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  • What You Don’t Know About Your Anxiety

    The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that around 18.1% of all adults in the United States—40 million individuals between ages 18 and 54—suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder.

    What many people don’t know is that anxiety is a natural emotional and biological response to a perceived threat. Those feelings of dread and fear allow the body to go into “protection mode” to respond to that threat and when the threat dissipates the feelings usually go as well. However, for some individuals that perception of threat lingers long after the actual threat has gone and this is an anxiety disorder.

    Anxiety can take the form of panic attacks, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder, but is always categorized as a response to a perceived fear. There are many treatment options available to deal with chronic anxiety or a related anxiety disorder. Two highly effective approaches taken by many seasoned counselors and therapists like John Gallagher, LMHC, are cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness or meditation.

    The cognitive behavioral approach helps individuals to become more aware of their often inaccurate or negative thought processes. It teaches individuals to think about situations more holistically and to respond to them in more effective ways—essentially guiding the client to re-frame the perceived threat.

    Mindfulness and meditation treatment is like cognitive behavioral therapy in that it promotes a heightened sense of self-awareness. Teaching individuals to observe their thoughts, perceptions, and emotions rather than being overcome by them. Part of this therapy involves teaching the individual relaxation and meditation techniques.

    Both approaches have shown to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders as well as many other psychological conditions as well.

    John Gallagher, LMHC, has been providing counseling services for over 15 years in central Florida and uses a variety of approaches and therapeutic techniques to help his clients meet their goals.