Anxiety that spirals out of control is severely distressing and can be disabling. At Bright Horizons Psychiatry in North Bethesda, Maryland, Amir Etesam, MD, and his team use a range of treatments, including medication, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), to help people with anxiety disorders. Call Bright Horizons Psychiatry today for compassionate help overcoming anxiety, or use online scheduling to set up an appointment.

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What is anxiety?

Anxiety is something you naturally experience when facing challenges or problems in life. It’s the nervous butterflies you feel in your stomach before an interview, or the worry you endure when your child goes out alone for the first time.

These familiar feelings of anxiety prepare you to flee from danger or defend yourself. Hormones released when you feel anxious or scared make you stronger and help you to think quickly. A degree of anxiety can even improve your performance at important events.

However, if your anxiety never goes away or flares into panic attacks, it becomes chronically distressing and disabling.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a condition where everything makes you worry. You focus on the negative outcomes of any choice or action, unable to see what’s going right or that your fears are irrational.

Phobias are focused anxieties. You could develop a phobia about anything, but common ones include heights, spiders, snakes, and confined spaces. Just thinking about these things triggers anxiety, which becomes extreme when exposed to the object of your fear.

Social anxiety disorder is a common phobia triggered by being in a crowd or with strangers.

What symptoms does anxiety cause?

Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Sweating
  • Prickling or tingling skin
  • Fast or shallow breathing
  • Clamminess
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Panic attacks

When you suffer a panic attack, physical anxiety symptoms worsen considerably. You might develop chest pain and difficulty breathing, making you think you’re having a heart attack. You feel you have no control over your mind or body, so you might scream and cry or be unable to move or speak.

Panic attacks are so disturbing that people go to extreme lengths to avoid them. For example, someone with severe GAD or agoraphobia (a complex fear of being in a situation you can’t escape) might find it impossible to leave home.

How is anxiety treated?

The Bright Horizons Psychiatry team finds that many patients who have anxiety respond well to a combination of anti-anxiety medications.

Therapy helps you uncover the root causes of your anxiety so you can deal with them positively. Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) show you how to challenge your anxiety-based thinking and make it more realistic and rational.

Patients whose anxiety doesn’t improve sufficiently with these treatments could benefit from noninvasive transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Call Bright Horizons Psychiatry today or book an appointment online to benefit from expert anxiety treatment.