What Is Hypochondria Or Health Anxiety
What was formerly referred to as hypochondria, or hypochondriasis, has been refined into two separate conditions that involve physical expression of psychological suffering but only one of which is seen as aligned with anxiety disorders. Illness Anxiety Disorder encompasses people who have a level of general health anxiety high enough to cause psychological distress and impairment but not manifesting in specific somatic symptoms. By contrast, Somatic Symptom and Related Disorder refers to those people who present with somatic symptoms accompanied by psychological distress and preoccupation with those symptoms. Both versions of hypochondria tend to present themselves far more in medical settings than in mental health settings.
Panic Attacks Are A Common Symptom
A panic attack is a sudden feeling of intense terror that may occur in certain situations or for no apparent reason. A panic attack does not mean a person is necessarily suffering an anxiety disorder. However, a panic attack is a common feature of each type of anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of a panic attack may include:
- shortness of breath
The cause of panic attacks is unknown, but they may be related to a chemical response in the brain, caused by actual threatening or stressful events or by thinking about stressful events. The brain response leads to physiological changes in the body, such as shallow breathing and rapid heartbeat.
Panic attacks can be frightening. Some people say they feel like they are going to die or go crazy. People affected by panic attacks may avoid situations in which they think attacks might occur. In some cases, this may lead to the development of other anxiety disorders including agoraphobia.
Anxiety Disorders Can Have Serious Effects
An anxiety disorder may lead to social isolation and clinical depression, and can impair a persons ability to work, study and do routine activities. It may also hurt relationships with friends, family and colleagues. Its common for depression and anxiety to happen at the same time. Depression can be a serious illness with a high risk of self-harm and suicide.
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How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders
Medications cant cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may decrease your anxiety, panic and worry. They work quickly, but you can build up a tolerance to them. That makes them less effective over time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the short-term, then taper you off or the provider may add an antidepressant to the mix.
- Antidepressants can also help with anxiety disorders. They tweak how your brain uses certain chemicals to improve mood and reduce stress. Antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient. If you feel like youre ready to stop taking antidepressants, talk to your provider first.
- Beta-blockers, usually used for high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Dont change the dose without consulting your provider. Theyll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
As a human being, there are always risks that put your life in danger. Most people are lucky enough to avoid these dangers and live a nice and safe life. But in some cases, you may experience a life trauma â either physically or emotionally â and this can cause an anxiety problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder.
As the name implies, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that comes after the traumatic event has occurred. Those living with PTSD often must get outside help, because PTSD can affect people for years after the event occurs â possibly even for the rest of their life.
PTSD affects people both psychologically and physically. In most cases, the person with PTSD is the one that experienced the traumatic event, but it’s possible to get PTSD by simply witnessing an event or injury, or even simply discovering that someone close to you dealt with a traumatic event.
You may also experience severe “what if” scenarios everywhere you go, including disaster thinking or feeling helpless/hopeless in public situations. Many of those with PTSD also experience avoidance behaviors of events, things, and even people that may remind them of the event â even if there is no link between these issues and the trauma.
Those with post-traumatic stress disorder may be at a greater baseline of stress on most days. They may be short-tempered or easy to anger. They may be startled/frightened easily or be unable to sleep. PTSD can be a difficult problem to live with.
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How To Manage Your Stress
While avoiding all sources of stress is impossible, limiting your stress and developing strong stress management skills may help limit your health risks. Some things you can do include:
- Identify your sources of stress
- Explore ways to avoid or minimize your stress
- Develop healthy coping mechanisms
- Write in a gratitude journal
Making lifestyle changes and developing healthy coping mechanisms can help reduce stress and protect your mental health.
What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
With GAD, you may feel extreme and unrealistic worry and tension even if theres nothing to trigger these feelings. Most days, you may worry a lot about various topics, including health, work, school and relationships. You may feel that the worry continues from one thing to the next.
Physical symptoms of GAD can include restlessness, difficulty concentrating and sleeping problems.
