Do you ever feel as if everyone else knows just a little bit more than you? They always seem so confident, while you get anxious about all kinds of things? If so, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is a very common, treatable condition. It affects over 18% of American adults! However, many sufferers don’t realize it’s an illness because it has been part of their lives for so long.
Here is everything you need to know about anxiety and how it is treated.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
Everyone feels anxiety at some level. However, while it is manageable for some people, and may even motivate them to perform better, for others it can be crippling. You may feel too anxious to try things you really want to do, or to pursue opportunities. You may avoid relationships out of anxiety. There may be certain situations that simply terrify you.
If your anxiety is making it difficult to function to your fullest, and it has been for a matter of months at the least, then chances are you have an anxiety disorder.
There are different types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) refers to anxiety that is not specifically attached to any one thing. You may feel a general sense of anxiety, overly concerned that things will go wrong or you will fail. That sense may surge at certain times, such as during an interview or when you are lost, but it is still there even when you’re not doing anything anxiety-provoking. You may also fear for the wellbeing of a loved one, despite having no reason to believe anything is wrong.
People with generalized anxiety disorder tend to have a lot of negative self-talk. You may tell yourself that you’re just not capable of performing like others, or that you will probably fail at something. When something does go wrong, you may blame yourself and beat yourself up about it, regardless of whether anyone else feels that way.
Generalized anxiety disorder is very common and you are not alone. With treatment, you can unlock your full potential.
Social Anxiety Disorder
People with social anxiety disorder (sometimes abbreviated: SAD) experience particularly strong anxiety in social situations. Just introducing yourself to someone can feel frightening, as you feel sure they will judge you negatively. You sometimes think that people are talking about you behind your back and assume that everyone sees you in a negative way.
Group settings can feel extremely uncomfortable and speaking in a group, or with someone you particularly want to impress, you find yourself blushing and sweating. Blushing and sweating itself feels embarrassing and thinking about it only exacerbates the problem.
Social anxiety disorder can cause you to avoid social settings altogether, or to shy away from making close bonds with others. It can feel very lonely, but know that you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from social anxiety disorder, and with treatment you can overcome it.
People suffering from panic disorder experience, in addition to regular anxiety, panic attacks. During these attacks, you believe that something terrible is going to happen. You feel overwhelmed and suffocated, and may break out in cold sweats. You may feel nausea as well as trembling throughout your body.
Panic attacks are intense and frightening and they tend to last a few minutes but feel much longer. Getting treatment today can help you prevent future panic attacks.
Specific phobias refer to intense fixations on a particular object of terror. This may be spiders, heights, crowds, small spaces, and much more. A phobia is more than just a fear of something. Many people are scared of the above things without having a phobia. When you have a phobia, you spend significant time and energy thinking about and making plans to avoid the object of fear.
For example, you may avoid sleeping somewhere other than your house where you have protective screens or tape against spiders. Or you may decline opportunities because you fear the small space of the lift you might have to take.
Phobias are extremely distressing, but with the right treatment, you will begin living your life free of the object of your fear.
How We Treat Anxiety Disorders
Even though it might seem like it now, anxiety disorders are very treatable. With a combination of medication, therapy, and lifestyle modifications, you will see changes in weeks or even days.
SSRI-based antidepressants are very effective for treating anxiety in the long term. They increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which improves your mood and calms you. Antihistamines and beta blockers can provide short-term relief for mild anxiety.
You may also be given tranquilizers such as Valium or Xanax for immediate relief during extreme attacks. However, they will be provided with caution, as without careful moderation they can be habit-forming.
Therapy is a crucial aspect of treatment for all kinds of anxiety disorders. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, you will delve into the childhood patterns that have caused your anxiety. By speaking these out and reframing them, your anxiety begins to decrease.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has also become one of the go-to therapies for anxiety disorders. CBT trains you to challenge anxious thoughts. Over time, you begin doing so regularly, and you find yourself free of some or all of the anxiety around day-to-day situations. You also learn relaxation techniques. In addition, mindfulness techniques have proven incredibly helpful.
Consistent exercise is known to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Dietary improvements increase your overall sense of wellness. Taking time to relax or meditate can also decrease your anxiety levels. Ultimately, the more balanced your life is, the better you feel in a holistic sense.
Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million Americans, but you may still feel very alone. At Gooden Wellness Center, we guide you towards the best possible outcome: living to your full potential, able to manage any remaining anxiety. You will feel more comfortable in social situations, and will be able to relax more and perform better at work or school. If you have a panic disorder, our goal is for the attacks to stop altogether. Similarly, if you have a specific phobia, the ultimate outcome is for you to live your life according to what you want, rather than the object of your fear.
Anxiety disorders are extremely common but can also be treated successfully in a relatively short amount of time. Contact the Gooden Wellness Center today to start your journey towards overcoming your anxiety.
- Anxiety And Depression Association of America. (Website)
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