Anxiety is a bodily reaction caused by stress and pressure. It can feel like restless worry about your situation or a future scenario. Sometimes it's being overwhelmed in a social setting when there are too many unfamiliar people. Other times it's with work when it feels like there's an avalanche of tasks.
In the short term, anxiety can help us to accomplish a specific goal by making us alert and focused, but when the feeling is overwhelming, we might have difficulty managing the rest of our lives. Whether we find ourselves constantly panicky or irritable, this prolonged state of tension can take a toll.
The condition affects about 18% of the U.S. adult population and comes in many subtypes—generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and panic disorder, and more. Fortunately, because it is so common, we can recognize the symptoms, use strategies to self-regulate, and even try medication and therapy to help us manage our anxiety.
All forms of anxiety share in common a cycle of disruptive thoughts. Anxiety is a pattern of thinking about certain events or ideas.
Common symptoms include:
Anxiety disorder doesn't always come from a single source. For some, genetics play a role, for others, there might be a pre-existing or co-existing condition. Because each situation is unique, so too is each treatment for every individual. Treatment comes in many forms from therapy, medication, to self-management.
Therapy is the process of regularly meeting with a licensed professional to resolve behaviors, feelings, or issues. For many, seeking therapy requires overcoming a huge internal or external stigma, but it's one of the biggest steps people can take towards feeling healthier and happier. Even those who don't exhibit any diagnosable mental illness and have a strong support system may benefit from the practice. Therapy enables people to restructure their unhealthy thoughts or self-destructive behaviors. For anxiety, therapy may alleviate symptoms and target root causes.
Therapy may be individual, group, or family. The process is personal and confidential—together with your therapist, you will establish goals and determine the steps to manage your anxiety. Sharing your feelings and experiences aloud can be a powerful and cathartic experience while you work to unravel your concerns. Your therapist is there to support, listen, and arm you with the capacity to self-manage your anxiety.
Therapy for anxiety is quite common. According to the National Institue of Mental health, nearly 20 million adults received mental health services in 2017. As the stigma of treatment fades, this number is bound to increase in future years.
Prescription medications may also help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. The medications that are most commonly prescribed are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which both are antidepressants that regulate mood. These antidepressants also help with anxiety management and include brand names such as Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.
Benzodiazepines are another drug that plays a role related to anxiety, mood, and relaxation. Benzos are fast-acting but are often habit-forming or addiction-forming, so doctors prefer to try SSRIs or SNRIs first. Brand names for benzos include Xanax, Librium, Valium, and Ativan.
Beta-blockers are another anxiety medication used more commonly for social anxiety disorder, often before situations that may cause anxiety, like public performance and public speaking. This is best used in performance situations and not for long-term treatment. Brand names include Inderal, Tenormin, and Lopressor.
Cerebral provides talk therapy, medication delivery, or both therapy and medication together in select states. Our therapists and prescribing providers are carefully selected and genuinely want to support and listen to their patients. Whether you're facing social anxiety, generalized anxiety, or anxiety with depression, your Cerebral team will provide you with individualized, long-term care.
Our therapists will help you understand and change your anxiety-related thinking patterns and behaviors and arm you with strategies to manage your symptoms. Our prescribing providers will take into consideration your personal and medical history when providing medication. Along with a prescribing provider, you will have a care counselor to meet with monthly to check-in on your medication management. Interactions with our team feel personable and supportive, and we aim to provide you with the best service so you can feel like your best self. Start with a free emotional assessment to see if we can help.