Affects 40 million Americans adults 18 years and older
Symptoms have been present at least 6 months
Symptoms are not attributed to medical conditions
Can get worse if not treated
Commonly occur with alcohol/drug abuse
Effective therapies are available
TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Is a real illness
Occurs at any time, even during sleep
Peaks in 10 minutes
More common in women
Can be hereditary
Usually begins late adolescence
Abrupt surge of intense fear or intense discomfort
At least four of following symptoms are present:
Shortness of breathe
Feeling of choking
Chills or hot sensations
Sense of unreality (derealization)
Fear of losing control or going crazy
Fear of dying
Intense anxiety in social situations where one is exposed to
scrutiny of others
Fear is out of proportion to the actual threat
Social situations will be avoided or endured with intense fear
Followed by excessive worry about panic in future or
Extreme fear about a specific object or situation
Immediately fear is evoked in the situation or seeing
Object is avoided or endured with intense fear
The fear is out of promotion to the actual danger
GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
Excessive worry more days than not for 6 months
Difficult to control the worry
At least three of the following symptoms are present:
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Worry causes impairment in functioning or distress
Marked anxiety in two or more of following situations:
Using public transportation
Being in open spaces
Being in enclosed spaces
Being outside your home alone
These situations are avoided, endured with great fear or may
require a companion
Fear is out of proportion to reality
Lasts 6 months
Causes significant distress or impairment
TREATMENT OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
A combination of therapy and medication is the most effective
way to treat anxiety.
Untreated anxiety can be debilitating and lead to depression.
Before treatment begins, always see your medical doctor to rule out
any physical cause of the anxiety. Many people with anxiety disorders
self medicate with drugs and alcohol. This can lead to a worsening of
anxiety and depression.
MEDICATIONS FOR ANXIETY DISORDERS
SSRI's (Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors)
Lexapro, Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa
SNRI's (Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors)
BENZODIAZEPINES (Klonopin, Ativan)
These medications are used for short periods of time due
to the fact that people get used to these medications and
need higher doses to achieve the same effect.
It is important NOT to stop taking the Benzodiazepines abruptly
as withdrawal symptoms can develop such as insomnia, seizures
and a worsening of anxiety symptoms.
Not a benzodiazepine
Can take at least two weeks to work
BETA BLOCKERS (Propranolol)
Can prevent physical symptoms that accompany anxiety disorders
Given to someone who has fear of public speaking before speaking.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT helps people change their thinking patterns which are
often false and create fear and anxiety.
By changing one's thoughts, often people change the way they
react to a stressful situation.
CBT can be done individually or in a group.
Often homework is assigned in between sessions.
EXPOSURE BASED BEHAVIORAL THERAPY
A patient along with their therapist encounters the object or
situation that they fear. With repeated exposure there is desensitization
and anxiety decreases. The exposure can occur initially by videos or
visualization exercises. This is followed by exposure in real life situations.
Untreated anxiety can be debilitating and lead to depression. The good
news is that Anxiety Disorders are treatable. You don't have to suffer
Important Tools to Decrease your Anxiety
Sleep regular hours
Eat 3 meals and healthy snacks
Avoid drugs and alcohol, limit caffeine
Push yourself to socialize with positive people
Structure your day