How to Find Help Treating an Anxiety Disorder
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, yearly, approximately 40 million American adults – nearly one in five – can expect to be the victim of some kind of anxiety disorder. This makes anxiety one of the most widespread psychological issues facing the country today. Learning what anxiety is and what can be done about it thus rises beyond the level of personal tragedy to being a pressing issue of public health.
Understanding Anxiety Disorders
Understanding anxiety disorders isn’t as easy as it might seem at first. This type of mental disorder includes no fewer than six subcategories, with chronic panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder being just three of the better-known types. Their effect on the lives of sufferers can range from the troublesome, such as infrequent nightmares, to the crippling, and each condition will follow a course unique to its victim, greatly complicating diagnosis and treatment.
How to Diagnose Anxiety Disorder
As a rule, only a trained mental health professional should be fully trusted to know how to accurately diagnose anxiety disorder. Learning the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder, however, is not beyond the reach of an average person. While differences exist among the various categories of anxiety disorders, each is characterized by persistent, irrational feelings of dread or fear. To properly be classed as a disorder, such symptoms usually have to persist for longer than six months.
How to Recognize an Anxiety or Panic Attack
A chronic anxiety disorder can lay dormant for extended periods of time before suddenly reemerging as an acute onset of fairly alarming symptoms. Especially insidious is the way in which these attacks will often mimic serious medical emergencies, fueling the underlying panic and driving the attack to a higher and higher intensity. Learning how to recognize an anxiety or panic attack can help the victim short-circuit this spiral by trying to be aware of what is happening and keeping calm until the episode is over. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the signs of an acute attack include:
- A sense of impending doom
- An elevated heart rate
- Sweating and trembling with chills and hot flashes
- Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
- Pain in the chest or abdomen
- A tight throat and trouble swallowing
If you or someone you know is showing any of these signs, it could be a serious medical emergency. Call for help without delay, and stay with the person until it arrives. If it turns out to have been a panic attack, it might have been a sign of an underlying disorder.
Steps You Can Take to Help Someone With Anxiety Disorder
Knowing somebody with an anxiety disorder can be an exercise in frustration and worry. Often, those afflicted will delay or seek to avoid treatment for reasons related to their illness. Help is available, though, and it often is as simple as knowing where to turn to access it. One of the first steps you can take to help someone with anxiety disorder is to reach out by calling us . On the other end of the line, someone who has experience with what you’ve been going through will be able to put you in contact with the professional resources you’ll need for yourself or your loved one.
Talking to Someone With Anxiety Disorder
It’s never easy talking to someone with anxiety disorder about the problems you think you see in their life. Sometimes, the person will get defensive or hostile, interpreting what you say as a wholly unnecessary personal attack against a sore spot they didn’t even know they had.
Writing a letter can sometimes be helpful as it takes away much of the confrontational element and allows the subject to take in your concerns without feeling any need to mount a defense against you. Another possible way to try to break the affected individual’s defense and effectively reach out to him is to gather friends and family for what amounts to an intervention. Anxiety disorders aren’t strictly addictions, but because many of the same defense mechanisms will often come into play to resist treatment, sometimes similar approaches to confronting the existence of a problem can be successful.
Adolescents and Teens
Arranging help for adolescents and teens presents special challenges. Often, simply recognizing the symptoms of an anxiety disorder through the normal mood swings of adolescence can be difficult. Sometimes, parents are reluctant to even admit to the existence of a problem that needs addressing at all. If this describes a teen you know, help can be found by calling . You’ll speak to a trained staff member who has access to many of the resources you’ll need to help a teenager through the difficult process of coming to grips with a serious anxiety disorder.
Learning to Cope With Anxiety Disorder
Once the diagnosis of anxiety disorder has been made, it can feel like the ground has dropped away beneath the feet of the sufferer. It becomes necessary to reevaluate one’s life and the conditions that have added to or worsened the disorder, as well as make plans for necessary treatment. Learning to cope with anxiety disorder isn’t something that happens in a single day, nor is it a task that can ever really be said to be finished. Where there’s life, there’s hope, however, and such a diagnosis should be regarded not as the end of a part of life but rather as the first step in living a healthier, more fulfilling life to come.
How to Treat Anxiety Disorder
Once a diagnosis has been made, it is imperative that the patient seek out therapy from a trained professional who has experience and specific knowledge of how to treat anxiety disorder. Many healthcare workers – even many mental health specialists – may lack this specific training, so it becomes even more important to be as open and honest with the therapist as possible to ensure that the necessary steps are taken in obtaining quality care.
Deciding Between Anxiety Disorder Solutions
According to the NIMH, anxiety is most often treated with drugs, specialized therapeutic techniques or some combination of the two. Deciding between anxiety disorder solutions isn’t the sort of thing a layperson is expected to get right without help. Here, the patient’s care provider has the role to guide the person through the available treatment options as well as to explain what each course of treatment entails in terms of potential results and duration. The key to a successful course of treatment is to be totally open and honest with the provider and genuinely look on the help that’s offered as an essential part of the recovery process.
Where to Find Anxiety Treatment for a Friend or Family Member
One of the greatest challenges to successful treatment is found right at the very beginning, with knowing where to find anxiety treatment for a friend or family member. It’s certainly the rare individual who goes through life with an encyclopedic knowledge of the resources and treatment options that exist to help people who suffer from anxiety disorder.
This is why, above all else, it is essential to recognize the signs that a loved one might be struggling with anxiety and act accordingly. Locating the appropriate resources can be difficult and time consuming, which is why it can be such a relief to know that caring professionals are available at all hours of the day and night to take your call and connect you to the assistance you need to deal with this potentially disabling disorder.
Please don’t delay any longer. Call right away to be put in touch with help for yourself, your family or someone else you love.