Treatment Options For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder can dominate your life, and often lasts a long time. But there are a number of different treatment approaches that can help you learn to better manage your anxiety and lead a normal life again. Some medications are also effective.
People who have generalized anxiety disorder aren’t afraid of specific things or situations, but of a wide range of things, which is why it is referred to as generalized anxiety. This can take a great emotional toll and also cause a number of physical symptoms such as drowsiness, muscle tension and a racing heartbeat. Being in a state of constant worry is exhausting, but there are different treatments that can help reduce the anxiety down to a tolerable level.
Unlike other kinds of anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder often first develops in middle-aged people. But anxiety disorders can affect people of all ages.
What Are The Top 4 Anxiety Disorders
The most common anxiety disorders are specific phobias. According to the American Psychiatric Association, up to 12% of adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with specific phobias every year. Coming in under specific phobias in second place is social anxiety disorder, with 7% of adults getting diagnosed every year.
Up to 3% of U.S. adults are diagnosed with panic disorder per year, and 2% find that they have GAD.
What Medications Are Prescribed For Anxiety Disorders
A range of medications are available to treat anxiety disorders, and theyre often used in conjunction with therapy. You may also be prescribed a combination of medications.
The two general types of medications used to treat anxiety disorders are:
Although in the short-term, drugs may seem cheaper and less time-consuming than therapy, you may not be able to overcome your anxiety using medication alone.
Ways To Manage Bipolar Disorder & Anxiety
The harsh reality is that comorbid disorders come with increased impairments to daily life and often require additional coping mechanisms. Speaking to a professional is always a recommended course of action. Especially with a condition such as bipolar disorder, it is highly likely that psychiatric medication is required as part of treatment since it is a neurological impairment. Still, there are many ways people can improve how they feel on their own and learn how to calm anxiety .
When it comes to effective coping skills, the key is finding what works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this. If one strategy does not work, continue moving on to the next one. As ones that work are found, hold onto them, and use them when and as often as necessary. These truly can make a difference when symptoms intensify.
How Does Psychotherapy Treat Anxiety Disorders
Psychotherapy, or counseling, helps you deal with your emotional response to the illness. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the disorder. Approaches include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy used with anxiety disorders. CBT for anxiety teaches you to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. You then work on changing them.
- Exposure therapy focuses on dealing with the fears behind the anxiety disorder. It helps you engage with activities or situations you may have been avoiding. Your provider may also use relaxation exercises and imagery with exposure therapy.
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Prioritize Getting A Good Nights Rest
Sleep has been proven time and time again to be an important part of good mental health.
Even though a 2012 survey found that nearly a third of adults get less than 6 hours of sleep a night, the that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every day.
You can make sleep a priority by:
- only sleeping at night when youre tired
- not reading or watching television in bed
- not using your phone, tablet, or computer in bed
- not tossing and turning in your bed or going to another room if you cant sleep
- avoiding caffeine, large meals, and nicotine before bedtime
- keeping your room dark and cool
- writing down your worries before going to bed
- going to sleep at the same time each night
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include:
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Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder & Anxiety
There are several overlapping symptoms that are shared between bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders. In combination, particularly with a comorbid diagnosis, the two serve to reinforce and intensify their symptoms beyond the independent severity of a single condition alone.
In clinical practice, there are instances where bipolar disorder may be initially misdiagnosed as anxiety or major depressive disorder. This is especially true for those who may have experienced a manic or hypomanic episode but failed to report it. In other cases, mania has yet to be experienced. Missing this during diagnosis may lead to compromised treatment and continued confusion for the patient.
If you or someone you love believes that the condition may be a bipolar diagnosis, it is essential to share this information with the mental health professional. The more information the therapist has, the better.
Bipolar disorder may create worsening anxiety symptoms such as:
- The presence of nervous breakdowns, worrying, or fearful avoidance behaviors
- Significant problems with sleep
- Persistent anxiety even when not in a manic state
- Lacking response to initial treatment, possibly forming treatment-resistant depression
- Increased sensitivity to initial side effects of medication, and sometimes a longer time timeframe to find the right medication combination and dosing.
Though this list is not all-inclusive, the above-mentioned are some of the more commonly impacted symptoms of a dual diagnosis.
What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.
Treatments For Social Anxiety Disorders
Social anxiety disorder is often treated with cognitive behavioral therapy . CBT guides patients away from distorted thinking patterns like assuming that everyone is judging them or dislikes them and works to help patients stop avoiding situations that cause social anxiety. Medication can also be used to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety, but it is most effective in conjunction with CBT.
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What You Can Do About Your Anxiety Right Now
When you feel anxious, it may help to acknowledge the fact that youre anxious. If you can, try and take a step back and consider the situation. Identifying who or what is making you anxious can be a useful coping tool.
During times of stress and alarm, it can help to remember that your feelings of anxiety should pass once the stressful event is over.
Here are a few things you can do to help lower your anxiety in the moment:
- Reach out to someone you trust for support. Sometimes, talking things through can help you gain calm and relieve anxious thoughts.
- Set boundaries. Try to practice saying no to work or personal requests if you have too much on your plate.
