A Deep Dive Into Anxiety Therapy: Your questions Answered

What is Anxiety Therapy?

The truth is that anxiety therapy can look different within the different levels of care, and among different treatment providers. The common thread that we see in each is that anxiety therapy methods work to help you recognize, respond to, and cope with your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. These changes can decrease the impact that your anxiety symptoms have on your daily life. Anxiety therapy options are available in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs which means that you can receive the support you need, regardless of your overall mental health. Anxiety can affect everyone differently, some people are able to conceal their symptoms from others, while there are others whose anxiety touches every aspect of their life. Regardless of your experience, you are one of a kind which means that your anxiety treatment should be unique to you.

With the number of treatment options that are available with anxiety treatment, your therapist has a number of tools that they can introduce you to. This includes different approaches to therapy, group therapy, individual therapy, and other supportive options. Your therapist will work with you to determine which options are a good fit for you and can help you with your anxiety.

Woman looking at the beautiful sky

At Simi Psychological Group our anxiety therapists Thousand Oaks support you in getting to the root of your anxiety so that you can create real lasting change in your life. We want to ensure that you are feeling confident in soothing your anxiety in the moment and using coping mechanisms to deal with the anxiety you are faced with in the moment. Anxiety therapy with a trusted therapist that you trust and connect with can provide you with a safe space to work through anxiety and feel free in life again. To learn more about anxiety therapists near me in Simi Valley, we encourage you to contact our therapy practice. 

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural, and normal experience for each of us. Anxiety is intended to warn us when we may be in danger or at risk of being harmed. While this sounds great in theory, the reality is that for some, anxiety symptoms can make day-to-day life challenging.

If you are living with anxiety, you may be able to name different areas of your life that it has impacted. This can include your relationships, your career, your concentration, your physical health, and your ability to go certain places or do particular things.

Individuals who experience anxiety that causes a significant amount of distress could be living with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can affect individuals of all ages at different points throughout their life.

Man smiling in front of red roses

The good news about anxiety and anxiety disorder is that with treatment, you can reach a point where you are able to respond to, and cope with your anxiety so that it does not have such a strong impact on your life. Since anxiety is a natural human experience, it is important to learn how to live with it so that you can live your best life moving forward!

What are common anxiety symptoms?

If you have been living with anxiety symptoms, you probably know all too well the symptoms that can occur. Some of the more common symptoms that people experience with anxiety include:

·         Feeling restless or keyed-up

·         Panicking frequently

·         Worrying often and having a hard time controlling their worry

·         Increased heart rate

·         Increased breathing rate

·         Fidgeting and an inability to sit still

·         Sweating and feeling warm

·         Poor concentration

·         Talking fast

·         Racing thoughts

·         Sleeping difficulties

·         Gastrointestinal discomfort and difficulties

·         Headaches 

What are anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders are a grouping of mental health concerns that can affect children, teens, and adults. For someone to have an anxiety disorder, there are symptoms and other details that need to be experienced. Each anxiety disorder has its own unique characteristics and symptoms.

Before we talk about the rates of anxiety disorders, we feel that it is important to share that you can experience any number of the symptoms associated with an anxiety disorder. Individuals who do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis may still find themselves struggling, and may still benefit from therapy. Your experience and feelings are valid, and a piece of your story.

The American Psychiatric Association keeps track of the different mental health concerns in the United States. This is what they have found about the current rates of anxiety disorder within the U.S.:

·         8-12% of the U.S. population is living with a specific phobia

·         7% of the U.S. population is living with social anxiety disorder

·         2-3% of the U.S. population is living with panic disorder

·         1-1.7% of adolescents and adults worldwide are living with agoraphobia

·         2.9% of the U.S. adult population is living with generalized anxiety disorder

·         4% of children are living with separation anxiety disorder

Woman smiling in chair

Why does anxiety happen? 

Your experience with anxiety is going to be unique to you and your experiences. You may find that your anxiety is connected to certain triggers or a life event. This can include starting a new job, forming new relationships, or putting yourself out of your comfort zone. In these situations, your anxiety may be short-lived, and manageable. 

Our team of anxiety therapists in Moorpark are here to support you in getting outside your comfort zone so that you are feeling more equipped to tackle new situations and be the boss of your anxiety. 

