If you are experiencing anxiety, you are not alone. In fact, anxiety disorders are widely recognized as the most common form of mental illness in the United States. They affect millions of adults in the United States each year. Luckily, anxiety disorders are highly treatable.
The experts at Banner Health are here to help with excellent care to manage and treat anxiety and anxiety-related disorders.
Anxiety is the sense of uneasiness, dread or distress one feels before a stressful, dangerous or unfamiliar event or situation. A certain level of anxiety in the body can help us stay alert and aware, but if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, that feeling can be debilitating and interfere with daily life.
Anxiety doesn’t look the same for everyone. There are several different kinds of anxiety-related disorders that are divided into the following categories:
Anxiety disorders are characterized by either a general feeling of excessive fear, such as an emotional response to a perceived or real threat, or general anxiety, such as worrying about a future threat. This constant fear and worry can lead to negative emotional and behavioral consequences such as stress or exhaustion.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders (OCD) and other related disorders are characterized by obsessive, intrusive thoughts that trigger related compulsive behaviors. These behaviors are performed to relieve the anxiety that is associated with the obsessive thoughts.
Trauma and Stressor Disorders
These disorders are related to the experience of trauma, such as a car accident, or a stressor, such as divorce or starting college.
Anxiety disorders that fall into all three of these categories include:
Common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
If you think you show signs of anxiety, talk to your doctor.
Sometimes, anxiety can be related to a medical condition. Your primary care provider can check for signs of an underlying medical condition or medications that could be causing your anxiety. If your doctor suspects a medical condition could be the cause, they may order a blood or urine test.
In cases of severe anxiety, your doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist who can help diagnose and treat your condition. In order to diagnose an anxiety disorder, your mental health specialist may give you a psychological questionnaire or check your symptoms based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
There are two main treatments for anxiety disorders:
Commonly known as talk therapy or psychological counseling, this treatment option includes working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. This type of therapy focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and encouraging you to gradually return to activities you avoided because of anxiety.
In some cases, several types of medications are used to help relieve anxiety symptoms. Medication and psychotherapy can be used together as an effective treatment for certain anxiety disorders.
Stress is the body’s physical, mental and/or emotional reaction to a change that requires adjustment. Stress is a normal part of life and can be experienced from your environment, body and thoughts.
The difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation, while anxiety is the body’s reaction to stress.
The signs and symptoms of stress include:
Your doctor will be able to diagnose stress based on your symptoms and by asking a few questions. Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of stress.
Stress is a normal part of life that can’t be fully treated. However, there are ways to manage stress to help you lead a happy and healthy life, including:
Anxiety can prevent or inhibit the autonomic nervous system, which in turn, prevents physical arousal. Anxiety can affect sexual arousal for people in a variety of ways. In some instances, anxiety can increase arousal or even lead to sexual arousal by fear or threat.
Phobias are an excessive and irrational fear reaction to something specific. People with phobias can experience a deep sense of dread or panic when facing the source of their fear, such as a certain place, situation or object. Depending on the severity, symptoms of phobias can range from mild annoyances to severely disabling.
Although stress and anxiety are normal parts of life, they can sometimes be debilitating and interfere with daily life. The compassionate team at Banner Health is here to help you manage your anxiety disorder and get back to living life to the fullest.