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Anxiety Disorders – Diagnosis and Treatment

by Melanie Peterson

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding anxiety, but the truth is anxiety is a normal emotion. The emotion you feel regarding anxiety is actually a type of reaction elucidated by the brain in response to stress and also a way of informing or alerting you to potential dangers you could face as time goes by.

Anxiety is a type of emotion that everyone gets to feel from time to time. For instance, you could find yourself worrying when you are faced with a challenge at work, right before you decide to take an examination or before you take a life-changing decision.

What this means is occasional anxiety can be beneficial, but this is quite different from anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are basically a group of mental illnesses that result in constant and overwhelming fear and anxiety. Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive anxiety that could make you miss or avoid social gatherings, family outings and school, which can inadvertently trigger or worsen the symptoms of your condition.

Types of Anxiety Disorders:

There are several types of anxiety disorders, but the most common are Generalized anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Generalized anxiety disorders are characterized by unrealistic and excessive worry based on little or no reason. People with panic disorders, on the other hand, have a sudden, intense fear that culminates in a panic attack.


Diagnosing anxiety disorders will require visiting a hospital and speaking with a healthcare professional. The first step entails you visiting your primary healthcare provider to find out if there is a link between your physical health and your anxiety. Your healthcare provider can check for signs of underlying medical issues that may require treatment.

Nonetheless, there may be a need for you to see a mental health specialist or professional if your anxiety is severe. Such a specialist could be a psychiatrist who may run a number of tests in a clinical laboratory. Psychiatrists specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions, while psychologists and some other mental health professionals can diagnose anxiety and help provide psychotherapy.

To help diagnose an anxiety disorder, your healthcare provider could provide a psychological evaluation based on tests run in a clinical laboratory. This evaluation could also include discussing your thoughts, feelings and behavior to help identify your condition and check for related complications. Anxiety disorders may come along with other problems such as substance abuse and depression, which could make diagnosis more difficult.


There are treatment options available for people with anxiety disorders which can help people manage their feelings. The two main treatments available are psychotherapy and medications. There is a likelihood that you will benefit more from a combination of the two, although it is important to note that your healthcare provider may have to do some level of trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.


Another name for psychotherapy is psychological counseling or talk therapy, and it involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. It can be an effective treatment for anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been identified as the most effective form of psychotherapy or treatment for anxiety disorders. While it is a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you certain skills that can help you improve your symptoms and slowly return to the activities that you have avoided as a result of anxiety.

CBT includes exposure therapy, which helps you to slowly identify the object or situation that triggers your anxiety so you can slowly regain your confidence to effectively manage your anxiety symptoms and the situations that trigger them.


There are several types of medications that can help relieve symptoms of anxiety. However, the choice of medication will be dependent on your type of anxiety disorder or if you have underlying physical or mental health issues. For instance, certain types of antidepressants can also be used to treat anxiety disorders.

In certain unusual circumstances, your healthcare provider may prescribe other types of medications, such as sedatives, also called benzodiazepines, or beta-blockers. These sedatives, or beta-blockers, are meant to provide short-term relief for anxiety symptoms and are not intended for long term use.

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