Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack: Which One Are You Having?

Man with head in hands on couch

Knowing the difference between an anxiety attack vs. panic attack is more than an issue of semantics. It can shape the course of your mental health. If you don’t know which one you are having, it will be difficult to find the appropriate treatment or develop useful coping skills. You might waste time addressing the wrong issues.

By understanding the issue of anxiety attacks vs. panic attacks, you can more efficiently address your mental health and the issues behind the attacks. It starts with understanding the more confusing of the two, anxiety attacks.

What Are Anxiety Attacks? – Clinical Terms vs. Colloquial Terms

“Anxiety attack” is not an official clinical term. The latest edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” [DSM-5], a book the vast majority of mental health professionals abide by, does not list it (we’ll be sure to update this article if that fact changes during the next release of the DSM). Continue reading Anxiety Attack vs. Panic Attack: Which One Are You Having?

How to Get Rid of Anxiety: Separating the Good from the Bad

green hand anxiety text

Anxiety is keeping us alive right now, yet we often want to know how to get rid of it. It’s not as much of a conundrum as you might think. The key is separating the good anxiety from the bad anxiety. You need the kind that keeps you alive and functioning, but you can reduce the rest.

There are many research-backed methods of reducing the prevalence of anxiety in your life. Nonetheless, this is sometimes different than “getting rid of it.”

Developing a Realistic Attitude About Dealing with Anxiety

When people want to “get rid of anxiety,” they often ascribe different meanings to the phrase, such as:

  1. Reducing anxiety symptoms to the point where it is not a significant burden
  2. Learning to better cope with anxiety
  3. Stopping themselves from feeling anxiety
  4. Completely eliminating their sources of anxiety

The first half of the above solutions are viable; the second half is not. In this sense anxiety is not something to “get rid of.” Continue reading How to Get Rid of Anxiety: Separating the Good from the Bad

What ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Theory Teaches Us About Social Anxiety

big bang theory cast

Roughly 15 million American adults live with social anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Social anxiety has grown in mainstream conversations about mental health over the years, but what does it look like to actually live with the disorder? There’s a great example viewable in one of television’s biggest sitcoms, “The Big Bang Theory.”

Rajesh Koothrappali (Raj) from “The Big Bang Theory” represents a solid case of social anxiety disorder. In earlier seasons of the show, Koothrappali’s social anxiety cripples him by rendering him speechless around women who aren’t members of his family. When he’s alone with his friends, he has no problem expressing himself. But when faced with the prospect of speaking with a woman he deems attractive, Raj often uses alcohol as a social lubricant.

Many viewers, including myself, find this character trait charming in those earlier seasons. As a therapist I understand this kind of representation can minimize the lives of those who deal with social anxiety in real life. Nonetheless, my impression is that the writers of the show handle Raj’s disorder with both compassion and humor. This leads me to believe that both the actor and those in the writers’ room understand what it’s like to experience social anxiety. Continue reading What ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Theory Teaches Us About Social Anxiety

10 Signs You Have Social Anxiety, According to a Therapist

anxious woman in windowsill

Many clients are surprised to learn they have a diagnosis of social anxiety. In fact, according to the NIMH, an incredible 18% of the population suffers from anxiety. Of those, 63% aren’t receiving treatment, and 34% of those aren’t receiving adequate treatment. Some sufferers assume they might only be shy, introverted or quiet; others think they are awkward or lacking in social skills. Interestingly, women are 60% more likely to suffer from anxiety than men.

Here are 10 signs that what you’re dealing with might be social anxiety, and not simply shyness:

1. You skip events you are interested in, only because you think you will feel awkward.

Salsa dancing sounds cool. But you cringe thinking about how stupid you’ll look doing it, so you don’t go. Even if other people don’t know how to dance either, you assume they’ll look less silly than you. If an event involves any aspect of performing, you’re even more scared to go. Continue reading 10 Signs You Have Social Anxiety, According to a Therapist

10 Signs You Have Social Anxiety, According to a Therapist

anxious woman in windowsill

Many clients are surprised to learn they have a diagnosis of social anxiety. In fact, according to the NIMH, an incredible 18% of the population suffers from anxiety. Of those, 63% aren’t receiving treatment, and 34% of those aren’t receiving adequate treatment. Some sufferers assume they might only be shy, introverted or quiet; others think they are awkward or lacking in social skills. Interestingly, women are 60% more likely to suffer from anxiety than men.

