Understanding Anxiety and Why Counseling Helps
Fun fact: anxiety is normal experience. We are hard wired to experience anxiety. It serves a purpose for us. It is responsible for keeping our senses, brain, and body alert and prepared for any possible threats. Our senses take in over three trillion bits of information in any given second. Subconsciously, a consistent and erratic narration of possible negative and positive outcomes, offering exponential numbers of possible reactions is happening. In current, average society the need for this mechanism is no longer as great as it was, say, in less civilized times. The level and degree of our threat has been reduced. The mechanism, however, is still fully operational and sometimes lacks a control switch. When those anxious thoughts are permitted access or break through to our conscious mind unattended, they produce chemicals messages to our body to be on alert. Think about scary movies, rollercoasters, or giving a presentation in front of a large group of people. Those signals cause your body to react with any number of symptoms: racing heart, tight chest, butterflies in your stomach, sweating, and/or headache.
However, CHRONIC anxiety is a real threat to your general health, and is not normal or acceptable. Chronic anxiety can come from stressful life situations like financial distress, distress after trauma, PTSD, work stress, and marital distress. Chronic anxiety can have a snowball effect in your life, making it hard for you to do normal things associated with work and life management. Chronic anxiety also has a number of health issues that walk side by side with it, as it has an overall effect on your body causing insomnia and sometimes inflammation. It’s imperative that chronic anxiety is managed and brought down to ‘normal’ levels.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has researched supported evidence that using the proper skills of thought management and other coping techniques can reduce the negative experience of anxiety. Counseling, in general, has proven to be effective in over 80% of the cases in reducing the negative affects of anxiety and depression and when paired with psycho-pharmaceutical drug therapy that number raises in the 90’s percentile. Counseling and psychiatry are a wonderful pairing to manage anxiety and deliver long -term results.