May 4th is National Anxiety Screening Day
Just like eating or sleeping, anxiety is a normal part of life. Under the “right” circumstances, anxiety can be beneficial because it motivates us to take action. Faced with an unexpected or unfamiliar challenge, the feeling of anxiety prepares us for the upcoming event. Anxiety heightens our alertness and readies the body for action. Anxiety can also protect us by urging us to flee when we are in danger.
How is fear different than anxiety?
· Fear is directed towards a concrete, external object or situation. People fear tests, or fear they will be unable to pay their taxes, or perhaps fear that they will be rejected.
· Anxiety is something that occurs internally—it is a response or a feeling that something may occur. Anxiety affects people psychologically, behaviorally and physiologically.
· Anxiety affects our entire body…we begin to sweat, our muscles become tense, our heart races, we feel queasy, we have a dry mouth, or we may fear that we will die.
When does anxiety become a disorder?
· Researchers define as disorders those situations in which the anxiety reaches overwhelming levels, or dramatically reduces or eliminates productivity, or intrudes in a person’s quality of daily life.
· Disorders are distinguished from everyday normal anxieties by three elements:
o their intensity (such as panic attacks);
o their duration (they don’t go away after a stressful situation is resolved)
o those that are persistent ( (persistent fear of objects or events can lead to phobias)
What are common treatments?
· Treatment: Commonly, they are treated with a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
· Strategy: Typically therapy deals with teaching methods to minimize stress reactions, helping people break destructive thoughts, and helping people learn strategies to cope and become resilient
· Success: Success rates for those who use therapy and medication together have a 60-70% rate of success.