Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is an emotion that was designed to keep us safe. However, approximately 70% of all individuals in this country have struggled with “anxiety gone awry” at some point in their lives. Whether your anxiety started when you were a child due to situational or genetic factors or your current busy life is raising your stress level I have expertise and years of experience treating anxiety. Effective psychotherapy starts with understanding what your anxiety is (there are many different kinds of anxiety disorders, click here) and then with state of the art psychotherapy tailored to heal your anxiety. I have been trained in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy; ) as well as behavioral/exposure therapy (phone coaching appointments are available so you can be supported to face and overcome your fears).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by intense and chronic worry that is hard to control for at least a 6 month period. Due to the worry several symptoms of autonomic arousal may be present due to increased adrenal outputs (increased heart rate, sweating, feeling revved up with nervous tension, etc.) and can result in muscle tension, insomnia, poor concentration and even depressed mood. More than 15 million Americans may experience General Anxiety Disorder in their lifetime. The focus of this worry can be on just about anything and is often described as free floating and can attach to anything your may be experiencing in life such as concerns at home or at work, relationships, family, etc. With this excessive worrying, the sufferer cannot easily get it to stop. Click here, to find out if you may have an anxiety problem.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder is the third most common psychiatric disorder affecting as many as 39 million U.S. citizens. Social Anxiety Disorder is an intense social phobia of social interactions and performance situations. According to the DSM-IV, the manual used to diagnose common mental disorders, Social Phobia creates a “marked and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations, during which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or possible scrutiny by others.” The individual fears he or she will act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing. The person then either avoids these social situations or endures them with marked distress. Many people who think they are “shy” may actually be experiencing Social Anxiety Disorder. If they also experience functional impairment (like problems at work or home) due to the their social anxiety issues, and also have excessive levels of distress beyond normal shyness.

There are three types of Social Anxiety Disorder:

Performance: Some people with social anxiety primarily fear being observed and scrutinized by others in performance situations. Examples include giving a speech, being called on in a staff meeting, or making a formal presentation.

Limited Interactional: Other people primarily fear interacting with one or more people in social situations. For example, meeting and talking with new people at a social gathering, or other situations that require spontaneous conversation. This type of social anxiety occurs when it is just a situation or two that people fear (as opposed to many).

Generalized: Individuals with “Generalized” Social Anxiety Disorder have fears related to many situations, both in performance and social interaction scenarios. Because of this “generalized” social anxiety can be more limiting. Most people develop Social Anxiety Disorder in their mid-teens although some may develop in childhood. If left untreated, Social Anxiety Disorder will usually persist throughout ones life. Please know that help is available! Please do not let your social anxiety or severe shyness stop you from getting help if you need it! Social Anxiety is a treatable problem and you can live a more fulfilling life and learn to make connections to others. Many people with social anxiety disorder seek help for other problems. Typically the limitations, distress, and difficulties caused by the social anxiety result in you being more alone and isolated then you would otherwise be! Guess what can happen if you do not have healthy social outlets? You are at risk for becoming depressed! In fact most people who seek mental health treatment who have social anxiety, come in because they are depressed and never get treatment for the social anxiety. Click here, to find out if you have an anxiety problem.



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Romney Ryan, PhD

Counseling for families, adults, & children

t. 707.239.2782  

633 Cherry Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Romney Ryan, PhD

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