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Dog Anxiety With Crates
Having your dog be crate trained can be beneficial for multiple reasons. Though many dogs learn to see their crate as a safe and comfortable place they dont mind being in, other pups may find it a source of anxiety and would rather go anywhere else.
If you notice this behavior, its beneficial to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible and begin teaching your dog to have positive associations with their crate. Depending on how severe their anxiety has gotten, it may be best to get rid of the old crate and start with a new one. Make sure your crate is the proper size for your dog, and pay attention to the material, type of door, and overall build of the crate.
As your dog begins to work on being more comfortable with their crate, its crucial that you never force them into or out of their cratethis should be a place where they feel safe. You can make the environment more welcoming by putting a blanket or dog bed inside, a favorite toy, or a few treats. Also, take note of where you place your dogs crate.
Leave the crates door open and encourage your pup to come and go as they please. Some pet parents have found that feeding their dog in the crate with the door open can also be a calming way to introduce them to their kennel.
Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented
You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:
- Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
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How Are Specific Phobias Treated
Treatment for specific phobias may include one or a combination of:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for specific phobias. Treatment usually involves a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, called systematic desensitization or exposure and response prevention therapy, in which patients are gradually exposed to what frightens them until their fear begins to fade.
- Medication: For situational phobias that produce intense, temporary anxiety , short-acting sedative-hypnotics such as alprazolam orÃ lorazepamÃ Ã may be prescribed on an occasional, as-needed basis to help reduce anticipatory anxiety. Unless a phobia is accompanied by other conditions such as depression or panic disorder, long-term or daily medicines are generally not used. Occasionally, serotonergicÃ antidepressantsÃ such asÃ escitalopram oxalate , Ã fluoxetine ,Ã andÃ paroxetine may have potential value for some patients. More recently, common blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers have been used to treat anxiety related to specific phobias.
- Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, may also help reduce anxiety symptoms.
How Healthcare Practitioners Diagnose Anxiety
First, your healthcare practitioner will ask about your symptoms to rule out any underlying physical conditions, such as a thyroid or hormone condition. Some chronic health conditions have symptoms that are similar to anxiety, and your doctor may order blood tests or a urine analysis if they suspect your symptoms are physical.
But if there is no underlying physical condition to explain your symptoms, your healthcare practitioner will assess your anxiety with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment. Some of the questions include:
- Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
- Do you have trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
- Are you fidgety or restless that you have been moving a lot more than usual?
- Do you feel nervous, anxious, or on edge?
- Are you unable to stop or control worrying?
Your healthcare practitioner will ask you to answer each question based on whether or not you experience the situation within the last two weeks as not at all, several days, more than half the days, or nearly every day. Each answer is scored, and further evaluation is recommended when the score is 10 or higher.
If your healthcare practitioner thinks you have an anxiety disorder based on the initial assessment, they may prescribe medication, ask more questions to specify the type of anxiety disorder, and/or refer you to a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist for more treatment.
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What Are Treatments For Anxiety Disorders
Effective treatments are available for anxiety disorders. Both medication and talk therapy can help to relieve the symptoms.
- Medications:The most common medications used to treat anxiety disorders are antidepressants and benzodiazepines. A number of drugs are available. So if one doesn’t work, another might. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about medications.
- Talk therapy:Behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are effective ways to treat anxiety disorders. Behavioral therapy involves gradual exposure to the anxiety trigger. CBT works on helping people react differently by changing their thinking patterns.
What Is Separation Anxiety Disorder
This condition mostly happens to children or teens, who may worry about being away from their parents. Children with separation anxiety disorder may fear that their parents will be hurt in some way or not come back as promised. It happens a lot in preschoolers. But older children and adults who experience a stressful event may have separation anxiety disorder as well.
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When & How To Get Help For Anxiety
Regardless of the kind of disorder a person has, anxiety is highly treatable. Often, people can greatly improve their symptoms in therapy, where they can learn effective ways of coping and managing their symptoms. Certain kinds of therapy have more evidence to support their efficacy in treating different kinds of anxiety disorders.
