Anxiety is a normal emotion that helps people to cope with tense situations such as meeting tight deadlines, preparing for a speech, or attending social functions. It is a normal reaction to stress. However, when anxiety becomes an excessive fear of everyday situations and interferes with your daily life, it might be a debilitating disorder. Fortunately, there are effective treatments which allow most people with anxiety disorder to lead normal, productive lives.
Major Types of Anxiety Disorders:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a common chronic disorder characterized by long-lasting anxiety that is not focused on any one object or situation. Those suffering from generalized anxiety experience persistent fear and worry and become overly concerned with everyday matters. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder to affect older adults
- Panic Disorders – Panic disorder involves sudden feelings of terror and apprehension. People with this disorder often develop strong feelings of fear about triggering their next panic attack and restrict their activities accordingly.
- Phobias – A phobia is any fear or anxiety that is caused by a specific stimulus or situation. It is the single largest category of anxiety disorders.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – Social Anxiety Disorder describes intense fear of social situations and negative public feedback. This disorder manifests certain physical qualities such as blushing, sweating, and difficulty speaking. Sufferers may avoid certain social situations out of fear of triggering an attack.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD is commonly characterized by repetitive obsessions and compulsions.
- Childhood Anxiety Disorders – Childhood Anxiety Disorder describes anxiety that interferes with a child’s normal functioning and does harm to their learning. Children with Anxiety Disorder not only experience fear and shyness but also learn to avoid certain places and activities.
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Reasons to Seek Professional Help
While self-coping strategies can be helpful in dealing with anxiety, it is very important to know when to seek professional treatment for anxiety disorder. If left untreated, it can cause one to avoid situations that they fear may trigger an attack. This can lead to problems with job requirements and family obligations. Furthermore, those suffering with anxiety disorders are often more prone to other psychological disorders such as depression. They may also be at more risk to abuse alcohol and other drugs.
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When to Seek Professional Help
If your fears and worries have become so intense that they interfere with your daily routine or cause you great distress, it is time to contact a professional. A licensed mental health professional is highly qualified to diagnose and treat anxiety disorders. Most anxiety disorders are treated with behavioral therapy, medicine, or a combination of the two.
To learn more about the psychological treatments available for anxiety at the Atlanta Behavioral Consultants, please contact Marsha Schechtman, LCSW at 770.753.4911 or Howard Drutman, Ph.D. at 678.867.7020.