Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

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What is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety or worry is a part of life for all of us. An anxiety disorder is a condition where feelings of anxiety persist or become worse 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 type of anxiety. However, most people are able to process or compartmentalize these feelings to the extent that they don’t become overwhelming or crippling. When concerns are resolved in part or in full or they process and accept something they cannot change, the anxiety subsides.  

A person living with an anxiety disorder will often find 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 which make functioning in the world difficult. Some people develop an anxiety disorder after particularly traumatic events. This is known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

The Five Major Types of Anxiety Disorders are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Social Phobia

Understanding Your Anxiety Disorder

Treatment is always the best route to take to understand and manage an anxiety disorder. There are therapeutic interventions and treatment methods which are proven effective for most conditions. If you or someone you love is living with this type of mental health challenge, or you just want to learn more about them, we have prepared a brief summary of each of the 5 major types of disorders below:

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TMS Machine Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD is characterized by persistent worry or a feeling of dread. It’s not the same about worrying about ordinary life events. People with GAD often experience anxiety for months or years at a time even when there’s no apparent reason. It can make a person feel edgy and irritable. Physical symptoms may include fatigue and stomachaches or muscle aches.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder more commonly called OCD manifests as uncontrollable, recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or behaviors (compulsions). An example of an obsession might be a need to count all the tiles on the floor before you leave the room every time. A common compulsion seen in OCD patients is compulsive handwashing. This would be far beyond the practical amount. A person 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. They may live in fear of the next attack. A panic disorder often interferes with everyday life, even making it difficult to leave the house or socialize. Physical symptoms of a panic disorder include 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 is a disorder that develops as a result of one or more traumatic experiences. 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 3 months of the initiating trauma. In order to qualify as PTSD and 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 situations where they may need to speak or perform in front of others. Again, almost everyone feels some nervousness in some social situations. It doesn’t become an anxiety disorder however 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, for another example.

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

There are a variety of evidence-based treatment methods which 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 have a synergistic effect which provides the patient with more relief and resolution than they might have otherwise experienced.

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