All of us know anxiety. We feel it sometimes. We worry, get nervous, or feel uneasy. Sometimes. It may stem from decisions, events, or situations where the outcome is uncertain. Anxiety has many triggers. They could involve work, school, family, or social settings. Perhaps, we feel stress or uncomfortable about certain people or places. Occasional anxiety is normal. Anxiety Disorders are not occasional. They are very different.
Anxiety Disorders are mental illnesses. These disorders disrupt any sense of order in a person’s life. They stir up feelings of fear which don’t come and go. Instead, they just keep coming. Constant anxiety can quickly become uncontrollable and overwhelming. The person’s mind and body seem like a prison, from which there is no escape.
The symptoms of anxiety disorders can be quite bad. The good news is we have effective treatments for managing these mental illnesses.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
There is no one cause. Often the result is from a combination of factors. For starters, just like with other illnesses, people may be predisposed by genetics. The old saying, “it runs in the family” is used for good reason.
Forms of childhood trauma can also play a role. So can other harmful past experiences. Current stress felt in one’s profession, personal relationships, and community, can drive fear and negative emotions. Sometimes, even little negative experiences gain momentum and power. Suddenly, they become a rolling stone of anxiety heading downhill fast.
Then there’s the biological causes. Medical illnesses can cause anxiety disorders. Natural changes in a person’s brain can be all it takes. Other times, a person’s underlying issues lead them to drugs or drinking. Alcohol use and substance use create significant changes in the function and structure of the addicted brain.
It makes sense how these examples and others, could make any person unstable. Such internal chaos frequently shows itself in men and women through a few common Anxiety Disorders.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
People with this mental illness show symptoms of excessive anxiety. Others can easily see it. They may worry about uncertain events or situations for months in advance. In some cases, the events or situations may not even be real.
Excessive anxiety often leads to other visible symptoms. This includes muscle pain from being “wound up,” and unable to concentrate or relax. They may feel irritability, extreme fatigue, and battle severe difficulties in sleeping, and quieting their mind.
There’s a bit of a “double whammy” for people suffering from this mental illness. Sure, they experience the well-known “panic attacks.” But, they also live in intense fear of their outbreaks. When? Where? How? Worrying about the next attack’s sudden strike is even to be debilitating. These fears can even be the catalyst for the next occurrence.
Panic attacks can happen anywhere, anytime, at random. They are moments of sheer terror, uncontrollable fear, or impending doom. Panic Disorder often drives people to react wildly or irrationally when intense anxiety hits them. After an episode occurs, the person may then become so terrified by what they remember. So, they steer clear of the people, places, and other things which they connect to the panic attack. Though others may not see it or understand, the feelings of panic are as real as can be.
This is a mental illness which also commonly creates powerful physical symptoms. People may experience such severe chest pain, it feels like they are having a heart attack. Palpitations, a pounding heart, and excessive sweating are also frequent symptoms. Other people literally shake or tremble with fear. Some go well beyond shortness of breath. They feel like they are being smothered, or choked to death.
Panic Disorder is often activated unexpectedly…and yet repeatedly.
Social Anxiety Disorder:
People who have this mental illness truly suffer socially. Social Anxiety Disorder is far more than feeling uncomfortable in public. It can dominate the person’s thoughts and feelings long before or after social situations. It’s not unusual for Social Anxiety Disorder sufferers to dwell for days and weeks about upcoming events and encounters with people.
For instance, they may be extremely self-conscious about aspects of their appearance, and other personal traits. Some may be overwhelmed by fear of being judged harshly by others. They may traumatize themselves before anyone else can. Their fear of being ridiculed or otherwise humiliated is that powerful.
Symptoms may include an inability to talk with others. The person may show obvious signs of distress around others. Such as, nausea, sweating, shaking, and feeling dizzy or light-headed.
Worrying becomes their way of life. Their anxiety means they can’t feel safe or “social” at all. Going to a job, the supermarket, or the local mall, can become way too scary. Those with Social Anxiety Disorder often decide isolation equals safety. They think avoiding people, places, and activities, may be their best option.
These men and women take on added burdens. Consider the added impact of low self-image, or self-worth, and a hard time making or keeping friends. These real-life challenges only increase their anxiety.
Social Anxiety Disorder is also referred to as social phobia.
Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
The highly trained professionals at Integro Health Systems have the experience and expertise to help men and women with Anxiety Disorders. If you can physically get the person in position to get urgent help, patients can often be successful. They can often return to more normal, productive lives.
Medication is a not a cure for Anxiety Disorders. But it sure can provide much needed relief for the patient’s symptoms, and underlying behavioral health issues. Medication helps to stabilize the person. This provides them with a critical foundation for addressing their mental health issues, and enjoying better patient outcomes.
Our trained psychiatrists and medical doctors know to prescribe the customized medications for treating the patient’s symptoms and needs. There are common classes of prescription medications commonly used effectively with Anxiety Disorders. They include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and even beta-blockers.
Psychotherapy can be highly effective as a treatment option. The patient meets privately with our psychiatrists, and therapists for customized support for their specific anxieties. Feeling safe is a process. They can become safe enough to show up for therapy. Next, they can feel safe enough to discuss their issues, and explore triggers and solutions to their Anxiety Disorder. Eventually, they can perform better in social situations.
Attending group therapy in our Outpatient Care program is a great choice for treating Anxiety Disorders. Becoming involved with others who suffer from anxiety can no doubt prove to be their most important, transformative social activity.
It is quite common for patients to succeed using both medication and therapy in their treatment plan. They offer a powerful dual approach to creating the lifestyle changes people want.
If you are or a loved one or feeling anxiety, try to fight it for just a moment. Contact Integro and get confidential help now. Take the first step to freedom from Anxiety Disorders. Call (602) 535-8200.