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Seeking Anxiety Treatment

woman on couch getting anxiety treatment

Everyone encounters moments of anxiety. Your nerves are in overdrive before a big presentation. You’re doubtful that the cutie you have your eye on will say “yes” to a date. Or the logistics of coordinating a cross-country move are scrambling your brain. This type of anxiety is part of life.

Anxiety is a natural stress response and, for many people, it resolves as circumstances settle. The presentation concludes. A date is scheduled. The move is complete. But, for some people, intense, excessive, and persistent anxiety leads to worry and fear about everyday encounters. 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in America. Anxiety knows no age limit and affects children, teens, and adults alike. But the good news is anxiety treatment exists.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

If you are riddled with constant fear, dread, or worry that interferes with your ability to function in everyday life, you may have an anxiety disorder. It’s a mental health condition that causes you to experience profound emotions. And it goes beyond the typical nervousness people occasionally experience. It is particularly dangerous to combine alcohol and personality disorders.

If you react excessively when your emotions are triggered, lose control of your responses, or lack the motivation for social engagement, you may have one of many types of anxiety disorders. That means anxiety treatment may be beneficial to you. 

Common anxiety disorders include: 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Excessive worry or fear about everyday activities or situations.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Fear of social situations or of being rejected or humiliated by others.
  • Panic Disorder: Involve sudden panic attacks, including intense fear and physical symptoms like sweating and chest pain.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Persistent, intrusive thoughts that can only be stopped by performing a compulsive behavior, like checking and double checking locks or excessive hand washing.
  • Phobias: Fears of certain specific things, like spiders or heights.

Common Anxiety Symptoms

“Classifying anxiety is helpful, but what’s more important is to identify the symptoms a person is having and where they originate,” said Michele Jewell, Director of Admissions at Integrative Life Center. “Understanding the root cause of anxiety means a therapist can help the person heal the core of the issue, not just treat symptoms.”

Your anxiety can be debilitating and distressing. It also looks different in different people. Some people may become hyperactive and launch into overdrive, while others shut down. There are many signs of anxiety.

“Anxiety symptoms can make someone feel out of control, emotionally and physically,” Michelle said. “It can even make them feel like they’re having a heart attack or are totally out of control of their body.”

Anxiety symptoms include: 

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Experiencing panic, fear, or uneasiness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling restless, wound up, or on edge
  • Having flashbacks or thoughts of traumatic experiences 
  • Experiencing heart palpitations or increased heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Nightmares
  • Rapid breathing
  • Restlessness
  • Ritualistic behaviors (repeatedly performing the same action)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Uncontrollable or increased worry

How Anxiety Affects Your Life

Anxiety is a mental health disorder that can significantly disrupt your life. It can make it difficult for people to live to the fullest. Other traits of an anxiety disorder include that it:

Interferes with Your Ability to Function 

Anxiety can hinder your ability to function in your day-to-day life, reducing your quality of life significantly. It can cause you to avoid new things out of fear, like applying for a job you want. Anxiety can become so severe that it can cause you never to want to leave your house or bed. Sudden panic attacks can cause extreme discomfort and unwanted attention, resulting in more anxiety. 

Creates a Lack of Control 

No one knows when anxiety will approach, which makes it frightening. Anxiety can make you feel like you don’t have control of the situation or even your life. It can cause you to have poor sleep patterns, irritable responses to simple questions, or constantly worry about the next moment. Anxiety can cause you to isolate yourself because you don’t know what to expect from any situation. It can get so extreme that you remove yourself from everything or everyone you love.

Fosters Emotional Dysregulation 

Anxiety creates many feelings within those who experience it, from fear and worry to dread and stress. It fosters emotional dysregulation that causes you to become irritable, depressed, moody, or angry. By interrupting your day-to-day life and routines, you can feel out of balance, and your emotions can reflect that. Having panic attacks in public spaces can cause embarrassment for some, thus making them feel more vulnerable and emotional. 

“Anxiety can keep you from living your most authentic life,” Michelle explained. “It can hold you back from doing the things you want to do and being who you want to be. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Treatment can help you put anxiety where it belongs and live your life to the fullest.”

How to Self-Manage Anxiety 

Before seeking treatment and during treatment, there are ways you can attempt to self-manage anxiety. These skills can help with mild and moderate anxiety symptoms. You may need to try several of them before you find what works for you. 

