Generalized Anxiety | Fears | Insomnia | Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder | Panic Attacks and Agoraphobia | Post Traumatic Stress Disorder | Social Phobia | Stress Management | Worry | Trichotillomania (hair pulling) | Health Anxiety and Hypochondriasis | Body Dysmorphic Disorder
How prevalent are psychiatric problems? In a recent national study of the general population, researchers found that 48 % of the population has had a psychiatric disorder during their lifetime. The most common class of disorders was anxiety disorders, accounting for 25 % of the population. Of all the people who reported a psychiatric disorder, 79 % had more than one disorder. For example, many people who have anxiety disorders are also likely to have depression or substance abuse. The most common anxiety disorders are social phobia, simple phobia, generalized anxiety, panic, agoraphobia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Anxiety disorders tend to persist, with some people claiming that they have been anxious and worried all their lives.
Recommended Reading: How Big a Problem is Anxiety?
Are there Different Kinds of Anxiety Disorders?
Yes. And it is possible to have more than one.
- Social phobia – excessive concern about evaluation by others. Examples: anxious about using public bathrooms, apprehensive that others are evaluating or looking at you.
- Simple phobia – fears of specific places or objects, such as fears of animals, heights, elevators, flying, snakes.
- Generalized anxiety – worries, sweating, apprehension, restlessness, shortness of breath, irritability, palpitations.
- Panic – experiences of intense anxiety, trembling, feeling like you are going insane, dying or losing control, feelings of irreality. Often, you avoid situations because of your fear that you will have a panic attack.
- Agoraphobia without panic – avoidance or anxiety in open spaces, public places, or when looking at certain stimuli (such as horizons).
- Obsessive-compulsive (OCD) – Recurring disturbing thoughts that you can’t seem to get out of your mind, which seem irrational to you, often followed by attempts to “neutralize” the thought by repeating actions (e.g., touching, counting, washing) or by hoarding. Many OCD people have thoughts that appear to them to be bizarre or dangerous–for example, obsessions about aggression, contamination, symmetry, disease, or sexual thoughts.
Many people who suffer from one anxiety disorder may also experience other anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse. There are a number of medical conditions that “mimic” anxiety, such as angina, cardiac arrhythmias, and severe pain and a number of drugs may increase anxiety, such as caffeine, decongestants and diet pills, MSG, alcohol (both increases and decreases anxiety), and withdrawal from drugs.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
There are many factors that may account for anxiety disorders. Between 30% to 50% of the cause may be genetic, but early childhood experiences (such as loss of a parent, demanding or inconsistent standards, overprotection, parental statements that the world is a dangerous place), recent stresses in life, unrealistic expectations about yourself and others, relationship conflicts, alcohol, caffeine, poor coping skills, and other factors all contribute to the experience of anxiety.
What Are the Typical Thoughts Associated with Anxiety?
The anxious person is plagued with a stream of irrational thoughts that further increase his/her anxiety:
“People can see I’m anxious.”
“They think less of me. I’m the only one with this problem.”
“I can’t stand to be disapproved of.”
“It’s awful that…or …What if ..(whatever you are worried about).”
“I’m losing control, going crazy, making a fool out of myself.”
“I need to get rid of this anxiety (obsession, behavior, etc.) immediately.”
“I am going to fail.”
“My worrying is out of control and I’ll go crazy.”
“I should never worry.”
In general, people who are anxious tend to predict the worst, expect that they will not be able to handle stress, and demand certainty in an uncertain world.
- Medication. Depending on the specific anxiety disorder you have, and whether depression is also part of the problem, your doctor may prescribe any number of medications that have proven effective for your problem. Cognitive-behavior therapy may be augmented with medication for anxiety disorders. Medications that have been found useful for various anxiety disorders include anafranil, prozac, and zoloft (for obsessive-compulsive symptoms), tofranil, prozac and beta-blockers (for panic) and xanax, buspar, and antidepressants for generalized anxiety. Your doctor can assist you with medication.
How Effective Is Treatment?
Until ten years ago, treatments had limited success. However, today the outcome is very promising for most anxiety disorders. Depending on the anxiety disorder, between 70% and 80% of patients experience improvement with cognitive-behavior therapy and/or medication.
What We Expect From You As A Patient
The treatment of anxiety disorders requires your regular attendance in therapy and your willingness to carry out self-help homework assignments that can be very effective in helping you cope with your anxiety. Many patients also benefit from medication which should only be taken as prescribed by your doctor.
