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Anxiety Disorders – Causes and Treatments

Anxiety is a natural feeling of worry and fear that occurs when you are confronted with a new situation or when something goes wrong. But when these feelings become excessive, they can lead to an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders occur when people are constantly anxious and can’t control their thoughts or behavior. They may experience panic attacks, phobias or generalized anxiety.

Most anxiety disorders respond to two types of treatment: medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy). If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, your doctor can develop a treatment plan that works best for you.

Psychotherapy involves learning ways to change your thoughts and behaviors that cause anxiety. This type of counseling can include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy and medication if needed.

Your mental health care provider may also recommend lifestyle changes, such as exercising and meditation, that help you manage your symptoms and keep them under control. These strategies can be very effective for anxiety.

Medication treats anxiety by controlling symptoms like a racing heart, shaking and trembling. It can also reduce the symptoms of depression and irritability that often accompany anxiety disorders. It can also be used to treat sleep issues that often arise in anxiety.

Social fears and phobias are common in many patients with anxiety disorders, including a fear of certain situations in life. These include public speaking, social events, and being around large crowds.

Those with these fears are more likely to avoid going to these kinds of situations than other people are. This is probably due to a biological and/or environmental factor that strengthens their bias toward a perceived threat, says Dr. Abramowitz, who is a professor of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

In some cases, this bias can be formed by a person’s early experiences or by observing other people react to threatening situations. Other times, it can be formed by an individual’s genes or temperament.

Aside from genetic and environmental factors, there are other factors that can contribute to an anxiety disorder. Some of these include stress, chemical imbalances and exposure to traumatic events.

One recent study looked at the relationship between reported anxiety symptoms and diagnosis rates in adults. The study found that women were more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men.

Blacks were less likely to receive anxiety disorder diagnoses than whites, Native Americans and Hispanics/Latinos. Data suggests that this gap is related to a number of issues, including socioeconomic disparities, stigma within the community, and a lack of access to services for those with mental health conditions.

While it is important to seek medical attention for any mental health problem, it’s especially critical for people who are suffering from an anxiety disorder. The right treatments can make it possible for you to live a more normal and productive life.

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