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Quickstart Guide to Understanding & Addressing Anxiety
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC

~Anxiety can be debilitating
~In many cases neurotransmitter imbalances not the initial cause of anxiety, but a symptom
~Low-grade chronic stress/anxiety erodes your energy and ability to concentrate
~Anxiety is a major trigger for:
~Addiction relapse
~Depression
~Increased physical pain
~Worsening of physical illnesses
~Chronic anxiety can make people more vulnerable to PTSD
What is Anxiety
~Anxiety is half of the “Fight or Flight Response”
~It’s function is to protect you from possible danger (Thank you!)
~It can become a problem when it is overly intense/uncontrollable because of
~Overgeneralization
~Poor coping skills
~Emotional reasoning and cognitive distortions
~Biochemical issues (nutrition, hormones, sleep deprivation)
~It can be caused by excess serotonin, norepinepherine or glutamate or too little GABA (est. 80% adults have neurochemical imbalance)
~What is causing the neurochemical imbalance
Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety
~Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms can vary. They may include:

Physical Impacts
~HPA-Axis overstimulation / excess cortisol
~Metabolic syndrome
~High blood pressure
~High blood sugar
~GI disturbances and ulcers
~Sleep disturbances
~Increased aging
~Headaches
~Infertility
~Sexual dysfunction
~Weakened immune system
~Fatigue
~Restlessness
~Hair loss
~Autoimmune issues
Affective and Cognitive Impacts
~Difficulty taking perspectives
~Difficulty concentrating
~Becoming easily confused
~Having memory problems
~Negative self-talk
~Having marked mood swings (emotional dysregulation)
~Finding it hard to make decisions

Relational Impacts
~Social withdrawal
~Reduced support system
~Difficulty taking perspectives
~Reduction in leisure activities

Physical Interventions
~Your body thinks there is a threat. Help it restore itself so it is ready to fight the lion
~Supportive Care
~Create a sleep routine
~Helps the brain and body rebalance and restore HPA-Axis functioning
~Improves energy level through removal of adenosine and systemic repair
~Nutrition
~Provides the building blocks
~Provides sufficient energy
~Helps set circadian rhythms
Physical Interventions
~Supportive Care
~Medication
~SSRIs/SNRIs
~Buspirone
~Exercising at a low intensity (40-50% of THRZ) has been shown to reduce cortisol
~Yoga + Mindfulness
~Sunlight
~Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in some mood issues
~Sunlight prompts the skin to tell the brain to produce neurotransmitters
~Sunlight sets circadian rhythms which impact the release of serotonin, melatonin and GABA
Affective and Cognitive Interventions
~Mindfulness & Acceptance
~Identify a Rich and Meaningful Life
~Observation | Acceptance | Labeling and Letting Go
~Identify trigger thoughts
~Differentiate between expectations and current reality
Psychological Interventions
~Distress Tolerance: It isn’t always about controlling your anxiety
~Distract don’t react
~Ride the wave
~Use distancing techniques–
~I am having the thought that….
~Vacation
~Thought stopping
~Imagery
~De-personalize
~Explore the dialectics
~Loss of Control & The Unknown
~Focus on one thing in the moment
~Think of prior experiences
Affective and Cognitive Interventions
~Relaxation Skills
~What is relaxation…
~Diaphragmatic breathing
~Combat breathing
~Meditation
~Cued Progressive Muscular Relaxation
~Self-Esteem
~Real vs. Ideal Self
~Compassionate self talk
~Don’t reject yourself
~Silence the inner critic
~Spotlighting strengths & acceptance of imperfections
~Cognitive Restructuring
~Create an attitude of gratitude and optimism
~Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
~Recreation Sometimes a break is what you need to get a breakthrough
~Make a list of fun things (opposite emotions)
~Activities
~Contributing
~Sensations
~Add triggers for relaxation
~Eliminate stress triggers
Relational Interventions
~Improve your relationship with yourself
~Develop healthy, supportive relationships

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