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Anxiety Attack/Anxiety Disorder

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Anxiety can occur when a person fears that something bad is going to happen. It is a non-medical term that refers to a feeling of fear or worry that often relates to a particular issue or concern.

Anxiety has been linked to stress. As well as feelings of fear and worry, it often involves physical symptoms, such as muscle tension.

However, if levels of stress and anxiety continue for a long time, further problems may develop.

Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

Can anxiety lead to panic?

A person who has panic disorder may experience anxiety that they are going to have a panic attack. The uncertainty about if or when an attack is going to happen can lead to anxiety between attacks.

How are anxiety disorders diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. They’ll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.

There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.

Who can diagnose anxiety disorders?

If your provider finds no signs of physical illness, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist. These mental health professionals specialize in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses. They may use specially designed interview and assessment tools to figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. Typically, the provider bases a diagnosis on:

Providers also consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The American Psychiatric Association publishes the DSM-5. It’s the standard reference manual for diagnosing mental illnesses.

How are anxiety disorders treated?

An anxiety disorder is like any other health problem that requires treatment. You can’t will it away. It’s not a matter of self-discipline or attitude. Researchers have made a lot of progress in the last few decades in treating mental health conditions. Your healthcare provider will tailor a treatment plan that works for you. Your plan may combine medication and psychotherapy.

How does medication treat anxiety disorders?

Medications can’t cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:

Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Don’t change the dose without consulting your provider. They’ll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.

How does psychotherapy treat anxiety disorders?

Psychotherapy, or counseling, helps you deal with your emotional response to the illness. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the disorder. Approaches include:

What happens if I don’t get treatment for my child with an anxiety disorder?

Getting your child help for an anxiety disorder can improve their development and self-esteem. But untreated anxiety disorders can harm:

Your child may also end up with more serious mental and physical health problems. Fortunately, there are several treatments for anxiety disorders. The right treatment can help your child manage their symptoms and feel their best.

PREVENTION

Can anxiety disorders be prevented?

You can’t prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:

OUTLOOK / PROGNOSIS

What’s the outlook for people with anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.

You don’t need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. It’s best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.

LIVING WITH ANXIETY

How can I best cope with an anxiety disorder?

There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:

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