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The 5 WH's of Anxiety



What is anxiety?

Anxiety is best described as nervous, scared, or worried feelings and thoughts. Everyone feels anxious at some point. Most people experience anxiety in unfamiliar, dangerous, or stressful situations. During those times, anxiety is normal and can even be helpful to avoid danger. A person who suffers from an anxiety disorder experiences these feelings when there is no present danger, and often sees threats where there are none.


Someone with anxiety may struggle to control their fears. This person’s fears may be so strong that they actually prevent the person from doing things they would normally do, like interviewing for a job or making a new friend.


Common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • repetitive and intrusive thoughts

  • trouble sleeping

  • difficulty focusing

  • unable to “turn off”

  • feelings of panic accompanied by physical responses: racing heart, headaches, faster breathing.


Yes, anxiety can be burdensome. There is good news, though! There are highly effective treatments that can help people live their lives to the fullest.



Who has anxiety?

Everyone has anxiety… but not everyone has an anxiety disorder. There are several different types of anxiety that should only be diagnosed by a mental health professional.


Anxiety is the most common mental health problem in our country. It affects about 40 million adults every year. 

  • About 18% of adults in the U.S. have met the criteria for anxiety within the past year

  • Over 30% of the adult population will meet criteria at some point in their lives!


While anxiety is common and very treatable, most people who experience symptoms never seek help.


What causes anxiety?

There is no single cause of anxiety but instead develops from a complex set of factors including, brain chemistry, genetics, life events, personality, and learned behaviors. It is no one’s fault!!


  • Life factors that are typically known triggers of high stress and anxiety are:

    • Pressures from school and work

    • Changes at home, such as moving, or living with someone new

    • Financial troubles

    • Social interactions and relationships.

How do I know if I have anxiety?

  • If you frequently feel worried, concerned, or panicked; struggle to engage in normal daily activities; or feel the quality of your life is being affected by fear and worry, you may have anxiety.
    • Check your anxiety levels using our free screener on our Screeners Tab


What can I do if I’m feeling anxious?

Most people with anxiety have heard from well-meaning people in their lives telling them to “Just relax,” or “Don’t worry about it.” Well, if you could stop feeling anxious already, you would have!


Changing your feelings is connected to changes in your thought process and behaviors. CBT therapy is specifically geared towards this process. Please call us at 516-382-4567 to speak with one of our psychologists to determine the best course of treatment for you.

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