The Basics Of Anxiety Disorders And Available Psychotherapy Treatments

Health & Medical Blog

Approximately one in four American adults suffer from some kind of mental illness. Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent of mental disorders, but a person suffering from a diagnosed anxiety disorder can significantly reduce symptoms with the use of psychotherapy services.

Understanding Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

An "anxiety disorder" is a mental illness marked by worry and fear that is so excessive that it interferes with daily activities, causes changes in a person's behavior or thought process, and even manifests in physical side effects. 

The term "anxiety disorder" is actually a broad categorization of several specific, recognized mental illnesses. Here are a few of the most commonly-diagnosed anxiety disorders.

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Affecting approximately 3.1% of the American population, generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is diagnosed by excessive anxiety about day-to-day things, seemingly without reason. No apparent connection exists between a person's anxiety and specific life traumas, although a person's background can be a risk factor. People affected by GAD can usually function in society, depending on how severely the person's symptoms interfere with daily activities. 
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: If a person has a traumatic experience, the emotional effects of that trauma can affect the victim long after the trauma occurred. This is known as post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. This mental illness has four primary symptoms: re-experiencing the event, feeling hyper-aroused, avoiding things or places associated with the trauma, and having a change of outlook on life. Events that can bring about PTSD include assaults, attacks, combat, accidents, and natural disasters.
  • Panic Disorder: Panic attacks, which are sudden onsets of severe terror and anxiety, are the core symptoms of panic disorder. Panic attacks are unpredictable and usually do not arise from specific triggers. The symptoms manifest not only emotionally and mentally, but also physically.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: When someone experiences debilitating fear of social situations, then that person is said to suffer from social anxiety disorder. A person affected with this extreme social phobia will become unreasonably self-conscious or anxious when in the presence of others. A person with severe social anxiety disorder will go so far as to actively avoid social situations, and can even have panic attacks when these situations are unavoidable. 

How Psychotherapy Services Can Help People Suffering from Anxiety Disorders

"Psychotherapy" is a method of treating mental illnesses psychologically, instead of medically. The psychotherapist helps the patient understand and cope with the mental disorder. It can be an extremely effective way to treat mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders. 

There are many types of psychotherapy services, but some of the most effective methods for treating anxiety disorders include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This method of psychotherapy focuses on identifying the patient's negative thought patterns, and helping the patient change unhealthy actions and behaviors associated with these negative thoughts.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy: A psychotherapist applies psychodynamic therapy techniques when exploring, with the patient, past and present events and people that affect the patient's present-day activities, feelings, and beliefs. This exploration often exposes ways in which these past and present circumstances influence the patient in ways previously unknown to that patient.
  • Humanistic Therapy: The use of existential philosophy and focus on a patient's ability to self-actualize and improve marks humanistic therapy. This type of psychotherapy focuses on the whole person, and does not center on the patient's particular anxiety disorder, in order to help the patient maximize potential.

To learn more about psychotherapy services, contact a clinic, such as Newsome & Associates, Ltd., to see how you or a loved one could benefit. 


8 December 2014

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