© 2013 by BKO Counseling Services                    AFFORDABLE SAN DIEGO THERAPIST - Brian K. Oltman Psy.D., LMFT

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What is Anxiety?

Have you ever felt the butterflies in your stomach before a big performance or speech or test? That's anxiety. Put simply, anxiety is fear. Anxiety is normal. It's normal to feel scared before a big event. Anxiety can show up as a variety of body signals: elevated heart rate, excessive sweating, cold hands, diarrhea or those butterflies in your stomach. It can also show up as difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and jumbled thoughts. These symptoms are telling you that you are feeling threatened and they are your body’s way of telling you to "get ready".

Why is anxiety called the "hidden disorder"?
Anxiety is sometimes called the "hidden disorder" because people often are ashamed to admit that they have it and thus they don't tell anyone about it until it becomes overwhelming. The fact is that anxiety is very treatable. It responds well to psychological and/or medical treatment - and often quickly. The success rate is very high. The hard part is admitting it's a problem. Once you do, your chances of fairly rapid recovery are very good.

Does too much anxiety ever lead to depression?
Yes, it can. Anxiety and depression are very much related. If anxiety goes unchecked, you will eventually feel overwhelmed. This can lead to an intense feeling of helplessness, which often ends up as depression. In a sense, if your body/mind cannot deal with all the anxiety, it will eventually "shut down" (i.e. get depressed). Often, part of the treatment for depression is learning new ways to deal with anxiety. Once the anxiety is under control the person feels less depressed.


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