What does an anxiety counselor do?
An anxiety counselor might be the person you want to speak with if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or if you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of anxiety on a regular basis. An anxiety counselor may be able to help you identify, manage, and alleviate your symptoms.
Before we talk more about what an anxiety counselor does, it is important to first mention that suffering from the symptoms of anxiety at different points in your life is normal. There are many people who report feeling anxious before an important job interview, when making a big life decision, or before participating in public speaking. Feeling anxious or unsettled is a common reaction to new activities or difficult times in life. However, if your anxiety symptoms do not subside even after the temporary stressor is relived, then you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. In other words, if you still feel nervous, worrisome, or anxious after the interview is over, when the big decision is made, or after the public speaking is complete, then you may wish to contact your doctor to find the right form of treatment for you.
When you speak with your doctor, he or she may inform you of a few different forms of anxiety treatment, including the options outline below.
Many counselors are trained to diagnose anxiety and provide treatment. Many are also able to teach you effective ways for coping with your anxiety, so that your symptoms have less of an impact on your daily life and activities.
One common type of anxiety counseling is cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of treatment is often effective at identifying and managing the factors that contribute to anxiety. This type of treatment, when used without medicine, is an effective natural form of anxiety treatment. It is also a collaborative effort, so that both a patient and his or her anxiety counselor work together to identify triggers and learn proper coping techniques.
Medication is sometimes used with or without counseling to manage the symptoms of anxiety. While medication may not cure your anxiety, it can be used under the supervision of a doctor or psychiatrist to effectively alleviate your symptoms for the time being. Depending on your symptoms and the advice of your doctor, there are different types of medications that can be used for muscle relaxation, mood regulation, and more.
- Group Therapy or Family Therapy
Group therapy and family therapy both typically examine how interpersonal dynamics may contribute to an individual’s problems with anxiety. Both group therapy and family therapy may also make use of cognitive behavior therapy outlined in the first bullet above.
In addition to these forms of treatment, there are also natural treatments that may be used under the supervision of your doctor. Your counselor may recommend other treatments that include:
- Meditation and breathing exercises.
- Daily or regular exercise.
- Green tea or chamomile.
- Spending time in nature.
- Eating regular meals (such as regular breakfast)
- Drinking plenty of water during the day.
If you’re not sure whether or not you would benefit from one of these forms of anxiety treatment, then consider the following signs and symptoms of anxiety. If you experience one or more of the following symptoms, then you may benefit from treatment and may wish to speak with your doctor.
- You worry to an excessive amount and on a regular basis.
- You have trouble getting comfortable, have a difficult time sitting still, or constantly feel the need to fidget. You may feel restless, wound up, or uneasy.
- You feel fatigued for much of the day.
- Your muscles feel tight, potentially feeling similar to a muscle that has been clenched or holding onto something for an extended period of time. Other physical symptoms you may experience include dry mouth, cold or sweaty hands or feet, heart palpitations, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, or nausea.
- You may have a hard time falling asleep, or a hard time staying asleep.
- You often feel irritable, jumpy, or tense, even when enjoying the company of loved ones.
If you experience one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, or if your symptoms are impacting your ability to effectively complete daily tasks and activities, then it would benefit you to find a professional counselor and consult with your doctor to find the treatment plan that works best for you.
- Anxiety Disorders. (March 2016). In National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml.
- Anxiety Disorders. In National Alliance on Mental Illness. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders.
- Anxiety Fatigue and How it Affects Modern Living. In Calm Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety-symptoms/fatigue.