Washburn University Anxiety Clinic

The treatments that are used in the Anxiety Clinic have been shown to be beneficial in scientific studies. The most effective type of treatment for most problems with anxiety involves cognitive behavioral therapy. In fact, the majority of individuals with problematic anxiety who complete a trial of cognitive behavioral therapy report significant improvements in their lives. 

In cognitive behavioral therapy, you will learn about the different parts of anxiety (behavioral, physiological and cognitive) and learn to monitor your anxiety. You will learn techniques to help you change the way you view yourself and the situations in which you become anxious. You will be instructed to seek out situations that make you anxious and to confront them using coping techniques that you will learn.  You may learn additional skills as well (such as relaxation skills). You will be asked to complete homework assignments between each therapy session. Finally, the therapy typically follows a treatment manual so that different therapists can use the same treatment with individuals with similar problems. Treatment sessions are typically once each week and last for one hour. 

Pre-treatment forms and information on the disorders commonly treated within the clinic are below:

Please print and complete the following forms and bring them to your initial appointment.

Client information form (Doc.)

Pre-treatment assemssment package (Doc.)

Pre-treatment Symptom measure (PDF)

What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) characterized by six months or more of excessive worry and anxiety about ordinary activities such as work, health, school, finances, or daily activities. Individuals with GAD often find that it is difficult to control their worrying and often expect the worst to occur. Furthermore, they may great difficulty relaxing. They may feel tense all the time and as a result have difficulty enjoying life. The worry may get in the way of being able to sleep or complete daily activities.

Associated Symptoms

  • Excessive worry and anxiety
  • Difficulties controlling worry and anxiety
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Easily tired
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep difficulties

What is the impact of GAD?

  • It is associated with divorce and unemployment
  • It is associated with decreased work productivity
  • In women, it has been associated with marriages being perceived as less satisfying
  • It is associated with moderate impairment in social and leisure activities
  • It is associated with high rates of utilization of medical care
  • It is associated with self-reports of having a very low quality of life

How common is GAD?

There is a 5% lifetime prevalence rate of GAD in the population. It is also a common problem among older adults.

What is social phobia (social anxiety disorder)?

People with social anxiety disorder experience of significant anxiety in social or performance situations.  Individuals with social anxiety disorder are often concerned about being judged or evaluated by other people.  They may believe that they will behave in an inept or unappealing way in social situations that will lead to embarrassment.  Another common concern is that other people will notice signs of their anxiety such as blushing, trembling, sweating, or having a shaky voice.  Individuals with social phobia often avoid social situations in which they experience significant anxiety or else suffer through them with marked distress.

Commonly feared situations include:

  • Eating in restaurants
  • Interacting with co-workers
  • Speaking in public
  • Dating
  • Talking with authority figures like bosses or teachers
  • Job interviews
  • Participating in class or meetings
  • Joining in a group conversation
  • Situations that require self-disclosure or sharing personal opinions

What is the impact of social anxiety disorder?

People with social anxiety disorder are less likely than others to date or marry.  They may have few friends and describe feeling dissatisfied  with and not emotionally close in the relationships that they do have. They may not go as far in their education as their talent and money will allow because of the social demands involved in completing an education (class participation, speeches, crowded campuses). Similarly, jobs may be chosen because the social demands are perceived as manageable rather than because of interest. People with social anxiety disorder report missing more work and being less productive at work than others. In some cases, people with social anxiety disorder are unable to work at all due to their fears. Not surprisingly, individuals with social anxiety disorder typically report that their quality of life is unsatisfactory. Individuals with social anxiety disorder may become depressed due to the losses they experience as a result of their social anxiety. Some individuals also develop problems when alcohol or drugs are used to self-medicate social anxiety symptoms.

How common is social anxiety disorder?

Research suggests that as many at 13% of people suffer from social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives, and it is the 3rd most common psychiatric disorder (National Comorbidity Survey).

What is the relationship between social anxiety disorder and avoidant personality disorder?

Both disorders involve concern about negative evaluation by other people.  There is considerable overlap in the symptoms of social anxiety disorder and avoidant personality disorder (and many people believe that they are actually two different ways of describing the same problems, with avoidant personality disorder describing a severe form of social anxiety disorder).  The treatments for both disorders are the same.

What is panic disorder?

Panic disorder is characterized by repeated panic attacks that are unexpected. Panic attacks are episodes of sudden fearfulness or terror that are accompanied by several physical symptoms. People with panic disorder typically live in dread of having another panic attack and may worry about the implications of the panic attacks (for example, fear that the panic attacks mean that they are going to have a heart attack, faint, have a stroke, suffocate, go crazy, hurt someone, or experience some other catastrophe). A common effect of having panic attacks is that a person begins to avoid situations where they had a panic attack or avoid situations in which they believe having a panic attack is likely. This avoidance is referred to as agoraphobia. Often the situations that are most feared are ones in which escape would be difficult or in which help may not be readily available. Individuals may begin to stay in their house and avoid places such as the grocery store, buses, driving, elevators, churches, movie theaters, restaurants, and sporting events.

Symptoms commonly associated with panic attacks:

  • Sweating
  • Racing or palpitating heart
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest Pain
  • Nausea or stomach pain
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flashes

What is the impact of panic disorder?

  • People with this disorder use a lot of medical resources
  • They are more likely to be hospitalized for physical problems than people with other psychiatric disorders
  • They miss twice as many work days as the average person
  • It is associated with other psychiatric disorders such as depression, GAD, and social phobia

How common is panic disorder?

Panic disorder with agoraphobia has a lifetime prevalence rate of approximately 3.5%

What is a specific phobia?

A specific phobia is an excessive and unreasonable fear of an object or a situation. When a person is exposed to the object or situation he or she may experiences anxiety, crying, physical symptoms, and avoidance of the object or situation. The individual knows that the fear is unreasonable or excessive. Nevertheless, the impairment or distress related to the specific phobia is to the point that it is problematic.

Types of specific phobias:

  • Fear of animals (snakes, dogs, spiders, mice, etc.)
  • Fear of things in the natural environment (heights, storms, water, etc.)
  • Fear of blood or injections
  • Fear of certain situations (airplanes, elevators, dentists, driving)
  • Miscellaneous other fears (situations that may lead to gagging, vomiting, or contracting an illness, etc.)

How common are specific phobias?

They are very common, affecting 11% of individuals at some point during their lives.

GET IN TOUCH WITH Psychology Clinic

Psychology Clinic
Henderson Learning Center, Room 111
Washburn University
1700 SW College Ave.
Topeka, KS 66621

Phone & Email
Phone: 785.670.1750

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