Author: Pathway Psychiatry Clinic

What Are Anxiety Disorders and When to Seek Help

It is safe to say that everyone experiences stress or anxiety in their life occasionally. It could be preparing for  an interview, waiting to hear about that new job, giving a presentation to peers, or simply meeting a new group of people. That kind of stress can fine tune your skills, and the anxiety is normal and actually is expected. When those anxieties become part of your everyday life and affect your ability to function, you have stepped into another realm—a disorder. Let’s dive into what anxiety disorders are and when to seek help.


Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by excessive and persistent feelings of fear, worry, and unease. These disorders can manifest in various ways, and there are several different types of anxiety disorders.

It’s important to note that these are not the only types of anxiety disorders, and the symptoms and severity of these disorders may vary from person to person. It is important to consult Dr. Gardner for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan


A women that is struggling with anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This is a common type of anxiety that leads to fear of almost anything; what could happen in the person’s life, what might happen in the world, any potential fear making them perpetually worried.


This is an extreme fear of being somewhere you cannot escape. This fear takes over someone’s life and causes them to be fearful of going anywhere. They fear they will panic in front of others and therefore avoid most, if not all, social situations. Extreme cases cause someone to be afraid to leave their home entirely.

Panic Disorder

Someone with a panic disorder can be suddenly afraid of nothing in particular. They occur without warning and are accompanied by rapid heartbeat and pure terror. Panic attacks have no rational cause.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Someone with this disorder fears being in any social situation. They assume they are being scrutinized by everyone else, so they avoid going out in public. Physically they may shake, have a stomach upset, or an exaggerated heartbeat.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and PTSD

These two are no longer officially known as anxiety disorders, but they do have symptoms of anxiety.

Risk Factors

There are risk factors that can contribute to developing anxiety disorders.

They include the following:

  • Someone who has experienced abuse or those who have witnessed a traumatic event are more prone to anxiety disorders.
  • Stress from illness caused by significant worry about treatments and the future can increase an individual’s risk for anxiety disorders.
  • Stress buildup from life situations can trigger excessive anxiety. Examples include death, work stress, and financial worries. COVID may have added to this factor.
  • Certain personality types can be more prone to an anxiety disorder.
  • Other mental disorders like depression can increase someone’s risk.
  • Having a blood relative with an anxiety disorder increases a person’s risk.
  • Drugs and alcohol use or misuse can increase an individuals’ risk.

Schedule an Anxiety Consultation

If you recognize yourself in any of these anxiety disorders, get help early. If your anxiety is interfering with work or relationships, if it is difficult to control, if you are becoming depressed, or if you are having suicidal thoughts, do not wait to get help.

Contact Pathway Psychiatry at 214-997-4459 for help with anxiety disorders in Wylie, TX before it becomes worse.

Understanding Postpartum Depression And How To Deal With It

Postpartum depression does not discriminate. You can develop it whether your pregnancy was easy or difficult. You can suffer from it if you are a first time mom or already have a child, married or unmarried, and it occurs in women of all ages, races, and education. Simply put, it can happen to any woman, even you. That’s why understanding postpartum depression and how to deal with it is valuable information for all expectant mothers.


How To Recognize PPD

Some people consider the mood swings and rocketing emotions that occur after childbirth as baby blues. It is quite common, but it’s not postpartum depression. So how can you tell the difference?

One way to recognize PPD is the severity of the symptoms. It is common to feel sad, lonely, and a bit overwrought after the birth of a child. Hormonal changes are happening taking a toll on your equilibrium, but when these feelings don’t go away in a few weeks, it may be postpartum depression.

Some of the common warning signs include the following:

  • Constant anxiety or having panic attacks
  • Loss of pleasure in previous everyday joys, even sex
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Crying for long periods of time
  • Changes in sleeping and eating habits
  • Irritability and anger
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your newborn.

PPD does not go away on its own. It can show up days or even months after birth, and it can last for days or months without proper treatment.

A women on the floor with her head down.

What To Do About PPD

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms for more a few weeks, contact Pathway Psychiatry and Counseling Center. It is essential to let your provider know what is going on. Your physician may recommend counseling, support groups, or medications depending on your circumstances.

Simultaneously, you can take some self-help steps to alleviate symptoms of PPD. These include things like reaching out to a support system, practicing self-care, and finding healthy ways to cope with stress. Here are some other ways:

Get Needed Sleep

Yes, it’s difficult to get sleep with a newborn. Seek help from a friend or relative to give you time to catch an hour or two of sleep during the day. Take your nap when the baby is napping. Pump out a bottle ahead so your partner can do the feeding at night letting you get needed ZZZs.

