Anxiety can be defined as a normal instinctive stress reaction to a negative stimulus. However, when the reaction continues for a long period of time or occurs without a stimulus then appropriate professional treatment or self-help options are necessary to prevent further harm to the victim and those coming in contact with him or her.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is defined as reoccurring dread or fear. This often relates to finances, health, or relationships. The worries are real. The distractions interfere with daily routines.
- Panic disorder is a sudden reaction that appears like terror. Typically, this is a distinct over-reaction to a slight stimulus or an unknown cause. The fear of having another panic attack interferes with normal activities.
- Phobias include intense fears about objects, social settings, or geographic spaces. A victim may avoid flying, public speaking, or confined places. This disorder inhibits common activities.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a behavior driven by unexplained feelings or thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive rituals or routines can (compulsions) that the individual thinks will eliminate the thoughts. These routines cause such havoc that normal daily activities cannot be expected to occur or carried out in a timely manner.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the result of a natural disaster, crime, war, accident, injury or other event where the victim expected to die. There are specific in brain chemistry changes that occur during these events. Those feelings of impending death, the same raw, horrific, over-exposed emotions, continue to be felt days, weeks, months or even many years later.
Is Treatment Really Necessary?
Without appropriate treatment, self-sustainability is likely to decline. Various symptoms may accelerate to the point that normal relationships in a domestic or work environment are impossible. The victim is likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain, depression, isolation, or other negative effects of the anxiety. Severe anxiety typically causes a multitude of symptoms that make normal day-to-day living impossible for the victim, family members, co-workers, and others who cross their path.
Due to the range of disorders and the potentially serious outcomes without treatment, a variety of options may be explored when looking for the right combination for each sufferer and/or their loved ones.
- Behavioral therapy is the most effective long-range means to overcoming anxiety disorders. This approach involves working with a professional over what might be a considerable length of time. Both inpatient and outpatient options are available. Considerations related to financial stresses may dictate a group situation (individuals or family plans) instead of a one-on-one program. Some corporations or government programs often exist to make behavioral therapy available to almost anyone.1,2
- Medications may also be useful as a means to control specific behaviors. Medications alter behavior but do not cure anxiety disorders. Stopping taking the anti-anxiety medications ceases the control being provided by the prescriptions. There are often unwanted side effects to medication.3
- Alternative healthcare includes homeopathic, naturopathic, meditation, movement therapy, dance therapy, art therapy, massage or acupuncture.4
- Self-help options include relaxation techniques. These might include dedication to a hobby, listening to soothing music, self-hypnosis or meditation.5
- A combination of any of the above.1,2,3,4,5
Ignoring an anxiety disorder is not an option for the victim or anyone else who might come in contact with them in any aspect of life.
1. Roshanaei-Moghaddam, Babak; Pauly, Michael C.; Atkins, David C.; Baldwin, Scott A.; Stein, Murray B.; Roy-Byrne, Peter, 2011. Relative effects of CBT and pharmacotherapy in depression versus anxiety: is medication somewhat better for depression, and CBT somewhat better for anxiety? Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269). Jul2011, Vol. 28 Issue 7, p560-567.
2. Butler, Gillian and Andrew Matthews, 1983. Cognitive Processes in Anxiety. Advances in Behavior Research and Therapy, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 51- 62.
3. Deng, Gary and Barrie Cassileth, 2009. Integrative Oncology: Complementary Therapies for Pain, Anxiety, and Mood Disturbance. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. Vol. 55, Issue 2, pp 109-116.
4. Waxer, Peter, 1977. Nonverbal cues for anxiety: An examination of emotional leakage. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Vol 86(3), Jun 1977, 306-314.
5. Deacon, Brett T.; Lickel, James J.; Possis, Elizabeth A.; Abramowitz, Jonathan S.; Mahaffey, Brittain; Wolitzky-Taylor, Kate, 2012. Do Cognitive Reappraisal and Diaphragmatic Breathing Augment Interoceptive Exposure for Anxiety Sensitivity? Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. Fall2012, Vol. 26 Issue 3, p257-269.