Licensed counselors, social workers, and psychologists often use the following evidence-based treatments for anxiety:1,4
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing
- Emotional Freedom Technique
In addition to therapy, people also sometimes benefit from medication for anxiety which can be prescribed by a psychiatrist, doctor, or other medical professional. People who are interested in finding a therapist or doctor to treat their anxiety often begin their search online using a free therapist directory, or by contacting their insurance company to get a list of in-network providers.
How Are Specific Phobias Diagnosed
If symptoms of a specific phobia are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by performing a medical and psychiatric history and may perform a brief physical exam. Although there are no lab tests to specifically diagnose specific phobias, the doctor may use various tests to make sure that a physical illness isn’t the cause of the symptoms.
If no physical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional who is specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use clinical interviews and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a specific phobia.
The doctor bases their diagnosis of specific phobias on reported symptoms, including any problems with functioning caused by the symptoms. A specific phobia is diagnosed if the person’s fear and anxiety are particularly distressing or if they interfere with their daily routine, including school, work, social activities, and relationships.
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What Type Of Anxiety Do I Have Quiz
Living with anxiety can be difficult. To properly manage your anxiety it is important to get a proper diagnosis of your anxiety. Take our super helpful “What Type Of Anxiety Do I Have Quiz” to know what kind of anxiety you have.
- Do you extremely sweaty during your anxiety attack?
- Sample Question
Acceptance And Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy, also known as ACT, is effective for treating several anxiety disorders and other conditions. ACT aims to help you be more accepting of your thoughts and commit to facing your triggers head-on, without shame or judgment.
During ACT, youll work with your therapist to identify your core values. Then your therapist will help you accept what is out of your control and commit to actions that contribute to your values so that you can experience your thoughts and feelings without fear.
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How To Treat The Most Common Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Across these seven common forms of anxiety, there are a few constants. First, irrational fear of nervousness. Second, physical symptoms like increased heart rates or shallow breathing. And finally, the thing holding all of these anxiety disorders together is that each of them require professional mental health treatment.
Left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to social isolation, stunted career growth, or even co-occurring substance abuse. For all of these reasons, if you feel anxious in a way that is similar to the common types of anxiety listed above, then you need to get help. And at The Blackberry Center, our team of psychiatrists, physicians, and other essential care staff are ready to help treat your anxiety disorder.
Do you have questions about how we help patients with anxiety disorders? You can call our admissions specialists at 888-512-9802, or you can fill out our confidential contact form. No matter what type of anxiety youre facing, well help you overcome it.
What Is An Anxiety Attack
An anxiety or panic attack involves a sudden burst of intense anxiety that produces physical symptoms. The symptoms might include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and dizziness.
Some people use the terms anxiety attack and panic attack interchangeably. Panic attacks can last as long as anywhere from 530 minutes.
Having a panic attack is frightening, and people who experience them are usually fearful of triggering another. Some people go to great lengths to avoid certain situations that might produce another episode.
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History Of The Diathesis Stress Model
The model emerged during the 1960s and is generally attributed to Paul Meehl, who applied this approach to explain the origins of schizophrenia. Since then, it has also been utilized to understand the development of depression. According to researchers who use this viewpoint, people with a predisposition for depression are more likely to develop the condition when exposed to stress.
This theory was later expanded to include other conditions, such as anxiety and eating disorders.
How Do I Know If My Child Has An Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety-related problems in children share four common features. The anxiety:
- Is typically a fear or fixation that interferes with the ability to enjoy life, get through the day or complete tasks.
- Is puzzling to both the child and parents.
- Does not improve after logical explanations to address the worries.
- Is treatable.
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What Causes Specific Phobias
The exact cause of specific phobias is not known, but most appear to be associated with a traumatic experience or a learned reaction. For example, a person who has a frightening or threatening experience with an animal, such as an attack or being bitten, can develop a specific phobia. Witnessing a traumatic event in which others experience harm or extreme fear can also cause a specific phobia, as can receiving information or repeated warnings about potentially dangerous situations or animals.
Fear can be learned from others, as well. A child whose parents react with fear and anxiety to certain objects or situations is likely to also respond to those objects with fear.