Everyone worries from time to time, but sometimes anxiety can become all-consuming, inhibiting everyday life. Most of us have experienced anxiety at some point in our lives. It is a normal response to threatening situations. Under certain circumstances, anxiety can actually help us to evaluate and mobilize our resources in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones. In moderation, it can also help us to be more efficient and improve our performance in some tasks. Sometimes, however, anxiety can become all-consuming, hindering our abilities and interfering with our daily lives. At extreme levels, it can severely impair our functioning.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Anxiety Disorders affect about 40 million American adults, age 18 years and older (one out of every five people) in a given year. Anxiety Disorders are the most prevalent health problems in the United States, surpassing alcohol and drug abuse. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated.
The Anxiety Disorders Program here at Specialized Therapy Associates treats the various types of anxiety including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
- Panic Disorder
- Specific Phobia
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the primary approach used to treat Anxiety Disorders. CBT is a therapeutic approach that integrates cognitive (thought) restructuring and behavior modification techniques. Essentially, CBT is about reprogramming habits, changing the way you think and changing the way you act.
The goals of the program are to help develop:
- Knowledge about anxiety conditions
- Self-management techniques
- An understanding of how automatic thoughts, unconscious rules / beliefs, and thinking styles contribute to anxiety
- The ability to use graduated exposure to reduce symptoms of anxiety
- Goal setting and follow-through
- Positive coping strategies to replace negative coping strategies
- The ability to manage symptoms of anxiety
Richard Rothman, LCSW is the Director of the Anxiety Disorders program and has a specialty in working with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.