What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a natural and often useful signal from
our unconscious that tells us we need to pay attention
to something in our lives. For example, anxiety about
an approaching deadline can motivate us to stay on task
and avoid procrastination. Feeling anxious about a risky
situation or decision may prompt us to reconsider.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it is exaggerated and
irrational, when the symptoms of anxiety are not proportionate
to their cause, and/or when it begins to consume and
control one's life. In addition to emotions such as
fear, uneasiness, and panic, anxiety is often accompanied
by physical symptoms such as sweating, muscle tension,
nausea, sleeplessness, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
There are several anxiety-related conditions identified
by mental health professionals, including Generalized
Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder,
Social Anxiety Disorder, and other specific phobias.
If you are frequently overwhelmed by anxiety and feel
that your anxiety is causing you to avoid situations
or people and/or act compulsively or irrationally, you
should seek help from a healthcare professional.
What is the treatment for anxiety?
There are many successful treatments for anxiety
disorders. Most treatment approaches include medication
and some form of psychotherapy. While medication can
help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, therapy helps
the individual to change their thinking and behavior,
addressing the causes of the anxiety. A common approach
is to desensitize individuals to the situations or experiences
that trigger their anxiety by helping them to think
about and eventually face these situations with guidance
and support from a therapist.
Depending on the type and severity of the disorder,
treatment can often be completed successfully in a few