Anxiety is a natural reaction to stress. While it can be an unpleasant feeling, anxiety itself is not always a bad thing. For example, anxiety about an upcoming interview can help one better prepare for the occasion. However, when anxiety leads to excessive fear that is disproportionate to the situation and hinders one’s ability to function normally, it is classified as an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are extremely common, affecting 30% of adults at some point in their lives. However, adults are not the only ones who can get anxiety. Children may also be vulnerable to anxiety disorder due to genetics and environmental factors. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, and many individuals with anxiety lead normal and productive lives with flourishing careers and relationships.
There are various types of anxiety disorders, each with different sets of symptoms. The general symptoms of anxiety include stress that is disproportionate to the situation and hinders one’s ability to function in daily situations. Depending on the type of anxiety disorder one suffers from, these symptoms can be further classified.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Persistent and excessive worry that interferes with daily function. It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and muscle tension. With this anxiety disorder, daily worries and stresses such as job or financial responsibilities trigger deep anxiety within the individual.
Panic Disorder: Recurrent panic attacks with physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and numbness. Often these panic attacks can be mistaken for heart attacks or make the individual feel as though they may die.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Anxiety about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on during social interactions. Individuals with this type of anxiety disorder may avoid social situations, public speaking or meeting new people.
Separation Anxiety Disorder: Common in children, separation anxiety disorder is anxiety about separation from those the individual is attached to. This individual may have excessive fear about losing their person, so they may refuse to leave their side even during outings or while sleeping.
At Mile High Psychiatry, we find a combination of behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medication (if needed) to be a suitable treatment for anxiety disorders in children and adults. Psychotherapy may help the patient better understand their illness and learn cognitive tools to prevent anxiety from taking over their headspace. Medication needs will vary from patient to patient, depending on the severity of their disorder. If medication is prescribed, it is typically only for a short period while the individual learns to cope with their anxiety.
Have questions regarding anxiety disorders for yourself or your child? Schedule an appointment with Mile High Psychiatry to learn more.