Defining anxiety disorders
In a naturally occurring state, people experience anxiety as a warning sign of potential trouble to heighten their senses and allow them to react appropriately. While that is perfectly natural, ongoing anxiety problems deal with times when someone’s internal alarm system is more reactive than usual with a lower threshold to trigger symptoms. As you may expect, this directly affects the quality of life for the sufferer. A persistent sense of doom, worry, fear, or panic that is not always rational characterizes most anxiety disorders.
There is more than one type of anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia) causes discomfort, inhibition, self-consciousness, and embarrassment in social settings. Phobias refer to the anxiety felt around specific situations or things, for example, spiders or heights. Panic disorder (with or without agoraphobia) involves fear of and experiences of losing control of oneself in particular moments, leading to intense feelings of doom and despair. Generalized anxiety disorder is a less specific, more pervasive state of constant worry. It can cause lack of sleep, lethargy, isolation, muscle pain, and tightness.
How treatment for anxiety can help
When someone is experiencing an anxiety disorder, it often feels to them that they are “different” and there is nothing that can help them. Anxiety disorders are more prevalent in today’s fast-paced world than in past years, but doctors have worked hard to develop many useful treatments for most symptoms experienced by those living with an anxiety disorder.
Medications, often SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft, are prescribed to assist brain chemistry in responding properly to stimuli. If a person isn’t comfortable with a medical solution to symptoms, cognitive behavioral therapy, and talk therapy are effective ways to help to unpack thoughts and actions that contribute to anxiety’s hold on the patient. Anxiety disorders are treatable and over time symptoms should begin to respond to the medical and therapeutic interventions each person has chosen to use.
Psychiatrists and psychologists for treatment of anxiety disorders
A psychologist can be very helpful in providing treatments like talk therapy and even cognitive behavioral therapy. Psychologists earn a Ph.D. or PsyD focused on mental health treatment. This expertise gives them many tools to use in combating anxiety disorders.
Psychiatrists also can use talk and behavioral therapies but are also able to prescribe medications that can be very effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety, should the patient feel comfortable going that route. Both psychologists and psychiatrists are effective specialists in treating these challenging mental health problems.
Fayetteville Psychiatric Associates provides comprehensive care to anxiety sufferers in the Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, and Fayetteville areas. Call 910-323-1543 for more information or to set an appointment.