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.
How Do Phobias Differ From Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder tends to be just thatgeneralized. There is concern related to one of the major domains of life and the cognitive load of worry is out of proportion to the likelihood of any bad outcomes imagined to lie ahead. Phobias generally have a very circumscribed focus. There is also an important mental difference: The fear in phobias is quite immediate it does not reflect a prolonged state of apprehension, although it is out of proportion to the degree of actual risk posed. Phobias tend to focus on specific objects or situations and cluster in several distinctive categories: animals , natural environments , and injury .
Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Anxiety
A parent or teacher may see signs that a child or teen is anxious. For example, a kid might cling, miss school, or cry. They might act scared or upset, or refuse to talk or do things. Kids and teens with anxiety also feel symptoms that others can’t see. It can make them feel afraid, worried, or nervous.
It can affect their body too. They might feel shaky, jittery, or short of breath. They may feel “butterflies” in their stomach, a hot face, clammy hands, dry mouth, or a racing heart.
These symptoms of anxiety are the result of the “fight or flight” response. This is the body’s normal response to danger. It triggers the release of natural chemicals in the body. These chemicals prepare us to deal with a real danger. They affect heart rate, breathing, muscles, nerves, and digestion. This response is meant to protect us from danger. But with anxiety disorders, the “fight or flight” response is overactive. It happens even when there is no real danger.
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.
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Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
The main features of an anxiety disorder are fears or thoughts that are chronic and distressing and that interfere with daily living. Other symptoms of an anxiety disorder may include:
- Panic or anxiety attacks or a fear of these attacks.
- Physical anxiety reactions for example trembling, sweating, faintness, rapid heartbeat, difficulties breathing or nausea.
- Avoidance behaviour a person may go to extreme lengths to avoid a situation that they think could bring on anxiety or panic.
Anxiety Disorders Can Have Serious Effects
An anxiety disorder may lead to social isolation and clinical depression, and can impair a persons ability to work, study and do routine activities. It may also hurt relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Its common for depression and anxiety to happen at the same time. Depression can be a serious illness with a high risk of self-harm and suicide.
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How Common Are Specific Phobias
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 5%-12% of Americans have phobias. Specific phobias affect an estimated 6.3 million adult Americans.
Phobias usually first appear in adolescence and adulthood, but can occur in people of all ages. They are slightly more common in women than in men. Specific phobias in children are common and usually disappear over time. Specific phobias in adults generally start suddenly and are more lasting than childhood phobias. Only about 20% of specific phobias in adults go away on their own .
Risk Factors For Anxiety Disorder
Some things also make you more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors you canât change, but others you can.
Risk factors for anxiety disorders include:
- History of mental health disorder. Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Childhood sexual abuse. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood is linked to anxiety disorders later in life.
- Trauma. Living through a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder , which can cause panic attacks.
- Negative life events. Stressful or negative life events, like losing a parent in early childhood, increase your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Severe illness or chronic health condition. Constant worry about your health or the health of a loved one, or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Substance abuse. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs makes you more likely to get an anxiety disorder. Some people also use these substances to hide or ease anxiety symptoms.
- Being shy as a child. Shyness and withdrawal from unfamiliar people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teens and adults.
- Low self-esteem. Negative perceptions about yourself may lead to social anxiety disorder.
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What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
With GAD, you may feel extreme and unrealistic worry and tension even if theres nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may worry a lot about various topics, including health, work, school and relationships. You may feel that the worry continues from one thing to the next.
Physical symptoms of GAD can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.
What Type Of Anxiety Do I Have Quiz
Living with anxiety can be difficult. To properly manage your anxiety it is important to get a proper diagnosis of your anxiety. Take our super helpful “What Type Of Anxiety Do I Have Quiz” to know what kind of anxiety you have.
- Do you extremely sweaty during your anxiety attack?
- Sample Question
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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.
How To Treat The Most Common Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Across these seven common forms of anxiety, there are a few constants. First, irrational fear of nervousness. Second, physical symptoms like increased heart rates or shallow breathing. And finally, the thing holding all of these anxiety disorders together is that each of them require professional mental health treatment.
