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Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Treatments For Anxiety Disorders in a Nutshell

By Avery Young

Anxiety disorders are a debilitating condition that interferes with a person's day to day life. When confronted with certain situations that others wouldn't be effected by they find it extremely difficult to function. But before getting treatment for an anxiety disorder you first find out if it's an actual anxiety disorder or a different medical condition.

Certain medical conditions or lifestyle choices may mimic an anxiety disorder. For example if you're having problems with your thyroid gland, asthma, or being hypoglycemic can all have effects on your anxiety. Also consuming large amounts of nicotine, alcohol, or even caffeine can mimic the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. So it's paramount that you first seek consultation from a doctor and get the necessary test to confirm that your anxiety isn't a medical condition.

Once it has been established that you don't have a medical condition then it's necessary to seek consultation from a qualified professional who deals with anxiety disorders. Usually your doctor, school counselor, or local university psychology department can refer you to qualified professionals in your area.

Usually treatment will take one of three forms, therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

Therapy usually treats anxiety through exposure therapy and cognitive therapy. Exposure takes the patient through a manageable step by step process to slowly 'expose' the patient to the situations and conditions that cause the anxiety in hopes that the patient will learn to cope by practicing in a safe environment.

Cognitive therapy takes deals with the negative thoughts that are rooted in the anxiety. It also expands the sufferer's knowledge about their own disorder helping the patient supplant the dangerous thoughts with those that don't lead to anxiety.

Medication on the other hand usually deals with the purely biological issues surrounding the patient's anxiety. Usually they are used to limit the symptoms both immediately and longer term and is found extremely helpful in allowing the patient go through the process of therapy. Typically these medications are anti-depressants like prozac, and benzodiazepines which calm the physical symptoms.

Like all prescriptions, there are possible side effects and maybe habit forming. It's important to read up on the medications before taking them and discuss any questions you may have about them with the professional who would be prescribing them.

In addition other treatments may be used to help with recovery. Such as relaxation techniques like meditation, regular exercise, and hypnosis.

Avery Young is an anxiety disorder expert. For more information on anxiety disorder treatment, visit

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