Ways to self-manage anxiety include:

  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: When you start feeling anxious, practice mindful meditation, write in a journal, or do a deep breathing exercise. Try to center your thoughts on what’s real and within your control. Meditation techniques for anxiety help reduce overall stress over time.
  • Exercise Regularly: Move your body every day. Exercise releases endorphins that are natural mood boosters and help with anxiety.
  • Manage Triggers: Learn what triggers your anxiety and avoid those things when possible.
  • Control Expectations: The less you worry about things being perfect, the less anxious you’ll feel. Understand that things won’t go as planned, and you’ll be fine. 
  • Limit Caffeine and Alcohol: Both substances are known to increase feelings of anxiety. Avoid them if you can. 
  • Get Enough Sleep: Getting at least six hours of sleep each night will help your brain feel rested and less anxious. 
  • Challenge Negative Thoughts: Ask yourself, “What also may be true?” This simple question will limit catastrophic thinking.
  • Seek Help: Seek assistance from a mental health professional to help you understand the root cause of the anxiety and how to cope with it.

“Self-management strategies are excellent for helping people manage their anxiety, but they work best when coupled with treatment from a mental health professional,” Michelle said.

When to Seek Anxiety Treatment

A closeup shot of a woman hands holding a man hand showing support while they are sitting on a sofa at home

While self-managing anxiety might work for some people or for some time, it may also be a good idea to work with a mental health professional to get to the root cause of your anxiety and heal from it. A therapist also can help you learn specific ways to cope with your unique anxiety symptoms. 

So, when should you seek treatment for anxiety? While it’s different for everyone, a few key indicators can signal that someone needs more help.

Seek anxiety treatment if you have:

  • Physical Symptoms: If stomach aches, digestive issues, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat, sweatiness, or headaches appear when you think about interacting with others, leaving home, or completing everyday tasks, you likely have anxiety.
  • Cognitive Symptoms: Insomnia, memory loss and lack of focus can be due to anxiety. The feeling of “Sunday scaries” shouldn’t creep into each day of the week. And it’s not right to live with perpetual brain fog. Working with a mental health professional can get you anxiety treatment that helps you function better. 
  • Procrastination and Avoidance: If you engage in autopilot in hopes of avoiding situations that cause anxiety, you may not be living your fullest life. If you regularly procrastinate on important work or avoid tasks, treatment may be helpful. 
  • Busy Mind: If you constantly worry and overthink things, to the point that your mind can’t rest because it is always occupied processing fearful thoughts, anxiety treatment can be helpful. 
  • Quick to Anger: If you’re unleashing irritability or rage, that can be anxiety. 
  • Panic Attacks: If you experience chest tightness, accelerating heartbeat, sweatiness, shaking, shortness of breath, and nausea simultaneously and wonder if you’re having a heart attack, it’s time to speak with caring professionals about anxiety treatment options. 

You can manage anxiety. And if it is keeping you from sleeping, working, socializing, or fulfilling day-to-day duties, anxiety treatment can help. If it’s consuming more than half your week continuously, seek treatment. You are allowed to ask for help if you feel it would be beneficial. 

The Process of Getting Anxiety Treatment

The process is quite simple when you decide to seek treatment for your anxiety. Once you recognize that you’re having anxiety symptoms, it’s time to seek out a mental health professional to help. After that, the process is:

  • Evaluation: Working with your mental health provider to evaluate what causes your anxiety and what are your overall treatment goals. 
  • Diagnosing: Your mental health provider will provide feedback and analyze you with what they know to be a mental health concern. 
  • Planning: Once a mental health concern is identified, you will begin planning your treatment path, including therapies and medication. 
  • Treating: You will work hard with your mental health provider to persevere and accomplish your healing goals.   

The great news about seeking anxiety treatment is that there are so many options for healing. Various therapies can help you succeed, including private one-on-one conversations with a mental health professional or group therapy. Talk with your mental health provider to see if medication might be an option to help lessen your symptoms and find the right treatment that will help suit your healing needs and goals. 

Types of Anxiety Treatment

While self-care practices are successful for some people, others find the most success when they combine them with additional treatment guided by trained professionals. Integrative Life Center uses a combination of strategies and evidence-based therapies to help you find peace. 

