Anxiety

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At Guardian Recovery, we specialize in providing advanced treatment solutions for individuals dealing with mental health disorders, including anxiety. Our approach is rooted in evidence-based therapeutic interventions. We provide a combination of effective therapies, medication management, and life skills training to help our clients build fulfilling lives in recovery. 

Our team comprises highly skilled, licensed mental health and psychiatric professionals committed to assisting clients in understanding, accepting, and managing their anxiety-related thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. To discover more about our specialized anxiety treatment programs, please contact us today.

Understanding Anxiety as a Mental Health Disorder

Anxiety is a universal emotion that each individual will experience at some point in their lives. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 31% of adults experience an anxiety disorder throughout their lifetime. Anxiety is an emotion defined by feelings of fear, worry, and tension

Experiencing anxiety on occasion is not a cause for concern. However, it can become maladaptive when anxiety causes clinical distress in critical areas of life. For some people, anxiety does not go away over time and may progressively worsen. Anxiety can lead to the development of a mental health disorder when it begins to interfere with an individual’s performance at work or school, relationships, and other important aspects of their daily life.

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When Can Anxiety Be a Mental Disorder?

Anxiety can become a mental health disorder once it begins to cause an individual a clinical level of distress throughout their daily life. There are different types of anxiety disorders, each one with its own individual criteria and treatment protocols. 

Common anxiety disorders include: 

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Panic Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder

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Assessment Criteria for Diagnosis

The assessment criteria for a diagnosis of an anxiety  disorder are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5-TR (DSM-5-TR). The DSM-5-TR is a scientific handbook that is used as the official way to provide someone with a mental health diagnosis. 

Each anxiety disorder has its own assessment criteria, symptoms, causes, and triggers. It is important to note that only a trained and licensed mental health professional can provide an individual with an official diagnosis. All symptoms discussed are a general guideline, and a psychological evaluation must be completed to receive an official diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. At Guardian Recovery, we offer a detailed psychological evaluation to determine the presence of any mental health conditions.  

The Neurobiology of Anxiety

The amygdala, the area of the brain that helps individuals process emotions, plays a vital role in the development of anxiety disorders. Once the amygdala perceives a threat, it notifies other areas of the brain to begin defending itself. This sets off the body’s stress response and leads to physiological symptoms.  

Physiological symptoms associated with anxiety include: 

  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Heavy and rapid breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness 
  • Hot flashes
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Faintness
  • Muscle tension
  • Dry mouth

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Genetic & Environmental Risk Factors for Developing Anxiety Disorders

Research has found that some individuals are more susceptible to experiencing anxiety disorders due to their genetics.  The exact genes involved are still unclear, and more research is needed to fully understand the role that genetics play in the development of anxiety disorders. 

Research has found that one’s environment also influences whether or not one develops anxiety. Individuals who have experienced traumatic life events are more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety later on in life.  

Environmental factors that may influence the development of anxiety include: 

  • Cultural or religious backgrounds
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Family composition 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder & Common Anxiety Symptoms

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of worry or dread. GAD is not the same as occasional feelings of worry or anxiety due to stressful life events. GAD symptoms can persist for months or years if not adequately treated. Additionally, GAD symptoms can be both physical and cognitive. 

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms associated with GAD include:  

  • Palpitations, or a noticeably fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Stomach ache
  • Muscle tension
  • Body trembling
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulties falling or staying asleep
  • Dry mouth

Cognitive Symptoms

Cognitive symptoms associated with GAD include: 

  • Restlessness
  • Racing thoughts
  • Constant feelings of being on edge
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Irritability

Causes & Triggers

There can be a wide range of reasons why an individual may develop an anxiety disorder, including genetics, environmental, and medical factors. Additionally, engaging in substance use can trigger feelings of anxiety,  Anxiety triggers are people, places, situations, or things that can cause an individual to feel anxious.  Common anxiety triggers include: 
  • Built-up stress
  • Losing a job
  • Experiencing a loss
  • Working long hours
  • Financial difficulties
  • Housing uncertainties or homelessness
  • Worrying about the environment or natural disasters
  • Social issues such as racism or sexism

The Impact of Anxiety Disorders on Daily Life

Anxiety can significantly impact an individual’s daily life. Individuals experiencing anxiety may be easily startled, spend significant time worrying about different aspects of their lives, and may even socially withdraw themselves from those closest to them. Receiving comprehensive anxiety treatment is one of the best ways to learn the coping strategies needed to overcome unwanted anxious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. 

Treatment Approaches & Options for Anxiety

At Guardian Recovery, we offer a combination of therapeutic, holistic, and psychiatric treatment approaches for those experiencing anxiety-related disorders.  

Available treatment options include:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This therapy focuses on identifying and modifying negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. It is particularly effective in managing intense emotional responses.
  • Medication Management: Prescribing and monitoring medications such as antidepressants, anxiolytics, or beta-blockers to help manage anxiety symptoms.
  • Individual Therapy: One-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed mental health professional allow clients to dive deep into the root cause of their anxiety disorder and develop personalized treatment plans. 
  • Group Therapy: Provides a supportive environment where individuals can share experiences and coping strategies with others facing similar challenges.
  • Family Therapy: Involving family members in the treatment process to improve communication and address family dynamics that may affect anxiety.
  • Stress Management Techniques: Teaching practical skills to manage stress, including relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and lifestyle modifications.
  • Nutritional Counseling: Guidance on diet and nutrition to help improve overall mental health and reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Holistic Therapies: Incorporating alternative therapies such as yoga, acupuncture, or massage therapy promotes overall well-being and reduces stress.

Each of these approaches can be tailored to the individual needs of the client. Often, a combination of therapies is used for the most effective treatment. Contact us today if you or someone you love is interested in learning more about our anxiety mental health treatment programs. 

Start Your Road to Recovery Today

If you are experiencing an anxiety disorder, Guardian Recovery is here to offer support. If you would like to learn more about treatment options for anxiety disorders or about any of the therapeutic services we provide, contact us today. 

At Guardian Recovery, we are dedicated to making the admissions process as straightforward as possible. One of our Treatment Advisors is ready to speak with you or a loved one to help guide you through our simple admissions process. A free, no-obligation insurance benefits check can help determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. 

Start your mental health and wellness journey today at Guardian Recovery. 

Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

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