Thursday, June 16, 2022

Is Anxiety Disorder A Mental Illness

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How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated

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An anxiety disorder is like any other health problem that requires treatment. You cant will it away. Its not a matter of self-discipline or attitude. Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy.

How To Help A Teenager With Anxiety And Depression

The symptoms of either anxiety or depression can lead to the development of the other disorder. And they are more difficult to treat when they occur together. For these reasons, early signs of anxiety or depression in a child or teen should be taken very seriously.

An assessment by a mental health professional can help identify the root causes of the symptoms. A clinician will typically assess a clients three areas of vulnerabilityfamily history, individual temperament, and life experiences. Treatment should address the underlying issues causing either anxiety or depression. One goal of treatment is to reduce the chance that anxiety or depression will develop into a dual diagnosis.

At Newport Academy, we take an integrated approach to treating teen mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and the co-occurring disorders catalyzed by these disorders. Our treatment model is proven to reduce anxiety and depression while increasing adolescents well-being.

Contact us today to learn more about how our clinical model supports teens to find hope, connection, motivation, and excitement for what the future holds.

What Are The Complications Of Anxiety

People with anxiety disorders are aware that their thoughts and behavior are illogical and that it affects their lives.

  • Fatigue, sleep problems and physical signs cause feelings of sadness, guilt, and loss of motivation. One of the main complications of anxiety is, therefore, depression and the risk of suicide.
  • The other very common complication of anxiety is the consumption of alcohol or drugs with the risk of developing a real addiction problem. These products will both relieve and worsen anxiety disorders by altering brain function. What is initially experienced as comfort will then become necessary and aggravate the signs of anxiety and depression?
  • Long-term complications are possible, for example, an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes.

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Who Can Diagnose Anxiety Disorders

If your provider finds no signs of physical illness, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specially designed interview and assessment tools to figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, the provider bases a diagnosis on:

  • Your reported symptoms, including how intense they are and how long they last.
  • Discussion of how the symptoms interfere with your daily life.
  • The providers observation of your attitude and behavior.

Providers also consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM-5. Its the standard reference manual for diagnosing mental illnesses.

What Is A Panic Disorder

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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:

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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What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder

This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.

  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Generalised anxiety disorder

GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.

This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.

It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.

GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.

Panic disorder

You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.

Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.

You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.

Social anxiety disorder

Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.

Treatment Of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can be successfully treated. The most common form of treatment is a combination of drug therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy .

Because most anxiety disorders have some biological basis, the most common drugs prescribed are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

CBT involves helping people to turn their anxious thoughts and feelings into more rational ones. Sometimes people will benefit from being exposed in a controlled way to the object and situation they fear. Some CBT techniques have been developed to deal with specific disorders. For example, people with panic disorder can benefit from learning new breathing and meditation techniques, which can help them deal with their anxiety.

Support groups and learning more about the disorder can also help a great many people deal with anxiety disorders. Involving family and friends who are also affected by the disorder, can help people recover or learn how to cope with their condition.

The most important first step in treatment is to get a proper diagnosis from a specialist in anxiety disorders. Many people suffer for 10 years or more before getting the right treatment.

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Why Anxiety Is A Real Mental Illness

Perhaps this is a good place to mention that the official term for any diagnosable mental health challenge is actually mental disorder rather than mental illness, although mental illness is a term used frequently by almost everyone, including many medical professionals. Its fine to use it. Its just that disorder is the correct term.

There is a perceived difference between an illness and a disorder. Illness implies sickness, weakness, and a state of being somehow less than. No wonder some people cringe when anxiety is called a mental illness. A disorder, on the other hand, implies that something isnt working properly and that it can be made orderly again.

The American Psychiatric Association , in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, or DSM-5, devotes an entire category to anxiety disorders. According to the APA, a metal disorder involves clinically significant disturbance in the following:

  • Thoughts
  • Negatively impacts social, occupational, and other functioning
  • Interferes in daily activities

Anxiety does fit these criteria, especially when its severe.

The National Institute of Mental Health describes some of the causes of anxiety disorders as the following:

  • Having close biological relatives with anxiety disorders
  • Parental history of mental disorders in general
  • Elevated cortisol levels in saliva in the afternoon

What Causes Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:

  • Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
  • Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
  • Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.

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How Anxiety Affects Performance

The effects of anxiety on performance can be shown on a curve. As the level of anxiety increases, performance efficiency increases proportionately, but only up to a point. As anxiety increases further, performance efficiency decreases. Before the peak of the curve, anxiety is considered adaptive because it helps people prepare for a crisis and improve their functioning. Beyond the peak of the curve, anxiety is considered maladaptive because it produces distress and impairs functioning.

Take Short Stress Breaks

Physical tension accumulates throughout the day, and this tension may contribute to anxiety. Frequent, short “stress breaks” may help to prevent this tension from accumulating. Some examples of effective stress breaks are walking during lunch hour, reading a magazine during an afternoon break and partaking in an enjoyable hobby on evenings and weekends.

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Causes Of Anxiety Disorders

If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, drug therapy or psychotherapy Psychotherapy Extraordinary advances have been made in the treatment of mental illness. As a result, many mental health disorders can now be treated nearly as successfully as physical disorders. Most treatment… read more , alone or in combination, can significantly relieve the distress and dysfunction for most people. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed for acute anxiety. For many people, antidepressants, Drug Therapy Extraordinary advances have been made in the treatment of mental illness. As a result, many mental health disorders can now be treated nearly as successfully as physical disorders. Most treatment… read more such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , work as well for anxiety disorders as they do for depression. Specific treatments depend on which anxiety disorder is diagnosed.

