Anxiety is a psychological and physical reaction to situations that are unfamiliar, threatening, stressful or dangerous. Emotionally, anxiety brings feelings of apprehension or fear. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, but for some people, it’s a debilitating way of life. When anxiety won’t go away, a person may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. When anxiety gets in the way of living your life and persists for more than six months, you may have an anxiety disorder.
What Are the Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is common. It’s identified by excessive and unusual levels of apprehension or worry about everyday issues like work, health, relationships, school, and so forth. A person suffering from GAD has no reason for worrying about these issues, but the anxiety exists anyway.
The symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:
- Feeling keyed up, on edge and restless
- Poor concentration
- Excessive muscle tensions, which may cause muscle aches or headaches
- Powerful feelings of worry
- Poor sleep, including trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
Panic Disorder. People who endure panic disorder have frequent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are highly disruptive and sudden episodes of fear that hit and peak within minutes. A person experiencing a panic attack feels in fear of their lives and has serious physical symptoms:
- Racing heartbeat, heart palpitations
- Shortness of breath, a sensation of choking or smothering
- A feeling of losing control of themselves
- Feelings of impending doom
Panic attacks can be provoked by certain situations, but they can also come out of nowhere. People dread their next attack so much that it can consume their lives. They start avoiding situations where they fear they might have another attack.
Social Anxiety Disorder. People with social anxiety live with a powerful fear of social situations or situations in which they must perform publicly, such as public speaking. They fear that they will be judged harshly and negatively by others, leading to feelings of embarrassment or humiliation. People with social anxiety disorder may go to great -even life-disrupting- lengths to avoid social situations.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD develops after a person survives an extreme emotional or physical trauma. A serious accident, crime, natural disaster or combat can cause PTSD. can develop after a severe physical or emotional trauma such as a natural disaster, serious accident or crime. Symptoms include flashbacks of the trauma, nightmares and frightening thoughts that interfere with a person’s everyday routine for months or years after the traumatic experience.
Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia generates a fear of situations or places in which the person might panic or could not easily escape. An agoraphobic person fears an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line, or being in a crowd. People with agoraphobia often develop it after having a panic attack. Afterward, they find it difficult to go to many public places. People with agoraphobia often have trouble leaving their homes.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder. People with OCD experience uncontrollable feelings and thoughts (obsessions) that cause intense levels of anxiety. They perform rituals and routines that lower the anxiety and bring temporary relief. Common examples include compulsive checking or counting and compulsive hand washing.
Can My Anxiety Go Away?
If you’re wondering if your anxiety will ever go away, there’s hope. One of the most popular treatments for anxiety disorders is psychotherapy, which has an effective record for helping people get rid of anxiety. Medication isn’t always necessary when treating an anxiety disorder, but when it is, it needs to be combined with psychotherapy. A psychotherapist can teach you how to make your anxiety go away through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a form of psychotherapy that helps people figure out what generates their anxiety. CBT also helps people learn how to manage their anxiety cues and defuse them.
CBT focuses on how thoughts and feelings drive anxiety symptoms. Through the cognitive component of therapy, patients learn to understand how their thoughts contribute to their anxiety symptoms. The behavioral component of CBT helps people learn to change those automatic thought patterns and reduce the likelihood and intensity of anxiety symptoms.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a type of CBT that teaches people with anxiety to become mindful, defusing anxiety as it arises. It focuses on helping you examine the emotions that often drive anxiety. DBT works through the process of learning how to accept often painful emotions and by doing so, prevent anxiety from arising. DBT also teaches distress tolerance, which increases a person’s threshold for tolerance for coping with anxiety.
What If I Suffer From Depression That’s Also Causing Me Anxiety?
If you suffer from depression and as a consequence are experiencing anxiety, consider Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy. This is an FDA cleared non-invasive treatment for depression that uses targeted magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of the brain that affect mood, which helps you get back to your best life quickly and with no side effects. Among the many treatment options out there, TMS therapy is an excellent, pain-free solution that is covered by most major insurance companies. The best part is there are no side effects associated with TMS therapy, making it an excellent solution.
This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.
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Kaczkurkin, A. N., & Foa, E. B. (2015, September). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: an update on the empirical evidence. Retrieved April 4, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4610618/
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