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Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety or worry is a part of life. However, an anxiety disorder is a condition where anxiety persists or worsens over time. Most people worry from time to time about things that are important to them. Finances, education, career, and relationships are frequent sources of this anxiety. However, most can process or compartmentalize these feelings so they don’t become overwhelming or crippling. The anxiety subsides when concerns are resolved in part or full, or they process and accept something they cannot change.

However, a person with an anxiety disorder often finds that their anxiety interferes with their everyday life. They may experience chronic anxiety that never seems to leave them and doesn’t have a specific cause. Others are troubled with unwanted recurring thoughts or social phobias, making functioning in the world difficult. Some people develop an anxiety disorder after particularly traumatic events, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

The Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders are:

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  3. Panic Disorder
  4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  5. Social Phobia

Understanding Your Anxiety Disorder

Treatment is always the best way to understand and manage an anxiety disorder, and there are therapeutic interventions and treatment methods that are proven effective for most conditions. If you or someone you love is living with this type of mental health challenge, or you want to learn more, we have summarized each of the five major types of anxiety disorders below:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is characterized by persistent worry or a feeling of dread. It’s not the same as worrying about ordinary life events. People with GAD often experience anxiety for months or years without apparent reason. It can make a person feel edgy and irritable. Physical symptoms may include fatigue and stomachaches or muscle aches.

>Understanding Your Anxiety Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, more commonly called OCD, manifests as uncontrollable, recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). An example of an obsession might be a need to count all the tiles on the floor before you leave the room. A common compulsion in OCD patients is handwashing far more often than needed or reasonable. People with this compulsion might have cracked or irritated skin or wash their hands with painfully hot water, for example.

Panic Disorder

Experiencing an isolated panic attack here and there doesn’t necessarily mean someone has a panic disorder. A person with a panic disorder regularly experiences unexpected panic attacks and may live in fear of the next episode. A panic disorder often interferes with everyday life, making it difficult to leave the house or socialize. Physical symptoms of a panic disorder include a racing heartbeat, chest pain, sweatiness, and a sense of impending doom or loss of control.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, more often called PTSD, develops due to one or more traumatic experiences. A traumatic experience may involve physical danger, but an emotionally intense event, like the death of a child, can also result in PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD usually begin within three months of the initiating trauma. To be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must experience the core symptoms for a least a month.

This includes:

  • At least one avoidance symptom
  • At least one re-experiencing symptom
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms

Social Phobia

People with social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder) experience anxiety surrounding social situations and gatherings or where they may need to speak or perform in front of others. Again, almost everyone feels some nervousness in some social situations. However, it doesn’t become an anxiety disorder unless it is persistent and disruptive in your everyday life. People with an acute social phobia may stay at home for weeks or even months at a time or more because going outside into the world is too distressing. They may lose jobs or fail out of school because they can’t bear to be around other people.

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

There are a variety of evidence-based treatment methods that can help with an anxiety disorder. They range from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to pharmacotherapy (medication) to wellness approaches, including meditation, yoga, exercise, and nutrition. The most effective treatment plans tend to include several of these elements. In combination, they can synergize, providing the patient with more relief and resolution than they might have otherwise experienced.


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