A recent “Times Magazine” article released a study suggesting that 40% of Americans are more anxious than they were at this time last year. This total includes the more than 40 million Americans who have diagnosable anxiety disorders. With such staggering numbers it seems appropriate to seek to understand the cycle of anxiety.
As noted below in this graphic below provided by Trinity Professional Counseling services, the cycle of anxiety typically begins with a trigger that causes worry or panic. Experiencing worry and panic is actually a primal feeling that helps keep us alive. If you were camping in the mountains and stumbled upon a bear, for example, the worry and panic feeling you would experience would tell you to get away and protect yourself. Anxiety disorders become intrusive parts of our lives when we begin to feel debilitating worry and panic about normal daily living experiences such as going to school, talking on the phone or ordering food at a restaurant.
It is common for those struggling with anxiety disorders to find avoidance tactics to not have to face the experience that triggered the panic feeling. For example, a teenager may refuse to go to school, they might only communicate via text to avoid live phone conversations and they might find someone to order for them or stop going to restaurants altogether.
While these avoidant behaviors may provide temporary relief for an individual, they also reinforce the unreasonable threat and set the individual up for a resurgence of worry and panic in the future. Repeat this cycle for years and an individual loses confidence in their ability to cope with the normal stress of daily life.
At Cascade Academy we believe in disrupting the cycle of anxiety. How do we accomplish this? By providing intentional, purposeful and sequential opportunities to confront worry and panic in a safe and supportive environment. We believe that repetitive experiential success creates transferable self-efficacy for adolescent girls and their families. Our goal is to help adolescent girls embrace life with courage and joy!