Worry is a normal emotion.  Children worry about starting school, the dark, or making new friends.  Adults worry about speaking in public, on first dates, or being around people.  However, when does worry become a problem?

As with many disorders, the critical first step is awareness.  What is the severity?

  • Are you experiencing uncontrollable thoughts?
  • Is fear taking over your life?
  • Is your family affected?

When anxiety interferes with your ability to handle everyday situations or you’re avoiding things that most people can and enjoy doing, this is likely an anxiety disorder.

How do you know when professional help is required?

  1. The anxiety is unrealistic
  2. It is out of proportion
  3. You are overly self-aware
  4. The anxiety is unwanted and out of control
  5. It doesn’t go away
  6. You start to avoid events, situations or leaving the house

What Do I Do Next?

Anxiety disorders, in children or adults, are treatable.  Consider these steps when questioning what to do next.

  • Talk to your doctor.  This is a good first step to rule out any physical illness.
  • If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, look for a co-existing condition such as substance abuse, ADHD, depression, or many others.
  • Your doctor may recommend the use of medication.

Treatment Does Not Stop There

A critical next step is to seek help from a mental health professional.

  • Choose someone who has specific expertise in diagnosing and treating anxiety.
  • Choose a professional with who you’re comfortable and can work together as a team.  Together you will create a treatment plan.
  • A valuable tool for treating anxiety is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).    

Anxiety rarely goes away without treatment.  Having a support system is key to the process of understanding and treating the anxiety so you live a more meaningful and fulfilled life.

Avant-Garde Counseling and Coaching Center has a number of specialists who are experts in the treatment of children and adults with anxiety and depression. We also have a resource of 8 questions to help you assess How Anxiety Affects Your Life.