Anxiety Counseling in San Antonio
Anxiety affects many of us in greater San Antonio and the best way to learn coping skills to manage anxiety is through individual counseling. Anxiety has recently surged, and research has indicated this is due to fears of being involved or connected to an act of violence. (Pew Research Center). For many of us the continuous events of violence we learn of are steadily eroding our sense of safety and well-being – known to be critical for emotional and mental wellness. Further, research has determined many of us are dramatically changed in an unhealthy direction by traumatic events. In these difficult times know we’re here to help everyone pivot their personal wellness in a positive and healthy direction. We have two locations here in San Antonio and can also serve you remotely online from wherever you are. There are no cultural or language barriers at Rhapsody Counseling and our therapists can provide you with coping strategies effective in managing through anxiety in all areas of your life. Below is comprehensive information about anxiety and the next steps we offer to bring change and improve lives.
Rhapsody Counseling is a trusted safe space and resource for anyone interested in anxiety counseling in San Antonio. The symptoms that typically come with an anxiety disorder can be debilitating: sleepless nights, racing thoughts, panic attacks that strike out of nowhere. Fortunately, anxiety is a highly treatable condition and we can work with you on developing new coping skills and techniques along with strategies for managing anxiety. So if you’ve considered anxiety counseling in San Antonio but are unsure whether it’s worth it, you’re not alone, you’ve come to the right place and we’re here to help!
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is how your mind and body help you cope with anything that is stressful, dangerous or unfamiliar. Think of anxiety as the sensation we feel when we are worried, stressed or afraid – generally about things we believe are about to happen, or which we are concerned could happen at a later date. Anxiety is also a natural response within us, produced when we believe we are under some kind of threat, real or not.
When we feel threatened our body naturally releases certain hormones making us feel more alert in that moment, but also making our hearts beat faster, quickly pumping blood to our heart where it’s needed most. Upon feeling we are no longer under threat, our body naturally releases other hormones to help our muscles relax (sometimes causing us to shake).
Our thoughts, feelings and physical sensations can all cause us to experience a level of anxiety, something most of us feel from time to time. It’s actually commonplace to experience an amount of anxiety while coping with stressful events or changes in our life, especially if they could have a significant impact on our lives.
When does anxiety become a mental health problem?
Feel anxious in pressured stressful situations such as a job interview, speaking in public, or when you’re experiencing change and uncertain what the future will hold – are all very normal. To some measure, this anxiety is beneficial, and causes us stay focused and alert. However anxiety becomes a problem when you start to feel anxious most of the time and about even minor things, to the point where your worry is out of control and disrupting your daily life.
For example, are your fears or concerns out of proportion to the situation? Are you avoiding situations that might cause you to feel anxious? Are you having distressing thoughts or is it difficult to control symptoms of anxiety, including panic attacks? Anxiety symptoms can both last for a long period of time, or briefly come and go. Anxiety can interfere with your ability to look after yourself, perform a job, maintain relationships or simply enjoy your life. If feeling anxiety is impacting your ability to live your full life, it’s very possible anxiety has become a mental health problem. If your symptoms check the boxes of a specific medical criteria it’s possible you might be diagnosed with a particular anxiety disorder. Having said this, it’s also possible to experience symptoms of anxiety without having a specific diagnosis of an anxiety disorder
What are examples of anxiety disorders?
An anxiety disorder is a mental illness wherein you feel worry and fear to an extent that it interferes with and disrupts your day to day life. The brain can sense something (a feeling you have) that isn’t an actual threat, and trigger anxiety. This can lead to an unexplained panic attack—incorporating all the symptoms of anxiety, based entirely on a ‘feeling’ and nothing more. When this chaotic process gets rolling it snowballs into a state of anxiety that begins to interfere with and disrupt our lives. Thus anxiety disorders are a mix of:
- psychological symptoms: excessive and frequent worry, inability to concentrate, specific fears or phobias e.g. fear of dying or fear of losing control
- physical symptoms: sleeping difficulties, fatigue, irritability, sweating and difficulty breathing, muscle tension, upset stomach
- Changes in behavior: social withdrawal, avoidance, procrastination, and difficulty making decisions
Commonplace anxiety disorders are:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) – this is when you have regular or uncontrollable worrying about a variety of things in your daily life. Since there are numerous possible symptoms of anxiety, GAD can be a broad diagnosis covering a vast array of very different experiences. Anxiety that is pervasive and shifts can latch onto anything and everything – health, money, relationships, family, work, or other things. People with generalized anxiety disorder frequently feel tired, experience muscle tension, and have sleeping difficulties.