Factors that can play a role in your anxiety symptoms include having a family history of anxiety, some personal traits, and health concerns, such as a Thyroid concern. Your anxiety may be exacerbated if you have other mental health concerns and a history of trauma.

Anxiety is a highly individualized mental health concern, which means that the root of your anxiety, as well as the symptoms that you experience, will be different than others who experience anxiety.  

How does anxiety affect the body?

Anxiety can have different long-term and short-term effects on your body. If you are living with an anxiety disorder or chronic anxiety, you may see its effects on your nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, immune system, and respiratory symptoms.

Let’s take a minute to break down the difference between the short-term and long-term symptoms that you may notice within your body.

The short-term effects of anxiety can look different for everyone. These symptoms can occur at the time that your anxiety begins, and may resolve when you are feeling less anxious. You may notice that your symptoms vary and are impacted by what has led to you feeling anxious at that moment.

The long-term effects of anxiety tend to take time to occur. Individuals who experience anxiety disorders and chronic anxiety are at a higher risk of experiencing the long-term effects of anxiety when compared to someone who experiences infrequent and mild anxiety symptoms. If you have been living with anxiety for some time, it is important to be mindful of the toll it has taken on your body. 

Common long-term effects of anxiety include gastrointestinal disorders, migraines, unintended weight changes, weakened immune system, increased inflammation and pain within the body, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, decrease in cognitive performance, and an increased risk of other mental health concerns such as depression. Our Simi Valley anxiety therapy services can support you in reducing these long term effects of anxiety and supporting your healing. 

Man seems upset while looking down

Can Anxiety cause chest pain?

Anxiety symptoms can absolutely cause chest pain! This is something that you may or may not have experienced yourself. It can be one of the more scary symptoms that anxiety has.

To understand why some experience chest pain when they are anxious, we first need to understand what happens to our body when we experience anxiety.

Anxiety is an example of a self-defense mechanism. Anxiety is meant to alert us when we are at risk of harm, which is why anxiety is a normal part of life. When we feel anxious, our body prepares us for a “fight-or-flight” response so that we can avoid danger if needed. Since this is an unconscious biological reaction, our bodies may not know the difference between situations that are life-threatening, and those that are not.

When our bodies activate the “fight-or-flight” response, our brain releases a surge of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. This combination increases our blood pressure and heart rate which can lead to the chest pain that some experience when they are feeling anxious. This response contributes to the breathing difficulties that some experience as well. 

What are panic attacks? 

Panic attacks can be described as a sudden and intense fear that brings about a physical response when there is no inherent risk or danger. While you may not be in actual danger, you may believe that you are, or that you are experiencing a health crisis. Research estimates that the lifetime prevalence of panic attacks is 22.7% among adults in the United States. The emotional reaction to panic attacks is real and quite scary.

Symptoms that you may experience during a panic attack include:

·         Overall sense of danger or doom

·         Fear of death or loss of control

·         Racing heartbeat

·         Sweating

·         Shaking or trembling

·         Shortness of breath

·         Chills and hot flashes

·         Stomach cramps and nausea

·         Chest pain

·         Headaches

·         Numbness and tingling in limbs

·         Feeling detached from oneself

We know that there are a number of risk factors associated with panic attacks, however, individual differences play a big role. As an example, genetics are important, but just because someone in your family experiences panic attacks does not necessarily mean that you will too.

Additional risk factors that can impact the development of panic attacks include:

·         A history of traumatic experiences and trauma-related mental health concerns

·         Consuming large amounts of caffeine

·         Smoking tobacco products

·         Experiencing a major stress event

·         A history of childhood abuse

If you experience frequent and unexpected panic attacks, you may be living with panic disorder. Panic disorder affects 4.7% of adults in the U.S. each year. You may find that you have heightened anxiety and fear about experiencing more panic attacks, and change your behaviors to avoid places that may have played a role in previous panic attacks if you are living with panic disorder.

Panic Disorder and panic attacks can have a significant impact on your life. If you have experienced panic attacks, or suspect that you may be living with panic disorder, anxiety treatment in Simi Valley may be right for you. Our team of qualified psychologists provides anxiety therapy in Thousand Oaks and the surrounding area. Contact Simi Psychological Group today to get started! 

How does heightened anxiety affect someone’s life? 

