Anxiety disorders are more common than you may think. At any given time, over 18% of the U.S. population is dealing with an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). The American Psychiatric Association estimates that nearly 30% of adults will have an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
Fortunately, there are many effective treatment options for anxiety. Read on to find out what qualifies as an anxiety disorder, how common different types of anxiety disorders are, and what kinds of treatments are available.
What is the Difference Between Regular Anxiety and an Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is not always a concerning symptom. It is a normal reaction to stress that can alert us to danger and help us stay focused on preparation.
However, anxiety can become a disorder when it is excessive and persistent. When anxiety begins to impact your relationships or keep you from living the life you want to live, it’s probably time to seek treatment.
Anxiety Disorder Statistics
Since fear and anxiety can manifest in many ways, anxiety disorders can take on a wide variety of forms. The most common anxiety disorders include:
- Specific phobias, such as excessive fear of heights. Specific phobias affect roughly 8.7% of the U.S. population, according to the ADAA.
- Social anxiety disorder, in which anxiety reduces a person’s enjoyment of socializing, hinders their ability to converse or function around other people, or causes them to avoid certain social situations. Social anxiety affects 6.8% of the population, and many people report experiencing symptoms for years before seeking help.
- Panic disorder, in which a person has sudden attacks of fear that last for several minutes or longer even when there is no immediate danger. Panic disorder affects 2.7% of the population.
- Agoraphobia, in which a person has an extreme or irrational fear of entering crowded or open spaces and may even be afraid of leaving their home. An estimated 0.9% of adults are affected by agoraphobia.
- Generalized anxiety disorder, in which a person has persistent and excessive worry about multiple things. Generalized anxiety affects 3.1% of the population.
- Separation anxiety disorder, in which a person has recurring, excessive fears about being away from home or loved ones. Separation anxiety is most likely to affect children but can appear in adults as well, especially during parenthood or after traumatic events. Depending on age, separation anxiety disorders may affect anywhere from 0.9 to 7.7% of the population.
If any of these descriptions ring true to you, you should consider discussing your symptoms with a mental health professional. The good news is that any of these anxiety disorders can be treated to allow you a better quality of life.
Anxiety Treatment Options
The vast majority of people with an anxiety disorder experience relief with professional care. There are several common treatment approaches that may help to ease symptoms.
Most anxiety disorders respond well to either therapy, medications, or some combination of the two. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is often used to teach patients a different type of thinking and new behavior patterns that reduce anxiety. The most popular medications are anti-anxiety medications, which are usually prescribed only for a short period of time, and antidepressants.
Some patients seek complementary or alternative treatments. Research is beginning to show evidence that acupuncture and yoga can effectively help people with anxiety. Mindfulness meditation has also gained traction in recent years due to a broad array of evidence that it can ease symptoms of anxiety, depression, and many other conditions.
Many people recover faster when they join support groups, which can take place in person or online. Patients often benefit from sharing experiences and coping strategies.
Mental Health Treatment in the Puget Sound Region
If you live in Western Washington and need help accessing anxiety treatment, reach out to Sunrise today. Our qualified professionals and extensive network of relationships with other community support systems can help you find solutions that last.