Is Heightened Anxiety and Fear About The Future Affecting How You Feel And Function?
Do you feel lost, scared or panicked about your future? Are you under a lot of pressure to do well in school, find the right job and make a life that your parents and society can be proud of? Has the loss of structure provided by your parent’s home, high school or even college left you feeling like you’re swirling in a scary world of the unknown? Are you finding it hard to sleep, eat well, or concentrate on daily tasks? Are you experiencing a racing heart or uncontrollable thoughts? Are you over-thinking, over-worrying and hating the change and uncertainty that can come with being a young adult? Do you constantly feel like you’re not good enough and not doing anything right and stressing about almost everything in your life? Do you wish you knew how to worry less, relax more and enjoy your life?
Making the transition from teenager to young adult can be a confusing, scary and even painful experience. A loss of school or family structure can bring excitement about increased independence, but that newfound independence can also generate a lot of unexpected fear. For some young adults – especially those who are prone to anxiety or have a family history of mood disorders – the pressure to be on the right path and succeed can cause extreme worry, provoke irrational fears, wreak havoc on the nervous system, and make you feel painfully uncomfortable.
Many Young Adults Experience Higher Than Normal Anxiety
Anxiety in young adults is a very common issue. Most, if not all, young adults experience some level of anxiety during some point within the transition from teenager to adult and into early adulthood. Young adults are charged with figuring out who they are, how they fit into the greater world and what they want to do with the rest of their lives. The formation of personal identity, first real attempts at independence, and navigating a new and broadening social landscape are not easy tasks. Add to that, the stress to excel, an increasingly demanding school or work schedule, and living on your own for the first time, and some level anxiety is inevitable.
While many young adults do an okay job of managing the stressors that inescapability come with the major life transition into adulthood, some may be more susceptible to developing heightened anxiety and worry. Young adults who have recently experienced a major loss, trauma, significant life transition or who have a family history of anxiety or mood disorders may be at increased risk.
Whether your anxiety is situational (caused by specific stressors, liker school) or pervasive (generalized across a wide variety of issues), it’s important that you learn how to manage stress in healthy ways. Getting help now can mitigate meltdowns, burnout, and prevent unhealthy coping patterns from becoming entrenched.
Therapy Can Help You Cope With Anxiety In Healthier Ways
The good news is that help is available. Therapy has been shown to be extremely effective in helping young adults through times of high stress and anxiety. Anxiety is treatable. The process is workable. And, with the help of a good therapist, many people can work through their anxious feelings and behaviors without medication intervention.
Your highly trained and experienced BPS therapist will work with you to get to the root of what’s causing your anxiety. Your therapist can help you identify and understand triggers, challenging thoughts and emotions and move through them. With help, you can learn how to recognize anxious feelings and develop skills to stay more calm and relaxed.
You can also learn body awareness tools and develop an appreciation for the mind/body connection. Our bodies send us signals that indicate when we are taking on too much, which can push us into overload and trigger heightened anxiety. Developing an increased awareness of body sensations, and learning ways to calm the body and mind, can yield dramatic results. You can also develop a mindfulness practice, learn calming techniques, breathing exercises and other healthy ways to cope with stress. These skills can help you better manage your anxiety now, as well as serves as valuable tools that you can draw on throughout life.
Your therapist can also help you look at the big picture. Together, you can look at your thoughts, behaviors, schedule, relationships, and work or school load. You can examine lifestyle choices, your support system, and develop strategies to bring more balance into your life. With help, you can begin to become more aware of who you are and become realistic about what you are capable of doing. Oftentimes, making shifts in schedules and workload, as well as learning how to calm negative thoughts, can alleviate stresses and promote wellbeing.
While there is no quick fix for anxiety, countless young adults suffering from both pervasive and situational anxiety have developed effective strategies to cope with stress and create better balance in their lives. With help, it is very possible for you to develop these skills and feel and function better on a regular basis. And, learning these skills now can help prepare you to handle the challenges that inevitably come with life. Learning life-long, healthy coping skills and relaxation techniques in early adulthood can set you up for future success in all realms of your life.
But, you still may have questions or concerns…
I’m afraid that I will be diagnosed with anxiety and that medication will be prescribed.
First, medication is not the only route to treating anxiety and in no way will medication be pushed on you. Ultimately, the decision is yours. And, many young adults have undergone therapy for anxiety and experienced relief without any need for medication. There are a wide variety of approaches, modalities, lifestyle changes, and practices that can yield noticeable results without medication.
In the case that all other approaches and strategies are not working, your BPS therapist may suggest that you meet with a psychiatrist. There are biochemical factors that can contribute to some forms of anxiety, which medication can significantly help. If medication is prescribed, your BPS psychiatrist will work closely with you and your therapist in order to monitor medication and ensure that you are making progress.
Experience shows us that many people experience the best results when taking the right medication and dosage while working with a trained and experienced therapist with whom they can easily relate. Medication can help take the edge off anxiety symptoms. And, therapy can help you explore imbedded negative thoughts and patterns and make positive changes in your thinking and behavior.
I think that I could benefit from therapy, but the idea of taking on another weekly appointment and the work that therapy will create feels really overwhelming.
If you really want to get well – to feel less worry and more joy – than getting well needs to become a priority. You need to commit to therapy and come consistently. Otherwise, untreated anxiety can worsen and you may begin trying to cope in unhealthy ways, like self-medicating. With help now, you can feel better sooner. You can learn how to manage your anxiety, get to know yourself better, create more balance in your life, and alleviate many of the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that anxiety creates.
I think that therapy could be helpful, but I’m concerned about costs.
This is your life and wellbeing. Addressing your anxiety now can prevent a host of problems that can occur if you allow your symptoms to go untreated. Investing in your self now may not only address your symptoms, but also prevent you from developing unhealthy coping mechanisms or self-medicating. Untreated anxiety can also wreak havoc on your nervous system and lead to so much stress that you may struggle to function on a day-to-day basis.
Many people come to BPS having worked with other therapists who were not trained to work specifically with young adults and anxiety issues or who they couldn’t relate with – which is a waste of time and money. At BPS, we’ll conduct a referral assessment and match you with a therapist who is trained and experienced to treat young adults with anxiety and whose personality is a good match for you. Once you find that good match, making a commitment to yourself may be one of the most valuable investments there is. Imagine feeling and functioning better on a regular basis and ask yourself what that’s worth.
If money still is an issue, you can talk with your BPS therapist to see if they work on a sliding scale. They may also be able to help you find other lower cost resources in the community.
We encourage you to schedule a referral assessment with a BPS therapist, trained by BPS Director, Dr. Jan Hittelman. We will work with you to determine what your specific issues are and ensure a good match between you a BPS therapist in terms of personality, style and expertise.
You can also check out our free, online therapist directory, which will match you and with a therapist who has expertise working with young adults with anxiety.