Anxiety, a normal response to change or stress, helps us to deal with tense situations, to adapt to changing life forces, to make informed decisions, and stay focused.

Fear is a normal response to a life-threatening situation that requires immediate action. When anxiety feels like fear, is irrational, ongoing, excessive, or interferes with everyday situations, then it often becomes disabling.

Generalized Anxiety

Persons who have felt anxious for most of their lives and live in situations that wouldn’t normally cause high anxiety may have Generalized Anxiety.  This can arise from genetics, from early childhood traumas, or from learning anxious and fearful coping skills from the parents. 

Living with anxiety for a long time affects all aspects of our lives: how we interact with our loved ones, how we make our day-to-day decisions, and what we teach our children about stress. Starting therapy immediately when one has been dealing with anxiety can transform anxious thinking into peacefulness, and improve the sense of control in life.  If you are struggling with any of the listed symptoms, therapy can be beneficial for you.

Symptoms of Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbance: difficulty calming the mind to go to sleep or waking up in the middle of the night worried
  • Worries about things that seem silly or out of proportion to the actual event
  • Constant thinking about fears
  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up
  • Being easily fatigued and tired
  • Difficulty concentrating

Panic Attacks

These intense bursts of anxiety usually last at least 10 minutes. Typically, a person having a panic attack suffers shortness of breath, a feeling of not being in reality, fears dying, feels numb, and has heart palpitations.  People often report feeling as if they are going to have a heart attack. 

The feelings of fear, numbness, and shakiness that carry over after a panic attack, can last from hours to days.  Specific triggers can bring on some attacks, while other attacks have no trigger.  Most people fear having another panic attack, and restrict their activities to prevent further attacks.  Not dealing with panic attacks often makes them worse.  Psychotherapy treatment is effective and often necessary for controlling panic attacks.

Dr. Wambach recommends the following books to learn how anxiety affects you.

These books and workbooks may be conveniently purchased online at or from your favorite San Jose or San Francisco area book store.

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Call today to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Michelle Wambach, Psy.D.
Licensed Marriage Family Therapist
California License MFC 41571
Oregon License  OBLPCT T2088

4020 Moorpark Avenue, Suite 206
San Jose, California 95117
(408) 247-7909

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