If you or someone you care about suffers from obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, worry that never lets up, or a phobia that is incapacitating, an anxiety disorder could be present. While occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, if you are experiencing anxiety that you cannot control, is persistent, and overwhelming, it’s important to seek help. Anxiety disorders can take over your life and interfere with daily activities.

Anxiety disorders may include:

  • Panic disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Specific phobias

It’s also important to understand that post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorders are closely associated with anxiety disorder. Consequently, individuals who experience anxiety disorders may also experience one of these conditions as well as experience depression, which occurs when you feel sad, discouraged, unmotivated, hopeless, or lack an interest in life for more than two weeks. Such feelings may interfere with your daily activities.

The Difference between Being Worried and Being Anxious: Know the Symptoms

Anxiety is a perfectly natural response when you sense you are in danger, under pressure, or feel threatened. In fact, anxiety is not necessarily bad in moderation. It is anxiety that helps to spur you into action, keep you alert, and even give you the motivation you need to solve problems. When anxiety becomes overwhelming or constant, it can be a problem, however. For instance, when you notice that anxiety has begun interfering with activities and relationships, it may have moved from being normal anxiety and developed into an anxiety disorder. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have an anxiety disorder:

  • Are you continually worried or tense?
  • Is your anxiety interfering with family, your job, or school?
  • Are you constantly plagued by irrational fears?
  • Do you think something bad might happen if you do not do things in a particular way?
  • Are you experiencing periods in which your heart is pounding due to panic?

Anxiety disorders are incredibly personal and can vary from one person to another. While one individual might experience sudden anxiety attacks, another may have an uncontrollable fear of something. Regardless of the various forms of anxiety, the one overlapping symptom is a severe or persistent worry or fear.

The emotional symptoms of anxiety might include:

  • Anticipating the worst
  • Watching for signs of danger
  • Feelings of dread
  • Irritability
  • Feeling jumpy or tense
  • Difficulty concentrating

Anxiety can also produce physical symptoms, such as:

  • Pounding heart
  • Upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscles twitches
  • Trembling
  • Insomnia

The physical symptoms of anxiety are often a result of the body’s fight-or-flight response. For this reason, many people with anxiety disorders often make numerous trips to the doctor or even the hospital due to physical symptoms of their anxiety before they are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Using Therapy to Treat Anxiety Problems

Anxiety disorders are quite common. Many adults suffer from such disorders. Unfortunately, a small percentage receive treatment. The good news is that anxiety disorders are very treatable. If you or someone close to you is suffering from an anxiety disorder, it’s important that you seek qualified help. There is no reason to continue living with fear and anxiety. Therapy can help. There are many different types of therapy that can be particularly beneficial by helping you learn how to control your anxiety and conquer your fears.

The length of time it takes to achieve success with treatment will vary from one person to another. While anxiety is highly treatable, everyone is different. Some people may notice improvements after just a couple of weeks of therapy while others may require several months of therapy. If you have more than one anxiety disorder, treatment may be more complicated. The same is also true if you suffer from substance abuse, depression, or some other co-existing condition. For this reason, it is imperative that your treatment be tailored to your individual needs.

Research indicates that therapy is the most effective option for treating anxiety disorders. Therapy is designed to treat more than just the symptoms of your anxiety. For instance, with therapy you can identify the underlying causes of your fears and worries while also learning how to relax and develop problem-solving and coping skills.

There are many different types of therapy may be used for treating anxiety disorders. These forms of therapy may be used on their own or in combination with one another.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy works to identify, understand, and change specific behavior and thinking patterns. Depending on the individual, benefits can typically be noticed within 16 weeks of beginning this form of therapy.

Patients are highly involved in their own recovery with CBT, which gives them a greater sense of control. Cognitive-behavioral therapy usually involves learning about the problem, maintaining records, and completing assignments. During therapy, patients will also learn skills that will need to be practiced in order to see improvement.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is a form of CBT. It is used for reducing anxiety responses and fear by exposing the individual gradually to an object or situation they fear. Over time, he or she learns how to become less sensitive. This form of therapy can be particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from specific phobias or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

Acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, is based on the idea of using acceptance along with a commitment to changing one’s behavior as a way of coping with unwanted feelings, thoughts, and sensations. With this form of therapy, you learn to accept experiences while developing more clarity regarding your own personal values. You will also develop a commitment for changing behavior.

Interpersonal Therapy

Interpersonal therapy is a form of short-term therapy that is used for addressing interpersonal issues.

With professional therapy, it is possible to overcome an anxiety disorder. If you or someone close to you is suffering from anxiety, reach out for the help you need now.

If you find you relate to the information in this article and would like some help, please contact Rita with Sioux Falls Wellness Counseling at (605) 610-9228.