Anxiety Starts Before Depression

Emotional Problems in Adults and Teens

As in the example above, untreated anxiety can produce behaviors that increase the risk of depression. This pathway is the most common progression. Studies show that anxiety disorders usually begin during preadolescence and adolescence. Major depression, on the other hand, more commonly appears during adolescence and young adulthood.

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Myth: Anxiety Isnt A Real Medical Problem

Fact: Anxiety disorders are a type of mental illness based on extreme fears. Feelings of anxiety include fear, worry and nervousness. Experiencing some anxiety from time to time is normal for everyone. But when excessive anxiety takes over, interfering with your daily thoughts and activities, thats when anxiety disorders come into play. With these conditions, your anxiety does not go away and hangs around for six months or more. Some of the most common types of anxiety disorders include Generalized Anxiety Disorder , Panic Disorder, Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder , Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder , and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder .

Adolescent Anxiety And Depression Statistics

The pandemic and its associated social disruptions have fueled dramatic increases in child and adolescent anxiety and depression. One in four teens surveyed in 2021 self-reported feelings of general anxiety and depression. This prompted the declaration of a national emergency by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other child health professional organizations.

However, the youth mental health crisis began before the pandemic. A recent analysis of federal data from 20132019 found the following adolescent anxiety and depression statistics.

  • Nearly 1 in 10 children ages 3-17 were diagnosed with anxiety.
  • More than 1 in 5 adolescents ages 1217 were diagnosed with depression.
  • More than a third of high school students self-reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless, and half of those seriously considered suicide.

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Not All Anxiety Is A Disorder

Everyone experiences anxiety and fear at times these are normal and helpful human emotions that help us deal with danger. However, some people experience excessive and irrational anxiety and worries that become ongoing and distressing, and that interfere with their daily lives. This may indicate an anxiety disorder. Often there appears to be no obvious or logical reason for the way the person feels. This may make an anxiety disorder even more worrying to the sufferer.

What Are The Treatments For Depression

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Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Treatment can include getting therapy and/or taking medications. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.

  • Therapy. Many people benefit from psychotherapyalso called therapy or counseling.7,8 Most therapy lasts for a short time and focuses on thoughts feelings and issues that are happening in your life now. In some cases understanding your past can help but finding ways to address what is happening in your life now can help you cope and prepare you for challenges in the future.With therapy, youll work with your therapist to learn skills to help you cope with life, change behaviors that are causing problems and find solutions. Do not feel shy or embarrassed about talking openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns. This is an important part of getting better.Some common goals of therapy include:
  • Getting healthier
  • Making sense of past painful events
  • Identifying things that worsen your depression
  • Having better relationships with family and friends
  • Understanding why something bothers you and creating a plan to deal with it
  • Dont stop taking an antidepressant without first talking to your doctor. Stopping your medicine suddenly can cause symptoms or worsen depression. Work with your doctor to safely adjust how much you take.
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    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.

    Types Of Anxiety Disorders

    Anxiety becomes a disorder when its irrational, excessive and when it interferes with a persons ability to function in daily life. Anxiety disorders include:

    • Generalised anxiety disorder
    • Social phobias fear of social situations
    • Specific phobias for example a fear of open spaces or enclosed spaces
    • Panic disorders frequent and debilitating panic attacks.

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    Psychotherapy Or Talking Therapies

    This type of treatment takes a psychological approach to treating mental illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy are examples.

    Psychiatrists, psychologists, psychotherapists, and some primary care physicians carry out this type of treatment.

    It can help people understand the root of their mental illness and start to work on more healthful thought patterns that support everyday living and reduce the risk of isolation and self-harm.

    What Is Depression

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    Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday functioning, you may be depressed. Symptoms of depression include:1

    • Feeling sad or anxious often or all the time
    • Not wanting to do activities that used to be fun
    • Feeling irritable easily frustrated or restless
    • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
    • Waking up too early or sleeping too much
    • Eating more or less than usual or having no appetite
    • Experiencing aches, pains, headaches, or stomach problems that do not improve with treatment
    • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
    • Feeling tired even after sleeping well
    • Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
    • Thinking about suicide or hurting yourself

    The following information is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis of major depression and cannot take the place of seeing a mental health professional. If you think you are depressed talk with your doctor or a mental health professional immediately. This is especially important if your symptoms are getting worse or affecting your daily activities.

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    Who Do They Affect

    Anxiety disorders can affect anyone at any age, and they are the most common mental health problem. Sometimes, anxiety disorders are triggered by a specific event or stressful life experience. Anxiety disorders may be more likely to occur when we have certain ways of looking at things or learn unhelpful coping strategies from others. But sometimes there just doesnt seem to be a reason.

    Information For Carers Friends And Relatives

    If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.

    How can I get support?

    You can do the following.

    • Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
    • Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
    • Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
    • Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
    • Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.

    What is a carers assessment?A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role. To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.

    How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.

    How can I support the person I care for?

    You can do the following.

    • Read information about anxiety disorders.
    • Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
    • Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
    • Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
    • Help them to manage their finances.

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