Signs & Symptoms
Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Everyone feels anxious at one time or another- while taking a test, making an important decision, feeling pressured to get something done in a hurry. This is a normal response to a transient stressor. An Anxiety disorder is different because it doesn’t go away. In fact, it progresses with time.
Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S. 40 million adults or 18% of the population have some type of anxiety disorder. Only 1/3 will receive proper treatment. Anxiety disorders cost the $42 billion each year which accounts for 1/3 of the total mental health bill generated in the US. Lawyers suffer from higher rates, with over 18% of practicing lawyers reporting practicing with an anxiety disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Signs and Symptoms:
- Excessive worry most days for several months
- Difficulty controlling worry
- Worry that causes significant problems in personal, social and/or professional relationships
- Feeling restless, wound-up or on edge.
- Easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances such as difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, restless sleep or waking up without feeling rested.
Panic Disorder Signs and Symptoms:
- Unexpected panic attacks-sudden periods of intense fear that comes on quickly and peaks in minutes
- Heart palpitations
- Sensation of a shortness of breath, smothering or choking
- Feeling of impending doom
- Worry expended about the potential of panic attacks
Phobia - Related Disorders:
Intense fear or aversion to a specific thing or situation which is disproportionate to the actual danger posed.
- Needles or Receiving Injections
- Specific Animals such as Spiders, Snakes, Dogs or Birds
- Social Anxiety
An excessive and irrational fear of social situations which interferes with personal, social, and professional relationships and obligations.
- Intense fear of 2 or more
- Public Transporation
- Being in Open Spaces
- Standing in a Crowd or Standing in Line
- Being Outside Alone
- Irrational fear that harm will come to loved ones if they are separated from the holder of the anxiety
Treatment of Anxiety
- Medication: FDA approved medication for SAD or SSRIs which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which help more serotonin move from synapse to synapse increasing a positive mood (Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) and Bupropion, which is often used as an add-on to SSRIs when they provide an incomplete response (Wellbutrin, Zyban, etc.);
- Psychotherapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which identifies negative thoughts and replaces them with positive thoughts and positive behavioral activities that stimulate a dopamine response ("feel good" hormones) to naturally elevate mood.
- Exercise: Moderate intensity exercise produces endorhpines-chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood lifters. Exercise also supports brain nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the region that helps regulate mood, improving nerve cell connections and relieving symptoms of anxiety.