Living with heightened anxiety can have a significant impact on your everyday life. When you think about your personal experience with anxiety, you may be able to notice a difference between times when your symptoms were severe and times when they were mild to moderate.

When your symptoms are mild to moderate, you may be able to continue in your normal routine with an added level of emotional distress. You may find that you cannot focus as well, are irritable, and are unable to concentrate.

If you experience severe anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks, you may be able to think of significant ways that your anxiety has impacted your life. As an example, you may find yourself worrying about anxiety that has not occurred yet, and changing your behaviors with the hope of avoiding more distress. Anxiety can also affect your work, school, relationships, hobbies, interests, health, and your overall quality of life. 

A deeper dive into Anxiety Therapy and Anxiety Treatment 

Individuals who find themselves reading this tend to fall into two categories; you are struggling with anxiety yourself OR you care for someone who is struggling with anxiety. Whichever category you fall into, we are glad that you found Simi Psychological Group!

Our therapy practice in Simi Valley has a team of mental health professionals who can provide you with the support and knowledge you need to cope with your mental health concerns. We work with individuals who are living with anxiety, depression, and trauma. We work with teens, adults, and couples who are struggling with their mental health and relationships. Our team uses a number of different anxiety disorder treatment strategies which allows us to provide you with a custom anxiety treatment.

To learn more about the treatment options available at our anxiety therapists in Simi Valley, we invite you to contact us today! 

Couple looking at computer smiling

What are some signs it’s time to start therapy for anxiety? 

Anxiety is a natural part of life that we all experience from time to time. We start to have concerns when anxiety has a negative impact on your daily functioning and behaviors.

Some of the warning signs that you could benefit from therapy include:

·         Obsessive thoughts

·         Racing thoughts

·         Panic attacks

·         Poor concentration

·         Unintended weight changes

·         Physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach discomfort

When should I get therapy for anxiety? 

If you have found yourself wondering if you would benefit from anxiety treatment, there is likely a piece of you that believes you would. Anxiety can be a normal experience for us all, however, you don’t need to let your thoughts control your life. If you feel as though your anxiety symptoms, including worry and fear, are keeping you from living your best life, you may benefit from anxiety treatment.

Does Anxiety Therapy Work?

Anxiety symptoms can take a toll on your everyday life. You may start feeling as though you are burned out, always keyed up, and losing your ability to focus on your work. Maybe you have noticed that your symptoms are impacting your personal relationships and keeping you from doing things you enjoy.

If this sounds like you, we want you to know that you are not alone! Simi Psychological Group is a therapist practice in Simi Valley with qualified psychologists who are experienced in treating anxiety and anxiety disorders.  

We understand that working with a therapist can feel scary or overwhelming, and we are here to sit with you as you experience these emotions. We want you to know that when you begin looking for anxiety therapists in Thousand Oaks, you are taking a step in the right direction! With the right support and treatment, you can find that you are able to better understand your anxiety and cope with your symptoms in a healthier way. When you begin to experience a decrease in your symptoms, we know you’ll be proud of the work you put into yourself!

Which therapy is best for anxiety 

It is tricky to answer which therapy is best for anxiety because there is no “cookie-cutter” approach. Without a one-size-fits-all option, anxiety therapy methods can vary from person to person. With that being said, research has helped us narrow down the different anxiety therapy approaches that are the most helpful.

Two options that are worth familiarizing yourself with are group and individual therapy. Both of these options have their own twist on helping people who are living with anxiety and anxiety disorders. As an example, group therapy can provide you with validation for your experiences, and decrease feelings of isolation that you may have. Individual therapy allows you to focus on your personal experiences and needs.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the more common anxiety treatment strategies. With this approach, you will learn to recognize the automatic thoughts that you experience that lead to your anxiety symptoms and impact your behaviors. Many people find that breaking their experiences down like this can make them feel manageable.

Exposure therapy is another therapeutic approach that can be used for individuals who have a specific fear of a place, object, or experience. As you might expect from its name, this approach uses a gradual approach of exposing you to your trigger in a safe and supportive environment to decrease the symptoms associated with your response to the trigger.

Narrative therapy is another option that can be used with clients who are living with anxiety concerns. With this approach, your therapist will help you shift the focus of your thoughts away from negative ones, to those that look at your strengths and capabilities. With this shift in your perspective, you may find that you feel more confident which can improve your ability to cope with distress as it arises.

