Anxiety disorders are a group of mental conditions that can prevent an individual from leading his/her life normally. People with any type of anxiety disorder experience the same symptoms such as fear, restlessness, sleep problems, palpitations, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness and uneasiness.
Although the actual cause is unknown, anxiety disorders can be the result of a combination of factors such as environmental stress, genes or changes in the brain. Some families can have the gene for faulty circuits in the brain that control emotions. Other common risk factors include:
- Shyness since childhood
- Being divorced or widowed
- Scarcity of economic resources
- Being a female
- Parental history of anxiety disorders
- Witnessing of stressful events during adulthood or childhood
A visit to the family physician is crucial to deal with the disorder. The doctor may evaluate the person’s mental health thoroughly and also check out his/her physical health for overactive thyroid or low blood sugar levels. After evaluation, the healthcare provider may suggest the individual to go for psychotherapy, medication, or both.
Also called as ‘talk therapy’, psychotherapy helps the person come out of the anxiety disorder through discussions. The therapy is tailored to meet the person’s need and the patient might experience discomfort opening up on his/her fearful situations and experiences.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A type of psychotherapy, CBT teaches a person how to think, behave or react to things or events differently from the way they are used to reacting. CBT uses two components namely cognitive therapy and exposure therapy.
As the name suggests, cognitive therapy deals with identifying, challenging and neutralizing negative thoughts that are the primary reason for the anxiety disorder. Exposure therapy exposes the client to fears underlying an anxiety disorder and insists them to do things that they had bean fearing to do till then. CBT sessions may be given individually or for a group of people with similar problems. Social anxiety disorder, one of the type of anxiety disorders, can be treated more effectively when given as group therapy. Get a complete understanding of the different anxiety disorders from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Many people benefit from self-help or support groups as they feel comfortable sharing their symptoms with a similar group of people. These people are able to relate to each other’s problem and find comfort in sharing their pains and distress. The achievements of peer-group members encourage other people as well to try and come out of the disorder. A trusted friend or family member can provide support and confidence, but it is not always a sufficient alternative to an expert’s care.
Medications can help to reduce the pain but can never relieve a patient from the disorder. Medications prescribed by a physician or a psychologist should only be taken. These medications are sometimes used initially before the psychiatric session, or sometimes during the session if the physician feels that there is insufficient response to the psychotherapy session. In many cases, both medication and psychotherapy are used together for better results.
Antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and beta-blockers are the common medications prescribed to combat anxiety disorders. Antidepressants are not only useful to treat depression but also helpful to treat anxiety disorders. Headache, nausea and sleeping difficulty are common symptoms seen in people taking antidepressants. Some people might even feel suicidal and it is necessary to monitor people on antidepressants very closely, especially when they first start taking the medication.
Anti-anxiety medications are prescribed to reduce symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, fear or worry. Beta-blockers are also used to deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety such as blushing, trembling, shaking or rapid heartbeat.
Despite India being the place of origin for many relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation and other relaxation therapies, not many people believe in these and use it in their life to live stress-free. Stress in the present world is the primary reason for many anxiety-related problems and combating stress with such techniques can alleviate many a people’s problems.
It is better to get to know the side effects of these medications before using any of them. Every individual with anxiety disorder needs different doses of medications and different number of therapy sessions based on the person’s disorder level. It is better to sit with your physician, discuss the pros and cons of medication, understand about the therapy sessions and then start treatment to make it a successful one for you and your doctor as well.