Anxiety is an umbrella term for multiple mood disorders that revolve around the experience of feeling anxious. While almost everyone will experience the feeling of anxiety at various points in their life, those who have a clinically diagnosed anxiety disorder experience those feelings in heightened ways: at higher thresholds, for longer periods of time, and/or around specific circumstances.
Anxiety disorders are very common in the U.S, affecting 19.1% of the adult population. Anxiety can exist on a mild to severe scale, and it often occurs along with other mental health diagnoses.
If you are feeling suffocated by anxiety, help is here. RIVIA anxiety specialists can provide a diagnosis of your condition, prescribe medication as necessary, and facilitate the right type of therapy to give you the healing you need to overcome your anxiety.
There are two main factors that cause anxiety disorders: genetics and environment. While genetics can predispose someone to developing anxiety, environmental factors can trigger anxiety to manifest. For example, two college students might be taking the same courses, but one of them develops generalized anxiety (a subset of anxiety disorders) because they were predisposed through their genetics, and the other one gets through the semester just fine.
Anxiety is not your fault – you did not bring it upon yourself. It does not make you weak or unworthy of a great life. It is a result of things outside of your control, but healing is always possible.
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary widely based on specific diagnoses, but they all share the same core signs:
- Being easily fatigued
- Feeling like something bad is going to happen all the time
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty finishing tasks
- Muscle tension
- Gastrointestinal/digestive problems
- Racing or circular thoughts (ruminating about past events or hyper-focusing on future ones)
- Issues with sleep
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – Chronic, usually irrational fear and worry surrounding everyday life. There is no one specific trigger to the anxiety/fear, but it is widespread and relentless.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – Anxiety that occurs only in social interactions. These interactions can be hyper-specific (eating in public, large crowds, public speaking, etc.) or general (any social interaction).
- Panic Disorder – Having recurring, unexplained panic attacks. Panic attacks are sudden instances of intense fear that peak after a few minutes. Symptoms of a panic attack are heart palpitations, sweating, trembling/shaking, shortness of breath, and feelings of impending doom or death.
- Specific Anxiety/Phobias – Anxiety that occurs only around specific triggers and results in the person doing whatever they can to avoid the trigger – or making it impossible for them to interact with the trigger. Common triggers for phobias are driving a car, animals, flying, blood, or heights.
Anxiety disorders have a high recovery rate and can be well-managed through medication and professional therapy. A psychiatrist can diagnose you and, taking your specific diagnosis into account, recommend and prescribe the proper treatment approach.
Your issue may be due to clinical anxiety if it has:
- Lasted longer than 2 weeks
- Made it difficult or uncomfortable to accomplish necessary tasks in your life
- Made you feel like your life is overwhelmed by anxiety
There are many treatment options available for those with anxiety, and your psychiatrist can work with you to find the option that best suits you. Common treatment options for anxiety include:
- Medication – This can be very beneficial, but it should always be supervised by a psychiatrist.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – This is a form of talk therapy that works to recognize negative, untrue thinking patterns, and replace them with positive, true thinking patterns. This addresses anxiety at its source.
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – This is similar to CBT, but with a focus on accepting uncomfortable, troubling thoughts and improving coping mechanisms.
- Interpersonal Therapy – This involves focusing on the relationships a person has with others. It is great for people whose anxiety has negatively impacted their important relationships.
- Exposure Therapy – This is specifically used to treat specific phobias. This method of therapy involves exposing you to your trigger in a controlled, safe environment, and then using coping mechanisms to practice calming yourself down and overcoming the trigger altogether.
Anxiety Therapists at RIVIA
There are many more forms of therapy to treat anxiety (including art therapy, mindfulness, and mentalization-based therapy). If you feel that a different form of treatment would suit you better than your current treatment, reach out to your psychiatrist.
Anxiety can be an exhausting, all-consuming disorder to live with, but modern medicine and therapy allow total healing to be possible. To start on your path to anxiety-free living, reach out to a RIVIA psychiatrist today.