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When worries don’t just ebb and flow with the vicissitudes of life, but instead become a way of life, this may signal an anxiety disorder. What’s the difference between everyday anxiety and a disorder? Here are some questions that can help you distinguish between what we might consider normal reactions to live events and a disabling anxiety disorder.
If this sounds like you, take heart, and take action. We live in a time when you don’t have to suffer waking up to the weight of the world each day. Anxiety disorders are the most treatable mental health condition. Don’t postpone relief. If worries and fears stop you from doing the things that you need or want to do, or, you power through them but suffer greatly with anticipation, push through with great stress, and feel exhausted afterward, and this is not something that just happens episodically during a time of stress, but continuously for many months, it’s time to get help.
Your family doctor can help you determine the proper course to follow. Rather than suffer longer until the consequences of your worry are more pronounced, early intervention is best. Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT), a highly effective treatment for anxiety, teaches strategies that are practical, easy to implement, typically brief, and well liked by patients for all of those reasons. Decades of well-controlled studies have established CBT’s success in treating anxiety and anxiety disorders. In fact, researchers have found that CBT is more effective than a placebo control (sugar pill) or analytic therapy and can even be more effective than medication for anxiety. Patients who have participated in CBT can maintain long-term gains that buffer them from developing depression or an- other anxiety disorder. The therapy also has short-term effects, enabling patients to learn a set of new skills for managing worry and the physical symptoms of anxiety, often within a few months of treatment.
Where to Go to Find Help:
Anxiety Disorder Association of America: 8730 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, Phone (240) 485-1001
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies: 305 7th Avenue, 16th Fl., New York, NY 10001, Phone (212) 647-1890
Academy of Cognitive Therapy: 260 South Broad Street,18th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19102, Phone (267) 350-7683
International Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation: PO Box 961029, Boston, MA 02196, Phone (617) 973-5801
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