Have you experienced chronic, consuming worry or fear about circumstances in your daily life? Do these feelings conflict with your daily routine, and are they hard or impossible to control? Does the worry outweigh the actual threat?
If this sounds familiar, have no fear. For one, anxiety disorders are common, and you aren’t alone. Also, there’s hope. Any type of anxiety disorder can benefit from treatment.
Anxiety disorders are so common that they are the most common mental health illness in America.
About 31.1% of adults in the United States will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
Here in Delaware alone, one out of every eight adults has received a diagnosis for an anxiety disorder.
So, what exactly classifies as an anxiety disorder?
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety is not one size fits all. There are many different types of anxiety disorders that all have various symptoms and descriptions. These include, but are not limited to:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Constant, ongoing worry about everyday occurrences. The worry, which is hard to control, outweighs the situation. It can even have physiological effects.
- Panic disorder (PD): Having frequent panic attacks or extreme anxiety comes to a head in minutes. Symptoms include a racing heart, shortness of breath, and intense fears (such as death).
- Social anxiety disorder: extreme worry about social situations, including judgement by others or embarrassment.
- Specific phobias: Overwhelming fear or anxiety when confronted with a certain item, situation, or activity.
Conditions related to anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
OCD is when intrusive thoughts become fixations or obsessions, which results in compulsive behavior. PTSD occurs when a traumatic experience results in intense thoughts and feelings related to the event long after the trauma has occurred.
So, what is it like to live with an anxiety disorder? The most common symptoms of anxiety disorders include disproportionate levels of fear and/or worry. However, there are many more symptoms to consider.
Symptoms of Anxiety – Why Is It a Disorder?
While all anxiety disorders have different symptoms, there are some common indicators that you could be experiencing an anxiety disorder. These include:
- Panic and/or fear
- Feelings of doom or impending danger
- Trouble sleeping, remaining calm, and/or concentrating
- Ruminating, or repeatedly thinking about a thought or issue
- Nausea, tensed muscles, feeling dizzy
- Breathing problems (shortness of breath and/or hyperventilation)
- Going to great lengths to avoid items or places associated with worry
If any of this sounds familiar, you could have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can be attributed to a whole host of things, including genetics, brain circuitry, stressful environments, substance withdrawal or use, and certain medical conditions.
There are also things that put you at risk for anxiety. Some of the risk factors of anxiety disorders include:
- Having another mental health issue
- Trauma or stressful life events
- Substance use
- Dealing with a chronic condition or severe illness
What do you do if you suspect you or a loved one may have an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety Disorders Treatment, Support & Psychotherapy
The first thing you should do if you suspect an anxiety disorder is to visit your primary care doctor.
While there aren’t lab tests that can diagnose anxiety, they may be used to ensure a health condition isn’t the reason for symptoms of anxiety.
This is important because medical conditions can produce symptoms similar to that of an anxiety disorder. These conditions include, but aren’t limited to, heart disease, respiratory disorders, and thyroid problems.
Fear and Worry Make the Disorder Worse, Time to Seek Support
Diagnosis includes a psychological evaluation and use of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria.
Treatment can include psychotherapy and/or medications. A common example of psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps people develop new thought patterns, which help change behaviors and reactions.
Treatment can also be supplemented by other things, such as support groups or meditation.
Treatments for Anxiety FAQs
What is the best treatment for anxiety?
The most common therapy used for anxiety disorders is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a form of psychotherapy that is known to be effective for anxiety disorders and helps patients identify and change their thought patterns. This helps with how people respond to problems and behave. Medications provide relief from anxiety symptoms and are often part of treatment.
Can anxiety be cured?
While there is no guarantee that anxiety can be cured, it can be treated and managed. The symptoms of anxiety can be relieved, but not cured, by medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. CBT helps to develop new, healthier thought patterns to combat anxiety.
How can I reduce anxiety fast?
Techniques such as meditation or mindfulness, which focuses your attention on the present, can help reduce anxiety quickly. Breathing techniques and focusing on your senses helps bring you back to the present. Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can help quell physical symptoms. Enjoying relaxing activities such as taking a walk or a bath can also reduce anxiety.
What are the 6 types of anxiety disorders?
The major types of anxiety include social anxiety disorder, specific phobia(s), panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.
Help With Disorders of Anxiety Including Panic
Here at Sun Behavioral Health, we diagnose and treat anxiety. We know that everyone struggles with mental health conditions, whether you are a child, adolescent, adult, or senior. That’s why we have different programs, such as adult outpatient services, based on your needs and stage of life. Some of the services we offer include crisis stabilization, 24-hour assessments, and inpatient psychiatric treatment. Start managing your anxiety today by giving us a call at 302-604-5600.