Everyone feels anxious from time to time. A big test, speaking in front of a crowd or going on a date are events that typically make people nervous. But when anxiety becomes severe and affects your daily functioning, then it could be a more serious mental health condition known as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.; about 40 million adults suffer from one. An anxiety disorder can produce debilitating symptoms and also interfere with your relationships, work and other areas of life.
Fortunately, anxiety is treatable. With the right resources, you can effectively manage your anxiety symptoms as well as live a fulfilling life.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are many types of anxiety disorders. Though they all share common traits, they’re set apart by cause, symptoms or scope. For example, a few of the most common include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder – Characterized by excessive worry, often with no or very little apparent reason
- Obsessive compulsive disorder – Persistent fears or thoughts that result in ritualistic behaviors or routines
- Panic disorder – Feelings of terror that rise sharply and peak within minutes, with or without a clear trigger
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Caused by experiencing a traumatic event resulting in lingering irrational fear and stress
- Social anxiety disorder – Overwhelming worry about everyday social situations along with fear of embarrassment or judgment
- Specific phobias – Disproportionate and intense fear of a specific thing or event that may cause you to avoid everyday situations
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Though there are many unique anxiety disorders, all share several signs and symptoms:
- Racing heartbeat
- Agitation, irritability and restlessness
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Tense muscles
- Sleep problems, especially insomnia
- Feelings of fear or panic, or panic attacks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Avoidance of situations or things that may cause anxiety
Diagnosing an anxiety disorder can only be done by a professional, such as a mental health therapist or doctor. If you think you have anxiety, reach out to a therapist or the professionals at a treatment center like Lucida.
Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
Of course, there are many potential causes for anxiety disorders. For example, a few causes and risk factors include:
- Trauma such as physical or sexual abuse, domestic violence or experiencing war or natural disaster
- Genetics – Anxiety that’s inherited will often start to present in elementary school years.
- Buildup of stress from stressful life situations
- Certain medical conditions like hyperthyroidism or asthma
- Side effect of medication
- Other mental health conditions – Anxiety can be a co-occurring disorder alongside major depressive disorder (MDD) or other mental health disorders.
- Substance abuse problems
A co-occurring disorder is any condition that occurs alongside another. The two disorders, which are usually substance abuse and a mental health disorder, together are called a dual diagnosis. Either can come first, but they should be treated as one. This is an important criterion when you’re looking for treatment.
It’s common for people with anxiety to have a co-occurring disorder. Below are a few examples of anxiety disorders and substance use disorders that commonly occur with them:
Social anxiety disorder and alcohol abuse – Many feel that alcohol helps ease anxiety in social situations.
PTSD and drug abuse – Those with trauma symptoms like flashbacks may use drugs, like sedatives or stimulants, to either lessen their anxiety or distract themselves from their thoughts.
Panic disorder and any substance abuse – Alcohol and drug abuse can be diagnosed before panic disorder, since many drugs induce panic. Otherwise, substances are used to try to keep them at bay.
When Should You Seek Treatment for Anxiety?
If you suspect you may be suffering from anxiety, then you should act immediately. Don’t wait until your symptoms get “bad enough.” Untreated anxiety will get worse over time, making it harder to face the situations, people, events or environments that make you nervous now. You may develop another disorder like depression, or you could turn to an unhealthy escape, such as alcohol or drugs, to cope.
There are far too many effective options for treating anxiety disorders for you to wait. Even if you aren’t sure you meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder, then mental health treatment can still help. You’ll learn effective ways to cope with your symptoms. Treatment will also help you build up your support system and put other key protective factors in place.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
The following treatments are most common in treating anxiety disorders. Sometimes it takes a few tries before you find the right treatment method for you, and not all treatments work for everyone. It’s important for you to make treatment decisions with your doctor. This is because choices are made based on:
- The severity of your anxiety
- Your symptoms
- Whether you have a co-occurring disorder
- Your medical history
The best anxiety treatment center offers a combination of different treatments. Medication along with therapy works for many people who suffer from anxiety.
Antidepressants work well for managing anxiety. They include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Anxiety medication works by regulating neurotransmitters in your brain that then produce symptoms of anxiety.
For example, effective medications include:
- Sertraline (Zoloft®)
- Fluoxetine (Prozac®)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro®)
- Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq®)
Some of these medications take a week or two to begin improving symptoms. It is common to experience unwanted side effects like sleepiness and nausea during the first few days of use. It’s important to note that many anxiety medications come with a risk of dependence and abuse. It’s best to go over your options with a healthcare provider. If you try anxiety medication, then maintain an open line of communication with your doctor to adjust your dosage as needed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Talk therapy is a reliable and evidence-based method of treating anxiety. Most notable among them is cognitive behavioral therapy. It’s provided by a mental health therapist or psychologist. CBT involves learning about the relationships between your thoughts, feelings and actions. Coping skills are taught to help you better control the thoughts and feelings that lead to anxiety. This leads to reduced symptoms.
An alternative therapy is anything outside traditional one-on-one talk therapy. It could be mindfulness and meditation, psychodrama, yoga and fitness, or any number of other activities.
Lucida Anxiety Disorder Treatment
At Lucida, we pay full attention to what makes your anxiety unique. When determining your treatment, we’ll take into account your needs and preferences. We’ll work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan. Lucida takes a holistic approach to treatment, meaning we seek to restore functioning to your mind, body and spirit. Our variety of therapies mean you’re free to discover the coping skills that work best for you.
For example, a few of our options for residential anxiety disorder treatment include:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Psychiatric care and medication management
- Mental health education
- Alternative therapies like psychodrama
- Dual diagnosis treatment if you also suffer from a substance abuse problem
- Optional weekly family sessions
Your anxiety triggers don’t disappear when you leave treatment, so aftercare is important. Lucida offers an aftercare treatment program to help support our clients long after they leave our residential programs. We’ll help you achieve long-term mental health by helping you get the support you need from resources that are convenient to you. We’ll help arrange follow-up appointments and help you find support groups.
About The Lucida Anxiety Treatment Center
We’re located in Palm Beach County, Florida, by the Intracoastal Waterway. Clients coming to us for residential anxiety treatment stay in private or semi-private suites. Townhomes are also separated by gender and are modern and comfortable.
To support your physical well-being, our facilities offer an on-site swimming pool as well as fitness center. Regular physical exercise can be an excellent coping skill for anxiety.
If traveling to Lucida is going to be difficult for you, then we may be able to help you arrange your travel plans. We can also help with travel plans for your family or traveling companion.
You don’t have to live in fear anymore. Give Lucida’s anxiety treatment center a call at 844-874-8503, and we can help you decide whether anxiety treatment is the right choice for you.