An anxiety disorder can make you to feel chronically distressed, uneasy and frightened (even to the point of prolonged panic). Left untreated, an anxiety disorder can dramatically reduce your daily productivity, as well as steadily erode your overall quality of life. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can bring relief.
Most people experience feelings of anxiety before an important event such as a big exam, business presentation or first date. Anxiety disorders, however, are mental disorders that cause people to feel frightened, distressed and uneasy for no apparent reason. Often people suffering from an anxiety disorder also experience symptoms of depression, including a loss of interest in ordinarily satisfying activities; sadness and hopelessness; reduced feelings of pleasure; appetite and sleep disturbances; and difficulties with concentration, decision-making and memory.
How Common Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in America. Nearly 20 million people are affected by debilitating anxiety disorders each year.
What Are the Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders?
Repeated episodes of intense fear that strike often and without warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, abdominal distress, feelings of unreality, and fear of dying.
Repeated, unwanted thoughts or compulsive behaviors that seem impossible to stop or control.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing a traumatic event such as rape or other types of criminal assault, war, child abuse, natural disasters, or crashes. Common symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, numbing of emotions, depression, anger, irritability, feeling distracted and being easily startled.
Two major types of phobias are specific phobia and social phobia. People with specific phobia experience extreme, disabling, and irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger; the fear leads to avoidance of objects or situations and can cause people to limit their lives unnecessarily. People with social phobia have an overwhelming and disabling fear of scrutiny, embarrassment, or humiliation in social situations, which leads to avoidance of many potentially pleasurable and meaningful activities.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Constant, exaggerated, worrisome thoughts and tension about everyday routine life events and activities, lasting at least six months. Almost always anticipating the worst even though there is little reason to expect it; accompanied by physical symptoms such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.
What Are the Treatments for Anxiety Disorders?
The sooner an anxiety disorder is diagnosed and treatment is begun, the sooner you can expect to feel the beneficial effects of recovery! The basic way to treat an anxiety disorder is with therapy, and, in some cases, a combination of therapy and medication.
There are therapists who are especially skilled at helping people who are suffering with anxiety disorders. Therapy provides a safe, comforting and confidential setting in which to receive the kind of help and understanding that can best assist in first relieving, then understanding, and finally recovering from the effects of an anxiety disorder.
Two of the most effective forms of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders are behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Behavioral therapy offers opportunities to learn to change actions through techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing or through gradual exposure to what is frightening. Cognitive-behavioral therapy supports and guides individuals as they learn to understand their existing thinking patterns and develop new, healthy skills for reacting to the situations that cause them anxiety.
Combination of Therapy and Medication
In some cases, a combination of therapy and carefully monitored medication offers very successful results. More medications are available than ever before to effectively treat anxiety disorders. These include antidepressants and benzodiazepines. If one medication is not effective, your prescribing doctor or therapist will identify a medication and dosage level that is best suited for you.
Link: Find a Therapist