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Navigating the Storm: Understanding and Coping with Anxiety

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Anxiety is a natural and often adaptive human response to stress or perceived threats. It is a complex emotional and physiological state characterized by feelings of uneasiness, apprehension, worry, or fear, often accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, and restlessness. Anxiety can vary in intensity from mild to severe.


General Anxiety

We all experience anxiety and small, manageable amounts can serve as motivation for healthy and adaptive behaviors. However, when we spend too much time in the future, experiencing dread or worry, it can present as physical symptoms that contribute to acute and chronic disease states. The first step in learning how to treat anxiety is to learn exactly what it is, how it presents in the body (physiology) and where it comes from. Building an empowering, strong foundation is an essential component of battling any mental health-related issue or disorder. Lastly, research shows anxiety prevalence climbing, so it is paramount that those who suffer with it learn healthy ways to cope that can be passed down to their children to reduce these rates.


PTSD

As a retired police officer, I was diagnosed with PTSD, but not before it almost ruined my life. Prevalence estimates of PTSD among police officers is a whopping 7-19 percent and much of it goes undiagnosed. Once again, education regarding what exactly it is, how it presents physiologically and mentally and how it affects brain/cognitive functioning is paramount to successfully treating it. And because PTSD can erode interpersonal relationships, building a strong support system comprised of friends and loved ones offers the sufferer a better chance at recovery while promoting education and erasing barriers and stigmas.


CPTSD

Complex PTSD is cumulative trauma that is experienced over and again, without treatment, e.g., childhood abuse and neglect. However, anyone who experiences trauma multiple times (or repeated trauma) can suffer from CPTSD. Understanding what trauma is and how it affects brain development gives extraordinary insight into treatment and the safety and empathy provided during counseling sessions are powerful tools that allow those who suffer from it to embark on a journey to recovery, improved quality of life and improved relationships.

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