When Does Anxiety Become Problematic? What is everyday Anxiety vs. Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety disorders are considered to be the most common psychiatric problem, affecting over 20 million Americans each year. For each person in the US, there is a 12-month and lifetime rates of over 18.1%!
That means anxiety is a common, long lasting affliction.
What are the major types of Anxiety disorders? (Courtesy Mayo Clinic)
- Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of Anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
- Anxiety disorder due to a medical condition includes symptoms of intense Anxiety or panic that are directly caused by a physical health problem. As an expert in integrative and functional medicine, I always RULE OUT an extensive list of physical causes as most cases of Anxiety are multifactorial, meaning that they have a
- Physical Cause
- Emotional Triggers
- A Basis in “False Beliefs”
- Subconscious Influences from childhood.
- Rather than choosing to treat one or the other, I always advise patients to treat illnesses on the physical, psychological, emotional, and energetic levels simultaneously. In my experience, it is NEVER, “All in your head”.
- Generalized Anxiety disorder includes persistent and excessive Anxiety and worry about activities or events — even ordinary, routine issues. The worry is out of proportion to the actual circumstances, is difficult to control, and affects how you feel physically. It often occurs along with other Anxiety disorders or depression.
- Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense Anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations). These panic attacks may lead to worrying about them happening again or avoiding situations in which they’ve occurred.
- Selective mutism is a consistent failure of children to speak in certain situations, such as school, even when they can speak in other situations, such as at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work, and social functioning.
- Separation Anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by Anxiety that’s excessive for the child’s developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
- Social Anxiety disorder (social phobia) involves high levels of Anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
- Specific phobias are characterized by major Anxiety when you’re exposed to a specific object or situation and a desire to avoid it. Phobias provoke panic attacks in some people.
- Substance-induced Anxiety disorder is characterized by symptoms of intense Anxiety or panic that are a direct result of misusing drugs, taking medications, being exposed to a toxic substance, or withdrawal from drugs.
- Other specified Anxiety disorder and unspecified Anxiety disorder are terms for Anxiety or phobias that don’t meet the exact criteria for any other Anxiety disorders but are significant enough to be distressing and disruptive.
How do I know if Anxiety is a Symptom of something more serious?
You may have an underlying medical condition causing your Anxiety if you:
- You haven’t suffered from Anxiety in the past, meaning it just started in adulthood
- No one in your family has had an Anxiety/other mood disorder
- You’ve experienced no recent major life changes or stressors.
- The Anxiety came on recently and rapidly, versus gradually.
- You have less mental clarity.
- Your symptoms fluctuate a lot from day to day, week to week, etc.
- You’ve also experienced memory loss,
- You’ve recently changed medications. This should be a red flag for any new symptoms, not just Anxiety. Prescription side effects are a large problem.
- You have a fever or chills.
- You have other complex medical conditions.
Because the physical symptoms often overshadow the psychological, and because medical conditions and Anxiety often coexist, establishing a diagnosis can be difficult.
What is the standard treatment for Anxiety?
The standard of care for treating Anxiety is a combination of Pharmaceutical medications combined with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychotherapy, etc. as is shown below.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety: In most studies, CBT is considered to be highly effective for treating Anxiety. CBT addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at the world and ourselves. As the name suggests, this involves two main components:
Cognitive therapy examines how negative thoughts, or cognitions, contribute to Anxiety.
Behavior therapy examines how you behave and react in situations that trigger Anxiety.
The basic premise of CBT is that our thoughts—not external events—affect the way we feel. In other words, it’s not the situation you’re in that determines how you feel, but your perception of the situation.
I believe that CBT is beneficial to some degree for everyone who suffers from Anxiety, and for some people, it is extremely effective. CBT works better for certain people and diagnoses, and also there are good therapists and bad therapists just like everything else in life! Having said that, I have great respect for therapists and the amazing compassion that they bring to the table. Many are now combining CBT with newer more innovative techniques which I will list below:
CBT does not always work, because:
- We all have underlying traumas that are real and need to be healed.
- Many people with Anxiety have underlying physical, medical, environmental, dietary, and even hormonal causes of the Anxiety as well.
- This is the Main Reason: CBT does not necessarily address the energetic core of the root of Anxiety. It points to the false belief and emotion at the root of the Anxiety, but it does not help us Release it! Of course, a big first step is recognizing our problem beliefs and feelings, so of course, CBT is useful for that.
- As Bruce Lipton points out in “Biology of Belief”, the subconscious patterns that we live out in 95% of our waking adult life must be healed; otherwise, they will play out over and over and over again!!
- We must Raise our Consciousness and Awareness to a point where our “old, limiting beliefs” are healed and released. I will come back to this more and more in later blogs.
For Example, when I had massive Meningitis due to Lyme Disease-causing Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Insomnia, Fatigue, Phobias, and Fear, CBT did not help and never would be able to! Why? Because I was seriously ill with a brain infection. Would an herb cure that? No, but herbs helped me to function at a higher level so that I could muster the strength to get my life in a place where I could be open to a cure. Antibiotics did not even cure me of the infection. What ultimately cured me of the infection was a change in beliefs and a change in my consciousness, combined with antibiotics, herbs, meditation, and lifestyle changes.
Here is a list of Belief Change and Energy Psychology Modalities recommended by Dr. Bruce Lipton. I have used many of these techniques and encourage each of you to check them out.
Who am I trying to help?
Clearly, there are many people who benefit from and are satisfied with standard medical care for Anxiety; including Prescription SSRI’s, Benzodiazepines as well as other classes of Meds in Combination with CBT, and other forms of Psychotherapy. I am not writing for those people who are satisfied with their medical care, their medical team, and the results that they are achieving.
However, there are more and more people who suspect that Anxiety is robbing each of us of the Amazing Opportunity to live in Love, in Abundance, and in Gratitude. These people suspect, even know, that Anxiety is a symptom that needs to be addressed from the Root Cause in order to bring us into a state of greater Coherence and Alignment with our Innermost Joys and Passions. These people, like yourself, want to take Power over their own health care, learn how to heal themselves, and are no longer trusting nor reliant upon the dinosaur age medical system based on giving “Mind-Numbing medications” that are linked to 300,000 plus deaths each year in the US.
Many people are not satisfied with the side effects of prescription medications. Many people find that CBT helps them, but does not go deep enough. For those of you in this category, there is hope. There are options, and there are real medical conditions to be tested for, dietary changes to be considered, and a lot more. Please continue to come back to our blog and sign up for our newsletter, where we will give you more info on this subject.