Many people experience feelings of anxiety at some point in their lives. You might feel nervous or worried about taking a test, asking for a raise, going on a date, or finishing a project on time. Occasional, mild anxiety like this is common. However, if your anxiety is continuous, severe, and/or interfering with your life, you may benefit from seeking additional support.
Individuals struggling with anxiety may notice changes in their sleeping habits, appetite, or their ability to connect with others due to their ongoing feelings of fear, nervousness, worry, or preoccupation. Anxiety fits in a broad spectrum and includes general anxiety, social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, perfectionism, and panic disorders, among others.
People who experience anxiety symptoms may also struggle with issues like depression or substance abuse. If so, it is beneficial to explore how these topics may influence each other. The treatment approach used may depend on how your personal anxiety feels and how it is affecting your life. Several common anxiety treatment modalities include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, Mindfulness-based approaches, and Client-Centered Work.
Struggling with anxiety can leave an individual feeling very isolated. You may wonder if anyone else feels the way you do. You might even worry that you’ll never feel differently.
You are not alone in how you feel. In fact, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults over 18 in the United States and about 1 in 4 adolescents ages 13-18. If you’re feeling discouraged, remember that there are many effective treatments for anxiety and a large number of people do benefit from professional support.
Because anxiety can be such a painful and difficult emotion, I make it a point to validate, normalize, and acknowledge some of the tension that clients can be struggling with when suffering with anxiety. Often times the very process of acknowledging the anxiety can begin to subdue it. Additionally, in counseling we may discuss and try to ameliorate your fears, attempt to better understand your needs, and work on finding ways to better cope with and manage the anxiety. The environment of my counseling practice is one of compassion and collaboration, not judgment or shame.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a complex condition that, although not strictly classified as an anxiety disorder, contains significant anxiety in those who live with it. OCD is characterized by recurring, unwanted thoughts or obsessions, and repetitive behaviors or compulsions. People with OCD may feel driven to perform certain behaviors, such as repeatedly checking a door lock or washing a dish multiple times. These actions are often performed to alleviate the anxiety caused by the obsessions.
The distress arising from OCD can be overwhelming. Individuals with OCD may become highly anxious if they are unable to carry out their repetitive behaviors, which are often aimed at preventing perceived negative events. This inability to satisfy the compulsion can lead to heightened anxiety, perpetuating a difficult cycle of obsessions and compulsions.
Although OCD and anxiety disorders are distinct diagnoses, there is a significant overlap in their underlying causes, symptoms, and treatment approaches. Both conditions can stem from genetic and environmental factors, and they often coexist, complicating their diagnosis and treatment.
Here at Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S & Associates, we are equipped to handle the complexities of these co-occurring conditions. Our trained therapists understand the intricate relationship between OCD and anxiety and are experienced in a range of evidence-based treatments tailored to individual needs.
Therapies like Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and specifically a type of CBT called Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), have been found to be effective in treating OCD. These therapies focus on changing the thought patterns that lead to anxiety and compulsive behavior and gradually exposing individuals to situations that trigger their OCD symptoms, helping them develop healthier responses over time.
Additionally, mindfulness-based interventions can be helpful, teaching individuals to observe their thoughts and feelings without reacting compulsively. Medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can also be effective in managing symptoms of OCD and co-occurring anxiety and is often used in combination with therapy.
At Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S & Associates, we are committed to providing compassionate, comprehensive care to individuals struggling with OCD and anxiety. We are sensitive to the nuances of these disorders and the impact these conditions can have on your life. We have over twenty years of experience successfully treating OCD & Anxiety disorder and are here to help guide you toward greater functionality and improved well-being.