What Does It Mean to Have an Anxiety Disorder?
Doctors agree that normal levels of anxiety and stress are common, two things we all deal with regularly. Richard Maddock, M.D. writes for UC Davis Health that they can be appropriate responses to certain situations, particularly those that involve risk and uncertainty.
Where anxiety becomes something more and can become an anxiety disorder, is when it begins to crowd out other normal behaviors, thought patterns, and emotions. Reacting normally, even with anxiety or stress, means you can move past the negative side effects of feeling them. Anxiety disorders are when you can’t stop worrying or thinking about something that scared you, or even something that could happen. The disorder is when the anxiety never goes away.
There Are Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists four main types of anxiety disorder. Some can have variations depending on the person, but the main four are:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Symptoms can vary by person but doctors have noticed certain ones enough to make a list.
For GAD, sleeping problems may be an indicator, along with an increase in irritability, getting tired easily (sometimes related to the sleeping problem), having trouble controlling worries, and muscle tension. Another symptom is feeling “on edge,” which can mean different things for everyone. Sometimes it’s described as similar to feeling over-caffeinated, or unable to calm down.
Panic disorder brings with it symptoms that feel slightly more serious due to being related to panic attacks. Our bodies can respond pretty strongly to feeling anxious and stressed out, so panic disorder can bring sweating, an accelerated heart rate, and feeling like you can’t catch your breath, or that you’re having a hard time breathing.
There are quite a few phobias and different symptoms associated with them, but all of them are related to a specific fear. Sometimes the phobia is related to a situation or place (heights, flying, enclosed spaces, etc.), or even an object or living thing (spiders, snakes, blood, etc), and these are occasionally referred to as “simple phobias.” Whether the phobia is related to an object, place, or idea, symptoms usually involve a powerful fear that seems impossible to get past, plus intense anxiety over those situations and feeling the need to avoid them no matter what.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is related to a person having a traumatic experience. Even if it isn’t life-threatening, those situations can lead to PTSD. There are cases of PTSD reported after natural disasters, war, or being involved in or just witnessing a very serious accident, like a car or plane crash. Symptoms for PTSD can include being very easily startled, continuing nightmares, feeling as if your emotions are dulled or non-existent, and reliving the traumatic event over and over in your mind.
How Can I Get My Anxiety Treated?
Each type of anxiety disorder will come with its own treatment, and each case is treated based on the individual’s needs. At SUN Behavioral we’re focused on finding the needs you have in order to start recovery, meeting them, and supporting you throughout recovery.
No matter what treatment is needed or used, we know you are the expert in your own life and no one else knows your thoughts, feelings, and needs. That’s why when we’re treating anxiety, we make sure to empower you by offering multiple treatment options.
We use a combination of treatments, all evidence-based, with excellent results in treating anxiety. Sometimes medication is needed, but not always, and we have a licensed psychiatrist on staff to help with medications in those situations.
One treatment you may hear a lot about is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This is a form of therapy where you are interacting directly with a therapist, talking through your thoughts and emotions, aiming to change the way your body reacts to stress and anxiety. By using CBT to fully understand how the anxiety may be starting, you can start the process of changing your reactions when you feel anxious.
Treatment includes 24/7, professional nursing care. If you are staying here for treatment you will be attended by compassionate and experienced nurses with your health as their number one priority. We also have doctors available to check out any medical issues that may show up. Licensed therapists are here to guide solo sessions (usually where CBT takes place), and group sessions as well, which can be a huge benefit by seeing how others are handling anxiety similarly, or differently than you.
We also have activity specialists to help keep you busy and ensure you’re getting evidence-based treatment through non-traditional therapy, like art and exercise. Studies have shown physical health can have a positive impact on mental health, and expressing yourself through non-verbal means helps the brain process emotions in different ways.
Longer term recovery is supported through individual and group therapy that focuses on problem-solving and learning valuable life skills. These will help keep you on the long-term recovery track, and in addition to chatting with healthy living groups, function as ongoing treatment methods for when you are back to your day-to-day life outside of SUN Behavioral.
Reach out and let us know how we can help. SUN Behavioral is dedicated to learning about your life, using your knowledge of who you are and how you feel, and finding your needs. Once we know exactly what is needed we can begin addressing that, with your achievable long-term recovery in mind. We would love to talk with you today.
FAQs About Anxiety
What Is the Best Treatment for Anxiety?
There isn’t one, best treatment for anxiety. Because everyone’s bodies are different, their reactions to anxiety are going to require different treatments. Also, since there are multiple types of anxiety disorders, those individuals can experience big differences in anxiety. Usually, CBT and medication are the most common, but those are by no means the “best”.
Can Anxiety Be Cured?
Don’t think of it as “cured” or “uncured,” because anxiety isn’t classified as a disease. Anxiety can be treated and the person experiencing it can stop feeling it, or stop being so affected by it that they can’t live a normal life. If the question is phrased “Can I get past anxiety?” the answer is big, loud YES.
How Can I Reduce Anxiety Fast?
Doctors recommend deep breathing along with other calming methods, like meditation, yoga, or general mindfulness, which is similar to meditation but centers around focusing your thoughts to guide them purposefully to calm.
What Are the Four Types of Anxiety Disorders?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) lists them as: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, phobias, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).