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Anxiety and Nervousness

Everyone feels anxious and nervous to some degree throughout their life. While fear and anxiety can be strong emotions to deal with, they are also helpful in that they warn us to danger or threats and help keep us safe while adapting to a new environment. When fear or anxiety becomes so extreme that it causes an overwhelming amount of distress, or impairs one’s ability to function at work, in school or disrupts our relationships, an anxiety disorder may be the underlying cause. Anxiety disorders are an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions in which fear and anxiety are common factors. While it is not fully understood what causes some individuals to have an anxiety disorder, most mental health providers believe that there are multiple risk factors associated with their development including life experiences, environmental factors, genetic markers and neurobiological conditions.

Types of anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders types

Depending on who you are asking, there are five different anxiety disorders, but several subcategories can be distinguished as well.

5 Anxiety disorder types

Although each disease has unique characteristics, they can also have overlapping symptoms such as

Anxiety Symptoms

  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Sleep problems
  • Not being able to stay calm
  • Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness

Individuals who are concerned about symptoms can take an online self-assessment quiz to determine their extent. While this quiz isn’t a diagnosis, it can help individuals decide if they need to consult a medical practitioner.

During an examination, your doctor will complete medical assessment and review the history as well as conducting tests to rule out any illness that might be causing the symptoms. Unfortunately, there are no lab tests that can identify or diagnosis anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Treatment

Treatment for anxiety disorders can include medications, coping techniques, and therapy. While there is often a stigma attached to counseling or therapy, neither should be discounted. Therapy can offer patients a safe space to talk about their anxiety and issues that may be contributing factors. Also, the counselor can help patients pinpoint their fears and focus treatment. While discussing the things that can be the source of anxiety is very helpful, patients often need medications to aid them in controlling all the physical effects that anxiety can produce.  

There are three different classifications of medications that can be used to treat anxiety, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and Buspirone. Buspirone is an antianxiety medication that can be effective for generalized anxiety disorder but is used much less frequently than other medicines.

Antidepressants are often the first line of treatment for patients that have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Of these antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Lexapro are often the first choice. Despite what many may think, antidepressants aren’t addictive in the traditional sense and are very useful, although it can take several weeks to feel the effects entirely.

Benzodiazepines affect the chemical messengers that work in the brain’s fear response system. They are used as quick relief from the symptoms associated with anxiety. Because they act immediately, they are typically prescribed during the first few weeks of treatment while waiting for an antidepressant to take effect. Although benzodiazepines are considered reasonably safe, they are usually prescribed for a relatively short amount of time because the body can become accustomed to how they feel, making them less effective over time.

Side effects of anxiety medication

Side effects of Anxiety medications

While the effects of these drugs can vary from product to product, there are a few that seem to be shared among most, nausea, headache, and dizziness. Some of the most prescribed medications can result in weakness, loss of appetite, dry mouth, excessive sweating, and nervousness or weight gain and occasional difficulties with sexual function. Benzodiazepines, used for immediate relief, are known to cause personality changes in some individuals, including aggressiveness and violent behavior as well as suicidal thoughts. Although serotonin reuptake inhibitors can cause any number of these symptoms, they typically produce the least amount of side effects when compared to other antidepressants and anxiety medications.   

Anxiety Treatment at EZCare Clinic in San Francisco

Although any medication prescribed for anxiety can cause side effects that range from mild to severe, not getting treatment for such a life-altering condition can be much worse. The caring staff at EZCare Clinic is trained to help patients work through their disease with the least invasive methods possible. While no treatment is perfect, suffering from the effects of an anxiety disorder is unnecessary. Our goal is to design a treatment program that is safe and effective.

The clinic is open every day, including weekends from 11 am to 7 pm. Walk-ins are accepted, however, you can make an appointment online or give us a call at (415) 966-0848.


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Anxiety is a word that seems to be used more commonly today than in years past. By definition, it is the overall feeling of excessive unease, nervousness or worry that a person experiences even though there is not a real threat lurking just around a dark corner.

It would seem to those who have not experienced overwhelming anxiety that sufferers should simply be more firm with their own imaginations or emotions and calm down. Sadly, it is just not that simple. Such disorders are hard to control and quite frequently interfere with everyday life.

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can begin in childhood, in the teen years, as a young adult or even in adulthood. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that almost 4 percent of the world’s population suffers from anxiety disorders.

