The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you. Psychotherapy
Also known as talk therapy or psychological counseling, psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. It can be an effective treatment for anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the most effective forms of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on teaching you specific skills to gradually return to the activities you’ve avoided because of anxiety. Through this process, your symptoms improve as you build upon your initial success. Medications
Several types of medications are used to treat anxiety disorders, including those below. Talk with your doctor about benefits, risks and possible side effects. -Antidepressants. These medications influence the activity of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) thought to play a role in anxiety disorders. Examples of antidepressants used to treat anxiety disorders include fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), imipramine (Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR). Citalopram (Celexa) and escitalopram (Lexapro) also can be effective, but dosages of 40 milligrams (mg) a day of citalopram or 20 mg a day of escitalopram warrant discussion of risks versus benefits. Your doctor also may recommend other antidepressants. -Buspirone. An anti-anxiety medication called buspirone may be used on an ongoing basis. As with most antidepressants, it typically takes up to several weeks to become fully effective. -Benzodiazepines. In limited circumstances, your doctor may prescribe one of these sedatives for relief of anxiety symptoms. Examples include alprazolam (Niravam, Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan). Benzodiazepines are generally used only for relieving acute anxiety on a short-term basis. Because they can be habit-forming, these medications aren’t a good choice if you’ve had problems with alcohol or drug abuse.
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It’s normal to feel nervous in some social situations. Going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, for instance. But in social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, everyday interactions cause irrational anxiety, fear, self-consciousness and embarrassment.
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition, but treatment such as psychological counseling, medication and learning coping skills can help you gain confidence and improve your ability to interact with others. Social anxiety disorder affects your emotions and behavior. It can also cause significant physical symptoms. Emotional and behavioral social anxiety disorder signs and symptoms include: -Intense fear of interacting with strangers -Fear of situations in which you may be judged
–Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself -Fear that others will notice that you look anxious -Anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities -Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment -Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention -Difficulty making eye contact
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As with many mental health conditions, the exact cause of anxiety disorders isn’t fully understood. Life experiences such as traumatic events appear to trigger anxiety disorders in people who are already prone to becoming anxious. Inherited traits also can be a factor. Medical causes
For some people, anxiety is linked to an underlying health issue. In some cases, anxiety signs and symptoms are the first indicators of a medical illness. If your doctor suspects your anxiety may have a medical cause, he or she may order lab tests and other tests to look for signs of a problem.
Examples of medical problems that can be linked to anxiety include: -Heart disease
-Thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
-Drug abuse or withdrawal
–Withdrawal from alcohol, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines) or other medications -Irritable bowel syndrome -Rare tumors that produce certain “fight-or-flight” hormones -Premenstrual syndrome
Sometimes anxiety can be a side effect of certain medications.
It’s more likely that your anxiety may be due to an underlying medical condition if: -You don’t have any blood relatives (such as a parent or sibling) with an anxiety disorder -You didn’t have an anxiety disorder as a child
–You don’t avoid certain things or situations because of anxiety -You have a sudden occurrence of anxiety that seems unrelated to life events and you didn’t have a previous history of anxiety Video: ANS
One in every three adults in the United States suffers from a condition that may lead to coronary heart disease or stroke, according to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. High blood pressure, or hypertension, means the force of blood hitting against the walls of the arteries is high enough to cause damage. For an adult, the systolic BP should stay under 120. The bottom number, or diastolic, remains less than 80. Anything above those numbers is an indicator of potential risk. -The Silent Killer Hypertension is often referred to as “the silent killer” because it is often present with no obvious symptoms. When blood pressure rises, your symptoms may be negotiable. To monitor BP, medical professionals automatically take a reading with every visit. You should have your blood pressure taken at least once every two years. -Prehypertension
The early stage of the condition is when you are most likely to show some signs of a problem. The medical community defines prehypertension as a systolic rate of 120 – 139 and a diastolic in the range of 80 – 89. Possible symptoms include: -Mild, dull headache
When the blood pressure reaches the level that you are hypertensive, symptoms will disappear. A person is hypertensive when the systolic BP goes above 140 and the diastolic is over 90. Hypertension has two stages. Once the blood pressure exceeds 160/100, you are in stage 2. Neither stage produces symptoms. Video: Stroke
Hypertensive crisis means there is a sudden spike in the blood pressure taking it over 180/120. Symptoms of a hypertensive crisis include: -Chest pain
-Shortness of breath
The person having the crisis may become unresponsive over time. Hypertensive crisis is a medical emergency.
Nightmares are disturbing dreams associated with negative feelings, such as anxiety or fear. Nightmares are common. They may begin in childhood and tend to decrease after about age 10. However, some people have them as teens or adults, or throughout their lives.
Until age 13, boys and girls have nightmares in equal numbers. At age 13, nightmares become more prevalent in girls than boys. Nightmares seem real, often becoming more disturbing as the dream unfolds. But nightmares usually are nothing to worry about. They may become a problem if you have them frequently and they cause you to fear going to sleep or keep you from sleeping well. Nightmares are referred to by doctors as parasomnias — undesirable experiences that occur during sleep, usually during the stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM). You’ve had a nightmare if: -Your dream wakes you -You feel scared, anxious, angry, sad or disgusted as a result of your dream -You can think clearly upon awakening, and can recall details of your dream -Your dream occurs near the end of your sleep time -Your dream keeps you from falling back to sleep easily
Children’s nightmare content varies with age, typically becoming more complex. While a young child might dream of monsters, an older child might have nightmares about school or difficulties at home.