Left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to social isolation, stunted career growth, or even co-occurring substance abuse. For all of these reasons, if you feel anxious in a way that is similar to the common types of anxiety listed above, then you need to get help. And at The Blackberry Center, our team of psychiatrists, physicians, and other essential care staff are ready to help treat your anxiety disorder.
Do you have questions about how we help patients with anxiety disorders? You can call our admissions specialists at 888-512-9802, or you can fill out our confidential contact form. No matter what type of anxiety youre facing, well help you overcome it.
Risk Factors For Anxiety
- Genetics: If a relative has been diagnosed with anxiety, youre more likely to develop an anxiety disorder as well.
- Trauma: Trauma can affect us physically and psychologically. You may suffer from panic attacks or other forms of anxiety after experiencing trauma.
- Substance abuse: The relationship between anxiety and substance abuse is a cycle. Increased substance abuse can cause anxiety, and anxiety disorder symptoms may push people toward substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
- Other health conditions: Medical conditions like hyperthyroidism and asthma can have similar symptoms to anxiety and panic. This may increase your likelihood for an anxiety disorder. In addition, dealing with a serious health condition can be stressful or even traumatic, increasing your risk for anxiety.
Treatment Options For Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can disrupt your life, but there are effective treatments available. A doctor or a mental health professional will be able to suggest different treatment methods and adjust them for best results. Treatment might involve medication, therapy, or both. You may participate in group or individual counseling sessions and see a psychiatrist for medication management.
Learn about treatment with The Light Program.
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How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
How Is Panic Disorder Treated
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist called a psychotherapist. They might recommend:
- A type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy that helps you learn how to change unhealthy thoughts and behaviors that bring on panic attacks
- Antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
- Benzodiazepines, which are sedatives that affect your central nervous system
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Cutting back on caffeine
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What Are Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is a normal emotion. Itâs your brainâs way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead.
Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.
Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. Theyâre a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear. The excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms.
With treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can manage their feelings.
What Is A Panic Attack
Panic attacks can be caused by heredity, chemical imbalances, stress and the use of stimulants .
Some people have only one or two attacks and are never bothered again. Panic attacks can occur with other psychiatric disorders. In panic disorders, however, the panic attacks return repeatedly and the person develops an intense fear of having another attack. Without help, this “fear of fear” can make people avoid certain situations and can interfere with their lives even when they are not having a panic attack. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the problem and get help.
Tips for dealing with a panic attack
- Realize that although your symptoms are frightening, they are an exaggeration of normal stress reactions and aren’t dangerous or harmful.
- Face the feelings rather than fighting them, and they will become less intense.
- Don’t add to the panic by asking “What if?” Tell yourself “So what!”
- Stay in the present. Notice what is actually happening rather than what you think might happen.
- Rate your fear level on a scale of 1 to 10 and watch it change. Notice that it doesn’t stay at a high level for more than a few seconds.
- Distract yourself with a simple task like counting backwards or lightly snapping a rubber band around your wrist.
- When the fear comes, expect it and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away.
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What Are Treatments For Anxiety Disorders
Effective treatments are available for anxiety disorders. Both medication and talk therapy can help to relieve the symptoms.
- Medications:The most common medications used to treat anxiety disorders are antidepressants and benzodiazepines. A number of drugs are available. So if one doesn’t work, another might. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about medications.
- Talk therapy:Behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are effective ways to treat anxiety disorders. Behavioral therapy involves gradual exposure to the anxiety trigger. CBT works on helping people react differently by changing their thinking patterns.
Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg. This link will take you to a Welsh translation of this page.
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.
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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What Is Separation Anxiety
Most young children develop anxiety about being separated from parents or caregivers. Its a normal developmental stage, and, beginning around nine months of age, the type and degree of distress that children show on separation from caregivers is typically used as a measure of the security of attachment and adaptation to a world of strangers. But the anxiety on separation that is appropriate at age 1 is less adaptive at age 10.
Separation anxiety disorder exists when children show more than a developmentally appropriate degree of distress on separation from home or attachment figures, and it develops in about four percent of children under the age of 12. It can show up as persistent worry about being lost or kidnapped and never seeing their parents again, or about a parent dying. Children with separation anxiety disorder often refuse to go to school, and they can be clingy. A bout of separation can occur during any period of significant stress during childhood, but it can be especially severe after parental divorce.