Anxiety disorders are often treated using specific methods and techniques designed to target symptoms and develop coping mechanisms for the anxiety triggers. Knowing which method to use in the treatment largely depends on the kind of disorder a person has. This article provides insights on the most common forms of anxiety disorders and the therapies used for these particular anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is a common occurrence when a person faces potentially problematic or dangerous situations. It is also felt when a person perceives an external threat. However, chronic and irrational anxiety can lead to a form of anxiety disorder. There are different types of anxiety disorder depending on their causes or triggers.
Common forms of anxiety disorders
Generalized anxiety disorder
A person who has this type of anxiety disorder usually experience prolonged anxiety that is often without basis. More accurately, people with generalized anxiety disorders cannot articulate the reason behind their anxiety. This type of anxiety usually last for six months and often affect women. Due to the persistence of the anxiety, people affected with generalized anxiety disorder constantly fret and worry. This results in heart palpitations, insomnia, headaches, and dizzy spells.
Unlike someone with generalized anxiety disorder, a person who has a specific phobia experiences extreme and often irrational fear of a certain situation or object. When exposed to the object or situation they fear, people with specific phobias exhibit signs of intense fear like shaking, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and nausea. Common specific phobias include fear of heights, enclosed spaces, blood, and animals. The fear a person with phobia feels can be so extreme that he or she may disregard safety just to escape the situation.
Also known as Agoraphobia, panic disorders are characterized by recurring panic attacks which are often unexpected. Symptoms are usually shaking, chest pains, dizziness, fear of losing control, and reluctance of being alone. People with panic disorder are aware that their panic is usually unfounded and illogical. This is why they avoid public situations and being alone. A panic attack can be so severe that people may lose control and hurt themselves.
Alternatively called social anxiety, a person with social phobia may exhibit similar symptoms like those of panic disorder especially in social situations. Shaking, dizziness, shortness of breath, and heart palpitations may ensue when a person with social phobia finds his or herself at the center of attention or in the company of many people, regardless of whether they are strangers or not.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder experience anxiety caused by a persistent obsession or idea. They tend to avoid experiencing anxiety by resorting to repetitive actions or behaviors that prevent anxiety. For example, a person who is obsessed about cleanliness may experience anxiety at the mere sight of a vase placed slightly off-center. To prevent anxiety, he or she will clean and organize everything compulsively or without reason.
Post-traumatic stress disorder may occur after a person experienced a severely traumatic event. He or she may relive the experience in his or her mind which causes stress and anxiety. If a person with PTSD comes into contact with stimuli (any object, person, or situation) that he or she associates with the traumatic event, he or she may literally re-experience the event by crying uncontrollably, panicking, or losing control. Subtler symptoms include insomnia and avoidant behavior. PTSD may manifest itself immediately after the traumatic event or even years after.
Determining the type of anxiety disorder a person has is crucial to seeking treatment and recovery. Techniques and methods that are used to help a person cope with a certain anxiety usually target not only the management of symptoms but coping mechanisms when exposed to triggers. Only after thorough diagnosis can treatment and recovery for anxiety disorders really commence.
It is normal for people to experience anxiety from to time. It makes us cope from very stressful situations. But when anxiety becomes too much and turns into irrational fear of everyday circumstances, it becomes a debilitating anxiety disorder. Unlike short-lived, mild anxiety caused by a stressful event, anxiety disorder lasts at least 6 months and may worsen if not properly and immediately treated.
The best way to anxiety cure is to understand the anxiety condition. Anxiety is a troubled state of mind. Anxiety results from fearful thinking of future events or situations. It is a condition that is not accidental, unknown, or uncontrollable. Anxiety condition occurs for specific reason and have underlying basis why it persists. Education is an important way to help attain anxiety cure. Here are some of the helpful tips towards anxiety cures which may aid in taking control over your own emotions again.
Relaxation techniques- a person feeling anxious most of the time has trouble relaxing, however, learning how to release muscle tension is an important anxiety cure. Relaxation techniques include: regular muscle relaxation, meditation, abdominal breathing, and isometric relaxation exercise.
Proper breathing techniques- the physical symptoms of anxiety may be triggered by hyperventilation or rapid breathing, which raises oxygen levels and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. A person with anxiety condition should know how to breathe from their diaphragm, and not from their chest, to prevent against hyperventilation. This technique can help you calm down while feeling anxious.
Cognitive therapy- this technique focuses on altering patterns of thinking and beliefs that are associated with ad trigger anxiety. The basis of cognitive therapy is that ideas can trigger thoughts, which then trigger feelings, results manifest through action. Cognitive therapy strategies should include rational self-talk, training on attention, reality testing cognitive challenging, and cognitive restructuring. This means monitoring your self-talk, challenging fears and beliefs, and checking out the negative thoughts in terms of their reality.
Behavior therapy- the major component of behavior therapy is exposure. Exposure therapy involves deliberately confronting your fears in order to desensitize yourself. Exposure lets you to redefine the danger or fear aspect of the situation or trigger.
Medication- is important to see medication as a short-term measure, not a solution to anxiety disorder. Studies show that psychological therapies are much more effective than drugs in managing anxiety disorder in the long run. Brief course of tranquilizers or antidepressants may be prescribed by your doctor to help you deal with the symptoms.
Dietary adjustments- inadequate intake of vitamin B and calcium can worsen anxiety symptoms. Nicotine, caffeine, and stimulant drugs should be avoided for they trigger your adrenaline glands to release adrenaline, one of the main stress chemicals. Some of the best foods for anxiety include: Dark chocolate, Brazil nuts, eggs, pumpkin seeds, chamomile tea, avocado, Kale, salmon and turkey
Exercise – burns up stress chemicals and promotes relaxation. Plan to do some physical activities at least 3 to 4 times a week and vary your activities to avoid boredom.Top exercise regimens for anxiety and stress include: Yoga, brisk walking in nature, dancing, swimming, gardening, Tai Chi and calisthenics
There may have effective anxiety remedies, but the level of recovery depends on the participation and willingness of the person with anxiety condition. The sooner you can get treatment, the bigger your chance of getting better and be back to normal health.
Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available