Social anxiety disorder – this diagnosis reflects an excessive and intense fear triggered by social events and encounters (such as workplaces, parties, or simply being in public and having to speak with people). People with this anxiety fear the judgement of others, feel embarrassed, self conscious, and afraid of social interactions.
Panic disorder – this means having regular or frequent panic attacks without a clear cause or trigger that becomes cyclic or self-fulfilling. Meaning feeling constant fear of having another panic attack, itself becomes the very trigger of your panic attacks. Some people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia, and avoid going to public places for fear that a panic attack will be triggered.
Phobias – a phobia is an intense fear or anxiety triggered by a particular object (such as spiders) or a particular situation (such as going outside). Anxiety about one specific thing, such as flying in an airplane, crowded places, animals, driving, dental or medical procedures, etc is a phobia. People will practice avoidance as much as possible because their anxiety will increase when they are exposed to the thing they fear.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – is a diagnosis you’ve developed anxiety problems after a traumatic event or experience. PTSD can surface in the form of nightmares or flashbacks which can feel like you’re re-living all the anxiety and fear you experienced at the time of the original traumatic event.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – this diagnosis is made if your anxiety problems reflect repetitive thoughts, urges or behaviors.
Health anxiety – related to OCD, this means you experience compulsions and obsessions relating to illnesses, including researching symptoms and concern to see if you have them.
Perinatal anxiety or perinatal OCD – some women experience anxiety symptoms during pregnancy or in that first year after giving birth.
Regardless of the type of anxiety disorder, the underlying framework that drives anxiety disorders generally follows a similar pattern. People coping with anxiety typically react more extremely to unpleasant feelings, thoughts, and situations and may try to manage those reactions by avoiding triggers. Unfortunately, this starts a vicious cycle as this type of avoidance serves to reinforce and compound the original fears and concerns.
What are the symptoms or signs of anxiety?
Anxiety feels different for everyone and the below listing should not be considered as complete. You might also have experiences or difficulties with anxiety that aren’t recognized here.
Effects of anxiety on your body can include:
- A churning feeling in your stomach
- Feeling light-headed or dizzy
- Pins and needles
- Feeling restless or unable to sit still
- Headaches, backache or other aches and pains
- Faster breathing a fast, thumping or irregular heartbeat
- Sweating or hot flushes
- Sleep problems
- Grinding your teeth, especially at night
- Nausea (feeling sick)
- Needing the toilet more or less often
changes in your sex drive
having panic attacks.
Effects of anxiety on your mind can include:
- Feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
- Fearing the worst is going to happen as a standard outcome
- Feeling a sense of the world speeding up or perhaps slowing down
- Feeling like others can see your anxiety and are staring at you
- Feeling you can’t stop worrying over things or that bad things will happen
- Feeling you need reassurance from others or concerned people are angry with you
- Worrying that you’re losing touch with reality
- Low mood and depression
- Repeated thoughts of bad experiences,
- Feeling disconnected from real life or like you are the character in a movie
What is a panic attack?
A panic attack is a very intense episode of fear driven from a perceived threat. Nonetheless a panic attack is your body’s normal but extreme response to danger, stress or excitement, a type of, ‘fear response’. During a panic attack, physical symptoms can build up very quickly and include:
- Feeling your heartbeat rapidly pounding
- Feeling dizzy, faint or light-headed
- Trembling, sweating, or shaking
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Chest or stomach pain
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling disconnected from reality in the moment
A panic attack can be a very fearful and chaotic experience, with all of the symptoms happening simultaneously. Panic attacks can strike at different moments for everyone. Some people have a single panic attack and never experience another, while others experience regular panic attacks. For many a particular place, situation or activity can routinely trigger a panic attack. Panic attacks can strike quickly and typically last 5 to 20 minutes.
What causes anxiety?
There is a range of contributing factors for developing anxiety and the particular origin of everyone’s anxiety is different. The predominant factors that contribute to anxiety include:
- Genetics — it is believed there is a genetic component to anxiety. People may be more inclined to develop anxiety if there is a history of anxiety within the family.