Anxiety treatments include: 

  • Breathwork Therapy: Learn breathing techniques that can halt many anxiety symptoms and, over time, lessen episodes and severity. 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Identifying self-sabotaging routines, beliefs, and thoughts and swapping them with healthier ones.
  • Medication: Sometimes, prescribed medication can be beneficial. When used to supplement other treatment strategies, medicine use sometimes diminishes anxiety symptoms. 

Having the proper treatment options available is vital because it addresses your individual needs and helps you improve.

The Benefits of Treating Anxiety

While seeking treatment for anxiety may make you nervous or frightened, many benefits come from it. By seeking treatment, you can see positive results in your daily life by uncovering and healing issues that affect your anxiety and cause other mental health concerns. You can learn positive coping strategies that help you handle anxiety symptoms. Treatment can also help you reduce your anxiety so much that you can begin developing and achieving the goals you’ve always wanted. 

Improvement of Daily Life

Treatment can help you regain control of your emotions, physical and mental well-being, and overall life. It can help you repair and maintain relationships and connections broken by your anxiety. By talking with a mental health professional and creating a treatment plan, including healthy coping strategies and realistic goals set, you can begin to see an improvement in your daily life again. 

Uncovering and Healing Other Issues 

While getting treatment for anxiety and working with a mental health professional, you may uncover other mental health concerns that have gone unnoticed, like negative trauma responses or depression. You may discover the root of your anxiety could be another mental health concern. By seeking treatment, you’re allowing yourself a chance to heal from all of these issues. Treatment can continue to expand for you and be whatever you need based on your healing goals. 

Learning Coping Skills

Learning healthy coping skills to help soothe or relieve your anxiety can significantly benefit you. You’ll learn how to identify triggers and what to do when you’re anxious to work through those feelings. Treatment helps you learn to deal with your anxiety in the most effective, healthiest ways. 

Developing Goals

Are there goals you’ve always wanted to reach but your anxiety won’t allow you to pursue? Once you take control of your anxiety, you can begin working toward these goals. Anxiety will no longer prevent you from seeking a promotion, asking out that special someone on a date, or living the life you have always wanted. Going through treatment and accomplishing your goals can be rewarding and sometimes motivate you to improve. 

“The greatest benefit of seeking professional help for anxiety is feeling better. You deserve to live fully in your one life,” Michelle said. 

How Long Does It Take Anxiety Treatment to Work?

Anxiety treatment is variable, just like anxiety itself. Many factors affect how long it takes anxiety treatment to work.

Factors that affect anxiety treatment:

  • Anxiety Type and Severity: Not everyone has the same anxiety type with equal severity. Some people may experience mild to extreme anxiety that can onset at any time or be trigger-specific. 
  • The Individual: No two people are the same. Everyone’s brain is unique, which means everyone’s healing process is different too.
  • Underlying Issues: Additional mental health concerns often reveal themselves during therapy, which means taking the time to treat and heal from those too.

“It would be wonderful if we could say exactly how long it will take for anxiety treatment to work or that you’d never experience anxiety again after treatment. That’s just not realistic,” Michelle explained. “What will happen is that you will gain the tools to cope with future challenges as they arise.”

How Do You Know if Treatment is Working

It can be challenging to work through difficult issues. So, how do you know if treatment is working? It’s especially important to have measures of success when you’re in the midst of treatment so you know you’re moving in the right direction.

Ways to monitor success: 

  • Progress Toward Goals: You’ll set goals with your therapist on what you want out of treatment. Consider whether you’re progressing toward those goals. If so, that’s positive.
  • Coping Ability: Even if your anxiety isn’t gone, has how you approach it changed? If you better understand your anxiety and how to cope with it, you’re making progress.
  • Changes in Daily Life: Do you feel better in your day-to-day life? Are you doing things you didn’t before, even if it feels challenging?

“If you’re feeling better and more prepared to handle anxiety, you’re moving in the right direction with anxiety treatment,” said Michelle. “Some sessions may be challenging as you work through difficult things, but you’ll have the support you need to work through those challenging days and come out better on the other side of them.”

Get Nashville-Based Anxiety Treatment at Integrative Life Center

Treatment looks different for each person. But the dedicated professionals at Integrative Life Center in Nashville, TN will walk alongside you with a heart-centered approach. We offer treatment options customized to fit your individual needs and your unique situation. If you’re ready to get control of your anxiety symptoms and move forward with your life, contact Integrative Life Center today.

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