Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it can become a medical disorder. Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry. These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behaves, also causing physical symptoms.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. The most common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Persistent worrying or obsessive thoughts
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
Anxiety disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, and life events. It is important to speak to a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Treatment for anxiety disorders typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Therapy options for anxiety include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps a person identify and change negative thought patterns, and exposure therapy, which involves gradually introducing a person to their feared object or situation.
Medications used to treat anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines. It is important to work with a mental health professional to determine the best treatment plan for your specific needs.
In addition to seeking professional help, there are several things a person can do on their own to help manage anxiety:
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga
- Set aside time to relax and unwind
- Practice gratitude
- Surround yourself with supportive friends and family
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, it is important to seek help. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, and with the right support, a person can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.