More than 25 million Americans suffer from Anxiety Disorders. We all have stressful events in our lives that could worry us. For most people, these moments are brief and infrequent. For someone with an anxiety disorder, feelings of tension or anxiety are frequent and unbearable. Worrying too much is not good for you.
Worry and anxiety interfere with your ability to enjoy life. When your attempts to distract yourself from the tension or stop the symptoms are not successful, you need help.
Do you have Anxiety Disorder?
1. Does excessive worry interfere with daily functioning?
2. Do you feel keyed up, restless, on edge?
3. Are you fatigued, or tire easily?
4. Are you often tense or irritable ?
5. Are your muscles tense?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you may have anxiety disorder.
Take an on-line self-assessment inventory for anxiety.
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There are a number of kinds of Anxiety Disorders. all share in common symptoms of: excessive worry, increased physical sensations, and a feeling of being out of control. Each type of anxiety disorder may have different treatments. The 4 most frequent types of anxiety are: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) — frequent worry and physical tension Panic Disorder — sudden feelings of danger Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) — repeating thoughts or behaviors Social Anxiety Disorder — discomfort in social situations
There is no single cause of Anxiety Disorder. Research indicates that your risk for Anxiety Disorder comes from a number of factors including: genetic vulnerability, childhood development problems, and life stressors. Any of these factors can cause the brain’s circuits to become hypersensitive to potential stressors, produce the anxiety symptoms, and cause Anxiety Disorder.
Psychotherapy can be extremely useful. How we look at things influences how we feel. Past experiences affect our reaction to what happens in the present. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help you change the way you view the world. You learn to replace negative thought patterns about situations and people with more positive and useful ones. It can help you learn more about what activities you are doing that could be making your anxiety worse. Once your anxiety is more manageable, an Interpersonal Psychotherapy approach helps you learn to deal effectively with people. Struggling with Anxiety Disorder limits one’s ability to deal with social interactions and follow through on commitments. Through Interpersonal Psychotherapy you gain insight and awareness about your impact on others. This, in turn, can help you develop more effective and satisfying interactions with those people who are important in your life. Psychotherapy alone may not be enough to treat Anxiety Disorder fully. Research indicates that combining psychotherapy with an optimum medication regime will give you the best possible chance for the most successful treatment outcome.
There are many explanations as to why medications can help with Anxiety Disorders. The most accepted view is that medication helps heal the brain from the toxic effects of stress, injury, and genetic vulnerability. The right medication promotes the brain’s production of serotonin and norepinephrine. This restores health to the brain’s “fear circuits,” and the symptoms of anxiety are relieved. Each person with Anxiety Disorder has different genetics, metabolism, and lifestyle and requires a thorough evaluation to develop a successful treatment regime. The challenge is to select the right medication, in the right dosage, and for the right time period to do the job that needs to be done. For optimal treatment results it is advisable to be evaluated by a psychopharmacologist, a psychiatrist specializing in the medication treatment of mood disorders.