Understanding Anxiety:
Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Anxiety is a natural response to stress, but it can become disabling when symptoms become hard to control and disrupt daily routines. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults or 18.1% of the population every year. Although anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. Let’s determine what anxiety is, why it’s diagnosed more often in women, symptoms that accompany anxiety disorders, and treatment options.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety happens when excessive anxiety interferes with everyday activities and important relationships, making it difficult to experience joy in living. Anxiety disorders happen when anxiety becomes so intense that it doesn’t seem to go away on its own, becoming a serious mental health issue. Anxiety disorders can happen to anyone, but they are more common among women and girls, with women being more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

Why is Anxiety Diagnosed More Often in Women?

Several factors contribute to higher rates of diagnosed anxiety in women, including hormone fluctuations and brain chemistry differences. Women are more sensitive to low levels of a hormone that organizes the stress response, while females experience residual anxiety from sexual abuse/violence more often than men. Women are also more likely than men to seek help for anxiety and get diagnosed.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders can cause several symptoms that can be both physical and mental. Here are some of the most common:

  • Tension and Fatigue: Being in a constant state of worry can lead to chronic muscle tension and can wear you down physically, making you feel tired and tense constantly.
  • Feeling Agitated and Irritated: Hormones that are released during a stress event can have a negative impact over time, often resulting in increased agitation and irritability towards others.
  • Restlessness: Feeling restless or on edge for the majority of your day during most of the week is one of the major signs that you may have an anxiety disorder.
  • Excessive Worrying: Those who have an anxiety disorder will typically worry excessively about almost any given situation and may experience an excessive physiological arousal.
  • Strong Irrational Fears That Impact the Individual’s Ability to Function Properly in Society: Fear caused by an anxiety disorder may be specific and affect one part of life more than others, leaving the individual unable to do certain things.
  • Dealing With Certain Physical Symptoms on a Regular Basis: Some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders include an increased heart rate, hyperventilation, excessive sweating, trembling or shaking, an inability to concentrate, stomach pains, and panic attacks.

What are the Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, and there are several treatment options available. Here are some of them:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy involves talking with a mental health professional to identify negative thoughts and beliefs that are causing anxiety and learn new ways to react to anxiety-provoking situations.
  • Medications: Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders. It’s essential to talk to a healthcare provider to determine which medication is right for you.
  • Mind-Body Techniques: Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help calm the mind and relax the body.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and quality sleep can all help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States and can be disabling when left untreated. While anxiety is a natural response to stress, excessive anxiety can interfere with daily activities and important relationships.

It May Be Time For

Psychological Support

This is an office that specializes in the treatment of women. There are times in life when a woman can feel off balance and can’t seem to snap out of it. When our own natural support system just isn’t enough, it may be time to reach out to a professional counselor to start the process of therapy.

Our new office in Portland provides effective and reliable Teletherapy services for women. It has proven to be a very viable way to meet with clients.  During our sessions, we meet face-to-face, utilize the whiteboard and share important visual materials with you.  We recognize the importance of a good therapeutic relationship and strive to build a positive rapport, treating each client with respect and dignity.  This office now accepts Medicaid clients.