If you are struggling with depression, you may be suffering from one of many anxiety disorders. Find out if you should take an anxiety disorders test from your health care provider.
An anxiety disorders test will help your doctor determine whether you are suffering from an anxiety disorder. Your doctor will ask several detailed questions regarding your medical history and current symptoms using a guide called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Many providers utilize psychological questionnaires to identify your anxiety disorder, and a physical examination will help determine if your anxiety is linked to an underlying medical issue. If an underlying medical condition is suspected, your doctor may order certain tests, such as urine or blood tests, to discover potential physical conditions. Often, other mental health conditions can occur alongside your anxiety disorder, including phobias, depression, substance abuse, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Signs and Symptoms
Anxiety occurs as a normal reaction to stressful situations and can be beneficial in certain situations. However, if your anxiety becomes excessive, you may find yourself unable to control your panic, which can affect your daily activities. Unlike normal anxiety that occurs during stressful events such as public speaking, anxiety disorders last a minimum of six months and gradually worsen if not treated. Symptoms for anxiety disorders can be physical or emotional, but you may find yourself struggling with feelings of excessive, irrational dread or fear. Other symptoms can include concentration problems, irritability, restlessness, feelings of tension, dizziness, choking sensations, and hot flashes or chills. Because anxiety disorders are commonly attached to physical or mental illnesses that mask the symptoms, taking an anxiety disorders test is vital to discovering if you suffer from one of these conditions. Your psychologist will use DSM-IV-TR qualifications and personal experience to diagnose your condition.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
As with many psychological conditions, the underlying cause for anxiety varies with each individual. Studies show that genetic, environmental, developmental, and psychological factors all play a role in causing anxiety disorders. Scientists believe that the brain’s hippocampus and amygdala can have a huge impact on your anxiety disorder, which can affect your fears and memories. Because of your genetics or environment, you may be more prone to developing a given anxiety disorder. You may even develop an anxiety disorder due to a lifestyle in which you are too busy to exercise or cope with stress, which hinders your ability to deal with high-stress situations.
Risk of Developing Anxiety
Anxiety affects around 40 million Americans who are 18 years of age or older, that is about 18 percent of that portion of the population per year. Anxiety tends to develop as you get older, and women have a 60 percent greater chance of being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Studies show that non-Hispanic blacks have a 20 percent lower chance and Hispanics have a 30 percent lower chance of experiencing an anxiety disorder. If your family has a history of mental disorders, you have a greater chance of developing an anxiety disorder as well.
Once you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, your doctor will treat the condition with psychotherapy, medication, or both. Treatment depends on your medical preference and type of anxiety. Psychotherapy entails relaxation exercises and biofeedback, which helps you gain a greater awareness of your body’s responses to stress. Later in the treatment process, your psychologist will implement general imagery techniques and progressive muscle relaxation to reduce your anxiety to lower levels. Reducing your stress levels and increasing your coping skills can assist you with living an active lifestyle and balancing your family, work, and self-enrichment. Your psychologist may even use individual therapy to help you feel more relaxed during your sessions. If you are suffering from severe anxiety, your doctor may prescribe a tricyclic antidepressant, SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor), beta-blocker, or anti-anxiety agent to treat your acute symptoms.
Many support groups across the country are devoted to helping people cope with their anxiety disorders. In these group settings, you can share your feelings and common experiences with others who have gone through similar situations. Before you enroll in a support group, make sure you can both tolerate and handle social group interaction. Your doctor or psychologist can guide you to the right support group, increasing your chances of overcoming your anxiety condition. Seeking Biblical counseling or advice from a trusted friend can provide additional support, but you should still seek out professional care.
Because anxiety affects many people across the United States, most health insurance policies, including HMOs (health maintenance organizations), cover the treatment costs needed for proper care. Check with your insurance provider if you are unsure about the amount of coverage available through your plan. If you are unable to afford health insurance, certain government divisions, such as Health and Human Services, provide mental care services at designated mental health centers. These health-care centers will determine your total cost of care according to your budget, making the treatment for your anxiety disorder more affordable. If you are receiving public assistance, you may be able to obtain the care you need through your state’s Medicaid program.
Living with an Anxiety Disorder
If you believe that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, you should seek a diagnosis from your healthcare provider. Your doctor will be able to determine if your symptoms are related to an underlying medical condition, a psychological disorder, or both. Upon diagnosis, your doctor will refer you to a mental health provider who has obtained the necessary training in behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as medication treatment training. You should work with a mental health-care professional you feel comfortable opening up to so that he or she can implement the right strategy to successfully treat your anxiety disorder. If your provider prescribes medication as part of your treatment plan, then you need to continue the medication until your doctor tapers it off or you talk to your doctor about stopping the medication. Always talk to your provider about potential side effects.
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