What is Anxiety? | Counseling | Therapy

What is Anxiety?

Alex Robboy , CAS, MSW, ACSW, LCSW — Founder & executive director


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Anxiety Treatment in Philadelphia What is Anxiety: suddenly you’re overcome with an intense fear or sense of gloom. You feel as though you want to run, but don’t know why. You’re restless, unable to sit still. Your sleep may be interrupted, or you may suddenly startle during sleep. Your heart may race and pound, you may perspire, and you may feel faint. You find yourself worrying constantly over one or several matters. You may experience headaches, trembling, and breathlessness. You may be able to go to work or go about your daily tasks, but you are almost in a constant state of worry and tension. All of these symptoms and more can be symptoms of anxiety.

Anxiety is a state of almost constant or continuous worry and/or tension that can cause many of the above physical symptoms. Anxiety can make you feel very uncomfortable and can interfere with your life. It can stop you from enjoying simple pleasures because of the symptoms that may accompany it.

Anxiety creates a “flight or fight” response in your body, causing adrenaline to flow. It can come on suddenly and leave the sufferer feeling helpless and perhaps as if they may lose control. You may feel like you are losing your mind, or viewing the world from a distance.

Anxiety can be caused by stress, certain medical disorders such as hyperthyroidism, heredity, individual personality traits, and anything that causes great concern or worry.

The aforementioned symptoms can accompany other illnesses and disorders and it is always advised to seek medical consultation to rule out any possible medical disorder. And sometimes anxiety is just normal anxiety and a part of life. There are many different types of anxiety.

If you are struggling with anxiety, learn to manage your anxiety before it manages you:

If you are wishing to support a loved one who struggles with anxiety, try:

Helping a loved one

Can anxiety run in families? Yes, anxiety can run in families, suggesting a potential genetic component to the development of anxiety disorders. Research has shown that individuals with a family history of anxiety disorders are at a higher risk of developing anxiety themselves compared to those without a family history. This suggests that there is a hereditary or genetic predisposition to anxiety.

Several factors contribute to the familial nature of anxiety disorders:

  1. Genetic Factors: Genetic studies have indicated that there are certain genes that may be associated with an increased vulnerability to anxiety disorders. These genes can influence how the brain processes and responds to stress and fear, which are central components of anxiety.
  2. Shared Environment: In addition to genetics, shared environmental factors within families can contribute to the transmission of anxiety tendencies. This can include learned behaviors and coping mechanisms related to anxiety.
  3. Modeling Behavior: Children often learn how to respond to situations and manage emotions by observing and imitating their parents and other family members. If anxiety is prevalent within the family, children may learn anxious behaviors and responses.
  4. Neurobiology: The brain's structure and function can be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. A family history of anxiety may indicate certain brain structures or neural pathways that are more prone to anxiety-related responses.
  5. Epigenetics: Epigenetic mechanisms can influence how genes are expressed. While genetics provide the blueprint, environmental factors can determine whether certain genes are activated or suppressed. This interaction between genes and environment can contribute to anxiety susceptibility.

It's important to note that while genetics can increase the risk of developing anxiety disorders, they are not the sole determinant. Environmental factors, life experiences, and individual coping strategies also play significant roles. Having a family history of anxiety does not mean that an individual will definitely develop an anxiety disorder; it simply indicates an increased susceptibility.

If you have a family history of anxiety or are experiencing symptoms of anxiety yourself, seeking professional help is important. Mental health professionals can provide assessments, diagnosis, and evidence-based treatments that can help manage anxiety symptoms and improve overall well-being.

At TCFG you can schedule directly online with an anxiety therapist. If you prefer talking to an anxiety therapist first, you may call (215) 922-LOVE (5683) ext 100 to be connected with our intake department. Lastly, you can call our Director, “Alex” Caroline Robboy, CAS, MSW, LCSW at (267) 324–9564 to discuss your particular situation. For your convenience, we have six physical therapy offices and can also provide counseling and therapy virtually.

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