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Treatment for Anxiety
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural, normal reaction that occurs in response to a situation that feels frightening or threatening. When the situation is truly dangerous (e.g., a tornado has touched down near us), then our anxiety response can help motivate us to take appropriate action (e.g., seek immediate shelter from the storm). However, the anxiety response can also send out a “false alarm” and over-react when we experience situations in modern life that feel threatening or frightening but don’t represent actual danger (e.g., giving a presentation at work). If this pattern persists over time and leads to significant problems at work, school, or home, then you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
What are the Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder?
- Shakiness or trembling
- Rapid heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea or diarrhea
- Feeling keyed up or on edge
- Fear of events, places, people or objects
- Excessive worry
- Thoughts about losing control or going crazy
- What are the Different Types of Anxiety Disorders?
- Generalized Anxiety (GAD)
Unrealistic and/or excessive worry about most things in life
- Panic Disorder
Sudden and intense onset of multiple physical symptoms with thoughts and worries about fears of dying, having a heart attack or stroke, going crazy, or losing control
Fear and avoidance of going to public places because you are afraid something bad will happen and you will not be able to leave or get help
- Social Phobia
Fear of doing or saying something embarrassing and avoidance of social activities such as parties or meetings
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive thoughts and repetitive behaviors such as hand-washing or checking locks to reduce fears or alleviate frightening thoughts
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Anxiety triggered by reminders of a personal trauma. Symptoms may include nightmares, “flashbacks,” relationship problems, edginess/jumpiness and avoiding situations that remind you of the trauma
- Specific Phobia
Excessive anxiety about objects or situations such as animals, blood, flying or heights
Are there Effective Treatments?
Yes, effective treatments are available. For most, anxiety disorders are greatly reduced or alleviated with appropriate treatment. Treatment gives the person control of their emotions as well as their physical symptoms that usually occur and helps them return to normal living. Therapy typically includes relaxation training, gradual exercises for gently confronting fears, and changing unhelpful thinking patterns.