Things You Should Know About Anxiety Disorder

Q. Sometimes I get really nervous about certain things going on in my life. Do I have an anxiety disorder?
A. You shouldn't be concerned about experiencing some amount of anxiety. Anxiety is a normal reaction to life-changing events. We all get stressed out or anxious at one point or another, but most of us find a way to bounce back. But for some, anxiety is so frequent, intense and uncontrollable it hinders the way they lead their lives. These are signs that a person has an anxiety disorder.

Q. What causes an anxiety disorder?

A. Experts believe that anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of heredity and your background- basically how you grew up and if it runs in your family. Biological and environmental factors such as brain chemistry, life events, personality and genetic predisposition can all have an effect. This makes an anxiety disorder much like other physical disorders, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Q. I think I have an anxiety disorder, what should I do?

A. Firstly, stay calm - Anxiety disorders are more common than you might think. You are not the only one who has these problems and there is a way for you to seek help. If you think that you have the symptoms of an anxiety disorder you should arrange to speak to a healthcare professional like a psychiatrist, psychologist, or school counselor. Let a professional help you to understand your problem. You shouldn't have to deal with it alone.

Q. How are anxiety disorders usually treated?
A. Common treatment methods include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication or a combination of the two. Treatments vary from person to person depending on the type and severity of the disorder. Talk to your health professional about what treatment options are available and right for you.

Q. Will treatment definitely work for me? How long will it take?
A. Up to 90 percent of people can get better with treatment. Patients should realize that it might take time and effort before they start to recover. Treatment can include behavior therapy and/or medication. This could last for several weeks, months or even years. Everyone is different and therefore treatment times can vary. Additional problems such as clinical depression or alcoholism can make treatment more complicated or last a longer time. Recovery IS possible with the proper professional care.

Q. How do I find the right health professional?
A. There are lots of trained professionals that can diagnose and treat anxiety disorders: doctors, therapists, counselors, clinical social workers, psycho-therapist, psychiatrists and psychologists. You might also want to seek assistance from your primary care doctor. Remember that you should feel comfortable talking to your provider and that he/she should openly answer all of your questions. If you don't feel comfortable talking with this person, you should find a different health professional.