The feeling of anxiousness is a normal reaction to a stressful situation, a natural defense mechanism we use to protect ourselves in potentially awkward dangerous situations.
However, anxiety can become a disorder when our “internal panic clocks” become rewired, causing us to feel anxious all the time, to the point that it interferes with our daily lives.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
Signs and symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
- Excessive worrying: Worrying that is out of proportion for the task, trigger, or event at hand. This worrying occurs in response to everyday situations and must interfere with daily life, causing it to be intrusive and severe.
- Agitation: When individuals feel anxious, their sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system takes over, and their body responds in physical manners that include rapid heartbeat, heavy and fast breathing, chest tightness, shaky hands, dry mouth, and sweaty palms.
- Restlessness: The inability to sit still or control racing thoughts.
- Difficulty sleeping: Changes in sleep can present with fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, or trouble getting out of bed in the morning.
- Muscle tension
- Irritability: Individuals with anxiety disorders become more impatient are quick to snap or act out, are highly aroused, and always feel “on edge”.
- Panic attacks: Panic disorder, a specific type of anxiety disorder, is characterized by recurring panic attacks. Panic attacks are characterized by feelings of doom and death, and intense, overwhelming fear that physically results in chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
- Irrational fears
- Avoiding social situations
The following are specific anxiety disorders that are generally characterized by intense worry and fear with varying symptoms
- Separation anxiety disorder
- Selective mutism
- Specific phobia
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)
- Panic disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Substance/medication-induced anxiety disorder
- Anxiety disorder due to another medical condition
Treatment for Anxiety, how we can help
Treatment for anxiety disorders revolves around reducing or eliminating the underlying triggers and stress associated with the anxiety disorder. This is a highly treatable mental health condition and is best done with a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and the development of healthy coping skills. Untreated anxiety disorders can cause significant impairment in everyday life and can potentially result in worsening psychiatric conditions, self-harm behavior, and even suicidal ideations.
AKUA Mind & Body Anxiety Treatment Program
AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service treatment program that offers a wide range of “east meets west” treatment modalities for many different populations struggling with anxiety and other mental health and substance use disorders. We offer both intensive inpatient programs as well as outpatient treatment. AKUA Mind & Body works diligently with each client and their family to ensure that their anxiety disorder treatment plan is specifically tailored to their needs, and not just their disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
When individuals think of the term “anxiety disorder” they often are referring to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common subtype of anxiety and is characterized by excessive worry over mundane regular occurrences that usually do not produce fear in the general population. This worrying is nearly impossible to control, and symptoms must be present daily for a minimum of six months.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder commonly referred to as social phobia is an excessive fear of “social performances” that puts the individual at risk of being scrutinized by others. Social anxiety is triggered by trivial, everyday tasks such as filling out forms with people around, conversing with new people, making eye contact, ordering a meal in a restaurant, using a public restroom, walking into a crowded room, or speaking in public.