Anxiety Problems

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I am worried that I have an anxiety issues. While that being said, I am curious as to which one. Recently, I have been stressed which has caused what symptoms of anxiety I have to skyrocket. Sometimes I find myself thinking strange thoughts such as random horrible things that could happen to my family members and it becomes a constant worry. Such as simple things like my relative tripping and busting their head open at school. I continuously have dreams of being kidnapped or that I am being watched. I refuse to shower when I’m home alone. To a certain extent, I am very paranoid. I am scared a lot. I don’t like being alone, and my fear of the dark is at an irrational level. I constantly have thoughts that someone is in my room or that I might wake up and my family will have been murdered while I was asleep. Also, I find my rational fears to lead to irrational outcomes. Such as me being terrified of dying while on a roller coaster. My parents tried to take me on one and rid of the fear, but I cried and had what I believed to be an anxiety attack. If I’m in a rut or maybe stuck in traffic or in a situation where I’m not completely sure what to do, I freak out and get very frustrated and angry. I also find myself feeling nervous a lot for no apparent reason. My muscles will clench up and when I realize it I try to loosen up and I begin to shake. I am worried that my anxiety is past regularity, and that I may need it checked out. I would just like a little feedback to inform me if I am being a drama queen, or if it is something that needs to be looked into. I would also like to add that I was raped at age 14 and I haven’t done anything to cope with it. I pushed it aside and haven’t really done anything about it. I believe that plays a high role in what I believe to be my anxiety. So my questions would be: Do I have anxiety to the point that it needs looking into? Do I seem to have a disorder that needs to be looked into also? And is there anything that can rid of these fears and paranoia? Thank you so much for your time.

A. You are not a “drama queen.” Your anxiety is significantly disrupting your life and causing you great distress. It is “past regularity.” Though anxiety is clearly a problem for you, determining which specific type of anxiety disorder is difficult to do over the Internet. You may have symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder but I cannot know that with certainty. Clinically, your symptoms fall under the broad umbrella of anxiety.

It is advisable to be evaluated by a mental health professional. Choose a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders and who has a proven track record of assisting clients with these disorders.

In the meantime, you may want to consider completing anxiety workbooks or consulting other self-help materials. A particularly effective anxiety workbook is The Feeling Good Handbook by Dr. David Burns. Dr. Burns utilizes a cognitive approach to overcoming anxiety and phobias. Cognitive therapy is a therapeutic approach that focuses on identifying and correcting dysfunctional and irrational thinking.

Psychiatric medication may also help. Medication doesn’t cure anxiety disorders but it can significantly decrease the severity of the symptoms. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Anxiety Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/02/anxiety-problems/