MISSOURI— Anxiety is defined as a disorder in which distress or uneasiness of mind is caused by fear of danger or misfortune or an earnest but tense desire or eagerness. This feeling is pre-programmed into the human psyche as a method to keep ourselves out of harm’s way and as a way to feel excitement as well.
Click play below to listen to KMZU’s Ashley Johnson visit with a couple of mental health care professionals:
Kari Kallaher, Missouri Licensed Professional Counselor-
Hannah Meyer, LCSW with Burrell Behavioral Health-
Anxiety is a normal feeling and one that everyone experiences at some point or another. Whether that anxiety is associated with a rational fear or an exciting time in one’s life, the broader phrasing for the emotional reaction is anxiety.
With these facts well supported through-out the medical community, unless you suffer from general or extreme anxiety, the thought of someone being diagnosed with the disorder may be a foreign concept. Many people believe those dealing with the “disease” are over-reacting or acting out, however the irrational thoughts racing threw the mind of someone with anxiety, are not that easy to manipulate.
Kari Kallaher, a Missouri Licensed Professional Counselor, says the level in which you react to feelings of fear, excitement, pressure, etc., is how the disorder is determined.
“Basically, when it becomes a problem, is when the worry and the thoughts associated with it… they become uncontrollable.” Kallaher explained, “They’re excessive, persistent, irrational, and really the person no longer has control over their thinking.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18 percent of the American population has been diagnosed and is living with some type of anxiety disorder. The highest noted type of anxiety holding seven percent of those cases are phobias with social anxiety just below that mark.
The diagnosis and treatment of anxiety comes into play when these emotions are no longer controllable, such as when a phobia is developed. Hannah Meyer, a LCSW with Burrell Behavioral Health, defines what exactly a true phobia is.
“Phobia is fear or anxiety that’s out of proportion to the actual danger that’s posed,” Meyer explained, “They’re more common typically in females than males, but the most common types of phobias that you typically see are related to animals or the situational phobias.”
The more you retreat from this anxiety, Kallaher said, and steer away from it, the more power you’re giving the scary perception. She noted the best way to handle these phobias and fears is to learn to condition your mind.
“A lot of people when they talk about, ‘well how do manage my anxiety… how do I make my anxiety go away’… Well A, you can’t make it go away because it is an emotion, it’d be like telling sadness to go away,” stated Kallaher, “But what we do when we treat anxiety, is we rush towards it. So we do, we have to face those things that make us anxious, feel what that feeling is, then notice that—okay, it goes down if I face it.”
Doctors say some tell-tale signs of over-reactive anxiety includes feelings of excessive worry, irrational fears, muscle tension, panic, and flash backs.
However, these signs may be different for individuals based on many factors. Meyer said the signs to watch for may be different depending upon the age of the person affected.
“Adolescence or kids, they may act out more, they may not be able to especially verbalize how they’re feeling but it may come out in their behavior or their lack of interest in activities, something like that.” Meyer continued discussing a few scenarios, “In adults, you may see more irritableness or avoidance of certain situations.”
Other indicators include sleep problems, chronic indigestion, perfectionism, compulsive behaviors, and self-doubt.
To learn more about anxiety, how it’s diagnosed and/or treated, and ways to help someone you know who may be struggling with the disorder, Kallaher and Meyers’ interviews can be found posted above.
Also, click here for Burrell Behavior Health’s website.
Information from the National Institute of Mental Health can be found here.