Everyone feels anxious from time to time, and in most cases, that anxiety is related to specific life events, like a new job, moving to a new area, relationship issues, or other problems. Those with chronic anxiety disorders feel anxiety at a level that’s out of proportion with any “real” threat or problem. Their anxiety is severe enough to interfere with normal activities and their quality of life. Some people with anxiety disorders have panic attacks or find it very difficult to participate in seemingly simple activities, making it difficult to form long-lasting relationships. There are different types of anxiety disorders. General anxiety disorder is associated with widespread feelings of anxiety or fear, while other types like separation anxiety or agoraphobia, may be associated with specific activities or situations. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is another type of anxiety disorder that can develop after an especially harrowing event.
People with anxiety disorders may experience symptoms like:
Yes, studies have shown anxiety, and the stress it causes can take a serious toll on your health. For instance, people who have anxiety are more likely to have cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks and strokes. They’re also more likely to have high blood pressure, respiratory illnesses, chronic headaches, depression, and gastrointestinal disorders, like ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as chronic pain syndromes like fibromyalgia. Plus, chronic anxiety can lower your body’s immune responses, so you’re more prone to colds and flu, and you’re more likely to have problems sleeping. People who have chronic anxiety are also more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
Anxiety can be effectively treated with medications to help relieve excessive anxiety and depression, which often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also be helpful in teaching you new ways to cope and helping you learn healthier behaviors and responses. Dr. McKenzie will work with you to design a program that addresses your specific needs and changes over time.
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