Anxiety is a normal emotion. Most people feel nervous in certain situations such as speaking in public, job interviews, or a tough exam. The brain’s response to these stressors often triggers the fight or flight system. This fight or flight response is essential to human survival and has enabled humans to rapidly respond to threats.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Unfortunately, for 40 Million Americans who suffer from an Anxiety Disorder, as part of everyday life, this fight or flight system is activated more than they would like. For these individuals, anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety (SA), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will start to take over their world and interfere with daily functioning. These anxiety disorders can be a result of family genetics, brain chemistry, environmental conditions or stressful events. Anxiety affects men and women equally and can start early in life and continue until later in life. The sooner an anxiety sufferer gets effective treatment, the sooner they can regain control of their life.
Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty Breathing
- Racing Heart
- Muscle Tension
- Chest Pain
- Trouble Sleeping
Mental / Emotional Symptoms of Anxiety
- Excessive Worry
- Racing Thoughts
- Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts
- Feeling of Impending Doom
- Irrational Fears
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Difficulty Making Life Decisions
- Difficulty Handling Uncertainty
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition that is usually triggered by life situations and circumstances that create excessive anxiety and worry, usually for 6 months. Common concerns from someone suffering from GAD could be related to work, money, relationships family, health or other issues. Living with GAD without treatment can become a long-term problem and impact normal functioning. With proper treatment and support it is possible to overcome the symptoms of excessive anxiety and troubling thoughts. For more information, visit General Anxiety Disorder.
Anxiety Treatment Methods
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Exposure & Response Prevention
- Mindfulness Based Awareness Training
- Medication when advised
Common therapy and treatment methods for anxiety and related disorders include Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy (ET) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), combined with medication when appropriate. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. CBT is an integration of two originally separate theoretical approaches to understand and treat psychological disorders: the behavioral approach, and the cognitive approach. Studies have indicated that CBT supports individuals in identifying, understanding, and shifting their thinking and behavioral patterns, which results in relieved anxiety and worry. As a result of receiving effective treatment, individuals suffering from anxiety can regain control of their lives once again.
Other Common Anxiety Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- General Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Disorder
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder
It is not uncommon for an individual to suffer from multiple anxiety disorders. Treating co-occurring conditions simultaneously is important in finding balance and healing from anxiety.
The Gateway Institute is here to support you in getting the help that you need.