Understanding Anxiety: Risk Factors and Treatment
Human beings go through a rollercoaster of emotions every day. One of the emotions, anxiety, has now turned into one of the most prevalent mental health conditions today. It is a horrible feeling, to say the least – a constant fear that things might go wrong. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as a future-oriented fear that may lead people to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their distress.
Stressing about things that happen or might happen means you can’t really focus on your daily tasks and constantly face trouble concentrating. Your heart starts pounding fast, and you speak pretty fast or even snap at people. Friends and family can get frustrated with you. Rapid breathing, restlessness, and a constant feeling of nervousness in the stomach due to anxiety make your day-to-day life hard to live.
Being a prevalent mental health symptom, anxiety can predispose to various forms and conditions like Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Panic Disorder.
It’s important to try not to let your anxiety take control of everything, including your thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes.
Which Factors Increase Susceptibility to Development of Anxiety?
One of the most significant contributing factors of anxiety is your genetic history. Therefore, certain individuals may be more prone to the condition. If your family members have or have had a history of anxiety, you might be susceptible to developing it – based on both biological and environmental influences.
Just like environmental factors play a role in shaping human behavior and personality, they similarly do so in developing disorders too. Modeling factors that include culture and people’s behaviors around you when growing up—like having parents who were overly cautious or protective—may lead to you adopting a similar pattern in adulthood
An essential step in overcoming anxiety is acknowledging its existence within you and understanding where it stems from.
A common cause of anxiety, overthinking, means excessively thinking about your every experience or interaction, eventually perceiving them as unfavorable. Not letting go of interactions or events that may have caused you distress in the past can keep you awake at night and can eventually turn into permanent anxious feelings.
Striving for unrealistically high goals can also lead to anxiety because it means you’re setting yourself up for failure and, ultimately, disappointment.
In addition, past traumatic experiences can increase the risk of anxiety as it hinders your ability to deal with emotions without being influenced by past incidents.
Treatment For Anxiety
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective kinds of psychotherapy to treat anxiety and relevant symptoms and has been around since the 1960s.
Medications prescribed in cases of anxiety, such as Benzodiazepine, can act as a sedative with a relaxing and calming effect. While medications can provide short-term relief, they can also lead to high tolerance and dependence on drugs. CBT has no such disadvantages and is much more effective in the long term.
CBT focuses on the interconnection of thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors and examines how these contribute to anxiety. It can effectively assist you in reducing stress, managing interpersonal conflicts, dealing with loss, and coping with a variety of other typical life issues. During a CBT treatment, you can:
- Identify the root cause of issues clearly
- Develop awareness of your thoughts
- Understand that your underlying assumptions can be wrong
- Differentiate between facts and irrational thoughts
- See things from a different perspective
- Face fears rather than avoid them
- Establish attainable goals
- Stop taking the blame for everything
- Understand and accept yourself and others rather than judging
- Develop a positive way of thinking
Stop your negative thought cycle by breaking down thoughts that make you feel anxious or scared. By making your problems more manageable and appear small, CBT can help change your thought patterns and improve how you feel. Your lifestyle will change, and you’ll become more attentive to your body and mind’s needs. Being mindful not only allows you to divert your focus away from anxious thoughts but also changes brain chemistry for good, releasing mood-elevating chemicals like GABA ad serotonin.
Whether you’re looking for online CBT treatment or in-person therapy, you’ve got a plethora of options available for mental health care.
Anxiety is treatable, which is why it is important to seek help when you feel it is becoming too much for you. Although natural home remedies can reduce symptoms, they can’t replace professional help.
Contact Houston OCD Counseling today for high-quality anxiety disorder treatments. Our licensed professional counselors work with patients with various disorders, including anxiety disorders and PTSD. We provide individual counseling using evidence-based behavioral treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure/response prevention therapy.