Treatment: For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call :
The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy,
150 East 58th Street, Fifth Floor Annex
New York, NY 10155.
Sample Chapters from Guilford Press
- The Anti-Anxiety Workbook: Proven Strategies to Overcome Worry, Phobias, Panic, and Obsessions by Martin M. Antony and Peter J. Norton
- The Anxiety and Worry Workbook: The Cognitive Behavioral Solution by David A. Clark and Aaron T. Beck
- Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders: Science and Practice by David A. Clark and Aaron T. Beck
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety Disorders: Mastering Clinical Challenges by Gillian Butler, Melanie Fennell, and Ann Hackmann
- Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Perfectionism by Sarah J. Egan, Tracey D. Wade, Roz Shafran, and Martin M. Antony
- Exposure Therapy for Anxiety: Principles and Practice by Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Brett J. Deacon, and Stephen P. H. Whiteside
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Advances in Research and Practice by Richard G. Heimberg, Cynthia L. Turk, and Douglas S. Mennin, Eds.
- Getting Over OCD: A 10-Step Workbook for Taking Back Your Life by Jonathan S. Abramowitz
- Group Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy of Anxiety: A Transdiagnostic Treatment Manual by Peter J. Norton
- Helping Students Overcome Social Anxiety by Carrie Masia Warner, Daniela Colognori, and Chelsea Lynch
- Imagery-Enhanced CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder by Peter M. McEvoy, Lisa M. Saulsman, and Ronald M. Rapee
- Metacognitive Therapy for Anxiety and Depression by Adrian Wells
- The Mindful Way through Anxiety: Break Free from Chronic Worry and Reclaim Your Life by Susan M. Orsillo and Lizabeth Roemer, with Foreword by Zindel V. Segal
- Pathological Anxiety: Emotional Processing in Etiology and Treatment Edited by Barbara Olasov Rothbaum
- Play-Based Interventions for Childhood Anxieties, Fears, and Phobias by Athena A. Drewes and Charles E. Schaefer
- Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Evidence-Based Strategies, Tools, and Techniques by Jayne L. Rygh and William C. Sanderson
- Treating Health Anxiety: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach by Steven Taylor and Gordon J. G. Asmundson
- Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders, Second Edition by Robert L. Leahy, Stephen J.F. Holland, and Lata K. McGinn
- Worry Less, Live More: The Mindful Way Through Anxiety Workbook by Susan M. Orsillo and Lizabeth Roemer
This excerpt is posted with permission of Guilford Publications, Inc. and is subject to copyright law and restricted from further use. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without prior written permission of the publisher. To obtain permission please contact Guilford Publications, Inc. at the address below or e-mail: email@example.com This book may be ordered directly from Guilford Publishing at http://www.Guilford.com
Anxiety Free: Unravel Your Fears Before They Unravel You by Robert L. Leahy
The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You by Robert L. Leahy
Blog Posts on Anxiety:
- Anxiety: Who Can You Trust?
- Afraid of Being Rejected?
- Practicing Your Obsessions: The Boredom Cure
- Having a New Relationship to Your Obsessions: Welcome to the Guest House
- Those Damn Unwanted Thoughts!
- “But what if I’m THE ONE?” How Intolerance of Uncertainty Makes you Anxious
- How Big a Problem is Anxiety?
- Are You a Worrier? 5 Tips to Turn Worry on Its Head
- Why Thought Stopping Doesn’t Work
- The Worst Advice for a Worrier
- Make an Appointment with Your Worries
- How to Think More Like a Cat… and Overcome Your Worries
- Listen to a Lecture on How to Handle Your Worries
- Eight Weeks to End Your Worries
- Taking the Blinders Off: Knowing What You Should Really Worry About
- What is Productive Worry?
- How Does Your Worry Make Sense?
- Are We Born to be Afraid?
- Social Anxiety: How to Be a Better Monkey
- Are You a Hypochondriac?
- Turning Panic Disorder on Its Head
- Do You Have Panic Disorder?
- Time Urgency and Anxiety: The Seventh Step for the Final Week
- The Early Show on CBS
- The John Tesh Radio Show
- The University of Louisville Medical School
- The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet
Clinicians may find the following books on cognitive behavioral therapy to be helpful in treating anxiety:
Leahy, R. L., Holland, S. J., & McGinn, L. K. – Treatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety Disorders (2nd ed.)
Leahy, R. L. – Cognitive Therapy Techniques
Sookman, D. and Leahy, R. L. – Treatment Resistant Anxiety Disorders: Resolving Impasses to Symptom Remission