There is no research that has pinned down any specific anxiety causes for these disorders.  However, researchers believe genetics, traumatic events, changes in brain structure and other environmental factors such as work and family life may be contributing factors. Anxiety may even be caused by other disorders such as PTSD and OCD.

Signs You May Have Anxiety Disorder

If you worry that you may be experiencing anxiety and that it is negatively impacting your life, it is best to make an appointment with an anxiety doctor in San Francisco or certified therapist. Some of the warning signs include:

  • Higher than normal heart rate
  • Unexplained feelings of panic
  • Inability to breathe or catch your breath
  • Hands shaking for no reason
  • Numbness of arms or legs
  • Fear of leaving the house
  • Mind going blank suddenly
  • Stomach Upset
  • Insomnia

These professionals can not only help determine which type of anxiety disorder you are suffering with, they can also help find ways to make the symptoms less severe.

Types of Anxiety

common types of anxietyThere are several different types of anxiety disorders and working with a mental health professional can help determine which type you might be suffering from. Once this diagnosis is made, a doctor or therapist will be better able to recommend the right type of prescription medication, therapy and/or lifestyle changes that will help combat the anxiety symptoms.

Phobias

People who suffer from phobias generally have overwhelming fear about something, and this fear makes them unable to go about their daily lives as most people do. Some are afraid of bugs and spiders while others are afraid of tight spaces or of heights. There is help for coping with phobias both in the form of cognitive therapy and medication.

General and Social Anxiety

Over 6 million adults in the United States suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but less than half are getting any type of helpful treatment for these symptoms. Unfortunately, women are two times as likely to suffer from GAD symptoms. This disorder causes people to be extremely uncomfortable or nervous much of the time.

Social anxiety is much like general anxiety but is typically only experienced in social settings. People who experience social anxiety often find that it is difficult to go to school, to work or to any type of social situation. There is help available for both general and social anxiety sufferers, and the first step is to make an appointment with an anxiety doctor in San Francisco.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD

Those who have ever experienced a traumatic situation could be experiencing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) without even realizing it is happening. This disorder frequently presents with nightmares, flashbacks and an overwhelming need to avoid specific situations or events. The trauma and resulting conditions frequently lead to anxiety attacks, substance abuse, and compulsive behavior. A doctor can not only prescribe helpful medications, but they can also suggest effective group programs and alternative therapies that have been proven to help PTSD sufferers.

Anxiety Prescription Medications that May Help

Individuals who have a confirmed diagnosis of anxiety are frequently prescribed anxiety medication that may help to lessen the symptoms of the disorder. The types of anxiety medication fall into several different classes and include:

  1. Benzodiazepine – Most commonly prescribed for those with short-term anxiety, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, this type of prescription anxiety medication works to increase the communication of the chemicals that help bring messages to a patient’s brain. Overall, these sedatives help relax muscles and calm the mind.
  2. Buspirone – Though the reason this type of medication works is somewhat of a mystery, buspirone is frequently prescribed to treat short-term and longer-term anxiety.
  3. Antidepressants – Used in the treatment of anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and dysthymia, this category of medications is one of the most highly used and must be prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist.
    1. SSRI’s – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors trigger the brain to have a higher level of the neurotransmitter, serotonin which can affect the ability to sleep, remember details, and even have an appetite.
    2. Tricyclics – This older group of drugs is not prescribed as frequently today as it once was due to frequent side effects such as dizziness, dry mouth and lack of energy to name a few. They work by helping to increase how much serotonin is available in the brain.
    3. MAOI’s – Typically used in the treatment of panic disorder and social phobias, this type of prescription helps to boost the number of a mood-regulating neurotransmitter in the brain.
  4. Beta-blockers – Though these are used most commonly to treat patients who have heart conditions, they have also been found to help some of the physical symptoms of anxiety and are especially effective for treating social anxiety disorder.

Prescription Medication for Anxiety

Treatment of Anxiety

The best news for those suffering from anxiety is that there is help available, no matter what the anxiety causes are. Medical professionals in the San Francisco area can help direct individuals to counselors, therapies and medications which have proven to be beneficial. Some can also recommend more holistic therapies such as meditation, Tai Chi, diet recommendations and overall stress management.

In this day and age, there is simply no need for anxiety to rule your life. EZCare Clinic in San Francisco offers regular appointments and walk-in care to make the process one step simpler. Call our office or schedule an appointment online. Whether you are looking for a first diagnosis or a prescription refill for anxiety meds, our medical professionals are here to help.

READ MORE

Understanding Generalized Anxiety Disorder — Diagnosis and Treatment – WebMD


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