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Anxiety Can Affect All In The Family


There are two types of anxiety, acute and chronic. Acute anxiety occurs on a daily basis. Examples are the reactions we get to stressors such as being late for a meeting, a child waking up with a cold/illness, sitting in traffic, missing a train/bus, etc. Chronic anxiety is more of a background of anxiety that we carry with us. Much of this type of anxiety is programmed into us during our years in our family of origin, a level of anxiety that was/is usual for the family. We carry it around like a bad habit … it is more or less automatic.

We seem to pass it along to other family members including our children. If the family anxiety tends to settle in a child, the child will develop a symptom (physical, mental/emotional, or social). The onset of the symptom will add to the parent’s anxiety. They will begin to worry and the more they worry, the more the child becomes anxious.

When a family becomes stressed, everyone feels anxious. The anxiety moves easily from person to person in the family. Anxiety that affects one, affects all.

Anxiety affects your whole being. It is a physiological, behavioral, and psychological reaction all at once. On a physiological level, anxiety may include bodily reactions such as rapid heartbeat, ability to act, express your self or deal with everyday situations. Psychologically, anxiety is a state of uneasiness. In most extreme cases, it can cause you to feel detached from yourself. A complete program of recovery from an anxiety disorder must address all three levels to reduce physiological reactivity, eliminate avoidance behavior and change your inner voice (self talk) from negative to positive.

Symptoms of anxiety include shortness of breath, rapid heart beat or irregular heart beat, shaking, numbness, sweating and dizziness.

When you can reduce your own anxiety, you will notice a significant difference within your family members. When you become less reactive, there are less symptoms and the family is freer to be the best it can be.

At the Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we have a team of professionals who can help you work through anxiety. We provide individual, family and couple therapy. If you are in agreement, we ask that you bring in family members as well. For further information call 908-322-0112 or visit We are available day, evening and weekend hours.

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