Did you know that occasional anxiety is actually normal, and in some cases, necessary? Feelings of anxiety can be understood as personal cues for dealing with stress. Anxiety is meant to protect us from danger, allowing us to react quicker and more effectively to harmful or threatening stimuli.
What about when anxiety is not normal, such as when it persists or keeps you from functioning normally on a daily basis? This is the nature of anxiety-related disorders. It is essential to understand how anxiety disorders may show up in yourself or others so that you can be more aware of when anxiety is unhealthy.
While you become more educated and aware of what anxiety disorders are, it is also necessary to understand what treatment options are available for distressing symptoms of anxiety. If you or your loved one struggles with the effects of anxiety or anxiety-related disorders, there are treatment options available to help you heal.
Understanding Healthy vs. Unhealthy Anxiety
It can be challenging to differentiate healthy from unhealthy anxiety. Although different types of anxiety can help you know whether your symptoms are normal, it might also help to know what symptoms are generally abnormal.
Abnormal symptoms may include:
- If your worries or fears are interfering with your social life
- If your worries or fears are interfering with your work, academic, or other kinds of performance
- If you feel as if you are unable to control your feelings of worry or anxiety
- If you spend an abnormal amount of time during your day worrying, such as more than one hour total combined
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
There are several types of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and other phobia-related disorders.
#1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
GAD is characterized by excessive anxiety and worry during most days for at least six months. Symptoms may include:
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty with concentration
- Having issues with sleep or appetite
#2. Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks are typically unexpected periods of intense fear and worry, with symptoms peaking within minutes. Attacks may or may not have a detectable trigger. Panic attack symptoms might include:
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of hopelessness or doom
- Racing heartbeat
- Fear over when the next panic attack will occur
- Feelings of being out of control
#3. Phobia-Related Disorders
Phobia-related disorders occur when a person has an intense fear regarding specific stimuli or situations. Examples of this type of disorder include:
- Specific phobias (such as heights, flying, or blood)
- Social anxiety disorder (fear of social situations, typically fearing embarrassment)
- Agoraphobia (fear of public places or small spaces)
- Separation anxiety disorder (fear of separating from a specific partner or loved one due to intense attachment)
Getting an Anxiety Diagnosis
If you or your loved one struggles with the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, it is essential that you seek out and receive the treatment you need to heal. If anxiety symptoms are left untreated, they are likely to persist and worsen over time.
Anxiety disorders are diagnosed like many other mental health disorders. Your healthcare provider or another mental health professional will conduct a clinical evaluation of your history as well as the severity of your anxiety symptoms. They will rule out any other possible mental health disorder and give you the most accurate diagnosis possible.
Living With Anxiety: Effective Treatment Options
There are several treatment options and therapeutic interventions to treat anxiety symptoms and anxiety-related disorders. There are both psychotherapy and medicated options available. The most effective treatment seems to be a combination of both approaches.
Using Psychotherapy for Anxiety Treatment
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), will help teach you different ways of thinking. It will address your current thought and behavior patterns and rule out healthy vs. unhealthy habits. Through sessions, you will learn how to react more appropriately to seemingly threatening stimuli, especially when it comes to the things that have caused anxiety for you in the past.
Other treatment options might include the use of exposure therapy. Exposure therapy allows a client to gradually be exposed to the threats they have anxiety over. Exposure therapy is more likely to be used in situations where the threat is physical, and a person can be exposed in different intensities.
Using Medicine for Treating Anxiety
There are many medicinal options available for treating anxiety, such as anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants. It is important to work closely with a healthcare professional if you decide to try this option because many different brands and doses are available to help ease symptoms. It may take trying a few different medications before finding one that works with your needs and goals.
Anxiety is a normal part of life. However, what is not normal is when feelings of worry and fear persist, negatively interfering with your daily life and performance. There are several different types of anxiety disorders to be aware of, as well as the signs and symptoms associated with each condition. If you or your loved one feels like their anxiety is out of their control, it is essential that they get the help that they need to heal from their distress. Sabino Recovery is a treatment center that works with individuals struggling with a range of mental health disorders. We address any negative thought or behavior patterns as well as maladaptive coping behaviors that may worsen your anxiety symptoms. We believe that treatment must be experienced in a compassionate, peaceful, and safe atmosphere. If you are looking to begin your treatment journey, call Sabino Recovery today at (844) 227-7014.