What Are Anxiety Disorders and How to Treat Them?

Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States. The lack of therapists and access to mental health resources is also a concern. It can aggravate the impact of anxiety disorders further.

For instance, Texas has one of the lowest mental health problems rates. It ranks 38 out of 51 regarding the prevalence of mental illnesses. However, it is last in access to mental health care. That’s why knowing what anxiety disorders are and how to treat them becomes vital.

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Feelings of apprehension and fear characterize anxiety disorders. The most common types include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This is when you experience excessive worry about everyday things for at least six months.
  • Panic disorder: You have recurring panic attacks without any specific triggers. Common panic attack symptoms at night often manifest sudden intense fear, palpitations, sweating, or a sense of impending doom, disrupting sleep patterns and causing distress.
  • Social phobia: You’re afraid to do things in public because you worry about embarrassing yourself or being judged by others.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Many people experience anxiety symptoms at some point in their lives. For instance, in February 2021, 43.4% of Texas adults reported symptoms of anxiety/ depression.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders may include:

  • Physical symptoms such as muscle tension or headaches
  • Mental symptoms such as racing thoughts or trouble concentrating
  • Emotional symptoms such as feeling irritable

How to Treat Anxiety Disorders

Treating anxiety disorders as quickly as possible is crucial, and here are some ways you can treat them.

Therapy and Counseling

Therapy and counseling can help you learn to manage your anxiety. It can also help you identify and manage your triggers, cope with your anxiety, and deal with it healthily. Don’t give up if you feel therapy isn’t working. Keep trying different therapists until one clicks for both of you, it may take some time, but it’s worth it.

Both online and in-person sessions are impactful — it all depends on what makes you most comfortable, and what might be more convenient. As long as the therapist you see is licensed in your state, you see a therapist virtually or in-person.

This is especially true in places like Texas, where mental health care access is lagging. In such places, you should look for the most common therapy strategies therapists use to treat anxiety disorders. According to Zencare, cognitive therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are the most commonly used in Texas. A recent survey revealed that CBT, in conjunction with other treatments for the youth, can cure 80.7% of the patients by week 12.

Alongside CBT and DBT, insight-oriented therapies like psychodynamic therapy are commonly used. So when selecting a therapist in Texas, go through their experience and see if they offer these therapies.


In addition to therapy or counseling, medication might be another option for treating anxiety disorders. A doctor may prescribe many different types of medications depending on what type of disorder someone has:

  • Anti-depressants are often used to treat depression, but they’re also sometimes prescribed as an additional treatment alongside therapy if someone suffers from an anxiety disorder. They increase serotonin levels in the brain, making people feel happier overall. However, they don’t necessarily make people less anxious because this effect only lasts while taking them once stopped completely. There will likely still be some lingering side effects.
  • Benzodiazepines such as Xanax, also known as Alprazolam, have been shown to reduce feelings related to panic attacks, such as shortness of breath, etc. However, these drugs have potential risks, including dependence, so they should only be used sparingly, if ever at all. Alprazolam is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States for anxiety disorders. One may have to take it 3-4 times a day.

Self-Help Strategies

Self-help strategies can be effective in treating anxiety disorders. These include:

  • Meditation and deep breathing. Meditate or do deep breathing exercises for a few minutes when you’re anxious. This can also be done while sitting or lying down with eyes closed, focusing on each breath entering and leaving your body through the nose. At this time, the goal is to focus on the sensations associated with each inhale/exhale cycle without judging them as good or bad.
  • Regular exercise: Exercising is beneficial not only for your physical but also your mental health. It is a fact that exercise and mental health are significantly associated as mental health problems can prevent you from doing exercise, and the latter can help boost your mood.
  • Healthy lifestyle: Maintain a balanced diet, sleep well, and limit caffeine and alcohol intake. Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and stimulants can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

Recognizing and Diagnosing Anxiety Disorders

When you think of anxiety disorders, you may picture someone always nervous and on edge. While this can be the case for some people with an anxiety disorder, the symptoms of these conditions are much more wide-ranging than that.

Your doctor will ask whether there has been any recent change in your life or stressors triggering these symptoms. They’ll also want specific information about how often these feelings happen, what triggers them most often, when they first started occurring, etc. This information helps them determine exactly what treatment plan might best treat whatever conditions plague your bodies’ systems.

Causes and Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders

Genetic, environmental, and biological factors cause anxiety disorders. Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing an anxiety disorder, while others may develop the disorder due to environmental factors such as stress or trauma.

Genetics can also play a role in their risk of developing an anxiety disorder. For example, if your mother or father had an anxiety disorder, then you are more likely to develop one yourself than someone whose parents did not have an anxiety disorder.

Furthermore, suppose you have a family member with bipolar disorder. In that case, it increases your chances of having bipolar spectrum disorders such as cyclothymia and bipolar II. Still, it does not necessarily mean that you will get them yourself. Only 20% of people who experience cyclothymia develop Bipolar I Disorder later in life!


The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There are many people out there who have been through what you’re going through and understand what it feels like.

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