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Anxiety Facts

What is an Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety is your body's physical and psychological response to threat, real or imagined. When this response gets extreme or interferes with your life in some way, it becomes an Anxiety Disorder. Symptoms can include:

  • Excessive worry

  • Excessive sweating, not due to heat

  • Heart racing or palpitations

  • Shortness of breath

  • Muscle tension

  • Dread or fear of the worst happening

  • Stomach discomfort

  • Nervousness

  • Feeling unsteady

How Common are Anxiety Disorders?

Roughly 1 out of 15 American adults has experience at least at least one Anxiety Disorder in their lifetime.

Note: Because anxiety can create physical symptoms, people with anxiety often turn first to their primary care doctor. It is sometimes difficult for an individual or his doctor to recognize physical symptoms as anxiety.

Is Anxiety Treatable?

Yes. The vast majority of those with an Anxiety Disorder can be helped by professional care. Proven treatment options include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and/or medication.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps individuals to::

  • Challenge thoughts that may be contributing to anxiety.

  • Learn new behaviors to confront those things that are feared.

  • Learn relaxation techniques to decrease anxiety on a daily basis.

Medication for Anxiety Disorders:

  • Is often used in conjunction with the therapy mentioned above.

  • Can be used as a short-term or long-term treatment option, depending on the individual.

  • Can be addictive in some cases, so they should only be used in consultation with a healthcare provider.

What Can I Do to Feel Better NOW?

Read about anxiety. Educating yourself about what you're going through and the available treatment options can help you gain control over your life.

Exercise. Research has shown that exercise is an excellent technique for coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. It may help alleviate some of the symptoms and relieve tension in your body.

Talk to family and friends. Research has also shown that confiding in others can be a great way to get a handle on your problems. Confiding in others helps you sort things out in your mind, helps explain to others why you may not be "acting yourself," and helps you problem-solve with someone who cares about you.

Eat right. When your body doesn't function well, you don't feel well, and this can worsen anxiety symptoms. To avoid this negative cycle, eat a balanced diet and take a daily multivitamin.

Talk to a professional. You can speak to a physician, social worker, psychotherapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. Each of these professionals should be knowledgeable about how to effectively treat anxiety.