All Topics

Help With Anxiety Disorders

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention.

Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress and can be beneficial in some situations. It can alert us to dangers and help us prepare and pay attention. Anxiety disorders differ from normal feelings of nervousness or anxiousness, and involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common of mental disorders and affect nearly 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives. . But anxiety disorders are treatable and a number of effective treatments are available. Treatment helps most people lead normal productive lives.

Fear is an emotional response to an immediate threat and is more associated with a fight or flight reaction – either staying to fight or leaving to escape danger. Anxiety disorders can cause people into try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Job performance, school work and personal relationships can be affected.

View More

  • Jun 21, 2021
Expanding Mental Health Uses for Virtual Reality

Virtual reality technology is increasingly being used to support mental health and treat a variety of mental health disorders, especially as the technology becomes more familiar and more affordable. Virtual reality (VR) offers several advantages, including convenience and the ability to adapt and individualize it. Among the conditions being effectively treated with VR are PTSD, anxiety and phobias.

  • May 06, 2021
Nature’s Benefits for Mental Health May Not Work So Well When Pressured

During the more than a year of pandemic restrictions, access to parks and other green spaces have been very important escapes for many, offering a place to go for exercise and social interaction when other options weren’t available. Fifteen national parks set new recreation visitation records in 2020, despite temporary park closures and restrictions in response to the pandemic.

  • Apr 08, 2021
Autism, Anxiety and Sensory Challenges

Anxiety disorders are common in children and adolescents, and sensory reactivity is also common among young children. Both conditions are more common in children with autism than children without autism. Researchers are exploring the connections and relationships between these conditions.

What’s the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder?

Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. Perhaps the person has watched a scary move, or seen something upsetting on TV. Or, more ominous, perhaps the person has experienced or witnessed a crime. Anyone might get anxious in these situations, but the person with an anxiety disorder has persistent or recurrent anxiety that prevents him or her from full participation in life. Anxiety can range from relatively mild (occasional “butterflies,” jitteriness, accompanied by a sense of unease) to severe (frequent, disabling panic attacks). Severe anxiety disorders can lead the person to alter his lifestyle to accommodate the anxiety, for example not leaving home. More

Can meditation or other relaxation techniques help with my anxiety?

They can. They are the best option for mild anxiety that most of us experience from time to time. There are many instructional books on relaxation exercises (often paired with deep breathing) and meditation, which is a form of relaxation. They are relatively simple to learn. These approaches can provide relief and can be used anywhere once the person understands the method. Mental health professionals can guide the person who needs a more personal approach to learning relaxation or meditation. More

Are there medications that can help with panic attacks?

Yes. There are many medications that have FDA approval to treat anxiety disorders. Several members of the benzodiazepine class are routinely used to provide relief from anxiety. These minor tranquillizers are safe and effective, but should be used for short-term relief. They have many side effects, including drowsiness, and can be habit forming at higher doses. People taking these medications should not use heavy machinery or drive until they understand how the medication might affect them.

Antidepressants are widely used to treat anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder. The most commonly prescribed medications are from the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) class. They are generally effective and have few side-effects, although they do not provide immediate relief. More

How are children with anxiety disorders treated?

Children can be treated with the same methods as adults. A therapist may be effective by turning the therapy into a game to make it fun for the child. Medication works in children just as in adults, but the psychiatrist must be mindful of the much lower doses used in children. More

black-expert2.jpg

About the Expert:

Donald Black, M.D.
Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of medicine
Staff Psychiatrist, Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center

Editor's Choice

MAY 12, 2021

Online CBT effective for social anxiety disorder in young people

Mental  Xpress

Social anxiety disorder can cause considerable suffering in children and adolescents and, for many with the disorder, access to effective treatment is limited. Researchers at Center for Psychiatry Research at Karolinska Institute and Region Stockholm in Sweden have now shown that internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an efficacious and cost-effective treatment option. The study is published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

MAY 12 2021

8 Warning Signs You're Dealing With Postpartum Anxiety

Huffington Post

Experts share some red flags of this common perinatal mood disorder. Many women experience symptoms of postpartum depression, characterized by extreme worry and stress after giving birth. New parents are less familiar with another common mental health struggle new mothers face: postpartum anxiety. This condition is characterized by a constant sense of worry that goes to greater extremes than the typical concerns and emotions all new parents experience.

MAY 1 2021

Police contact significant factor in Black emerging adults' high anxiety disorder rates
order

Helio

Black emerging adults in the United States aged 18 to 29 years commonly experienced anxiety disorders, which were the most prevalent disorders among this segment of the population, according to results of a recent study. Frequent exposure to police violence increased this population’s risk for anxiety disorders. A researcher presented these results at the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meeting.

Resources

Additional Resources and Organizations

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Mental Health America

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Institute on Mental Health

Physician Reviewed

Philip R. Muskin, M.D., M.A.
June 2021