An estimated 25 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders and researchers estimate millions more go undiagnosed...but what exactly is an anxiety disorder...and more importantly
How can individuals recognize if they are suffering from an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is a natural human emotion. It alerts us to dangerous situations or helps us make decisions in times of stress...in other words anxiety is a normal part of life...but when anxiety becomes so great it paralyzes an individual or interferes with his or her ability to lead a normal life it become something much different...it becomes an anxiety disorder.
So if anxiety is preventing someone from going to work, school or having a relationship it could be the result of an anxiety disorder?
Are there different types of anxiety disorders?
What is the most common anxiety disorder?
The most common anxiety disorder is known as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is a mood disorder characterized by nonspecific worries that disrupt individuals' lives.
What are the symptoms of anxiety disorders?
The most common symptoms include: uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness, repeated thoughts of traumatic events, an inability to remain still or calm, problems sleeping, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, muscle tension, fatigue, dizziness and nausea.
Are anxiety disorders a result of personal weakness or personality flaws?
No they are not.
What causes anxiety disorders?
The exact cause is unknown, but researchers suggest they may be inherited disorders or a result of trauma or exposure to long periods of stress.
How is an anxiety disorder diagnosed?
Anxiety disorders are diagnosed by health care professionals.
If individuals believe they are suffering from an anxiety disorder should they contact their health care provider?
If anxiety is preventing someone from living a meaningful, well adjusted life he or she should definitely seek the help of a health care provider. In addition, anxiety can lead to some debilitating long term complications.
What are the long term complications of anxiety?
Anxiety disorders can lead to: depression, substance abuse, irritable bowel syndrome and insomnia.
Wow, anxiety sounds like it can be a major threat to someone's overall health.
Yes, it can be, which is why individuals should initiate methods to prevent anxiety or seek treatment.
What are some preventative/treatment options for anxiety?
The most proven methods to prevent or treat anxiety include:
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol - Large amounts of caffeine and/or alcohol can lead to or worsen anxiety so it is best to avoid them.
Exercise - Clinical studies have shown that regular exercise can minimize or potentially prevent anxiety.
Yoga/massage therapy - These stress-management techniques have been shown to help decrease the frequency and severity of anxiety symptoms.
Counseling - The process of counseling allows individuals to address their emotional responses to anxiety with health care professionals who can recommend strategies for understanding and dealing with anxiety's impact on life.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy - Individuals suffering from anxiety often benefit from this type of therapy which teaches individuals how to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.
Medications - Medications such as: Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Inderal, Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft have all been shown to be well tolerated, effective ways to treat anxiety. The aforementioned medications should only be used under the supervision of a health care provider.
Anxiety is something we all experience...whether it occurs before a big test or on a first date, anxiety is a natural part of life. However, when anxiety starts getting in the way of our lives it may be sign of something different...it may be the sign of an anxiety disorder.