Anxiety \ Stress \ Worry
Anxiety, stress and worry really describes almost the same thing, but only to different degrees. As a psychologist with more than thirty five years of clinical experience assisting people with anxiety-related issues, I have learned that the first step in getting better is to identify and understand the different anxiety, stress and worry that exist within the individual.
Symptoms typically associated with anxiety are described as feelings of suffocation and\or shortness of breath, palpitations (racing heart), hyperventilation, profuse sweating, trembling or shaking, choking sensations, nausea, abdominal distress, feelings of “losing it” or a sense of dying, hot flashes or cold spells and feelings of depersonalization, as well as others.
Many years of clinical experience has taught me that, instead of one “big” anxiety issue, there are most likely several smaller issues that seem like it is one big bundle of concern. Sometimes the issues are directly related to one another, but sometimes, they are not. Sometimes what an individual thinks is the biggest worry turns out to be something else. The best treatment course is to start by taking some form of inventory of all the things the individual worries about. I sometimes ask my patient to have a pad and pencil near their bed, and to write down the things that they often think about when they try to get to sleep, or that awakens them after they already went to sleep.