Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, affecting approximately 6.8 million adults. It often starts during adolescence and symptoms tend to magnify during stressful periods in life. Many people with anxiety disorders do not seek treatment for their symptoms. They don’t think their anxiety can be treated. In addition, they may fear what others might think of them if they seek treatment. As a result, many will suffer with an anxiety disorder, and the symptoms that come with it, when they don’t have to. Left untreated, anxiety disorders can become worse with time and can wear down coping skills, resulting in depression, sleep difficulties, or stress.
If your symptoms of anxiety disorder are disrupting your life, then it is time to seek professional help. Proper anxiety disorder treatment needs to be tackled with both a medical and clinical approach. In terms of medically treating anxiety, there are a number of medications that are useful for anxiety & stress disorders, in both the short term and long term. It is important to consult with a psychiatrist when exploring medication options, someone who has experience in treating conditions like Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
While medication can be a useful tool in correcting the chemical imbalances that cause chronic anxiety, they cannot overcome real anxiety alone. At the office of Raul J. Rodriguez, MD & Associates, the Delray Beach Psychiatrists, we typically recommend our anxiety patients receive psychotherapy, along with psychotropic medication. Therapy provides a safe space to vent any building fears or frustrations before they become full-blown anxiety or panic attacks. Many therapeutic approaches, such as CBT and DBT, include skills training, to teach individuals coping techniques. These therapeutic skills help patient interrupt the cycle of anxiety, before they spiral out of control.
There are a number of things you can do on your own to maximize the effectiveness of your anxiety disorder treatment. For one, poor sleep hygiene is a major contributor to anxiety. It is important to try and get a good night’s sleep, and to get on a regular sleep schedule. Diet and nutrition can also increase or decrease the amount of day-to-day anxiety one experiences. A diet low in fat and high in vitamins can improve mood overall. Exercise is also an important release valve for stress build-up, and can improve self-esteem as well. At our center in Delray Beach, we incorporate yoga into many of our treatment plans, because it provides a form of exercise and teaches mindfulness, meditation, and helpful breathing techniques.
Most aspects of life do not encourage self-care, so it is vital to take time for yourself to practice self-care. It will have a real and meaningful impact on our anxiety and stress levels. However, none of these at-home tools are replacements for professional psychiatric help.