Here are 10 signs that what you’re dealing with might be social anxiety, and not simply shyness:

1. You skip events you are interested in, only because you think you will feel awkward.

Salsa dancing sounds cool. But you cringe thinking about how stupid you’ll look doing it, so you don’t go. Even if other people don’t know how to dance either, you assume they’ll look less silly than you. If an event involves any aspect of performing, you’re even more scared to go. Continue reading 10 Signs You Have Social Anxiety, According to a Therapist

Dating Someone With Anxiety: What You Need to Know and Do

Couple standing next to each other with a lavender sky

Dating someone with anxiety issues or an anxiety disorder can be horribly stressful. Sometimes it can feel like the anxiety is a third person in the relationship, someone who wriggles in between you and your partner. This person constantly sows doubt and confusion.

No one prepared you for this, and you can’t choose who you fall for. There’s no high school class on dating, much less dating someone with a mental health condition.

Nonetheless, anxiety doesn’t have to break your relationship or put a strain on it to the point where it’s hard to enjoy. By understanding anxiety in general and how it affects both your partner and your relationship, you can love each other more deeply and connect in a new way. Educating yourself can also relieve a lot of the stress.

This article breaks down everything you need to know and do when dating someone with anxiety: how to support your partner, understanding how the anxiety can impact your relationship, looking out for your own mental health and more. Keep reading if you want to make sure anxiety doesn’t become a third person in your relationship. Continue reading Dating Someone With Anxiety: What You Need to Know and Do

Anxiety Symptoms in Women: A Quick Guide

latina woman anxiety

Anxiety symptoms in women are generally the same as in men:

  • Thoughts about everything that can go wrong or something that might be wrong already
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Insomnia (sometimes a result of the thoughts)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Becoming stressed quickly and easily
  • Sudden fear of death, embarrassment, illness, etc.
  • Fight-or-flight responses to something that can’t cause physical harm
  • Repeating ritual behaviors more than necessary (checking locks, grooming, etc.)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling like you’re choking
  • Numbness
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Muscles tightening
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Hairs standing up
  • Hives and rashes

The differences lie in how women tend to express and process these symptoms, and how they often focus their anxiety on certain issues more than men. There are also genetic, biological and neurological differences that make women more likely to develop anxiety and experience symptoms more frequently. Continue reading Anxiety Symptoms in Women: A Quick Guide

This Infographic Will Help You Understand Social Anxiety

black woman red couch

If you want to learn more about social anxiety, this infographic is a great place to start. It breaks down issues within social anxiety, including symptoms, myths and ways to cope.

Use it as an overview to begin your journey toward understanding social anxiety. If you have it, understanding it is the first step to dealing with it. Continue reading This Infographic Will Help You Understand Social Anxiety

What Causes Social Anxiety?

social anxiety background words

Social anxiety can be both frustrating and fascinating. If you suffer with it, you might wonder, “What causes social anxiety? Why do I have to deal with this?”

Even if you don’t have it, you might be curious. Maybe someone you care about has it or you are interested in exploring the issues surrounding it.

Whatever the perspective or motivation is, learning about what causes social anxiety is worth it. Understanding the causes can help you be more empathetic toward the roughly 15 million people who deal with it. If you have social anxiety and are tired of it limiting your life or stressing you out, learning what causes it is the first step toward treating it. Continue reading What Causes Social Anxiety?

Don’t Avoid Your Worries! Manage Them With These 5 Strategies

head with worries

When you worry, you are believing the “what if’s” you tell yourself. Your fear response is activated as if there is real danger.

If you were in danger, the stress response would help you get out of it. But without a real threat to deal with, you are left with excess energy and nowhere to put it.

When anxiety is high, you can feel like you want to crawl out of your skin. It’s understandable that people want to avoid anxiety or situations that trigger anxiety.

Avoidance isn’t the solution, though. In the long run, avoidance actually reinforces your fear that you can’t handle the situation. The worry becomes cemented and self-confidence lowers. Continue reading Don’t Avoid Your Worries! Manage Them With These 5 Strategies