Approximately 19.1 million American adults in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depression or substance abuse.
Women are more likely than men to have an anxiety disorder.
Approximately 2.4 million American adults have panic disorder.
Approximately 3.3 million American adults in a given year, have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Approximately 5.2 million American adults in a given year, have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Approximately 4.0 million American adults in a given year, have Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is caused by many factors including a chemical imbalance in the brain, hyperthyroidism, hormones and situational factors (loss, grief, stress).
Additionally, things like substance use, poor nutrition and insufficient sleep can make the symptoms of anxiety worse.
Anxiety treatment can involve medication, cognitive-behavioral counseling, reducing caffeine and sugar, getting enough sleep, exercise, education about the disorder, developing social supports and using positive self-talk.
Anxiety is also called “stress,” “fear,” or “worry.” Most of us become anxious because of irrational thoughts. People with Generalized Anxiety feel “anxious,” “irritable,” or “stressed out” most of the time, for what seems to be no apparent reason. In therapy we often find that people with Generalized Anxiety put conditions of worth on themselves, set unrealistically high standards for themselves, fear loss of control, the unknown and rejection. All of these attitudes permeate every area of their life, thus making them feel “anxious” all of the time. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is very helpful with anxiety related to irrational thoughts. By helping to identify the unrealistic demands, improve self-esteem and identify the causes of their fears they can start using more positive self-talk and learn to cope with stress better.
Some people who have survived trauma or abuse also have anxiety issues, especially hypervigilence–being over-aware of what is going on around them at all times. Trauma-oriented therapy is more effective at helping resolve this type of anxiety.
BuSpar is an excellent medication for persons with Generalized Anxiety. It does not have the addictive properties of many of the traditional anti-anxiety medications (Benzodiazepines), but helps take the edge off. People typically find themselves getting into a crisis over everything, often find that, on BuSpar, they are much more moderated. Many of the new antidepressants such as Zoloft and Paxil also have antianxiety properties. It is necessary to talk with your doctor to find the right combination for you. (Hint: Many of my patients who take Paxil take it before bed instead of first thing in the morning.)