Confused about numerous anxiety disorders? This is not surprising because there is a great deal of overlap between them. There is also a lot of misinformation going around about what characterizes each disorder.
One of the most common presenting problems that patients come to my office with is anxiety.
Some people are anxious in social situations. Others may worry excessively about physical symptoms, thinking that they may have a heart attack or collapse.
Some people are fearful of specific objects or situations. And sometimes people seem to worry about everything!
Let's say you bought a fancy new car and installed a sophisticated alarm system to protect it from thieves.
The alarm was quite an expense and you take great pride in it. The only problem is that it goes off when the neighborhood kids play too close to it.
And when your cat climbs on the hood. And when there is a gust of wind.
And for no apparent reason several times at night. You get the idea.
When we feel threatened, our attention is focused on the perceived threat.
(Perceived is the key word - remember the overly sensitive car alarm? The threat can be real or nonexistent. As long as we perceive it as dangerous, we are on high alert).
Our perception of the situation mostly depends on what we are saying to ourselves about it. Anxiety-related perceptions and thoughts revolve around the themes of danger (physical, mental, or social), threat, or vulnerability.
In the previous article, (Anxiety Part 3), we talked about three components of anxiety: Thoughts, Physical Sensations, and Behaviors
We also learned that every component affects the other two.
In this section, we'll see how we can deal with each of those components.