Anxiety disorders fall into a category of mental disorders called anxiety disorders. It is the most common mental health problem in the United States, affecting more than 40 million adults.
Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress that affects everyone at some time in their lives. But for some, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities such as working or attending school. Other people are not sure if they have an anxiety disorder or what to do about it.
Anxiety disorders are treatable but they usually require professional treatment. Medications and psychotherapy can be very effective. Research shows that therapy alone or taking medicines alone may not be enough to help you feel better and recover from an anxiety disorder. But combining the two may work best for you!
What is Anxiety?
People with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) have persistent and excessive anxiety that interferes with their daily lives for at least six months. It causes them to worry about things such as money, health or job security, even when there is little or no reason for concern.
Anxiety disorders affect about 18 per cent of adults in the United States — millions of people. This year, one out of every four adults will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Women are twice as likely as men to develop an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are often treated with medications but therapy is also highly recommended for those suffering from anxiety. If you experience at least three out of these six symptoms for over 6 months:
Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
- Feelings of dread, fear or unease
- Restlessness or irritability
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering details
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Fatigue (feeling tired)
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, headaches and stomach aches
There are many different ways to approach anxiety disorders. The first step is to see a health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who can assess whether you have an anxiety disorder and recommend treatment options. In some cases, your doctor may recommend medications or other therapies to help you manage your symptoms.
For people with milder forms of anxiety, there are several self-help strategies that can help provide relief from symptoms:
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime; both can interfere with sleep quality and promote anxious thoughts when you’re trying to relax
- Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation before bedtime
- Practice yoga or stretching exercises in the morning
Types of anxiety disorders:
Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes excessive and unreasonable worry, fear, and anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million Americans aged 18 years and older (18%), according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
There are several types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about everyday things such as money, health or family problems.
Phobias are intense, irrational fears of certain places or situations that cause panic attacks or extreme avoidance behavior. A person with social phobia may fear humiliation or embarrassment in front of others for example, but someone with agoraphobia has a fear of being alone or away from home.
- Panic disorder involves repeated unexpected panic attacks — Severe episodes of intense fear or discomfort that reach a peak within minutes — during which time a variety of symptoms occur. People who have repeated panic attacks often develop physical symptoms that mimic serious medical conditions such as heart disease.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – It is diagnosed after individual experiences an event that causes intense fear, horror, or helplessness in which the person feels like they’re going.
How to Anxiety Disorder?
The first step in treating anxiety disorders is to see your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional or psychiatrist to help determine the best treatment for you.
There are many types of treatments for anxiety disorders, including behavioral therapy and medication. The most effective treatment depends on the type of anxiety disorder you have, how severe it is, and other factors.
Medications are often used in combination with other therapies to treat anxiety disorders. Medications can include antidepressant medications, anti-anxiety medications, or beta-blockers. These medications can help reduce symptoms but they do not cure the condition.
Common Medications Used To Treat Anxiety Disorders:
- Antidepressants – These drugs work by increasing certain brain chemicals that affect moods. This medication is prescribed for depression as well as anxiety disorders. Antidepressants can take several weeks to feel their full effect, so it may take some time before you notice any improvement in your symptoms.
- Anti-Anxiety Medications – These drugs help reduce symptoms of panic attacks and phobias by slowing down the activity of nerve cells in the brain that control emotions and responses to stressors.