Components of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can be useful in the treatment of some anxiety symptoms. More specifically, mindfulness and distress tolerance skills may be helpful when coping with anxiety symptoms as they arise. Once these skills are learned, they can be applied to a number of different challenges that we experience throughout our lives.

We have talked a lot about how anxiety affects the individual who is living with it, however, it is important to consider how their anxiety impacts those around them. Families who have someone living with anxiety often benefit from therapy to find healthier ways of being and supporting each other.

If you have found yourself searching for “anxiety therapists near me” in Simi Valley, we commend you on taking this step! When you are living with anxiety on a daily basis, asking for help is no simple feat. It takes courage and strength to ask for help, and we are here for it! We see you and would love to support you on your journey. 

Woman smiling in chair

Can anxiety go away with therapy?

Going to therapy will help you learn to cope with and manage your anxiety. Since anxiety is a natural defense mechanism, it is important to understand that it is unlikely that you will live worry-free. However, with proper treatment, you can experience a decrease in your symptoms, and gain new coping skills that can help you respond to any challenges you may face.

Why does the idea of therapy make me anxious?

Let me start by saying that this is a completely normal reaction for anyone thinking about coming to therapy! A piece of this is that therapy is new, even if you have gone before. Also, you know that the reason for going to therapy is to work on your mental health, which means that you can expect to talk about, explore, and sit with thoughts and feelings that you may not particularly enjoy. Vulnerability is an important component of effective treatment, which can be a scary thing.  

If you find that you are feeling anxious or worried about your treatment experience, we want you to know that our clinicians are here for you! Our team in Simi Valley is here to support you on your journey and encourage you to come as you are. 

Where do I get treatment for anxiety?

Anxiety therapists in Simi Valley can provide you with in-person, or virtual appointments. Our therapy practice offers anxiety therapy near Thousand Oaks and Moorpark for easy access to in person appointments. Online therapy is a convenient option as well. Let’s take a minute to talk about the benefits of both options! 

In-person anxiety treatment techniques can be used in an individual or a group therapy session. Individual therapy can provide you with 1:1 time with a mental health clinician to focus on your personal needs and experience. Group therapy can provide you with a sense of community and help you see that you are not alone in your struggles.

Virtual therapy, or online counseling, really took off during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Because of that time, we were able to improve our ability to meet with clients virtually and still provide anxiety counseling in Simi Valley. From the comfort of your home, you can meet with one of our counselors for the same 50-minute session you would receive in our office.

With these two options of how to receive therapy for anxiety in Simi Valley, you are able to choose the approach that fits best for your mental health needs and your availability. 

What are the steps for anxiety therapy? 

When you choose to work with one of our anxiety therapists in Simi Valley, you can expect to experience kindness, compassion, and encouragement each step of the way. So, let’s talk about how you can  get started on your journey with Simi Psychological Group.

The first step in your anxiety treatment journey would be to contact our team of qualified psychologists. We will talk briefly about your concerns, and schedule you for your first therapy session.

Your first therapy session will focus on getting to know each other. We utilize a holistic approach in our treatment which means that we will spend time learning about different areas of your life, in addition to your mental health concerns. Once we have an understanding of your concerns, we will begin talking about what you hope to gain from counseling.

Your therapist will help you understand the biological components of your anxiety, and work to find the root of your symptoms. From there, we will work towards helping you effectively respond to negative thoughts that you experience. Depending on your personal needs, we can incorporate distress tolerance skills, ways to self-soothe, establishing healthy boundaries, and new communication techniques that you could use.

As you continue working with one of our anxiety therapists there will be an open dialogue about the changes you have seen in your anxiety symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors. This allows us to continue adjusting your treatment to make sure you are getting the care you need.

When you are approaching the final stages of your anxiety therapy in Moorpark, your counselor will check in with you about the progress you have made and check in with the initial goals you have set for yourself. Before your time with us is complete, there should be a noticeable difference in your anxiety symptoms and your ability to respond to anxiety as it comes up for you.

It is inevitable that you will experience anxiety in your life because it is a natural response to the world around you. The difference, however, will be in your ability to respond to it without it having the same impact on your everyday life.

