Our Blog

Anxiety and You

Monday, January 3rd, 2022

by Douglas L. Anderson, PsyD

Some anxiety is common and even normal in many situations.  But when your anxiety disrupts your work life and starts to mess with your relationships, then it has become a problem in need of your attention.  

We often think of anxiety as just one thing.  But the list below comes from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), and it shows us that anxiety has various causes and various ways of impacting us.  

  • Separation Anxiety Disorder 
  • Selective Mutism 
  • Specific Phobia
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Substance/Medication Induced Anxiety Disorder
  • Anxiety disorder due to another Medical Condition

We could add a couple of other disorders to this list, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Some of these disorders, such as Separation Anxiety Disorder and Selective Mutism are much more common in children.  Some are seen across all age groups, but tend to be more common in adults.  A quick dive into Google will teach you plenty about these various disorders.  You just might discover that one of these diagnoses fits you.

You might conclude that that’s not a great thing.  I mean, who wants a diagnosis of a mental disorder?  That kind of language sounds so negative to us up here in the Midwest.  However, we have begun to warm up to the idea that we all struggle at times with psychological challenges just like we all struggle at times with physical challenges.  We now know that help is available, and we have begun to reach out for help with our psychological and relationship problems.  

The most common diagnosis in the list above is Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It is defined in the DSM as “excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).”  Here are some of the symptoms a person with this disorder might exhibit or experience.  

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge.
  • Being easily fatigued.
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep).

In our moment in history we have all the personal challenges of life and relationships combined with everything going on across the globe.  And we seem fixated on those things in the world that are negative, ugly, or painful. In short, we each must cope with a lot of unpleasant stuff on a daily basis.  This mix of personal and global awareness and struggle can contribute to the development of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  None of us are exempt from that possibility.

Bottom line: If you’re struggling with anxiety, you probably have plenty of good reasons for doing so.  More importantly, help is available.  Good therapists know a thing or two about how to treat various anxiety disorders.  They also know when to add a referral to a physician to look for a medication that can offer help to the person struggling with anxiety.  Likewise, good physicians know what medications might help you, and they know the benefits of referring you to a therapist for counseling.

River Counseling Services and Sioux Falls Psychological Services meet you where you are, offering hope. You may schedule an appointment with the Platte office at 605-337-3444, or meet with one of our Sioux Falls Psychological Services therapists from your own computer or smartphone.  To schedule an appointment please call 605-334-2696.