Anxiety: How to Get Relief
Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent mental health disorders that impact children, adolescents, and adults across the globe. If left undetected, anxiety disorder can have physical manifestations, and can lead to other psychiatric disorders. Anxiety disorders can serve as a signal of other underlying conflicts impacting the individuals’ wellness and should be diagnosed by a licensed professional. Typically, anxiety disorders are treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy to help manage symptoms, so that the individual can continue treatment to address the underlying sources of anxiety. Depending on the individualized needs and symptoms of the client treatment may vary. Treatment modalities may consist of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), stress management techniques, intensive outpatient treatment, neurofeedback, in combination with anti-anxiety medication, antidepressants, or beta-blockers. Individuals with anxiety may benefit from CBT techniques such as learning to identify, challenge and replace anxious thoughts. They may also benefit from Exposure Therapy, a type of CBT treatment, where they will engage in confronting anxiety provoking stimuli as a means to naturally decrease anxiety symptoms over time when interacting with stimuli on numerous occasions. Additionally, clients can learn stress management and relaxation techniques can utilize neurofeedback treatment to help manage and their symptoms.
Though situational anxiety may be experienced by many people throughout their lives, some individuals suffer from chronic anxiety, which may debilitate their ability to perform daily tasks. Individuals suffering from anxiety may experience symptoms that interfere with all aspects of their lives, such as their interpersonal relationships, professional life, and their family dynamic. The three most commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder. Individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may experience symptoms such as feelings of restlessness, lethargy, irritability, persistent worry, and disruptions in their sleeping patterns. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “people with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks, which are sudden periods of intense fear that may include palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; sensations of shortness of breath, smothering, or choking; and feeling of impending doom”. Furthermore, individuals suffering from Panic Disorder will experience symptoms that include strong worries about the onset of their next panic attack, thoughts of losing control during a panic attack, and escaping environments in which panic attacks have previously occurred. Social Anxiety Disorder, also referred to as Social Phobia, is defined as the overwhelming fear of being judged, rejected, or displaying anxious characteristics in social settings. When confronted with social circumstances, individuals with social anxiety will experience symptoms such as inability to speak clearly, stumbling over their words, feelings of intense self-consciousness, fear of others’ judgement, avoidance of social environments, strong fear leading up to forced interaction in social situations, blushing, sweating, and nausea.
The skills acquired through the aforementioned treatment modalities will allow individuals with anxiety to minimize the impact of their symptoms by implementing skills they have learned. The individual and their therapist will work together to learn new ways of behaving that will be more adaptive and lead to better overall functioning. Despite the varying impacts Anxiety Disorder may have on an individuals’ life, engaging in an effective treatment regimen will likely result in favorable outcomes.
Written by Mashal Rezai
Intake Coordinator, Balance Treatment Center
Anxiety Disorders. (2016, March). National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml