People will encounter situations throughout their lives that will cause worry and stress, such as speaking in public, impending surgery, dealing with a traumatic event, or starting a new chapter in their lives. These reactions are normal and even healthy. Yet, when these emotions persist for long periods of time and seem uncontrollable or overwhelming, then a deeper problem may exist, maybe even an anxiety disorder.
There are several types of anxiety disorders: phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and separation anxiety. Clinical studies have shown that early diagnosis and treatment are very beneficial to helping people recover from any anxiety disorder.
This group of mental health disorders is typically broken up into two types depending on if symptoms occur as episodes or are continuous. Anyone can develop an anxiety disorder, even small children.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: excessive, often irrational, tension and worry over everyday problems. Physical symptoms include
- muscle tension.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: a compulsion to perform irrational rituals or routines to an excessive degree. These rituals can include:
- excessive cleaning,
- arranging objects into patterns,
- repeating sequences, etc.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: brought on by a traumatic event, people with PTSD will encounter
- trouble sleeping or concentrating,
- exhibit fear, anger and restlessness for longer than a month after the event has happened.
Like many mental illnesses and diseases, the cause of an anxiety disorder can be a combination of diet, genetics, environment and psychological factors. Many anxiety disorders result from a person experiencing a very real or perceived threat, and then continuing to believe that threat is imminent long after the event has occurred. Patients are very convinced that this threat will appear again and rearrange their psyche and lives to prevent the threat from happening. For patients who have experienced very real harm through an act of violence, portions of their brains like the amygdala and hippocampus have been altered. An anxiety disorder can be caused by a hyperactive amygdala, which is the portion of the brain that interprets external events as threats and signals the rest of the brain to react. Another cause might be a smaller than usual hippocampus, a section of the brain that stores memories, including threatening ones.
Medical Treatment and Therapy
If you believe that you have an anxiety disorder, then receiving a true diagnosis requires that a medical professional evaluate you. Medical treatment and therapy varies depending on the type of disorder you have.
Though medical treatment is a viable option, the best form of treatment can be therapy, where a professional member of the Holiner Psychiatric Group helps you learn how to cope with the negative feelings that accompany anxiety disorders. Once you are able to identify, understand and change these negative thought patterns, then a truly happy life is possible for you.
You are Not Alone
In any given year, 40 million Americans are diagnosed or are dealing with an anxiety disorder. Women are 60% more likely to develop any type of anxiety disorder, while about 8% of adolescents have an anxiety disorder.
If you’ve been diagnosed with any form of anxiety disorder, Dr. Joel Holiner and the dedicated psychiatrists at The Holiner Psychiatric Group can help with medicinal treatment and therapy. Stop the worrying today, and contact us for a professional evaluation.