Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses, with millions of individuals suffering in America alone. While there are many different types of anxiety, more and more cases of debilitating anxiety are being seen, especially among a younger demographic.
Is Anxiety Normal?
It’s common for people to experience feelings of anxiety brought on by ordinary, and one might even say, mundane stresses like job interviews, first dates, moving to a new school, or the first time moving to a new city all by yourself. An anxiety disorder compared to everyday anxiety is categorized by a constant worry or fear that lasts for prolonged times and continues to worsen. When that worry or anxiety begins to interfere with your job, school, relationships, and everyday responsibilities, it is time to reach out for help.
As symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary, so do treatment methods. For some, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), talk therapy, or simply venting can help. Some may need to develop positive ways to cope with feelings of anxiety or panic. Others may require medications or a combination of all three.
There is no right or wrong way to respond to treatment, as long as it’s healthy and improving your quality of life. If you or someone you love is experiencing debilitating levels of anxiety, reach out for help today.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several anxiety disorders individuals may experience. Some of those, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): This categorizes “excessive anxiety or worries, most days for at least six months” regarding anything like health, social situations, or everyday tasks and responsibilities. Symptoms of GAD may include:
- Restlessness or irritability
- Feeling fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating
- Body aches from holding tension in the muscles
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Panic Disorder: Categorized by frequently unexpected panic attacks, those with panic disorder experience intense episodes of fear that come on quickly and without much warning. These severe episodes of fear can be the result of triggers or feared situations. The constant worry of when another panic attack will occur can cause even more feelings of anxiety, often leading to people avoiding situations that might trigger an attack. Feelings accompanied by a panic attack may include:
- Accelerated heart rate and palpitations
- Feeling clammy and sweaty
- Body shakes and trembling
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling completely out of control of one’s feelings and actions
The most common treatments of anxiety disorders include psychotherapy, medication, or both. Finding the remedy that’s best for you can take time. Cognitive therapy and exposure therapy are CBT methods that are frequently used together. Cognitive therapy focuses on “identifying, challenging, and then neutralizing unhelped or distorted thoughts underlying anxiety disorders.” Exposure therapy focuses on “confronting the fears underlying an anxiety disorder to help people engage in activities they have been avoiding,” again according to the NIMH.
When it comes to medications, some may be more effective for treating other anxiety disorders than others. It is important to work closely with a medical health professional to find the right mix that works for you.
Some individuals have found help and comfort from a support group as well. Self-help and support groups provide people with the opportunity to confide in others who can understand what they are going through. This can be in-person or through the use of virtual groups. It can also help to talk to those closest to you and that you trust. However, it can sometimes be challenging to understand if they have never suffered from an anxiety disorder.
Of course, with any method of treatment, always consult a medical or mental health professional.
Addiction and Anxiety
When it comes to anxiety and addiction, there are alternative methods of treatment to consider for those who may want to refrain from taking medication. In addition to methods like CBT and exposure therapy, there are many stress management techniques individuals can learn to cope with anxiety. Many may even turn to mindfulness meditation and exercise to calm themselves and enhance therapeutic practices.
In many instances, individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder may refuse to seek treatment. They may, as a result, turn to self-medicating, which can lead to addiction, dependency on substances, and even unhealthy behaviors like self-harm. Untreated anxiety disorders can lead to these dependencies and alter every aspect of your life, deteriorating your quality of life.
If you are experiencing levels of anxiety that are negatively impacting you and your daily life, reach out for help today.
Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses plaguing millions of Americans every day. Similar to addiction, it can present itself in many different forms. Just as there are various types of anxiety, they are also various types of treatment methods. The most common treatment methods include psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication. If you are also struggling with addiction, alternative methods may help you cope with your anxiety. In conjunction with therapy and support groups, medication and physical activity have been shown to help with anxiety disorders. While we focus on addiction here at the Lakehouse Recovery Center, we can also help you cope with anxiety disorders and other co-occurring mental illnesses. Untreated anxiety can worsen and even lead to struggles with addiction and substance and behavioral dependency. If you struggle with an anxiety disorder and addiction, call us at (877) 762-3707 today. Please, don’t go untreated any longer.