Male sexual arousal is a complex process that involves the brain, hormones, emotions, nerves, muscles and blood vessels. Erectile dysfunction can result from a problem with any of these. Likewise, stress and mental health problems can cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. Sometimes a combination of physical and psychological issues causes erectile dysfunction. For instance, a minor physical problem that slows your sexual response may cause anxiety about maintaining an erection. The resulting anxiety can lead to or worsen erectile dysfunction.
Physical causes of erectile dysfunction
In most cases, erectile dysfunction is caused by something physical. Common causes include: -Heart disease
-Clogged blood vessels (atherosclerosis) -High cholesterol
-High blood pressure
-Metabolic syndrome, a condition involving increased blood pressure, high insulin levels, body fat around the waist and high cholesterol -Parkinson’s disease
-Peyronie’s disease, development of scar tissue inside the penis -Certain prescription medications
-Alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse -Treatments for prostate cancer or enlarged prostate -Surgeries or injuries that affect the pelvic area or spinal cord
Polysomnography, also called a sleep study, is a test used to diagnose sleep disorders. Polysomnography records your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate and breathing, as well as eye and leg movements during the study.
Polysomnography usually is done at a sleep disorders unit within a hospital or at a sleep center. You’ll be asked to come to the sleep center in the evening for polysomnography so that the test can record your nighttime sleep patterns.
Polysomnography monitors your sleep stages and cycles to identify if or when your sleep patterns are disrupted and why.
The normal process of falling asleep begins with a sleep stage called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During this stage, your brain waves, as recorded by electroencephalography (EEG), slow down considerably. Your eyes don’t move back and forth rapidly during NREM, in contrast to later stages of sleep. After an hour or two of NREM sleep, your brain activity picks up again, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep.
You normally go through four to six sleep cycles a night, cycling between NREM and REM sleep in about 90 minutes. Your REM stage usually lengthens with each cycle as the night progresses. Sleep disorders can disturb this sleep process. Polysomnography monitors your sleep stages and cycles to identify if or when your sleep patterns are disrupted.
Your doctor may recommend polysomnography if he or she suspects you have: Sleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing disorder — your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Periodic limb movement disorder — you involuntarily flex and extend your legs while sleeping. This sleep disorder is sometimes associated with restless legs syndrome. Narcolepsy — you experience overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. REM sleep behavior disorder — you act out dreams as you sleep. Unusual behaviors during sleep — you do unusual activities during sleep, such as walking, moving around a lot or rhythmic movements. Unexplained chronic insomnia — you consistently have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
The negative health effects of anxiety, such as increased coronary heart disease risks, have long been documented and accepted in the medical community. But now, research suggests that individuals with high levels of anxiety have an increased risk for stroke.
The researchers, who are from the University of Pittsburgh, published the results of their study in the journal Stroke.
They say that anxiety disorders – characterized by fear, unease and worry – impact nearly 20% of US adults each year and often last for at least 6 months.
A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain stops, and the American Stroke Association says this cuts off oxygen and nutrients that are vital for the brain. When this happens, brain cells die, and depending in which side of the brain the stroke occurs, effects can include paralysis, vision or speech problems, memory loss and behavioral changes.
People with high levels of anxiety are 33 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, as compared to their less anxious counterparts, researchers say.
“Anxiety is a very common condition in the general population, but it’s also a modifiable behavior,” says Maya Lambiase, postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and lead author of the report. “Assessment and treatment of anxiety has the potential to not only improve overall quality of life, but also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke, later in life.”
Previous studies have found that higher levels of anxiety are associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease, but few studies have investigated the connection between anxiety and stroke. This study, published in the journal Stroke, is the first to report an association between higher anxiety symptoms and an increased risk for stroke, despite other risk factors such as depression.
Anxiety disorders affect nearly 20 percent of American adults in any given year, and are characterized by feelings of fear, unease, and worry, often lasting at least six months. Feelings of stress and anxiety are also common in people who feel depressed or have other mental health problems, including alcohol or substance abuse. Stroke, which occurs when blood flow to a part of the brain stops, is the number four killer and a leading cause of disability in the US.
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked for a long enough time that part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies. The medical term for this is myocardial infarction. A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number quickly.
-DO NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital.
-DO NOT WAIT. You are at greatest risk of sudden death in the early hours of a heart attack. Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack. You may feel the pain in only one part of your body, or it may move from your chest to your arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, jaw, belly area, or back. The pain can be severe or mild. It can feel like:
-A tight band around the chest
-Something heavy sitting on your chest
-Squeezing or heavy pressure The pain usually lasts longer than 20 minutes. Rest and a medicine called nitroglycerin may not completely relieve the pain of a heart attack. Symptoms may also go away and come back.
Other symptoms of a heart attack can include: anxiety, cough, cainting, light-headedness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, palpitations, shortness of breath or profuse sweating. After a heart attack you may need Holter Monitoring