Walk And Walk Some More

Take the baby out in their stroller for a long walk, weather permitting. If it’s too cold for your little one, you certainly can bundle up and stroll alone. Your partner or a friend can babysit for a short time. Walking is beneficial as an antidepressant for women especially.

Schedule Some Me Time

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your mother, mother-in-law or good friend is just waiting for you to ask. Pick a set time every week so you can plan ahead. Then you can watch a movie, get a pedicure, take a nap, or whatever YOU feel like doing.

Focus On The Facts

What you are experiencing is not your fault. 1 out of 7 women suffer from PPD. Know you are being proactive to get past it.

One half of women with PPD began to have symptoms during pregnancy. so it’s important to ask for help immediately.

Schedule a Postpartum Depression Consultation

Don’t wait, reach out for help now. Contact Dr. Ashley Gardner at (214) 997-4459 if you are experiencing any symptoms of postpartum depression. With the right support and treatment, you can overcome this difficult time and take the first step towards healing and recovery. So, don’t hesitate and make the call today.

Symptoms Of ADHD In Children And How Therapy Can Help

According to the CDC, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD is one of the most common chronic conditions in neurodevelopment, and it occurs when the central nervous system and the brain suffer impairments that affect growth and development. Let’s look at the symptoms of ADHD in children and how therapy can help both the child and parents.

Continue reading “Symptoms Of ADHD In Children And How Therapy Can Help”

Managing Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression that is typically at its worst during the winter season. Many individuals will experience worsening symptoms of SAD due to a lack of natural sunlight, though stress levels and even genetics can also influence the condition. Fortunately, Dr. Gardner has a few suggestions on how patients can manage their symptoms during these gloomy days!

Continue reading “Managing Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)”

How To Talk To Your Children About Mental Health

The first time a parent hears their young child say an unpleasant word, their reaction is usually: “Where did you learn that?” The truth is, many times the child will point at the dad or mom. Oops!

Yes, our little ones are sponges that mimic what we say and do. Our positive and negative role modeling can stay with kids for a lifetime. With all the anxiety, loneliness and depression in today’s world, how to talk to your children about mental health can be tricky and revealing.

Continue reading “How To Talk To Your Children About Mental Health”

How to Effectively Use Self-Care for Improved Mental Health

When you’re ‘down and out’, or ‘feeling small’, will self-care act like a bridge over troubled waters? Forgive our music comparison, but exactly what part does self-care play in helping us overcome the stresses in life? Some say it’s a cure-all, while others are less enthusiastic about how much help it actually provides. The real question should be how to effectively use self-care for improved mental health.

Continue reading “How to Effectively Use Self-Care for Improved Mental Health”

Staying Connected While Social Distancing

A woman holding a phone.

The Covid-19 virus outbreak is dramatically changing our everyday lives and people are still trying to navigate this new and evolving situation. Practicing social distancing can make socializing difficult and can become lonely BUT, you are not alone. We can still come together, in new and creative ways. Read below for some ideas on how to maintain your social connections:


Call, Text or Write

Scroll through your contact list in your phone and call someone you haven’t talked to in a while to see how they’re doing.
Surprise your neighbors with a kind note taped to their door to let them know you care. Write a heartfelt letter or note to your grandparents, or teach them to use a new form of technology so that they can have more options to connect with others.
Send a letter to close friends to let them know you are thinking about them. People love receiving mail that isn’t the usual junk mail or bills! You’d be surprised how something this simple can brighten someone’s day.


Virtual Dinner with Friends and Family

Most people love coming together for a meal, coffee, or good conversation over a snack and we can STILL do this with the help of a video app. There are several options including Skype, Zoom, and Facebook video apps. You can choose between your tablet or phone to prop up at your table, or you can eat in front of a computer with a webcam. Try starting the conversation earlier and cooking together while video chatting. Make sure your friends can see not only your face but your choice of food and drink while you catch up and laugh about how new and different this whole experience is!


Create a Virtual Birthday Card

Know someone who has a birthday that needs celebrating? Create a virtual birthday card using Google Slides and share it with that special person! Set up a video chat to see their expressions, comments, and laughs while they go through them all! You can share Google Slides via Google Drive with friends or family that also want to wish the special person a “happy birthday.” Each person can have their own slide to type what they want, add a picture, meme, or even a funny GIF. Follow the steps at this link: 


Social Distance Workouts

Do you find it hard to motivate yourself to workout at home? If so, there are clubs such as Absolute Fitness, Nutrition, or trainers that have moved to Facebook Live or are using the Zoom app as a way to invite others to join in on their work outs. With Facebook Live, you can watch and follow along. Join in the social aspect of exercise by commenting during breaks between exercises. With the Zoom app, both  sides can see and hear each other which can bring more accountability. Multiple virtual workouts including Zumba are available almost every day of the week!


