Anxiety Disorders
Mental Health Treatment, Boise, ID

Experiencing and conquering normal fears of life are part of an ongoing developmental process. Anxiety in response to danger readies our bodies for self-protective action. Usually, a clear cause and effect are evident. Severe anxiety is an abnormal and overwhelming sense of apprehension that is frequently accompanied by physical symptoms of tension, tremor, sweating, rapid heart palpitations, etc. It can be debilitating. When fears and anxiety become so overwhelming that they interfere with activities of daily life, they are not normal.

Symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder include the following:

  • Excessive anxiety and worry occurring more days than not for at least six months about a number of events and/or activities
  • The person finds it difficult control the worry
  • The anxiety and worry are associated with some or all of the following: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbance

Besides GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), there are other types of anxiety that may affect an individual. One example is specific phobias, marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation. The phobic object or situation almost always provokes immediate fear or anxiety. The fear is out of proportion to the actual danger posed to the individual. The anxiety lasts for six months or more. Some common phobias are animal, natural environment, blood- injection- injury, or situational.

Another form of anxiety is called social anxiety disorder (social phobia). This type of anxiety usually includes fears of one or more situations in which the individual is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way that will show anxiety symptoms and will be negatively evaluated. The individual fears rejection and fears offending others. The social situation almost always provokes anxiety or fear. Again, the fear is out of proportion to the actual threat posed to the person.

Another form of anxiety is called panic disorder. These are recurrent unexpected anxiety attacks that may include some or all of the following:

  • Palpitations
  • Pounding heart rate or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feelings of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Chills or heat sensations
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself
  • Feelings of losing control
  • Fear of dying

Another form of anxiety is called agoraphobia. This is a marked fear of the following:

  • Using public transportation
  • Being in open spaces
  • Being in enclosed spaces
  • Standing in line or being in a crowd
  • Being outside of the home alone

The individual fears or avoids these situations because of thoughts that escape might be difficult or help might not be available in the event of developing panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms.

Symptoms of anxiety may also be triggered by substance abuse or medication-induced problems and certain medical conditions.

Treatment for anxiety has improved and evolved much over the past 20 years. We now know that a combination of the right medication and a beneficial/appropriate psychotherapy process is the best overall treatment. Newer antianxiety medications have fewer side effects, are less addictive, and are more effective at treating many of the core symptoms of anxiety. Also, many psychotherapists are highly trained in forms of cognitive behavioral therapy and other therapy specific to treating anxiety.