What Does It Mean to Have an Anxiety Disorder?
If you have an anxiety disorder, you probably already know that something isn't quite right. Anxiety attacks come on suddenly and leave you feeling helpless. If you have wondered whether or not you should seek anxiety therapy or another form of anxiety treatment, here is some information you should know.
What Is a Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
The most common type of anxiety disorder is called a generalized anxiety disorder. Nearly 7 million American adults suffer from this condition, and women are more susceptible to it than men. So how can you know if this condition is what is bothering you?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which is commonly known as GAD Disorder, causes the individual to feel extreme worry and tension all day long, even with no apparent reason. Everything that could potentially go wrong becomes an instant worry, from possible physical problems to supposed relationship problems at home. When this level of worry lasts for six months or longer, it indicates that there is a need for anxiety medication or treatment.
People with GAD Disorder often suffer from anxiety attacks. These are periods where physical symptoms come on suddenly to accompany the worry and tension the individual is holding inside. These physical symptoms will usually interfere with everyday living.
1. Difficulty swallowing or breathing,
2. An increased heart rate, trembling,
3. Hot flashes accompanied by sweating can all be symptoms of anxiety attacks.
What Is a Panic Disorder?
People who suffer from chronic anxiety attacks may be classified as having a panic disorder. These anxiety attacks come on suddenly, almost without warning, and almost always without a reason. A sense of impending doom or loss of control tends to accompany the attacks.
When these panic attacks happen frequently, the individual often cannot function in normal life. Without anxiety treatment or medication, it is nearly impossible for these people to hold jobs, as their panic attacks will not allow them to perform their duties at work. However, treatment for panic attacks is usually successful, so people with this disorder can lead to successful, normal lives with professional help.
Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders
There are several treatment options available for those with anxiety disorders. A physician or psychologist is the best person to diagnose the condition and choose potential anxiety treatment. It is important to remember that what works for one person may not work for the next, which means that there is no catchall anxiety therapy option.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is one option to treat anxiety disorder. Cognitive behavioural therapy focuses on changing both the thoughts and emotions the individual experiences as he/she faces anxiety. This is accompanied by behaviour modification, gradually helping the person cope with the triggers of his or her anxiety.
For instance, if the person experiences anxiety attacks when in large groups of people, which is a common anxiety disorder, that patient will be gradually exposed to larger and large groups, but only after being taught coping skills that help him/her to control the emotions and thoughts that can bring on the attack.
Sometimes lifestyle changes are sufficient to change the course of anxiety disorder. If there is a trigger in the patient's environment that can be completely removed, then this can often cure or somewhat alleviate the anxiety problem. Of course, many people who suffer from anxiety problems have no known trigger, so this type of treatment will not work in these situations.
Medications are also used as an anxiety treatment. Anxiety medication, including antidepressants and anxiolytic medications, can help calm some of the physical symptoms that come with anxiety problems, thus allowing the individual to work with a psychologist or therapist to work with the emotional problems. Most of the time, anxiety therapy must accompany any medications, as there are almost always underlying emotional problems that cause this condition.
Self Help for an Anxiety Disorder
Sometimes individuals with mild anxiety disorders can care for their conditions on their own. While anxiety self-help should never be attempted by people whose conditions are interfering with their normal lives, those who have occasional anxiety attacks or periods of intense worry may be able to take some of the aspects of anxiety therapy and apply them on their own. Before attempting anxiety self-help, however, the individual should talk to family and friends to see if the anxiety disorder is really mild or is actually causing noticeable problems.
If you are going to attempt to treat your own anxiety disorder, you will need to learn relaxation techniques to use when worry attacks you. Learn how to practice deep breathing, allowing your body to relax as the tension leaves. Understand that anxiety attacks will go away, and you simply need to find ways to get through them when they come. Avoid situations that trigger your anxiety, and be willing to accept professional therapy if you need it. In this way, you may be able to successfully use anxiety self-help techniques.