What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a common mental health disorder that can affect individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Anxiety occurs when an individual begins to experience a great deal of worry and fear that interfere with daily function.
Many people experience anxiety in stressful situations, such as when someone is moving to a new area, going to a job interview, or when going out on a first day. However, anxiety as a mood disorder means that an individual’s everyday life is disrupted by a constant feeling of anxiety, apprehension, and fear.
Anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Some may recognize the onset of anxiety when their palms begin to sweat. For others, anxiety may present in an unexpected panic attack which makes bodily functions such as breathing difficult or painful. The severity of these symptoms are based off of the individual’s level of anxiety, with some people being able to overcome their symptoms while others feel that they must avoid or remove themselves from a situation in order to alleviate their anxiety.
The most commonly reported symptoms of anxiety include:
- Chest Pain
- Heart Palpitations
- Upset stomach
About Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder affects around 7 million adults in the United States. It is a chronic form of anxiety where a patient has an ongoing experience of anxiety that can be triggered by small events, thoughts, or other stimuli.
Over time, patients with generalized anxiety disorder may become agoraphobic and feel trapped in their home since they are unable to perform normal activities without their anxiety becoming overwhelming. Without the proper care and support system, generalized anxiety disorder can become a consuming condition that isolates the individual.
Getting a Diagnosis for Anxiety
The majority of patients who are experiencing anxiety are usually able to self-diagnose due to the unmistakable symptoms. However, it is always important to seek help from mental health professionals who can help you by evaluating your mental health to find an accurate diagnosis, recommend a suitable form of therapy, or prescribe a medication that is likely to offer relief.
Anxiety can affect men and women of any age and demographic, including children. As such, primary care physicians and pediatricians may also be able to help diagnose anxiety in their patients.
Treatments for Anxiety
When it comes to treating anxiety, there are a vast number of treatment options available to patients. While anxiety researchers are working towards new and better quality treatment, it is helpful to have a support system through the process.
Therapy is a common first-line treatment option for individuals experiencing anxiety. There are a wide variety of approaches when it comes to therapy, allowing a patient to work with a therapist whose approach fits them best.
Some of the most common types of therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.
During a session, a therapist and patient with anxiety will begin to work through the possible triggers and causes of the anxiety. Over time, the patient may be able to adjust their lifestyle and behavioral responses to certain stimuli in order to better control their anxiety.
Men and women with anxiety have access to a wide variety of medications aimed at helping them manage their anxiety. These medications help many individuals but may require some trial-and-error under the supervision of a psychiatrist in order to find the medication that provides the most relief.
Common anxiety medications include benzodiazepines, sedatives, antidepressants, including SSRIs, tricyclics, MAOIs, and beta-blockers that can control the physical manifestations of anxiety.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Anxiety
During a TMS session, devices that create a strong magnetic field are placed on the patient’s head, near the temples. Once turned on, waves of electromagnetic energy pass through the brain.
Unlike electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), TMS is a painless procedure that does not require sedation or cause seizures.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation may be able to treat patients with anxiety when other common treatment methods have provided no relief. However, at this time TMS is considered to be an “off-label” treatment for anxiety. This means that the FDA has not currently approved the use of TMS to treat anxiety.
Ketamine Infusions for Anxiety
Ketamine infusions are a rather new treatment for anxiety. Treatment is delivered through an IV infusion. Ketamine infusions may alleviate symptoms of common mood disorders. Ketamine is thought to promote the generation of new brain connections that can alleviate symptoms of anxiety in just a few hours. However, Ketamine is not currently FDA approved for the treatment of anxiety. There is very promising ongoing clinical research on the use of Ketamine for anxiety, but it is still considered to be “off-label.”
To schedule your consultation, or for more information about options for anxiety treatments, please contact us.