Anxiety

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Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, whether you face a challenge at work or school or have to make important decisions about life. Anxiety goes beyond everyday worries and fears. Those with anxiety disorders experience anxiety all the time, making it hard to perform what should be simple, everyday activities.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 28.8 percent of all adults in the U.S. age 18 to 54 have experienced some form of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. That’s nearly one in every three people.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

All anxiety disorders are noted by feelings of anxiety, dread, and fear that interfere with your day-to-day living. Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder – Excessive anxiety or worry for several months
  • Social anxiety disorder – A fear of social or performance situations where a person may feel judged, embarrassed, rejected, or afraid of offending others
  • Panic disorder – Anxiety noted by sudden panic attacks, periods of intense fear that can include symptoms like increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom

Symptoms of Anxiety

People experience anxiety disorder in different ways. The most common symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include:

  • Restlesness
  • Feeling constantly wound up or on edge
  • Irritability
  • Tense muscles

  • Various sleep problems (insomnia or restless sleep)
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Inability to control worry

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Risk Factors for Anxiety

Research has found that most anxiety disorders stem from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, and often the two interacting with each other. Other specific risk factors for anxiety include:

  • Childhood shyness
  • Behavioral inhibiting in childhood
  • Divorce or widowed partner
  • Exposure to stressful life events
  • History of anxiety disorders in your family
  • Increased cortisol levels in saliva

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. Medications for anxiety often include:

  • Anti-anxiety medication (most commonly benzodiazepines) to help reduce anxiety symptoms
  • Antidepressants
  • Beta blockers (like propranolol and atenolol) can help control rapid heartbeat, trembling, and blushing during anxious situations

Therapy must be targeted at a person’s specific needs. While this may lead to temporary discomfort from confronting fears, you will eventually feel better equipped to handle your anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that teaches you methods of behaving, thinking, and reacting to situations that can potentially trigger their anxiety.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be divided into two main components: exposure therapy and cognitive therapy. The latter is designed to help you identify, challenge, and eliminate thoughts that are at the roots of your anxieties. Exposure therapy involves exposing a patient to the object or situation that causes anxiety in a safe, controlled environment.

Support groups also offer a great deal of help, allowing you to share your problems and find advice and support from others suffering similar issues. Certain stress management techniques can help you calm yourself and enhance the overall effects of therapy.

Anxiety disorders can be tied to drug abuse and addiction. Addiction to prescription medication may often start with anxiety issues. If you have questions or would like to get help today, contact HARP at (877) 806-5022.

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