Anxiety Disorders

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” - Arthur Somers Roche

Anxiety Disorders

“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” - Arthur Somers Roche

Anxiety affects all of us. It's a part of life. Whether it's the emotion a newborn feels when Mom leaves the room, or the existential questions we face at the end of our lives, it's a central part of the human experience. In some situations, anxiety can be helpful. There are times when it is reasonable to be afraid. Times when it's necessary to face tough and wrenching questions.

But there are other times where anxiety can make you feel helpless, like you're alone in a big world, and that big world is pushing in on all sides. Maybe a panic attack happens and you just don't have the tools to cope. Or perhaps a phobia or nagging stressor feels like an insurmountable obstacle, and you wonder if you'll ever move past it. The anxiety could even be a chronic and subtle buzz underlying your daily life, and you're not even sure if peace is a possibility.

If you're reading this and you feel alone, stop and take a deep breath - you're no longer alone. We're Four Stones Collaborative for a reason. Together we can do this. We will partner with you and equip you with the tools to build a better future. Our balanced combination of practical therapy, experience, diverse skills, and compassion makes us uniquely equipped to help you face anxiety head-on. The climb will be challenging, but the view will be worth it.


There are many different types of anxiety disorders, and many different people that find themselves affected by these disorders. Here are a few of the common types of disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
This is the anxious hum that underlies day-to-day life. The anxiety is not focused on anything specific. Signs of generalized anxiety disorder can include tiredness, lack of sleep, muscular tension, inability to concentrate, excessive sweating, and preoccupation with everyday problems. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder may feel helpless to stop the cyclical thought patterns in which they find themselves trapped.

Panic Disorder:
This disorder comprises various short-term responses to anxiety-producing stimuli, resulting in a panic attack lasting anywhere from minutes to hours. Symptoms vary from elevated heart rate and dizziness to extreme fear and a fight-or-flight response. In contrast to generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder is a series of specific episodes producing intense anxiety. These attacks can be sudden and debilitating, which profoundly affects the sufferer's everyday life.

Social Anxiety Disorder:
Feeling fear in social situations, especially the fear of being embarrassed or humiliated, is the main symptom of social anxiety disorder. Many humans have some level of social anxiety, but social anxiety disorder is characterized by the effect this anxiety has on a person's life. If the anxiety causes avoidance of social situations, or results in symptoms such as sweating, nausea, elevated heart rate, and shaking, it may properly be called a disorder.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder:
When trauma occurs in a human's life, it can leave a deep and lasting impact. Traumatic events can include combat, the death of a loved one, assault (sexual, physical, or emotional), and debilitating illness. Posttraumatic stress disorder involves a person's response to this trauma. Symptoms can include loss of memory concerning the traumatic event, or constant reliving of the event. Additionally, sudden anger, strong anxiety unrelated to the present, extreme vigilance of one's surroundings, and trouble sleeping can occur.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder:
A wide variety of symptoms comprise obsessive-compulsive disorder. Generally, they include consistently intrusive and unwanted thought patterns, uncontrollable and repeated ritual behaviors, and an inability to rationally override these patterns or rituals. This disorder can dramatically affect a person's life, whether by avoidance of triggering situations or the anxiety felt when rituals are not followed. In addition, obsessive-compulsive disorder may affect memory and cognitive processing speed.

The National Institute of Mental Health lists the following symptoms of the various anxiety disorders. If you are experiencing two or more of these symptoms, contact us to schedule a consultation.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Panic Disorder:

  • Sudden and repeated attacks of intense fear
  • Feelings of being out of control during a panic attack
  • Intense worries about when the next attack will happen
  • Fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past

Social Anxiety Disorder:

  • Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  • Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Being very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Staying away from places where there are other people
  • Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
  • Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder:

  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

  • Fear of germs or contamination
  • Unwanted forbidden or taboo thoughts involving sex, religion, and harm
  • Aggressive thoughts towards others or self
  • Having things symmetrical or in a perfect order
  • Excessive cleaning and/or handwashing
  • Ordering and arranging things in a particular, precise way
  • Repeatedly checking on things, such as repeatedly checking to see if the door is locked or that the oven is off
  • Compulsive counting
  • Can't control his or her thoughts or behaviors, even when those thoughts or behaviors are recognized as excessive
  • Spends at least 1 hour a day on these thoughts or behaviors
  • Doesn’t get pleasure when performing the behaviors or rituals, but may feel brief relief from the anxiety the thoughts cause
  • Experiences significant problems in their daily life due to these thoughts or behaviors

Anxiety can quench the hope for a brighter future. At Four Stones Collaborative, we will partner with you to rekindle that hope. Through therapy, consultation, skill-building, and medication where appropriate, we will help you build a strong foundation from which to battle anxiety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Anxiety Disorders