To learn more about anxiety therapy in Moor Park, we encourage you to contact Simi Psychological Group today! 

Woman focusing and looking at Computer

How do I find the right anxiety therapist? 

When you are looking for anxiety counseling in Simi Valley, an important detail to be mindful of is how comfortable you feel with your counselor. Just like other relationships in your life, there are certain people that you feel more comfortable with than others. This is something we can all relate to! There are a number of factors to consider when you are looking for a therapist, so let’s talk about it!

Your relationships with your therapist will play a vital role in your experience with anxiety treatment. During your time in therapy, you will be asked to talk about things that are personal and may make you uncomfortable. This vulnerability can be really hard, so it is important that you feel safe, supported, and respected by your therapist.

A common worry that people have when working with a therapist is that their therapist will be shocked or surprised by what they say. You may also find yourself worrying that you will make them uncomfortable or lead them to think less of you. We would like to share that these are common concerns, and let you know that you are not alone in your worries or in this journey.

When you find the right anxiety therapist, you will feel comfortable in their office. While you may still experience reservations about talking about your thoughts and experiences, you will feel okay taking that risk with your therapist. You will also feel as though your therapist is giving you all of their attention when you are sitting in the room with you.

If you find that you don’t feel comfortable sharing in your sessions, we encourage you to talk to your therapist about this. Your therapist’s focus is on you, and if you feel as though your current therapist isn’t a good fit for you, then that’s okay! By sharing your concerns with your therapist, you are advocating for your needs, and your therapist will help you find the right solution.

How long is anxiety therapy treatment?

Time is something that we all wish we had more of. More time in the day to spend with our loved ones, to get to those tasks we just haven’t gotten to, and to take care of our needs. Feeling as though you do not have time for therapy is a common concern people have. They worry that taking time out of their already busy day will set them back, instead of helping them move forward.

When we look at the actual breakdown of your time commitment to therapy, the truth is that you will likely spend 1 to 2 hours each week in therapy, depending on your needs. Individual therapy sessions typically run for 50 minutes, and group sessions can be a similar time frame. These 50 minutes may sound like it’s a lot in the beginning, however, the progress that you can make from that one hour a week can have a significant impact on your life.

Take a moment to think about what your life would look like if you had less anxiety, even the smallest amount of it. How would your day look different? You may find yourself feeling calm, thinking clearly, focusing better, and feeling as though you can cope with the curve balls life throws at you. Would any of those changes make that 50 minutes a week feel worth it?

The duration of your treatment will be dependent on your personal needs. Some individuals may find that they have met their treatment goals within 3 months of counseling, while others need a bit more. If you participate in anxiety group therapy and individual counseling, you may find that your time in treatment lasts longer than 12 weeks.

Other factors that will impact the duration of your time in treatment includes the severity of your anxiety and if you are living with other mental health concerns such as depression and trauma-related concerns.  

How do I know if I am on track in therapy for my anxiety?

Now that you know a bit more about anxiety and what to expect from your treatment, how will you know that you are making progress? While this may sound like a simple question to answer, it may not be.

The answer that people may think is correct is that they are less anxious. But it’s actually a bit more than that.

We talked about how anxiety is a normal, and expected, part of life. So, it’s not realistic to think that you won’t experience anxiety symptoms because you were in anxiety treatment.

What you may notice is that you are aware of your automatic thoughts that contribute to your anxiety symptoms. You may even be able to modify or respond to these thoughts in a healthy manner which stops you from experiencing the full impact that your anxiety has had on your life in the past. You may find that you are a bit more comfortable in social situations and going out of your comfort zone.

Other signs that you are making progress will be unique to the symptoms that you experience. You may notice that there is a decrease in the symptoms that you are used to, or that you are able to manage them better when they come up. Maybe you are able to focus on the task at hand instead of worrying.

Checking in on your progress is something that you can do on your own, or with your therapist. As you progress in counseling, your therapist will assess your progress and compare it to your identified goals. If you find that you are not making the progress you had hoped for, this is something to explore with your therapist. There may be new stressors or situational factors that you are facing now that change things for you.

When you work with an anxiety therapist in Simi Valley, you can expect that your needs will be the focus of your time together. If you found yourself relating to different parts of this article, we encourage you to contact Simi Psychological Group to explore how you could benefit from working with one of our qualified psychologists!