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What is Anxiety?

Anxiety can be a radar that there may be a possible threat or something important to pay attention to. Anxiety is highly concerned about the future and outcomes of the future. Anxiety can be defined by overwhelming, excessive, and persistent feelings of apprehension, worry, tension, and nervousness over everyday situations other people may face with no issues or concern (Clark & Beck, 2012). We may start noticing that the sense of worry seems out of control and not proportional to the level of present threat. Individuals who experience anxiety seem to worry to a degree of distress that impacts their relationships with self, romantic partners, family, friends, and colleagues. 

Some examples of anxiety disorders are: 

  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • unspecified anxiety disorder
  • social anxiety disorder
  • specific phobias 
  • separation anxiety disorders
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • panic disorder
  • post-traumatic stress disorder. 

What are the effects of anxiety?

According to Clark & Beck (2012) when a fear is misplaced, excessive, and disconnected from reality, it no longer provides an accurate and reliable signal of danger. We may notice that our anxiety has been more difficult to control at times. Some effects look like continuously experiencing disruptive symptoms such as: 

  • Angry outbursts 
  • Feeling on edge
  • Feeling as if something awful  is going to happen 
  • Not being able to stop or control worrying 
  • Feeling annoyed or irritable 
  • Trouble relaxing 
  • Difficulty sitting still 
  • Compulsions
  • Phobias 
  • Panic symptoms
  • Emotional dysregulation

How can I manage anxiety?

One of the first ways to learn to manage your anxiety is identifying and learning to understand your anxiety. Learning to understand your anxiety will help you engage in implementing healthy ways to cope and challenge the thoughts that have become distorted by fear and anxiety. You can begin by logging your triggers, thoughts, feelings. Eventually you can transition to challenging thoughts that may have become distorted and explore patterns and history with anxiety. We recommend exploring resources like Anxiety and Worry Workbook to get acquainted with how Anxiety works and exercises to challenge anxiety.

In addition, the treatment options that can help to treat anxiety are psychotherapy, medication, support groups, and stress management techniques.

This page is part of the Roamers Therapy Glossary; a collection of mental-health related definitions that are written by our therapists.

While our offices are currently located at the South Loop neighborhood of Downtown Chicago, Illinois, we also welcome and serve clients for online therapy from anywhere in Illinois and Washington, D.C. Clients from the Chicagoland area may choose in-office or online therapy and usually commute from surrounding areas such as River North, West Loop, Gold Coast, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lake View, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Pilsen, Bridgeport, Little Village, Bronzeville, South Shore, Hyde Park, Back of the Yards, Wicker Park, Bucktown and many more. You can visit our contact page to access detailed information on our office location.