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Home > Anxiety Disorders > Help for Anxiety Disorders
ANXIETY DISORDERS Anxiety Disorder
There are several different disorders that can be classified as anxiety disorders. These disorders currently affect about 19 million adults in the United States. Anxiety disorders are not just the occasional and normal feeling of panic or fright an individual may feel when encountering normal stressors such as job interviews or first dates. An individual with an anxiety disorder may experience feelings of fear and anxiety that are so intense he or she may not be able to perform normal, everyday tasks. These disorders are chronic and if not treated can become increasingly worse over time. Each disorder has it's own specific feature but all of these disorders are strung together by the irrational and excessive fear and characteristics that personify anxiety disorders.
For this section, since anxiety disorders comprise more than just one disorder, the research being conducted as well as the treatments available for anxiety disorder as a whole will be discussed in more depth at the end of the entire section. The following disorders will be outlined in this section:
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder,
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (See above separate section on PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)
  • Specific Phobias
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Coexisting Conditions
It is common for an anxiety disorder to be accompanied by another anxiety disorder or another illness. Often people who have panic disorder or social phobia, for example, also experience the intense sadness and hopelessness associated with depression. Other conditions that a person can have along with an anxiety disorder include an eating disorder or alcohol or drug abuse. Any of these problems will need to be treated as well, ideally at the same time as the anxiety disorder.

 
Quick Facts   Help for Anxiety Disorders
 
How to Get Help for Anxiety Disorders
If you, or someone you know, has symptoms of anxiety, a visit to the family physician is usually the best place to start. A physician can help determine whether the symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder, some other medical condition, or both. Frequently, the next step in getting treatment for an anxiety disorder is referral to a mental health professional.

Among the professionals who can help are psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors. However, it's best to look for a professional who has specialized training in cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or behavioral therapy, as appropriate, and who is open to the use of medications, should they be needed.

As stated earlier, psychologists, social workers, and counselors sometimes work closely with a psychiatrist or other physician, who will prescribe medications when they are required. For some people, group therapy is a helpful part of treatment.

It's important that you feel comfortable with the therapy that the mental health professional suggests. If this is not the case, seek help elsewhere. However, if you've been taking medication, it's important not to discontinue it abruptly, as stated before. Certain drugs have to be tapered off under the supervision of your physician.

Remember, though, that when you find a health care professional that you're satisfied with, the two of you are working together as a team. Together you will be able to develop a plan to treat your anxiety disorder that may involve medications, cognitive-behavioral or other talk therapy, or both, as appropriate.

You may be concerned about paying for treatment for an anxiety disorder. If you belong to a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or have some other kind of health insurance, the costs of your treatment may be fully or partially covered. There are also public mental health centers that charge people according to how much they are able to pay. If you are on public assistance, you may be able to get care through your state Medicaid plan.
Strategies To Make Treatment More Effective
Many people with anxiety disorders benefit from joining a self-help group and sharing their problems and achievements with others. Talking with trusted friends or a trusted member of the clergy can also be very helpful, although not a substitute for mental health care. Participating in an Internet chat room may also be of value in sharing concerns and decreasing a sense of isolation, but any advice received should be viewed with caution.

The family is of great importance in the recovery of a person with an anxiety disorder. Ideally, the family should be supportive without helping to perpetuate the person's symptoms. If the family tends to trivialize the disorder or demand improvement without treatment, the affected person will suffer. You may wish to show this booklet to your family and enlist their help as educated allies in your fight against your anxiety disorder.

Stress management techniques and meditation may help you to calm yourself and enhance the effects of therapy, although there is as yet no scientific evidence to support the value of these "wellness" approaches to recovery from anxiety disorders. There is preliminary evidence that aerobic exercise may be of value, and it is known that caffeine, illicit drugs, and even some over-the-counter cold medications can aggravate the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Check with your physician or pharmacist before taking any additional medicines.
Depression
Bipolar Disorder
Anxiety Disorders
Panic Disorders
Obsessive Disorder
PTSD
Schizophrenia
Social Phobia
BPD
Specific Phobias
Gad
References

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