The body responds naturally to stress in the form of anxiety. Anxiety is the feeling of apprehension or fear about what is going to happen. It can be the first day of school or going to an interview. It can even be about giving a speech causing people to feel nervous and fearful.
When the feelings of anxiety become extreme, lasting for more than three months and then interfering with your daily life, you might be suffering from an anxiety disorder. In this article, we would be discussing what an anxiety disorder is and how it can be treated.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety can be understood as the response of a person to a problem, imagined or real. This process is present in all living beings. Although anxiety is not always bad, it can help a person cope with stressful situations and motivate a person to work hard and stay focused on a goal. If chronic anxiety is irrational, excessive, and draining can interfere with a person’s quality of life.
If anxiety starts interfering with day-to-day functions such as school, work, or relationships, it can become chronic. Anxiety is right up to a level as it gives you the courage to handle tough situations. However, if such worries prevent a person from living, it is best to consult a professional for mental health who specializes in anxiety disorders.
According to a survey by the National Institute of Mental Health, around 40 million adults are affected by an anxiety disorder in the United States in a single year. This makes it 18.1% of the whole population. While acute anxiety is caused by one stressful event, chronic anxiety disorders can last for a long time without a threat.
Anxiety Disorder Symptoms and Facts
Every individual that has chronic anxiety has unique symptoms. However, the thought process involved is typical: irrational dread and fear. Common or generalized anxiety disorder symptoms are as follows:
- A feeling of fear, panic or nervousness
- Repeated thoughts about past traumatic events
- Obsessive and uncontrollable thinking
- Irrational ritualistic behavior
- Hyperventilation or shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Inability to be calm
- Difficulty in controlling feelings
- Dizziness, Dry mouth or Nausea
- Numbness or excessive sweating in the feet or hands
- A sense of restless, or on-edge
- Having difficulty in concentrating
- Being fatigued easily
- Irritable attitude
- Having sleep problems
How Anxiety Symptoms Can Be Treated
Anxiety disorders can be quite debilitating; however, they can typically be treated easily. The people who take treatment for anxiety disorders move towards a happy, healthy, and productive lifestyle. The treatment type depends on the types of anxiety disorders, the severity of the problem, and the psychologist’s treatment style. Below are some ways in which anxiety disorder can be treated:
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT or cognitive behavior therapy is an effective and well-established anxiety disorder treatment. This treatment focuses on identifying and changing the thinking and behavior patterns of an individual. In this therapy, an individual is actively involved in his improvement, giving him a sense of control. A patient learns specific skills that turn out to be useful for their whole life. CBT generally involves doing certain assignments at home, such as reading and implementing what they have already learned.
2. Exposure Therapy
Another form of CBT is exposure therapy, which helps reduce anxiety disorder symptoms. In this therapy, a patient is exposed to the object or situation that he or she fears. The patient is then taught how to handle it and become less anxious over time. Such therapy is useful for people with OCD or specific phobias.
3. Common Medications for Anxiety Disorders
Medication, when combined with CBT, is one of the most effective treatments for social anxiety disorder. While medicines cannot wholly cure anxiety, it can keep the symptoms under check while undergoing therapy. One needs to give adequate time for treatment before deciding if the treatment has been successful or not. Many individuals might also have to try different treatment combinations before arriving at a suitable one.
An individual with an anxiety disorder may also struggle with some additional problems such as angry outbursts, perfectionism as well as substance abuse. All the significant issues need to be addressed in therapy.
4. Complementary Treatments
Several complementary treatments can help in enhancing an individual’s progress while undergoing treatment. The people who have less severe anxiety disorder symptoms should undergo activities like meditation, exercise, hypnosis, and biofeedback. Such actions can provide sufficient relief to the patient. Following are some things that can be done in addition to therapy:
- Social Support Network: An understanding and compassionate social support network are instrumental for recovery from an anxiety disorder. Having a close relationship with family, friends, as well as the community is directly linked to the general well-being of an individual. Positive support and feedback can help in motivating a person to stick to the treatment. People with anxiety disorder can join an online support community or a support group. People can also share stories of failures and successes to remain inspired and motivated.
- Healthy Lifestyle: Avoiding stimulants, eating healthy, and exercising regularly can help relieve anxiety. The physical well-being of an individual is linked to their emotional and mental well-being. Additionally, stress management techniques such as meditation, when followed regularly, can help in calming an individual.
- Biofeedback: One can also use sensors for measuring anxiety symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweaty palms, fast breathing, and tense muscles. Biofeedback can also be used to find out the body’s response to anxiety. You can also utilize relaxation techniques to address the effects of anxiety.
- Hypnosis: Hypnosis can be used in combination with CBT for treating anxiety. A hypnotherapist can help the patient in achieving a complete state of deep relaxation, which allows one to face fears in a learning and productive way.
There can be several causes of anxiety disorder, but the good thing is that it is entirely treatable. It is never too late to seek help for anxiety disorder. You can search for a professional who can provide an effective treatment for anxiety.