The National Institutes of Health estimates that up to one in three men and women in the United States has experienced at least one form of clinical anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety is different from feeling worried or nervous because you have a job interview coming up or you’re meeting your in-laws for the first time.
If you have an anxiety disorder, feelings of dread, worry, and nervousness can be nearly constant and may be accompanied by physical symptoms, too.
At Wellness Road Psychology, we know that the first step in treating an anxiety disorder is determining the underlying cause. Chronic stress, environmental pressures, genetics, and underlying medical conditions may all contribute to anxiety.
Different types of anxiety disorders
Anxiety comes in many forms, each of which has its own set of symptoms. Some of the more common anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder— feeling constantly fearful or anxious
- Panic disorder — sudden intense fear, feeling of having a heart attack, or not being able to breathe
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — having flashbacks of past trauma or abuse
- Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) — uncontrollable thoughts or rituals
- Social anxiety disorder — fear of being judged or embarrassed
- Phobias — fear of something specific, such as fear of heights or of being in public (agoraphobia)
- Separation anxiety — fear of being alone or separated from a loved one
Many women, men, and children with anxiety have more than one type of disorder.
Physical symptoms of anxiety
While the symptoms of anxiety vary widely and by type, some physical symptoms are common to many anxiety disorders. You may have an anxiety disorder if you frequently experience:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Upset stomach
- Nervous feeling or irritability
Behaviors associated with anxiety
When you have an anxiety disorder, you may try to manage your symptoms by adopting behaviors that make you feel more in control. While these behaviors may offer temporary relief, they don’t address the underlying cause of your disorder and may even worsen it.
Behaviors that suggest you may have an anxiety disorder include:
- Staying away from public spaces
- Avoiding work, school, or anxiety-provoking situations
- Ending relationships often
- Quitting jobs, school, or other activities
- Overusing alcohol
- Using recreational drugs
The impact of anxiety disorders
Untreated anxiety disorders can disrupt your life and prevent you from reaching your full potential. You may have trouble forming or maintaining relationships because of your fear of being judged or embarrassed. You may pass up opportunities due to your fears of failure.
A chronic anxiety disorder also increases your risk of developing depression. Depression is a serious illness that can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Getting treatment for anxiety
If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, Philip Glickman, Psy.D. and Jaime Karia, LCSW will conduct a thorough examination, take a medical and personal history, and administers any necessary tests to determine the cause or causes of your chronic anxiety. Once we make a diagnosis, we will design a treatment plan. Depending on your needs, your treatment plan may include psychological counseling or talk therapy, medications to address underlying medical conditions, or medications to manage symptoms of anxiety.
You don’t have to live with anxiety. Find relief by calling us today or reaching out with the online booking form.