Disorders - Health Care Tips
Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders
If your anxiety doesn't improve within
a month, discuss your symptoms with your healthcare professional.
"Anxiety disorders tend to mimic symptoms of other conditions, such as
heart attack or stomach problems, so it's important to rule out medical
conditions first," Dr. Carll says.
While taking this step, it might also
help to keep in mind that anxiety disorders are one of the most common
mental health conditions and millions of women are feeling just as you
Treating Anxiety Disorders
After other medical conditions have
been ruled out as the potential cause of your symptoms, your healthcare
professional should refer to you a psychologist or psychiatrist,
depending on your symptoms. "Treatment typically includes cognitive and
behavioral therapy, usually a combination of both," says Dr. Carll. Try
to find a professional who specializes in a variety of treatments. "In
extreme cases of anxiety, phobia, panic attack, PTSD, or OCD, medication
may be recommended with therapy. Medication helps reduce the anxiety,
enabling the person to use and benefit from anxiety-reducing strategies
introduced in therapy. "
Medications used to treat anxiety
disorders include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which
are usually the first choice in medication treatment options, tricyclic
antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), beta-blockers,
and benzodiazepines, used on a short-term basis.
Therapy options for treating anxiety
include behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Behavior therapy involves a variety of techniques. Exposure and
desensitization strategies are used to reduce unwanted behavior (fear
and avoidance of social gatherings, for example) and increase desired
reactions (such as feeling more comfortable in social settings and
getting together with friends). CBT, a combination of behavioral and
cognitive therapies, teaches people the skills to view and react to
anxiety-provoking situations differently.