- Style of Thinking — people with anxiety have unhelpful or negative beliefs and thoughts that may perpetuate their condition.
- Personality type — certain people are more sensitive and cautious or fearful in nature making them more likely to develop anxiety.
- Trauma or stress — following a traumatic or stressful event, a person may experience anxiety.
- General physical health — those in poor physical health will not be as resilient to cope with life stressors and may be more likely to develop anxiety.
- Substance use — various substances, including caffeine in heavy doses, can produce physical symptoms of anxiety like an increased heart rate.
- Avoidance behaviors — certain behaviours increase anxiety and derail people from developing
Anxiety Counseling in San Antonio with Rhapsody
The goal of our approach to anxiety counseling is to help you understand why you feel the way you feel, determining what your anxiety triggers are, and how you might more effectively manage your reaction to the triggers. We may explore practical techniques to help reframe any negative thinking and pivot your behavior in a more healthy direction.
Anxiety disorders differ considerably, so anxiety counseling is tailored to your specific symptoms and or any diagnosis you may have. An anxiety counseling session can be held with an individual, or in a family, couple, or group setting. How often you meet with our counselor and for how long will depend on your specific symptoms and diagnosis. Counseling should never be thought of as a quick fix, it’s a process that’s unique to each individual. The type of therapy you receive, the skills and techniques that you learn, and how long you receive anxiety counseling depends entirely on the type of anxiety you have and the severity of your symptoms.
Rest assured and know that through anxiety counseling, you’ll get unstuck and start to think beyond anxiety. Counseling will help you develop and implement solutions so you can move forward. You will regain self-confidence, gradually stop worrying that you are inadequate and begin to develop self-help skills.
Anxiety counseling can be a challenge however if you are persistent you should experience improvement. For those considering anxiety counseling, the way to make the most of your therapy is to:
- Not pretend to be OK
- Ask questions
- Tell your therapist anything and everything
- Focus on your goals
- Practice healthy lifestyle choices
- Make sure you have a social support system
- Lower the stress in your life that makes your anxiety worse
Generally with anxiety counseling, putting in an authentic effort and being present (engaged, open and aware) throughout the therapy process will have the greatest impact on how well anxiety counseling works for you.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that only 20% of the Hispanic/Latinx community experiencing mental health problems ever tell their doctors about their symptoms. An even more troubling finding is that only 10% of the Hispanic/Latinx community actually seek out help from a mental health practitioner. Rhapsody Counseling & Wellness Center embraces cultural competence in offering anxiety counseling in San Antonio to our diverse Hispanic/Latinx community.
We also know that in addition to all the standard factors that contribute to depression, some of the Hispanic/Latinx community also must cope with contributors of delike discrimination, fear of deportation, and violence. For immigrants, integrating with U.S. culture can place some in an environment often defined by anxiety and conflict. These pressures can lead to serious psychological distress. Rhapsody Counseling is a trusted safe space and resource for anyone interested in anxiety counseling in San Antonio.
We understand people in the Hispanic/Latinx community can often be very private and may not want to talk publicly about challenges at home. This can lead to a lack of information and continued stigma about mental health within the community, as talking about it can be viewed as taboo. Many in the Hispanic/Latinx community are familiar with the phrase “la ropa sucia se lava en casa” (similar to “don’t air your dirty laundry in public”). Some people do not seek treatment for mental illness out of fear of bringing shame or unwanted attention to their families. We believe that it’s only a lack of information and misunderstanding that fuels the stigma. Rhapsody Counseling is committed to providing details about symptoms, discussing treatment options and answering all questions regarding anxiety and anxiety counseling to the Hispanic/Latinx community of San Antonio.
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Free Discovery Call to Talk with a Counselor
Take the first step in your wellness journey and book a free 10-20 minute discovery call with a Counselor. The Counselor will start off the call with a few questions to get to know you better, so they can make sure they’re qualified to meet your needs. This includes questions about why you’re considering counseling, how you’ve been feeling over the past few weeks, and your goals for counseling.
If possible, take a few minutes before the call to reflect on these topics, so you can have a clearer sense of your goals for counseling. But don’t worry, if you can’t verbalize the answer to any questions, our counselors know how to guide your thinking so you can figure out what to say and the Counselor will welcome you to ask questions about counseling and Rhapsody.