Multiplayer Gaming

Have you found yourself with endless free time while being stuck at home? Online gaming is a great way to have fun with your friends. Here is a link to some of the most popular online games:


Share an Online Movie Night with Friends

With help from apps like Discord, Twitch, and Kast, you can set up a screen that can be shared with your friends and family! Even easier, you could pick a movie on Netflix or Amazon Prime and have everyone press play at the same time, while chatting about the movie over group text, Discord, or Slack.


Volunteer from Home and Help Food Banks

Many of us struggle with feelings of helplessness during this time and want to be there for others but unsure how to do so. Here are some links with ideas for ways to show up for your community, including helping to bring food to those in need:


We hope some of these ideas have been helpful while we all move forward together day by day. Stay tuned for more related articles. And, as always, stay safe and be well.

Managing Anxiety While Social Distancing

There is a lot of uncertainty and fear due to the COVID-19 global outbreak and the majority of us have been negatively affected in some way, shape or form, whether it is the loss of our jobs, transitioning to working from home, or coping with increased stress as our children’s schedules are disrupted. Millions of people are socially distancing to control the spread. The daily news coverage, with occasionally confusing and conflicting reports about the pandemic, has caused the incidence and severity of some people’s anxiety to skyrocket. In times like these, even if we had previously been able to manage our stress and anxiety, we may find it more difficult to manage our mental health and anxiety levels.

Woman sitting on a dock at the lake.

Here are a few ways to cope during this trying time:

  1. Take Care of Your Body and Spirit
    • Remember to drink water. Hydrating can improve your energy levels and brain function.
      Take at least ten minutes to exercise every day. Even a 10-minute walk can boost your mood, help you think more clearly and sleep better at night.
    • Get enough sleep. This can help reduce stress and improve productivity. Maintaining a sleep schedule can also help us cope with the schedule disruption that working from home can create.
    • Take note of your diet. It is common for us to either skip meals or snack more than usual during times of stress. Try adding something healthy you enjoy to your diet, and make sure you are taking note of how certain foods help you feel. It’s helpful to check-in with yourself after a snack or meal to note how it made your body and mind feel. Try to eat more foods that leave you feeling healthy and content.
  2. Stay Connected
    • Share any concerns you may have about the outbreak to a friend or family member. Maintain relationships through your social networks wither this is by scheduling regular phone calls, Facetiming family and friends, or communicating online with friends and family. Staying connected can help you to stave off feelings of depression, anxiety and anger.
  3. Take Mental Breaks
    • Take time to unwind. If the weather permits, reap the benefits of sunlight! Sunlight can boost your mood, increase your Vitamin D levels (which helps with your mood, immune function, and energy), and help you feel calm and focused.
    • Take some deep breaths, stretch or meditate. There are several smart phone apps which can be helpful if you prefer guided relaxation. Check out the Pathway Psychiatry Facebook Page to learn more about some options.
  4. Stay Updated
    • Watch news updates from trusted sources so you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and family. Focusing on what you can control will help you feel less overwhelmed by things that you are unable to control.
  5. Minimize Unhelpful Media Consumption
    • Avoid spending too much time watching news that causes you to feel anxious or overwhelmed.
  6. Find a New Hobby or Rediscover an Old Hobby
    • Trying to do something new or challenging like finishing a book or trying a new recipe in the kitchen can help you reduce stress.
    • This may be the perfect time to pick up a hobby you previously enjoyed. Try making a list of fun things you enjoyed in the past, and think of how you could incorporate them throughout your week.
  7. Ask for Help
    • If you are feeling anxious or if you are struggling with your mental health, reach out to a supportive person whether this is a clergy member, counselor, or doctor.
    • You can also contact The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or calling the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. Asking for help reveals strength, not weakness.
  8. Remember you’re not alone
    • Know that feeling stressed, down, guilty or angry during this unusual time is not unusual. Focusing on what we can control is important, and it can be helpful to remember we are not totally helpless and can choose how we respond to times of stress, and measures we take to help manage this stress.
    • If you know someone who is struggling, reach out and let them know that you care and are available to talk if they need a listening ear.

Stay tuned for more related topics and strategies for managing stress and maintaining your mental health.


The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.


Request an Appointment