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Anxiety Treatment

Table of Contents

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses that affect 40 million Americans throughout the country. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, but of the 40 million who experience anxiety annually, only 36.9 percent of them are treated according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 

Those with anxiety disorders are five times more likely to go to the doctor, and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not struggle with the disorder. Anxiety can develop from complex risk factors, which include genetics, personality, brain chemistry, and life events.

It’s common for those struggling with anxiety to experience depression or vice versa. Nearly half of those diagnosed with depression, also are diagnosed with anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorders affect 6.8 million adults, which translates to 3.1 percent of the U.S. population. Despite the astonishing figure, a mere 43.2 percent are actively receiving treatment.

Treating an individual with anxiety will depend on the nature of the anxiety disorder and the person’s preferences. Alcohol dependence, depression, and other conditions often share a link to anxiety. For some, treating an anxiety disorder means they must wait until an individual manages underlying conditions.

Becoming aware of the developing anxiety symptoms and taking the proper precautions to manage the condition without medical assistance is the first step. If by doing this and not seeing a reduction in anxiety symptoms, or if the onset is sudden or severe, other treatments are available.

Self-Treatment

It is possible to manage your anxiety symptoms in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, this may be limited to shorter and less severe episodes of anxiety. Doctors can recommend various exercises and techniques designed to cope with brief bouts of anxiety, which include:

Stress management

Limit potential triggers by managing your stress levels. Make sure to monitor pressures and deadlines, organize tasks in to-do lists, and take enough time off from your professional or educational obligations. Remember, our mental health is an essential portion of functioning at a high level.

Relaxation techniques

Certain techniques can help reduce signs of anxiety, which include long baths, deep-breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and resting in the dark.

Exercises that replace negative thoughts

Make a list of negative thoughts you may be having, and make another list of positive feelings you wish to have. Follow this by facing and conquering a specific fear. It can provide numerous benefits if the anxiety symptoms link to a particular root of stress.

Support network

Speak with someone close to you that is supportive. It can be someone such as a family member, close friend, peer, or significant other. Try to avoid suppressing anxious feelings that can impact anxiety disorders.

Exercise

Physically exerting yourself will release natural endorphins that improve your self-image and stimulate positive emotions.

Unfortunately, for some, a chemical imbalance in their brain will contribute to these anxious feelings, and despite the self-treatment effort, it may not be enough. 

Counseling and Therapy for Anxiety Treatment

The standard treatment format of anxiety involves psychological counseling and therapy, which can include psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is common. CBT’s primary objective is to recognize and alter the harmful through patterns that can fire up an anxiety disorder. Limiting distorted thoughts can change the scale of intensity of reactions to stressors.

By doing so, it will help individuals manage the way their body and mind will react to specific triggers. Psychotherapy is another avenue that involves talking with trained mental health professionals and getting to the root of your anxiety disorder.

In the event these methods are not fully adequate; they can be used in conjunction with medications.

Medications For Anxiety Treatment

Various medications can be used to support the treatment of an anxiety disorder. Such medicines can control some of the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety disorders, and these include:

Tricyclics

This is a class of medicines that have demonstrated beneficial effects on most anxiety disorders, except for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Tricyclics have been known to cause side effects that include drowsiness, dizziness, and weight gain.

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Benzodiazepines

Benzos are a highly addictive substance that can only be attained with a prescription, and would not be the first choice by doctors. While they do not cause many side effects, except drowsiness and possible dependence, they can be highly effective for short-term treatment. Xanax is a common medication used to treat anxiety.

Antidepressants

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, those with anxiety often experience depression. Fortunately, those with anxiety will benefit from using these drugs in the treatment of several anxiety disorders. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are an option and provide fewer side effects than older antidepressants. They can still cause nausea and sexual dysfunction as their primary side effect.

Other medications that have shown a reduction in anxiety include:

Preventing Anxiety

Some of us are more prone to anxiety than others, but it’s common for anxious feelings to accompany everyone in daily life. Fortunately, there are methods to reduce the risk of an anxiety disorder. These include:

  • Consuming less chocolate, tea, soda, and caffeine
  • Follow a balanced, nutritious diet regimen
  • Avoid alcohol, marijuana, and other recreational drugs
  • Regular sleep patterns
  • Speak with your primary care physician before using over-the-counter (OTC) herbal remedies that can make anxiety worse

Sources

Facts & Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Becker, H. C. (2008). Alcohol dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860472/

Felman, A. (n.d.). Anxiety treatment: Self-management, therapy, and medication. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323494.php

Nordqvist, C. (2017, August 24). Mental health: Definition, common disorders, and early signs. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543.php

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