- Practice activities that might help calm or center you:
of moderate exercise a week for most adults.
A 2019 study found that this amount of exercise can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Taking Care Of Yourself
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Avoid Smoking And Drinking
Smoking and alcohol have been shown to make feelings of anxiety worse. Only drinking alcohol in moderation or stopping smoking if you smoke may help reduce your anxiety.
The Department of Health recommends that men should not drink more than three to four units of alcohol a day and women no more than two to three units.
How To Cure An Anxiety Disorder
Due to its prevalence, many people ask, “How to cure an anxiety disorder.” Unfortunately, no cure for anxiety disorder is known, but many effective treatments are available and, particularly when used together, can form something similar to a cure for anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder is primarily treated with therapy, medication and lifestyle changes. Often by using a combination of these treatments, an individual may feel they have been cured of an anxiety disorder.
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Natural Remedies For Anxiety And Stress
Natural remedies are generally safe to use alongside more conventional medical therapies.
However, alterations to the diet and some natural supplements can change the way antianxiety medications work, so it is essential to consult a doctor before trying these solutions. The doctor may also be able to recommend other natural remedies.
Unresponsiveness To Standard Treatments
Before considering a patient to be treatment unresponsive, it should be ascertained that the diagnosis was correct, adherence to the treatment plan was sufficient, the dose prescribed had covered the full range, and there had been a trial period of adequate duration. When patients report previous treatment failures, it often turns out that a drug was only prescribed in the lowest dose or was stopped within the first 2 weeks due to side effects that occurred in the initial phase before the patient could experience improvement.
Elderly patients may take longer to show a response. Table III contains options in case of drug inefficacy or intolerance. In patients who are unresponsive to psychotropic drugs, the addition of CBT is generally recommended.85
A combination of antidepressants and benzodiazepines is sometimes used in treatment-refractory cases.
When all standard treatments have failed, the off-label use of drugs may be considered, for example, drugs licensed for another anxiety disorder or that are not licensed but have shown efficacy in clinical studies. Such drugs include quetiapine and agomelatine.
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Seek Individual Or Group Therapy
Therapy can come in all forms and styles and provide you with valuable tools to manage your anxiety. Individual therapy allows you to open up to a professional 1:1, learn more about your anxiety, and practice techniques that will help you cope. On the otherhand, group therapy can be really effective in treating anxiety since youll be with others who understand what youre experiencing.
Human beings were designed to be social and benefit from being in groups. Sharing anxiety-inducing events within a group provides comfort in the fact that youre not going through it alone. There is a natural healing component in connection and shared experience.
When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.
If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.
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Chronic Stress Can Contribute To Depression
Chronic stress is long-term stress, such as that caused by traumatic events or miserable living conditions. Untreated chronic stress can contribute to major depressive disorder, a form of intense depression that lasts for long periods and can prevent someone from living a normal life. Chronic stress also can contribute to physical illnesses, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.
Suffering From Severe Anxiety
Anxiety is an incredibly stressful, but arguably manageable disorder. Many people still work, spend time with friends, and hold onto relationships while living with anxiety. But others are more affected by it, and some even struggle to complete the tasks of everyday life.
The best way to characterize a severe anxiety disorder is one that is disabling or significantly impairs someone from managing their activities or responsibilities. For example:
- Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia is a fear of being outdoors or in unfamiliar places. Panic disorder is generally characterized as with or without agoraphobia. Panic attacks can be disabling on their own, and so severe that hospitalization is required. However, the addition of agoraphobia worsens their symptoms and experiences, because it makes it difficult to go outside or enjoy any type of social life – and the anxiety a person does experience while outdoors is significant.
- Severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Some individuals suffer from severe OCD, which consists of being so engrossed in repetitive thoughts and the need to perform acts/compulsions in order to ease the anxiety caused by the thoughts. The degree of compulsions can make people unable to actually live their lives because they are forced to spend so much time acting out their compulsions.
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An Anxiety Disorder Can Be Characterized By Which Of The Following
Although anxiety is a normal human emotion, people who experience extreme fear and worry that donât go away may have an anxiety disorder. Each anxiety disorder has its own specific symptoms. For example, panic disorders cause sudden, uncontrollable feelings of terror, and social anxiety disorder involves the fear of being in unfamiliar social situations with expectations of scrutiny by others. Both can also manifest with physical symptoms such as shaking or breaking out in a sweat.
What Can You Do Yourself
Many people with generalized anxiety disorder don’t even think of going to see a doctor. They try to manage their fears on their own, for example using books or information from the internet. Some learn relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training or yoga. The effectiveness of these kinds of strategies for managing anxiety disorders on your own is not well studied in scientific studies. Relaxation techniques are often used in psychological treatments, but it isn’t known how effective they are when used alone.
Some people try herbal sedatives like valerian, lavender or passion flower. There hasn’t been much research on these products either. Many people assume that herbal remedies are better tolerated and safer than other kinds of medicine. But they can also have side effects and may influence the effects of other medication.
People who treat an anxiety disorder on their own may only seek professional help after a very long time. If an anxiety disorder is really affecting your everyday life, certain kinds of psychological treatment and medication can help.
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