directly experiencing the fear or anxiety, the sensitization process is reversed. It means replacing the ingrained safety behavior by learning a new reaction to a fearful situation. The new learning process involved in changing the thinking and facing the fear or anxiety is known as desensitization. The process of desensitization is to develop skills, confidence, and mastery to thrive and succeed.
Hsiu-Ying Ransburg, MSW, LCSW, LCAC has the expertise in treating the following anxiety conditions among pediatric and adult populations.
Generalized anxiety disorder — is when a person has unusually high levels of anxiety and has no control over their excessive worry about aspects of daily life.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — is when a person has recurring, intrusive thoughts, images, or impulses (obsessions). As a result, they may develop repetitive and time-consuming behaviors to try and reduce anxiety or distress (compulsions).
Panic disorder — is when a person has panic attacks and is afraid of having more panic attacks. A panic attack is a sudden, unexpected rush of intense fear or discomfort that peaks within minutes.
Separation anxiety — is when a child or teenager experiences extreme anxiety when they are separated or expecting to be separated from their parents or caregivers.
Selective Mutism — is when a child displays a consistent failure to speak in specific situations or with unfamiliar people where there is an expectation to speak. Some children with selective mutism remain completely silent in uncomfortable settings while others speak in a different manner using a unique voice, whispering, or speaking as a much younger person.
Social anxiety disorder — is when a person is terrified of social settings because they feel other people are judging them and they fear they’ll embarrass themselves.
Specific phobias — is when a person experiences extreme or unreasonable terror when confronted with a certain object, situation or activity. This terror can lead to a strong need to avoid that object or situation.