How is anxiety diagnosed?
A physician and some types of mental health professionals can diagnose anxiety.
They’ll use a combination of diagnostic tests, physical assessments, and criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to determine if you have an anxiety disorder.
How is anxiety treated?
Anxiety is treated using a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and self-management strategies such as lifestyle interventions and stress reduction.
Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” is the most common way to treat anxiety. Working with a therapist can help you understand anxiety, how it impacts your life, and tips and strategies to manage symptoms.
Therapists may use one type of psychotherapy or combine modalities. Some of the more common therapy types include:
cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
Both in-person and teletherapy (online therapy) sessions are available.
A 2015 reviewTrusted Source found that overall, CBT appears to be effective and efficacious in treating anxiety disorders.
Further, 2014 researchTrusted Source on CBT for anxiety disorders looked at 44 studies and concluded that CBT is moderately effective for improving quality of life in people with anxiety disorders.
Medications for anxiety help relieve the symptoms associated with the disorder. To treat anxiety, your doctor may use antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta-blockers, which can help treat the physical symptoms.
Lifestyle interventions such as exercise, meditation, deep breathing, journaling, and peer support can help manage anxiety symptoms
What’s the outlook for people with anxiety?
With the proper treatment protocol, the outlook for people with anxiety is positive.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, combining psychotherapy with medication and other interventions can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.
That said, they point out that treatment success varies and depends on the severity of the anxiety and other co-existing conditions.
The bottom line
Everyone experiences occasional bouts of anxiety and nervousness.
Whether it’s the anticipation of a new job, nerves before meeting someone, or the uneasiness you feel when facing a potentially dangerous situation, anxiety is a normal reaction to stress.
However, when this normal reaction turns excessive and you find yourself overly worried and anxious about things like daily tasks or situations that others see as nonthreatening, you may have an anxiety disorder.If this is the case, consider making an appointment with a doctor. They can do a general exam and refer you to a mental health professional.
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