Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that can affect work, relationships and daily life. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about anxiety symptoms and treatments at Ascension Seton Behavioral Health. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please don’t hesitate to call us at 512-324-2039 or contact us online.
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders may take a number of different forms, like repetitive behaviors or eating disorders. Panic attacks, flashbacks, or fear of social interaction can all be signs of an anxiety disorder. Anxiety symptoms can vary depending on the type of disorder. However, if symptoms are serious enough to affect your daily life, then you may have an anxiety disorder.
What causes an anxiety disorder to develop?
The exact causes of anxiety disorders aren’t always easy to find. They can include genetics, personality type, and learned behavior patterns. Some types of anxiety disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may come from an upsetting event. Anxiety can also develop as a symptom of a different physical health issue or with another mental illness.
Is an anxiety disorder a real mental illness? Doesn’t everyone feel anxious sometimes?
Fear and anxiety are normal responses in some situations. However, an anxiety disorder is when those responses become extreme or repetitive. This can lead to problems in daily life. Severe anxiety symptoms can affect work and personal relationships. Anxiety disorders can even lead to other issues such as depression or chemical dependency.
Are there common symptoms associated with anxiety disorders?
There are many conditions that are considered anxiety disorders. Each of these may have its own set of unique symptoms:
- Eating disorders may mean binging and purging. They can also include severely reducing caloric intake or exercising too much.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders are intrusive, repetitive impulses. These can include hoarding, carrying out tasks in a certain order each time, or chronic hand-washing.
- Panic disorder and PTSD can include panic attacks. Symptoms vary, but may mean a racing heart, feeling shaky, and shortness of breath.
- Trichotillomania is a stress response that results in compulsive hair plucking from the head, brows or lashes.
Those with other anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), may have constant worry. GAD may not have more a specific set of symptoms. Other anxieties happen in response to triggers. These can include social situations, or a phobia like fear of flying.
I’ve been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Now what?
Many anxiety disorders are diagnosed by a primary care physician. These doctors don’t always have training in anxiety treatment. This may lead to using medication only to manage anxiety symptoms, which may not work as well long-term. Working with a Ascension Seton behavioral health navigator can help you understand the root causes of anxiety as well.
What kinds of anxiety treatments are available, and how effective are they?
Treatment for anxiety is not one-size-fits-all. Anxiety treatment may include individual or group counseling. Anti-anxiety medications may also be recommended. How well treatment works depends quite a bit on how the causes for the disorder are addressed. Each patient has to learn how to control symptoms in daily life. Knowing what to do when in a trigger situation is also needed.
Will I have to take anxiety medication my whole life?
Some people do take medication to help manage anxiety symptoms long-term. Others may only require it for a few months. Medication can work together with other treatments such as therapy. At Ascension Seton Behavioral Health, we believe that treatment for anxiety disorders needs to meet the needs of each patient. For this reason, our anxiety treatment looks at your entire physical and mental health for a more complete recovery.
Will I ever feel “normal” again?
Anxiety disorders are becoming better understood over time. As a result, anxiety treatments have also improved. With treatment, many people do enjoy a full and happy life without feeling limited by their anxiety disorder. It’s important to work with our behavioral health navigators who can assist you in finding the right care. This can mean both immediate relief and longer-lasting treatment. A strong, caring support network is also part of managing anxiety disorders and living a normal life.