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Understanding Anxiety

September 2, 2021

Anxiety. By definition it regards a negative anticipation of a future event.

It may have come about the result of one’s biology/genetics. It may have come about the result of an actual experience that created harm to oneself or another. It may also come about the result of exposure to someone else with anxiety, where their fear is transferred to another.

Regardless though of how it came about it still remain a negative anticipation of a future event.

When that negative anticipation is connected or attached to something specific, say outdoors, social situations, etc., then the anxiety may be labeled with that situation. For instance, social anxiety or school anxiety.

When that negative anticipation is free floating, not tied to a specific issue or event, then it is labeled a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Anxiety is considered a disorder as it represents a fear where the fear is either unfounded in the current situation or the fear is greatly magnified and thus disproportionate to the triggering issue. In this regard then, anxiety is in a sense, a betrayal of one’s emotional response system. When one’s emotional response system is not reasonably regulated, that negative anticipation can inadvertently attach itself to any otherwise reasonable concern and thus heighten the concern beyond reasonable.

It takes considerable efforts at self-reflection and critical thinking to assess situations accurately when a poorly regulated emotional system is activated.

Hence treatments for anxiety can include trauma therapy, relaxation techniques, mindedness, psychoeducation, cognitive therapy to override one’s emotional responses, and medication.

It is important to also realize that anxiety can also attach itself to treatment options causing the person to fear and then reject the actual treatment that may be helpful.

Anxiety is a challenging and for many debilitating disorder. It can interfere with the enjoyment of one’s life as well as one’s life in many aspects. It can also be transferred onto others and interfere with relationships. If you suffer with anxiety, do know there are treatments, many of which are quite effective. You may have to endure an intensity of concern to attend and receive adequate and reasonable therapy as the anxiety may get in your way.

Start with an deep breath and realizing that anxiety is a betrayal of the emotional response system.

Asking a trusted friend for help in attending treatment may help you through the fearful response.

It’s not that what you are feeling isn’t real. The feeling you have is real. It’s just not appropriately connected to the situation.

Lastly, there are those folks who are in dangerous situations who are fearful. They may have a stalker or are being harassed. There may be someone seeking to do harm in a workplace or home-life setting. This fear may also be debilitating, however it is tied to a reality based concern. This is not the same as anxiety generally. In these instances you may need support to truly maintain your safety.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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