Anxiety and Stress- Symptoms and Treatment

Evolution has programmed us with a “fight-or-flight” response to perceived dangers, which is a physiological reaction to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat.  Multiple hormones are released by the sympathetic nervous system causing increased blood pressure, and heart rate. Muscles tense, pupils dilate, and breathing becomes rapid and shallow in preparation to turn and fight or run away.

Pressure to succeed, workplace demands, financial pressure, balancing family and relationships, severe life adjustments resulting from divorce or loss, social situations, and incessant exposure to negative media  can make us anxious and trigger our flight-fight response.

Types of Anxiety Disorders include General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Social Anxiety Disorder.

What are the Symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder?

  • Excessive worry that may go on for months
  • Feeling tense and restless
  • Feeling tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to sleep well
  • Uncontrollable worrying
  • Frustration and irritability

What are the symptoms of Panic Disorder?

  • Unexpected panic attacks
  • Pounding, accelerated heart rate, heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feelings of intense fear and doom

What are the symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder?

  • Intense fear of being judged, embaressed or rejected in a social situation
  • Worrying for an extended period of time before an event occurs
  • Avoiding social situations or other people
  • Feeling sick to one’s stomach
  • Blushing
  • trembling

Pharmaceutical drugs can help moderate our bodies’ physical response to stressful thoughts or stimuli. However, non-pharmaceutical treatments, like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), are beginning to replace drugs as the preferred treatment for anxiety disorders.

Other ways help reduce anxiety and stress include:

  • Establishing regular exercise routines
  • Decreasing caffeine (and other substances that increase stress responses)
  • Learning to manage interpersonal stress with others by setting firm limits
  • Setting boundaries around your capabilities

For more information about Anxiety Disorders visit the National Institute of Mental Health  and  read Clinical Director Susan Mitchell’s article published in the Lehi Free Press The American Anxiety Epidemic.

If you, a family member, or a friend are suffering, there is help.  Ascendant Behavioral Health Clinics have many therapists that specialize in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders and stress.  To find a therapist, go to Our Staff or call (801) 872-5516.