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Anixety disorder

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Everyone feels anxious from time to time. In times of high stress, it may be difficult to tell the difference between being anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder.

Understanding what is happening to you is important since it will tell you what the appropriate reaction should be.

Perhaps you need a weekend off and some time with friends and family, or it might be that you also need medication and professional help.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress and unfamiliar situations.

It stems from our survival mechanism enabling us to react when threatened. However, the anxiety disorder definition stems from its extreme nature.

Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive, persistent worry.

Anxiety disorders can adopt a number of forms, however, all of them affect day to day life satisfaction. Often it is combined with other conditions, like depression or substance abuse.

Studies have shown that women are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety.

Scientists are yet unsure why, but they attribute this difference to :

  1. Biological factors like hormonal changes over women’s life span
  2. Coping mechanisms
  3. Socialization processes

Anxiety disorders in children are considerably harder to diagnose due to developmental factors and the fact that anxiety can be a traditional part of the growing experience.

Therefore, even though you may fill in an anxiety disorder test online and get a positive result, it is best to rely on a mental health professional to provide an accurate diagnosis. They are trained to distinguish between anxiety as a part of life and learning and anxiety disorder requiring treatment.

Types of anxiety disorders

DSM 5 anxiety disorders include:

  1. Generalized anxiety Disorder
  2. Panic anxiety disorder
  3. Specific phobia
  4. Social anxiety disorder
  5. Posttraumatic stress disorder
  6. Obsessive-compulsive disorder

There are commonalities among them, but there are also distinct differences to be taken into account when diagnosing and recommending adequate therapy for anxiety disorder.

While the DSM 5 contains the full list of anxiety disorders and symptoms, only a mental health professional should be diagnosing and prescribing treatment as there are many factors to consider.

Anxiety symptoms and signs

Different anxiety disorders should be distinguished from daily anxiety we experience when scared or threatened.

Anxiety is also a companion of change and learning as we tend to feel anxious when faced with growing challenges. These challenges (as they lay outside of the scope of our immediate control and knowledge) tend to provoke anxiety. 

We talk about an anxiety disorder when a person is experiencing persistent worry and fear on a daily basis disproportionate to life events causing them.

Anxiety can take many different forms, and no one person has the same experience. Anxiety disorder common characteristics, in general, include the following:

  1. Excessive worries disproportionate to the events causing it
  2. Feelings of agitation, restlessness, unease, and irritability
  3. Muscle tension and overall fatigue
  4. Sleep disturbances (trouble falling or staying asleep)
  5. Difficulty concentrating
  6. Nausea and dizziness
  7. Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  8. Avoiding situations that could cause anxiety
  9. Shaky, cold or sweaty hands

Various types of anxiety disorders can go unnoticed for a while as we tend to get used to the symptoms over time.

Typically, you would experience:

  1. Bodily tension
  2. Tightness in some areas of the body
  3. Changes in appetite and sleep

As the state becomes more severe, so does the awareness of the problem. This might be the first time one googles anxiety disorders symptoms.

Becoming cognizant of the signals represents the first step to recovery.

What are the causes of anxiety disorder?

A variety of factors are connected to anxiety:

  1. Genetics
  2. Temperament
  3. Trauma
  4. Coping strategies
  5. Stress

People with family members suffering from anxiety disorder are more likely to experience one themselves.

What causes anxiety disorders to develop could equally be some medications or comorbid mental disorders.

Ultimately, daily stresses combined with the previously listed factors amount to the onset of anxiety disorder.

Our fight or flight reaction is a physical and psychological mechanism necessary to deal with potential dangers.

However, it can go into overdrive and react as if danger was everywhere and all the time. Understanding what appears as dangerous and why can be a part of the best therapy for anxiety.

When we change our perspective of the world around us, we open our minds to new and more useful strategies for coping.

How does therapy help with anxiety?

The way we conceptualize the world affects our ability to deal with it (George Kelly), hence the key is changing our perspective.

Why does one find the world to be filled with dangers?

What is a more constructive approach to adopt to deal with them?

In talking therapies, the focus is on understanding the perspective of the client and helping the client reframe it.

The alternative approach a client obtains during therapy for anxiety disorder leads to less anxiety and fear and better ways of handling daily stressors.

Therapy is focused on modifying the strategies a person uses to handle life stresses. Mental health professionals will recommend adequate medicine when needed. Medicine can help a person achieve a state of physical calm necessary to invest more energy in the mental process of discovering new mechanisms.

Treatment approaches and expectations

Many different treatments can help with anxiety disorders.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most commonly used therapies for anxiety disorder and proven to be effective.

In each therapy for anxiety disorder, the focus is on changing the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that affect feelings and behaviors. Through reconstructing the approach to the world you are improving coping skills for dealing with it.

Different therapies involving relaxation can be applied as well. Through relaxation techniques, the body enters a calm state allowing it to shift the overall perspective of problems.

Also, the relaxation techniques can be used in situations when a person is experiencing anxiety to enter a more relaxed body state and subsequently change behaviors and feelings.

Hypnosis is sometimes used to treat anxiety disorders.

What is the best therapy type for anxiety?

As previously mentioned, there are different types of therapy for anxiety disorders.

What is the best therapy for anxiety and depression depends on the client’s preference for the approach and therapist.

The experience of the therapist and the quality of the relationship contribute significantly to the success of the treatment. Whichever approach of talking therapies you choose, be sure to feel comfortable with the therapist you choose.

Studies prove the relationship between the client, and the therapist is an important factor of the success of therapy.

This factor impacts the success of treatment across all different approaches, that is regardless of the type of therapy. Hence, make sure to choose a therapist whom you feel you can trust and confide in.

Consider if you’d prefer an in-person or online anxiety therapy since both can be equally effective.

Choosing the right option for you

In order to find a good anxiety therapist or anxiety counselor you need to know what a good professional is for you. The one you feel comfortable with and that makes sense to you.

Before you go into finding the right person ask yourself what that means for you.

  1. Do you prefer a person who is supportive or challenging?
  2. Would you opt for a good listener or the one more educational?
  3. Make sure to check their credentials and relevant experience
  4. Consider the price per session as well and check if your insurance will cover it
  5. Depending on where you live, whether it is online or in-person, group or individual session, prices can range from $50 to $240 for the one-hour session.

Finally, consider asking for recommendations for anxiety therapy near you or if you prefer, start the search for your online therapist.

How many sessions are needed for anxiety treatment?

There is no definite answer when it comes to how many therapy sessions for anxiety treatment are needed.

It will depend on many factors like your motivation to change, the relationship you establish with your therapist, and your desired pace of change.

CBT therapists, for example, design their sessions in such a way that the whole process is done in approximately 12 sessions.

However, this is a rough estimate and is prolonged when the client needs more support. Nonetheless, the help of a trained professional is significant in making your life better now and in the future.

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Top Featured Anxiety Therapists in United States

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Samara Serotkin
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