Anxiety Disorders

Woman lying on grass

Anxiety disorders turn everyday routines into stress-filled challenges. They interfere with relationships, career ambitions and the enjoyment of hobbies and other activities that most people take for granted.

The behavior of those who suffer from anxiety disorders may seem irrational to others, and even loved ones might have a hard time understanding what’s going on. But anxiety disorders are diagnosable mental health conditions that impact every area of life for those who are affected.

At Elements Behavioral Health we understand the debilitating effects of anxiety disorders, which is why we offer comprehensive mental health treatment services for those battling these life-altering illnesses.

Our mental health centers help men and women overcome the effects of anxiety disorders. In addition, we offer integrated dual diagnosis rehab programs for anxiety disorder sufferers with co-occurring drug and alcohol addictions.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness, affecting up to 20 percent of adult Americans. Many will experience their first symptoms in childhood or adolescence, and if left untreated these disorders can impact the rest of their lives.

The list of recognized and diagnosable anxiety disorders includes:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): People with GAD are plagued by constant fears, worries and obsessive concerns, which either have no apparent cause or seem out of proportion to real-life challenges. Three percent of the population suffers from generalized anxiety disorder, and two-thirds of these are women.
  • Panic disorder: Panic disorder sufferers are periodically besieged by devastating symptoms of severe physical and emotional distress, which may be triggered by external events but often manifest without obvious cause or warning. Panic disorders afflict slightly less than 3 percent of the population and are twice as likely to be diagnosed in women.
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD): Victims of social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, are overwhelmed by extreme self-consciousness and emotional discomfort in a wide variety of social situations, including the most benign and casual interpersonal encounters. SAD is believed to affect up to 7 percent of the adult population (men and women are equally vulnerable), and those with more severe forms of the disorder may have no meaningful relationships outside of close family.
  • Specific phobias: Phobias (a deep and irrational fear of specific situations or things) can be highly disabling for their victims. Up to 9 percent of Americans adults suffer from at least one type of phobia, with women comprising two-thirds of the afflicted.

Anxiety disorders commonly manifest before or concurrently with bouts of major depression. Mental health programs aimed at anxiety disorders often include elements designed to address depression as well, since both are highly disabling and each can reinforce the other.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Despite differences in severity and/or frequency, all anxiety disorders cause similar types of symptoms.

The most common indicators of anxiety disorder include:

  • Sweatiness
  • Blushing
  • Trembling voice
  • Shaking hands
  • Shortness of breath (or the sensation of it)
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Neck or facial pain
  • Tension headaches
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Muscle aches and/or tension
  • Dry mouth
  • Brain freeze (an inability to think or speak)
  • A desperate urge to flee

While these symptoms most often manifest in response to a certain stimulus, in some cases they may be experienced at random moments or develop into chronic daily problems. As a result, anxiety disorder sufferers often go from doctor to doctor seeking a diagnosis for what they believe to be a physical illness or condition. But anxiety is the real culprit, and until they get help for their anxiety disorder their pain and distress will continue.

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

In the minds and bodies of anxiety disorder sufferers, stress responses are heightened and easily triggered by experiences that most people would find non-threatening.

Anxiety disorder symptoms tend to mimic the “fight or flight” response that helps protect us from dangerous situations. Genetics, home environment, repeated exposure to stress and emotional trauma in childhood (or sometimes in adulthood) are some of the factors that likely play a role in the development of anxiety disorders. But the cause-and-effect relationships behind anxiety disorders are still mysterious and open to speculation. Much more study is needed to pin them down with precision.

Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

While the symptoms of anxiety disorders can be overwhelming, effective treatment options are available. These include:

  • Individual and group psychotherapy: People with anxiety disorders can benefit both from private counseling sessions with a trained therapist and group sessions with others who’ve shared similar experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This practical form of therapy is ideal for anxiety disorder sufferers, who can use it to develop strategies for eliminating negative thinking and behavioral patterns and replacing them with more constructive alternatives.
  • Exposure therapy: Small doses of exposure to previously frightening environments or situations (with therapeutic support) can help people with anxiety disorders learn to manage their psychological and emotional responses. Periods of exposure can be gradually increased as the patient’s confidence level improves.
  • Medication: Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs have proven useful for some anxiety disorder sufferers, although medication without accompanying therapy is unlikely to be effective.
  • Stress management and mind-body healing practices: Peaceful, relaxing activities like meditation, yoga, tai chi, self-hypnosis, aerobic exercise and massage therapy can help people with anxiety disorders calm their minds and control their physiological responses to potentially threatening situations.

Elements Behavioral Health treatment centers specialize in treating anxiety disorders. Our experienced mental health professionals use evidence-based therapies as well as innovative alternative approaches to help clients manage their anxiety in healthy ways. If you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, we can help you recover and get your life back on track.

Do you have questions about our Anxiety Disorders program? If so, call 844-875-5609

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Have questions about our programs? Call 844-875-5609

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844-875-5609

844-875-5609