Written by Shannon,
6 Minute Read
Medically reviewed by:
Erin O'Callaghan, PHD
Director of Therapy
10 Minute Read
Anxiety is a daily part of life for people. A certain amount of anxiety is good, it keeps us safe and helps us make smart decisions. But for some people, it can be excessive and intense.
Anxiety disorders can often cause disruptions in routine activities and even manifest as panic attacks. However, if you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, you aren’t alone. There are doctors available to help put you on the right path.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety when is in its most severe form is categorized as feelings of intense fear and worry. More than 40 million Americans deal with anxiety disorders, which are highly treatable. Some symptoms of anxiety are as follows: restlessness, increased heart rate, sweating, trouble sleeping, hyperventilation, and trouble concentrating. Anxiety can be separated into several groups of phobias and disorders
Are There Different Types of Anxiety?
Anxiety comes in many shapes and sizes. Some disorders require more treatment than others, but it’s difficult to tell which one you have without a proper diagnosis from a doctor.
Here are some of the most common anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized as persistent and excessive anxiety about events and routine issues. This type of anxiety often goes hand in hand with depression.
- Social anxiety revolves around the fear and avoidance of social situations due to self-consciousness and possible embarrassment.
- Panic disorder involves sudden feelings of intense anxiety that result in panic attacks and other physical symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain.
- Specific phobias occur when you are exposed to a certain situation or object that you wish to avoid altogether.
Getting Rid of the Stigma
Many people who struggle with anxiety feel like they can’t reach out for help because they think they will be blamed for their condition. Sometimes people express their anxiety to those around them who downplay their emotions and tell them that they don’t really need help.
Stigmas like this cause people to feel ashamed for things that are out of their control. In the past few years, great strides have been made to reduce the stigma around mental illness, but there is still a far way to go. The first step to normalizing anxiety and depression is openly talking about it with others. Talking about what it’s like to live with these conditions helps people understand what it’s really like.
The way that you talk about mental illnesses like anxiety is important, too. Be mindful of your language when talking about these types of conditions. Try to avoid using conditions as adjectives and explain to other people why that’s hurtful.
You can also help end the stigma by showing compassion for those with mental illnesses if you do not suffer from one yourself. If someone opens up to you about their anxiety, be willing to listen without judgment. Being honest about your treatment also helps to normalize getting help. Tell your friends or co-workers that you’re going to the therapist just as you would tell them you’re going to the dentist.
When To Talk To A Doctor About Anxiety
If you’ve been wondering if your anxiety is “bad enough” to talk to a doctor, it might be worth looking into. Not everyone with anxiety needs medication or therapy but is almost always helpful to try.
Here are some signs that you should talk to someone:
- If your anxiety is harming your physical well-being. This includes trouble with sleeping, achy muscles, or digestion problems.
- If your anxiety symptoms have been persistent for at least six months.
- If your anxiety is affecting more than one aspect of your life. Generalized anxiety is often tied to excessive worry about multiple events.
How A Doctor Can Help With Anxiety
When you go to the doctor to get treated for anxiety, they will probably assess your physical health first. Next, they will ask you questions related to anxiety disorders that could be the underlying problem. This includes things like low blood sugar, heart disease, and hyperthyroidism.
They will be able to refer you to a mental health professional who can diagnose you. A mental health professional will look for criteria in the DSM-5 for specific symptoms. They will uncover the root of your anxiety and figure out the best treatment plan for you. This could be medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.
Getting Help For Anxiety From Home
A lot of people avoid going to the doctor for anxiety because it’s too much work or they don’t have a primary care physician nearby. This prevents a lot of people from getting the help that they need. That’s why Brightside is reinventing the way you think about mental health treatment. We offer a personalized plan with medication delivered to your door and therapy on your phone.
Brightside was designed to deliver the best psychiatric care available. Our data-driven prescribing analyzes over 100 unique data points and decades of clinical research to pinpoint your match.
You can start by filling out a free mental health assessment to help us understand your symptoms. From there, we can recommend the best treatment plan for you, whether it be medication, therapy, or both.
You can stay in touch with us with unlimited messaging and two monthly sessions with your Therapist. You can even measure your progress with check-ins to make adjustments to your plan. We specialize in treating the full spectrum of anxiety-related conditions, whether it be PTSD, phobias, or OCD.
What Are Your Options For Treating Anxiety?
Depending on your specific needs, there are a variety of paths to take for treating anxiety. One of the options is starting medication for your anxiety. This is often prescribed in conjunction with therapy and is given on an as-needed basis. This is because some anxiety drugs can be habit-forming.
SSRIs are commonly used to treat different types of anxiety disorders. These are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that act on your brain chemicals. Another way to treat anxiety is with different types of therapy. This includes practices such as psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy.
You can also make certain lifestyle changes to help reduce your anxiety. Getting exercise every day helps increase your heart rate and increase blood flow throughout your body. You can also try breathing exercises and yoga to help relax your body.
There are also certain things you can avoid to help your anxiety. Staying away from things like alcohol and recreational drugs can help decrease symptoms of anxiety. If you have difficulty quitting these substances on your own, there are support groups available to help.
Even though anxiety seems scary and permanent, it’s not. Talking to a doctor is the first step in feeling better. So don’t be afraid of seeking help, because looking back, you’ll be glad that you did.
Try Brightside today for a free assessment so that you can get back to enjoying everyday life.