Mental Health

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MENTAL HEALTH | ANXIETY

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States. 40 million people, 18 years and older, are afflicted by an anxiety disorder every year. While everyone experiences anxiety at some point in life, anxiety disorders are differentiated by their serious and long standing effects. Anxiety conditions can significantly interfere with an individual’s daily life activities and overall quality of life. For example, someone experiencing anxiety might feel embarrassed in an awkward social situation whereas someone with an anxiety disorder might avoid social situations altogether out of fear of embarrassment. When it takes hold of your life, it’s an anxiety disorder. There are a number of different types of anxiety conditions, but the good news is that they can all be treated with various types of therapies, medications, and anxiety rehabilitation plans.

Common Anxiety Conditions

Generalized Anxiety Disorders – GAD is characterized by six months or more of consistent anxiety which qualifies as a chronic condition. Individuals struggling with this disorder may experience restlessness, intense worry and fear, irritability, sleeping issues, as well as an array of physical manifestations of anxiety such as muscle tightness and difficulty breathing. GAD is twice as likely to affect women and often coincides with depression.

Panic Disorder – Panic disorder is associated with the repeated occurence of panic attacks. Symptoms of panic attacks include heart palpitations, trembling or shaking, sweating, and shortness of breath. Panic attacks can occur randomly and seemingly for no particular reason or after experiencing an obvious trigger. While panic attacks bring about very physical symptoms, the underlying cause is anxiety which is an issue of mental health. It is important to seek out help for Panic Disorder in order to determine the root cause.

Social Anxiety Disorder – Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is the anxiety and fear of everyday social situations. The severity of this disorder can range widely; it may affect individuals only in a specific scenario or it can affect individuals in every social interaction they experience. Regardless of the severity, it is important for people with this disorder to seek help so they can interact with others without fear. The onset of SAD typically comes about around the age of 13.

Specific Phobias – There are many different types of Phobias that can come about as a result of anxiety. A Phobia is an intense fear of specific objects or situations. One common example is Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of being in places that are difficult to escape or where it would be difficult to find help. It is usually associated with a fear of crowds, bridges, and being in enclosed or open spaces. Many people who suffer from Agoraphobia prefer to stay inside the home in order to avoid potentially anxiety-inducing or embarrassing situations. Phobias typically develop during childhood and often co-occur with PTSD or OCD.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Commonly known as “OCD,” Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by repetitive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. The repetitive thoughts are commonly referred to as “obsessions” and act as the impetus to performing repetitive behaviors. Common causes of repetitive thoughts include fear of germs or contamination, irritability, and maintaining the perfect symmetry and organization of things. This usually results in excessive cleaning, organizing, and constant checking and double-checking. People with OCD cannot control their thoughts and behaviors and encounter significant difficulty in navigating their day-to-day life. It is not uncommon to experience other mental disorders alongside OCD, such as depression. 25% of people diagnosed with OCD developed symptoms by age 14.

Postraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Postraumatic Stress Disorder is a form of anxiety that occurs after experiencing a traumatizing event. Examples of traumatic events that could cause PTSD include violent assaults, natural disasters, car accidents, military combat, childhood sex abuse, and the sudden loss or death of a loved one. Individuals may develop symptoms within a few months or a few years. Some common symptoms include flashbacks, upsetting thoughts, avoidant behavior, difficulty sleeping and feeling tense or angry. PTSD can trigger other types of anxiety disorders like Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. Psychotherapy is most commonly used to treat PTSD, but there are a variety of treatment options.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) – Sometimes also referred to as Clinical Depression, Major Depressive Disorder is a very common disorder that can have a serious negative impact on an individual’s life. Over 16 million people in the U.S. struggle with MDD every year. People with MDD typically feel persistently sad and hopeless, and struggle with day-to-day activities. Risk factors for MDD include family history of depression, trauma, and physical illness. If you or someone you know if struggling with MDD, you are not alone. Contact the Treatment Specialist for help today.

Risk Factors

There are both genetic and environmental risk factors for the development of an anxiety disorder. While it varies widely depending on the individual as well as the disorder, some general risk factors include a family history of other mental illnesses, exposure to stressful life circumstances as a child or adult, behavioral issues during childhood, and even some physical conditions such as thyroid disease and heart arrhythmia.  Consumption of caffeine and other substances can also exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety Rehab and Treatment Options

There are several different types of therapies and medications that can ease the symptoms of anxiety. Talk therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy are effective tools for treating an anxiety disorder. Psychotherapy focuses more on finding the source of anxiety and the subconscious effects it has on a person and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on changing the thought processes and behaviors that fuel a person’s anxiety. CBT is particularly helpful for individuals suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Social Anxiety Disorder because it can help retrain habits and practice social skills.

Medications used to treat the symptoms associated with anxiety include antidepressants, anti anxiety medication and occasionally beta-blockers, to address physical symptoms like heart palpitations and shaking.

Depending on the severity of your specific anxiety condition, there will be a variety of treatment options recommended. For those who are experiencing mild symptoms, an Intensive Outpatient Program and Individual Therapy sessions can provide a therapeutic intervention to help relieve the symptoms and retrain the brain to create healthier thought patterns and coping skills. If you are struggling with a more serious anxiety condition, inpatient or residential treatment may be the best recommended course of action to help provide a highly structured therapeutic environment.

Receive Help to Recover

Call 866-644-7911 to connect with a treatment center that will provide a free confidential assessment that will review the individuals complete background including medical conditions, psych-social, and psychiatric conditions. You will receive individualized support and guidance for you or your loved one. We will find you the best possible anxiety rehab and treatment option for your anxiety conditions and your unique situation and needs.

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