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Anxiety: What Is It and How Is It Treated?

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We all experience times when we feel worried, nervous, or tense. Circumstances with our families, changes in our jobs, world events, or any number of factors can increase our stress and make us feel anxious.  But does feeling anxious mean that you have an anxiety disorder?  Well, that depends. At Thrive Treatment, we can help you evaluate your anxiety and assist you with any disordered substance use that may have started as you tried to cope on your own. 

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear about an event or situation.  It is “normal” to have these feelings in many situations.  These feelings are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, and tension in the body. Anxiety can sometimes serve to help you to cope.  However, when these feelings continue for an extended time and affect your daily activities, you may have an anxiety disorder. 

What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorders fall into multiple categories: generalized anxiety disorders, panic disorders, phobia-related disorders, and social anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worry or anxiety about things such as their own health or daily life circumstances.  Those with generalized anxiety find that their anxiety is present several days each month on an ongoing basis.  Conversely, panic disorders involve panic attacks that can come on rather quickly.  During a panic attack, the individual might experience shortness of breath, increased heart rate, sweating, shaking, and an overwhelming sense of impending doom. Panic attacks may occur after a particular trigger or seemingly out of the blue. Because of this, the focus becomes managing and avoiding additional attacks which may prevent the individual from engaging in normal daily activities. 

Agoraphobia (fear of public places), acrophobia (a fear or heights), and claustrophobia (fear of closed-in spaces) are just a few examples of phobia-related disorders.  Those who have phobia-related disorders may find themselves experiencing symptoms similar to a panic attack when confronting the subject of their phobia. Social anxiety disorders relate to anxiety that occurs in social situations.  The anxiety is actually increased by worrying about how the anxiety manifests itself and how others will view the person’s anxiety. Sadly, it is possible to suffer from more than one type of anxiety disorder. 

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Treatment for anxiety disorders often includes a blending of traditional medical, psychiatric and holistic approaches. Doctors may prescribe anti-anxiety medications and also refer you to a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy.  Additionally, you and your provider might explore strategies for you to use when dealing with particularly stressful or triggering situations.  As with finding the right medication that is a fit for you, you will do the same with tools such as meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture, and yoga. Because the symptoms experienced with a general anxiety disorder differ from those of a phobia-related anxiety disorder, the treatments are not a “one-size-fits-all”.  Here at Thrive Treatment, we can work with you to find the best treatment for you. 

If you have been self-medicating your anxiety with drugs or alcohol, you may have found that, in the end, they had the opposite effect. By pursuing a path to sobriety, you will enable yourself to approach your anxiety in a more holistic and healthy way.  

How Thrive Treatment Can Help With Your Anxiety

At Thrive Treatment, we believe in treatment that blends modern and traditional practices rather than one specific modality. We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  Located in Santa Monica, we have what is needed to provide you with an individualized plan to help you succeed in sobriety, both during your inpatient treatment and beyond. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

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