"If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath."
-Amit Ray, OM
Things To Know About Anxiety
Questions and Answers
Anxiety disorders are common in the general population with a high prevalence rate, and are often under recognized. Symptoms of anxiety tend to manifest in different fashions with a few features shared in common. Anxiety disorders may share excessive debilitating fears and accompanying behavioral disturbances outside of the patient’s control. Severe symptoms of anxiety may be debilitating and render the patient incapable of even leaving the home environment.
Signs and symptoms may arise early in childhood, well documented examples in toddlers with increased stranger and separation anxiety, the symptoms may persist through adolescence with anxiety about school/ college, and social situations.
Do I have anxiety?
Severe signs and symptoms of anxiety can be easily confused with other medical and psychiatric disorders. For example, a panic attack may be misinterpreted as a heat-attack, coronary artery disease or even heart failure and/or vice versa. Hence, a detailed medical evaluation by a primary care provider or urgent care is sometimes needed first to rule-out life threatening disorders. Anxiety disorders in children, adolescents and adults may be complicated by co-morbid factors different presentations; therefore, a comprehensive psychiatric assessment by a Licensed Mental Health Provider is highly recommended.
What causes anxiety?
Evidence indicates that there are multiple interactions between our risk factors and predispositions that contribute to the development of the anxiety disorders. A good example would be our genetic and environmental influences, neural circuitry, psychological processes, and social environment (parenting). Another predisposing factor is the individual’s temperament which creates a vulnerability that starts from infancy. It would be unfair to blame one single component; strong evidence exists to support a complex interaction between the individual and the environment. (NIMH, Anxiety Disorders)
Why Should I get help?
Overt symptoms of anxiety can have a negative impact on self-esteem, family/ social relations, and academic / work performance.
Why should I seek treatment ?
Anxiety disorders can develop at an early age and if left untreated can set the tone for further psychopathology during the adult years. Anxiety symptoms have been documented in toddlers and span through adulthood if left untreated.
The prevalence of anxiety is in the range of 4-20% in children and adolescent and may be under diagnosed.
How are anxiety disorders treated?
There is no universal treatment for all anxiety disorders instead, a comprehensive psychiatric assessment must be performed by a licensed mental health provider. Detailed documentation and assessment will help formulate a treatment plan that meets the individual needs of a child/adolescent or adult.
The gold standard treatment involves therapy for mild to moderate symptomatology. An example of such therapy would be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Sometimes psychotherapy is either ineffective or partially effective and adding a medication may be indicated. (AACAP facts for families, the anxious child)