Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD


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Anxiety services offered in Panama City Beach, FL, Rockville Centre, NY and Union City, NJ

Anxiety is probably the most frequently cited symptom in the initial presentation.   Obviously, anxiety is unpleasant and debilitating. Broken down into types, anxiety can take the form of social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized worry.  Trauma symptoms also have a significant anxiety component. For treatment, contact my office, that of  licensed psychologist Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD, for an in-person session in Rockville Centre, New York. I also offers telehealth services from Rockville Centre and Union City, New Jersey. Expert care is a click away. Book an appointment by phone or online at  your convenience.


Anxiety Q & A

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a frequent accompaniment of modern life (and probably was of premodern life as well) and varies from worry,  fretful anticipation of adverse events, obsessive checking, dread of situations or objects, or panic episodes.

The physiological components of anxiety include muscle tension, heart palpitations, sweating, shaking, tightness in the chest, “rubbery” legs, or “butterflies in the stomach.” Anxiety puts wear and tear on the body and degrades quality of life.

The nomenclature or diagnostic classes of anxiety include Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Simple Phobia, and Social Phobia. Anxiety can also occur secondarily in disorders like depression, bipolar disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Exposure to trauma may create or enhance anxiety. Therapy is an effective treatment. Identifying the type of anxiety, applying targeted treatment, and achieving measurable relief is the goal of therapy. There is no need to suffer the unpleasant effects of anxiety when help is available.

What are some of the symptoms of anxiety you may experience. Here is a list of common concomittants of anxiety: 

  • Nervousness
  • Startling easily
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trembling in the hands or legs
  • Pounding heart rate
  • Constant muscle tension
  • Panic attacks
  • Obsessive worry or rituals
  • Continuous worry about something bad happening
  • Feelings of numbness in the extremities
  • Dissociation

Anxiety symptoms can “wax and wane” over time, shifting in severity or seeming to disappear, only to re-emerge later in stress. Children and adolescents are not immune to anxiety; anxiety can be mistaken for other disorders without proper diagnosis.

Are there different types of anxiety?

There are different types of anxiety. You can aggregate them by diagnosis, or, as I sometimes tend to do, by the origin in the brain. For example, to start, panic attacks may originate from one particular locus in the brain. Panic attacks are  sudden bursts of anxiety, sometimes accompanied by sweating, lightheadedness, difficulty breathing, shaking or rubbery legs, and a sense of losing control. Therapy has come a long way with panic disorder, from the days when insight-oriented therapy was the sole treatment (aside from a lot of self-medication by alcohol of the unhappy panic disorder). Frequently individuals with panic disorder have a somatic component, such as heart palpitations, and end up in the cardiologist's office, which is not necessarily a bad way to proceed at first to rule out something in that system, though the origins are probably best thought of as psychological, and psychological or psychiatric treatment then proceeds. 


Agoraphobia is the fear of venturing away from a safe place. After a panic attack, individuals may develop “anticipatory anxiety,” in which they fear having another attack and avoid places they associate with previous panic attacks. A person can become isolated, home-bound, or avoid travel because of fear of being hindered by anxiety.

Avoidant Personality Disorder is not really an anxiety disorder, but a personality disorder. but seems similar to social phobia, or rather a conglomeration of social phobias. Theodore Millon writes especially well about this personality disorder.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

This disorder can affect a child who fears separation from a parent, worries that close figures may leave or be injured, fears burglars or storms that may harm family members,  or is unable to concentrate at school because of worrying about a parent.

How is anxiety treated?

I (Damon LaBarbera, PhD)  have treated anxiety disorders for over three decades, using behavioral and cognitive behavioral techniques, coaching, lifestyle changes, and stress management exercises. He has worked with hundreds of veterans using re-experiencing and cognitive processing techniques to lessen trauma.  

CBT teaches you to change the flawed thoughts fueling your anxiety and transform the accompanying emotions. The effect of traumatic memories can be lessened by cognitive processing of stressful events. 

Call Damon G. LaBarbera, PhD, today or book an appointment online for expert anxiety relief.