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Anxiety Disorders


Anxiety Disorders

Experiencing uncomfortably high levels of anxiety is one of the most common reasons for seeking psychological help. While a certain level of anxiety is natural, especially during stressful times, what is not normal is anxiety accompanied by serious, debilitating symptoms like relentless worrying and dread, inability to be at ease physically (feeling almost as if one has been placed on “high alert”) and having to struggle with anxiety through situations that used to be “no problem.”

The experience and meaning of Anxiety can vary from person to person. The major categories of Anxiety Disorders are:

OCD, which was included as an Anxiety Disorder in the previous version of DSM, now has its own section.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is like a “false alarm.” The mind and body feel “as if” they are in a dangerous situation that requires some type of decisive action when they are actually not. This is known as “fight or flight.” However, despite this distressing state, most people can recognize that their heightened concerns and reactive bodily sensations are excessive, even irrational.

Unfortunately, anxiety is progressive in many cases. Natural instincts, such as avoiding stressful situations, finding “safety cues” like sitting near an exit, or constantly seeking reassurance only make this problem worse over time.

Identifying Anxiety in Yourself & Others

With proper and timely intervention, Anxiety can be successfully treated. Yet, barriers to effective intervention are quite common. Many with anxiety conditions are embarrassed about needing help or being stigmatized. Thus, they often needlessly delay obtaining necessary treatment, often trying every home remedy or ineffective advice from the internet, regardless of lack of evidence. Some people may feel that experiencing anxiety means they are being weak and need to deal with it on their own. Many people with severe anxiety learn how to hide their symptoms, even from close relatives or friends. They often “white-knuckle” their way through anxiety. Ironically, once they decide to be more open, many anxiety sufferers often find that they have become so good at putting up a façade that others have difficulty understanding just how much Anxiety is impacting their lives.

Although every person has their own threshold for how much anxiety they can tolerate, a good rule of thumb is to consider seeking professional assistance when your level of inner distress and avoidance behaviors are increasing, when it feels like anxiety is “taking over your life” by negatively affecting your education, job, or relationships and when “common sense” approaches aren’t working anymore. Sometimes when anxiety is untreated, depression or self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, gambling, or food can become another layer of the problem. In the worst-case scenario, anxiety and its related problems can become so intense that thoughts about wanting to die, just to escape anxiety can occur. Suicidal thinking always needs to be taken seriously.

Treatment of Anxiety

Medications can be very helpful for anxiety, but learning to understand and manage anxiety, stressful situations, fearful thoughts and uncomfortable physical sensations is often an effective first step to try in many cases. If a psychological approach is not achieving the desired outcome after a reasonable time period, or if symptoms are severely worsening or associated with unsafe impulses or behaviors, considering medicinal strategies then becomes more urgent. In some cases, the best results will result from combining psychological approaches with medication. Obtaining a thorough medical check-up is often recommended at the outset of treatment because there are a number of medical conditions that can present like an anxiety disorder.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective, well-researched and evidence-supported approach for anxiety disorders. CBT focuses on understanding the anxiety cycle, “exposure” to feared situations and thoughts, challenging anxious thought patterns, dealing with anxiety-related physical sensations and gradually eliminating avoidance behaviors.

Neurobehavioral Institute (NBI) is a dedicated mental health center focused on the treatment of Anxiety, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Related Conditions. We specialize in providing personalized care and evidence-supported Cognitive Behavioral therapies (CBT) tailored to meet your specific needs.


Get control of your life. For more information, please call us at 954-280-3226.

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