Think this sounds too good to be true? Think again. With knowledge and help, you can feel better and live healthier.
Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders in the United States. Anxiety, often debilitating, affects 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.(1) Anxiety disorders develop from risk factors that include brain chemistry, personality, genetics and life events and can be identified by the following common characteristics: excessive worrying; fatigue; restlessness; difficulty concentrating; irritability; panic attacks and irrational fears.
Excessive worrying. Severe and intrusive worrying that affects your daily life for at least six months.
Fatigue. In paradox to the fact that anxiety generally causes hyperactivity, fatigue can be associated with anxiety.
Restlessness. Often described as feeling on edge, restlessness on more days than not, and for more than six months, can be a sign of anxiety.
Difficulty concentrating. Difficulty concentrating is one of the most reported symptoms of anxiety disorders. A study in 175 adults with the same disorder found that almost 90% reported having difficulty concentrating.(2)
Irritability. According to one recent study including over 6,000 adults, more than 90% of those with generalized anxiety disorder reported feeling highly irritable during periods when their anxiety disorder was at its worst.(3)
Panic attacks. Panic attacks can happen one time or continue frequently. They are described as extreme fear accompanied by rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath and fear of dying.
Irrational fears. Irrational fears include: natural environment phobias, animal phobias and situational phobias. Irrational fears can be disruptive to daily life and include avoiding situations.
Although anxiety is characterized by specific commonalities, each person with anxiety is different so treatment plans are individualized. The main types of therapy generally used to help those with anxiety include:
Exposure Therapy. Exposure therapy is the gradual exposure of an individual to the situation or location that the person is afraid of. This gradual exposure is done in a controlled (and safe) way. The goal of exposure therapy is to eliminate the actual fear that the patient experiences in that given location or situation.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps to identify, understand and change patterns of thinking related to anxiety. Therapists help patients to develop coping skills, keep a written record of their thoughts each day.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). DBT is a specific form of CBT and helps to accept where the person is in their life. This is intended to provide the motivation to the patient to make positive changes with an emphasis on mindfulness. This helps to recognize and understand their conflicting thoughts.
Although it may heighten your anxiety to consider finding a qualified therapist to help you through your pain, there is no need to feel ashamed. Rather, you can feel proud of yourself for taking a step in the positive direction to help yourself and know that there is a healthier way to live. Stay strong. You’ve got this. Read more about anxiety counseling.
Rob Evans, LMFT, LPCC is a psychotherapist with over 25 years experience helping men, women, families and couples improve their relationships with themselves and those around him in the Fair Oaks, CA area.
(1)The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
(2) PubMed Central. Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health.
(3) PubMed Central. Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health.