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Anxiety Disorders
Types of
Anxiety Disorder
Treatment for
Anxiety Disorders
NIMH
Brochures
There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Examples include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with generalized anxiety disorder display excessive anxiety or worry for months and face several anxiety-related symptoms. Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms include:
  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

Social Anxiety Disorder

People with social anxiety disorder (sometimes called “social phobia”) have tremendous fear of social or performance situations in which they expect to feel embarrassed, judged, rejected, or fearful of offending others. Social anxiety disorder symptoms include:
  • Feeling highly anxious about being with other people and having a hard time talking to them
  • Feeling very self-conscious in front of other people and worried about feeling humiliated, embarrassed, or rejected, or fearful of offending others
  • Being very afraid that other people will judge them
  • Worrying for days or weeks before an event where other people will be
  • Staying away from places where there are other people
  • Having a hard time making friends and keeping friends
  • Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people
  • Feeling nauseous or sick to your stomach when other people are around

Panic attacks may occur with either of the anxiety disorders.  They may be random (no identifiable trigger) or cued (an identifiable trigger).  For example, a person with Social Anxiety Disorder may have cued panic attacks triggered by being in large crowds.
Medication

Medication does not cure anxiety disorders but often relieves symptoms. The most common classes of medications used to combat anxiety disorders are antidepressants, , and beta-blockers 

  • Anti-anxiety drugs
  • Antidepressants
  • Beta-blockers (commonly used to treat hypertension)

Psychotherapy

Two specific stand-alone components of CBT used to treat social anxiety disorder are cognitive therapy and exposure therapy. Cognitive therapy focuses on identifying, challenging, and then neutralizing unhelpful thoughts underlying anxiety disorders.

Exposure therapy focuses on confronting the fears underlying an anxiety disorder in order to help people engage in activities they have been avoiding. Exposure therapy is used along with relaxation exercises and/or imagery. One study, called a meta-analysis because it pulls together all of the previous studies and calculates the statistical magnitude of the combined effects, found that cognitive therapy was superior to exposure therapy for treating social anxiety disorder.

CBT may be conducted individually or with a group of people who have similar problems. Group therapy is particularly effective for social anxiety disorder. Often “homework” is assigned for participants to complete between sessions.

Stress Management Techniques

​Stress management techniques and meditation can help people with anxiety disorders calm themselves and may enhance the effects of therapy. While there is evidence that aerobic exercise has a calming effect, the quality of the studies is not strong enough to support its use as treatment. Since caffeine, certain illicit drugs, and even some over-the-counter cold medications can aggravate the symptoms of anxiety disorders, avoiding them should be considered. Check with your physician or pharmacist before taking any additional medications.

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Brochure

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

(NIMH)


Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. 

Symptoms

  • Rapid, pounding heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in your throat
  • Chills
  • Hot flashes
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Feeling of unreality or detachment
  • Sense of impending doom or danger
  • Fear of loss of control or death
Download
Brochure

Social
Anxiety
Disorder

(NIMH)

Anxiety Brief Assessment
The brief Anxiety Assessment is not intended to provide you with a diagnosis.  It can be used to provide you with further insight into whether you should seek counseling.  You should not use the assessment alone to make a determination.  It is just one tool to add to all the factors you can consider in deciding to seek treatment.

Assessment Source:  Mental Health America (MHA)
Anxiety Brief Assessment