If you suffer from anxiety, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million U.S. adults, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Anxiety is your body’s natural response to stress. It is a feeling of fear and apprehension about what’s to come. We all feel it at times; the first day of school, going to a job interview, or giving a speech cause most people to feel fearful and nervous. But if your feelings of anxiety are extreme, last for longer than six months, and are interfering with your life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Who Gets Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders can affect anyone at any age. Anxiety disorders are the most common form of emotional disorder. Approximately 40 million American adults (18 percent of the population) are affected by an anxiety disorder in any given year.
If you have an anxiety disorder, you may also be depressed. Some people with anxiety disorders abuse alcohol or other drugs in an effort to feel better. This may provide temporary relief, but can ultimately make the condition worse. It may be necessary to treat an alcohol or drug problem before the anxiety can be addressed.
What Does Anxiety Feel Like?
Anxiety is hard to describe. You might feel like you’re standing in the middle of a crumbling building with nothing but an umbrella to protect you. Or you might feel like you’re holding onto a merry-go-round going 65 mph and can’t do anything to slow it down. You might feel butterflies in your stomach, or your heart might be racing. You could experience nightmares, panic, or painful thoughts or memories that you can’t control. You may have a general feeling of fear and worry, or you may fear a specific place or event.
What Is the Difference Between Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is a feeling of fear you have when you must do something stressful. It’s normal to feel anxious about moving to a new place, starting a new job, or taking a test. Normal anxiety is unpleasant, but it may motivate you to work harder and do a better job. Normal anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes, but does not interfere with your everyday life.
In the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of fear may be with you all the time. It is intense and sometimes debilitating. This type of anxiety may cause you to stop doing things you enjoy. In extreme cases, it may prevent you from entering an elevator or crossing the street or even leaving your home. If left untreated, the anxiety will keep getting worse.
How Do You Treat Anxiety?
Anxiety disorders can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Some people who have a mild anxiety disorder or a fear of something they can easily avoid decide to live with the condition and to not seek treatment.
It is important to understand that anxiety disorder is an illness and can be treated, even in severe cases. Treatment may not result in a complete cure, but in most cases, the symptoms can be controlled so you can live a normal life.
Related Online Continuing Education Courses for Healthcare Professionals:
Anxiety: Practical Management Techniques is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses. Nearly every client who walks through a health professional’s door is experiencing some form of anxiety. Even if they are not seeking treatment for a specific anxiety disorder, they are likely experiencing anxiety as a side effect of other clinical issues. For this reason, a solid knowledge of anxiety management skills should be a basic component of every therapist’s repertoire. Clinicians who can teach practical anxiety management techniques have tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses. Anxiety management benefits the clinician as well, helping to maintain energy, focus, and inner peace both during and between sessions. The purpose of this course is to offer a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools. Course #40-12 | 2007 | 41 pages | 30 posttest questions
Mindfulness: The Healing Power of Compassionate Presence is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides you with an excellent understanding of exactly what mindfulness is, why it works, and how to use it. This course will give you the mindfulness skills necessary to work directly, effectively and courageously, with your own and your client’s life struggles. Compassion towards others starts with compassion towards self. Practicing mindfulness cultivates our ability to pay intentional attention to our experience from moment to moment. Mindfulness teaches us to become patiently and spaciously aware of what is going on in our mind and body without judgment, reaction, and distraction, thus inviting into the clinical process, the inner strengths and resources that help achieve healing results not otherwise possible. Bringing the power of mindful presence to your clinical practice produces considerable clinical impact in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, colitis/IBS, and migraines/tension headaches. The emphasis of this course is largely experiential and will offer you the benefit of having a direct experience of the mindfulness experience in a safe and supportive fashion. You will utilize the power of “taking the client there” as an effective technique of introducing the mindful experience in your practice setting. As you will learn, the mindfulness practice has to be experienced rather than talked about. Course #60-75 | 2008 | 73 pages | 27 posttest questions
Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.