Therapy for Stress, Anxiety, and Worry in Palm Harbor

You feel like nothing you do is ever good enough. There are always more things added to your plate, despite how hard you're working.

It has all become so overwhelming you're struggling to sleep, and start to wonder, "what's the point of life?"

If that sounds like you right now, I'm glad you're searching for help.
 

You do not need to be stuck feeling that way.
 

Stress, Anxiety, and Panic

Anxiety and panic attacks occur when our bodies react to what is typically an ordinary and nonthreatening situation with an uncontrollable alarm response.

You may notice your heart racing and a weight on your chest. You may feel dizzy and worry that you're dying. Anxiety and panic attacks are overpowering and overwhelming, and it often feels as if they take control of your life.

The good news is they often respond well to treatment, and I see them often in my practice.

 Learn anxiety and stress coping in Palm Harbor counseling.

Symptoms of Stress

Stress is our body's response to either an internal or external stressor that results in physical, mental, or emotional tension.

The response to stress is intended to help us respond effectively the stressor (e.g., perform well during a job interview, have energy to complete an important work project), but it causes problems when it lasts too long or becomes too intense (e.g., we bomb an interview because of being so stressed, you're unable to complete an important work project due to exhaustion).

An external cause of stress is often known, and the stress typically lasts until the stressor is gone.

Short-term stress is uncomfortable, but rarely requires help from a professional, while chronic stress has many associated negative health effects and can benefit from therapy.

Stress symptoms include: 

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody
  • Feeling overwhelmed (e.g., like you are losing control)
  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind
  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed
  • Avoiding others
  • Headaches
  • Low energy
  • Upset stomach (e.g., butterflies, diarrhea, or constipation)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Loss of sexual desire
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nervousness and shaking, cold or sweaty hands and feet
  • Muscle tension
  • Constant worry
  • Racing thoughts
  • Forgetfulness, disorganization, and trouble concentrating
  • Either not eating or eating too much
  • Procrastinating from important tasks
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes
  • Demonstrating nervous behaviors like fidgeting or nail biting

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is similar to stress, but many times the true cause is unknown. While anxiety tends to be less severe than a full blown panic attack as I'll describe later, anxiety attacks can actually last longer. Anxiety intensifies over a period of time and often results in excessive worry among other symptoms.

Anxiety symptoms include:

  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • increased startle response
  • increased heart rate
  • muscle tension
  • disturbed sleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • shortness of breath
  • dizziness
  • fatigue

You'll notice that these symptoms are similar to panic symptoms that I'll explain next, but they may not be quite as strong for anxiety.

While anxiety symptoms may be drawn out over days, weeks, and even months with fluctuations in intensity, panic attacks are sudden and tend to be more severe. 

Symptoms of Panic

Panic attacks are sudden, often unpredictable, intensify rapidly, and typically last 15-20 minutes (though it may feel like forever!). 

Panic attacks become a concern when they begin to happen regularly, and influence your behavior (e.g., worry about when the next panic attack will happen, avoiding certain situations for fear of a panic attack). 

The diagnosis of panic disorder requires at least four symptoms from the following list, as well as the change in your behavior listed above lasting more than a month:

  • Pounding heart, or increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of choking
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or that you might faint
  • Feelings of unreality or being outside one's body
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Chills or hot flashes

The important thing to keep in mind is that panic attacks are not actually physically harmful, and that the attack will pass.

While you may feel discomfort after it passes, they always do pass. Allowing the panic attack to pass without actively trying to stop it (sounds weird, I know), will begin to help you regain some power over them. 

 Overcome anxiety and negative thoughts - Palm Harbor counseling

treatment of stress, anxiety, worry, and panic

If you'd like to treat the stress, anxiety, and panic yourself, it begins with focusing on a healthy lifestyle.

A well-balanced diet and regular exercise, as well as engaging in self-care (e.g., walks on the beach, coffee with a friend, meditation, relaxation exercises), can go a long way to reducing your chronic stress and helping you to feel in control of your life again.

If you feel that your stress and anxiety are too significant to tackle on your own, I encourage you to consider scheduling a free consultation with me to discuss your options and develop a plan forward. Just always keep in mind, there are options to help get you to your goals! 

I utilize both cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to help my clients reach their goals. Every session is individualized to your needs, because nobody benefits from a cookie cutter approach to therapy. 

Are you ready to take control of your life again?

Schedule your free 30-minute consultation to discuss what it would look like to help you feel better.