What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a type of mental health disorder that is categorized by excessive feelings of nervousness, worry, apprehension, and fear. While it is normal for all of us to experience those feelings from time to time, persistent anxiety is much more difficult to deal with. People with constant anxiety experience these feelings disproportionately and much more frequently than normal.
Understanding the difference between normal anxious feelings and anxiety disorders can help an individual seek the treatment they need.
Symptoms of anxiety disorder
Anxiety is experienced through both psychological and physical symptoms that can range greatly in severity. When you are feeling anxious, your body tends to go into high alert and your “fight or flight” response will be activated. Symptoms will vary for each person, however, most people with anxiety disorders will experience common symptoms like:
- Excessive worrying
- Muscle tension
- Feeling “on-edge”
- Agitation and increased irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Irrational fears
- Rapid heart rate
- Feelings of danger or dread
- Digestive or gastrointestinal problems
- And some people experience panic attacks
These symptoms may make it difficult to complete daily tasks and can greatly impact your quality of life.
Types of anxiety
Anxiety can be further broken up into different types based on the specific forms they take. They include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Separation anxiety disorder
Effective treatment for each type of anxiety disorder will look different, but just about anyone with anxiety can benefit from talk therapy, lifestyle changes, and when indicated, the addition of medication.
Therapy for anxiety
Just one of the forms therapy can take includes Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a highly effective, well-established treatment option for people who struggle with anxiety. Through this therapy, you will learn how to identify, understand, and change your thinking and behavioral patterns.
Often a shorter-term treatment, cognitive-behavioral therapy helps teach you specific skills to improve anxiety-related symptoms. In doing so, it can help you gradually return to activities you may have avoided in the past due to your anxiety.
Medication for anxiety
In addition to cognitive-behavioral therapy, many individuals can benefit from medication to help further relieve anxiety symptoms. You may be prescribed antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, or even sedatives or beta-blockers.
Lifestyle changes to help manage anxiety
Making lifestyle changes can be a simple but powerful way to help manage your anxiety. Here are some changes that can help:
- Regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol
- Getting adequate sleep
- Keeping in close contact with friends and family
- Finding a mindfulness practice to help center you whether you’re anxious or feeling just fine
Learn more about anxiety treatment in Chicago
If you are struggling with anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Here at Wellington Counseling Group, our therapists are here to help create a personalized treatment plan for understanding your anxiety and helping you live life with less of it.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation for your anxiety treatment in Chicago.