Anxiety Disorders

Thomas Greenman, LMHC
Sr. Vice President of Acute Care

Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear and worry. The fear and worry are not connected to ‘real’ events but persist despite the lack or real threats and the individuals cannot control it.
What can anxiety ‘look like’?

  • Restlessness, on edge, ‘keyed up’

  • Easily fatigues

  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, can’t stop worrying

  • Irritable

  • Muscle tension

  • Sleep disturbance

One anxiety disorder is Agoraphobia which is characterized by intense fear of:

  • Using public transportation

  • Being in open spaces

  • Being in enclosed spaces

  • Standing in line or being in a crowd

  • Being outside of the home alone

The result of these fears is the person avoiding these circumstances, which severely limits their socialization and contact with the world.

The best interventions with a client who is having an anxiety attack is to be very calm and patient yourself, assure them they are safe, ask them to do some deep breathing and to focus solely on their breathing, and focus on something other than their anxiety (e.g. play a game with them, give them something to read).