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How to Deal With Anxiety

writtenByWritten by: Leah McCabe
Leah McCabe

Leah McCabe

Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

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reviewBy Reviewed by: Melissa Dowd (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist)
Reviewer

Melissa Dowd (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist)

Melissa Dowd received her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of CA and is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. In addition to her work as a clinical therapist, Melissa is passionate about promoting emotional wellness through leading workshops, guest appearances, and across social media platforms.

January 24, 2021 Read Time - 6 minutes

Dealing with Anxiety

Feeling anxious is something we all experience to some degree throughout our lives. However, when those anxious thoughts and feelings become chronic or severe, it can significantly impair our quality of life, especially when left untreated. 

Anxiety disorders are considered the most common mental illness in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.”

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What is Anxiety? 

Evolutionarily, anxiety is a natural emotion that we experience to help us make quick decisions in potentially dangerous situations. Anxiety once served most humans as a mechanism of survival. When we feel anxiety, our heart begins to race and our adrenaline levels increase. As a result, we become acutely aware of our surroundings. 

At one point in time, this reaction kept us safe from danger and contributed to the foundation of social cooperation. However, anxiety as we know it today often serves to do more harm than good.

While sometimes a helpful emotion, anxiety can quickly take over our lives if it is allowed to go unmanaged.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an anxiety disorder goes beyond occasional anxious thoughts and worries. An anxiety disorder occurs when these stressful and worrisome feelings don’t go away, and/or get worse over time. 

Anxiety can become debilitating, making it difficult to function at work or school. Anxiety can also interfere with our relationships and ability to relax around friends and family.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety comes in different forms and degrees of severity. Some common types of anxiety disorders include:

Anxiety Symptoms 

While some anxiety disorders may have similar signs and symptoms, not everyone will experience the exact same thing. Below are some of the most common symptoms seen in a variety of anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling restless 
  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Worried thoughts 
  • Sleep disruption 
  • Muscle tension 

Take our Anxiety Quiz


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms  

  • Fear of germs 
  • Intrusive thoughts 
  • Fear of not having what you may need
  • Obsessing over superstitions 
  • Obsessing over order and symmetry where everything must be in the right place
  • Double-checking things such as locks and the stove 
  • Counting, repeating words

Take our OCD Quiz


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms 

  • Intrusive memories 
  • Avoiding talking or thinking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling hopeless 
  • Having a lack of interest in things that used to bring you joy 
  • Emotional numbness 
  • Losing connection in relationships and feeling disconnected from those in your life 
  • Always being on guard 
  • Irritability 
  • Being easily startled 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Having a hard time sleeping

Related: PTSD Treatment


Social Anxiety Symptoms 

  • Having a very intense fear of talking to strangers
  • Fear of judgment 
  • Avoiding situations where you think you could be embarrassed
  • Worrying that those around you may know that you are anxious 
  • Fast heart rate 
  • Sweating 
  • Muscle tension 
  • Digestive upset 

Panic Anxiety Symptoms 

  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Feeling out of control 
  • Having this overall feeling of impending doom

Read: How to Stop a Panic Attack


What Causes Anxiety?

While there isn’t one single cause of anxiety, those with anxiety disorders may be triggered by certain situations or being under stress.

Stress is a common cause of anxiety and is the product of the daily tasks and challenges we face. Whether it be from work, school, managing finances, or navigating relationships, stress is a normal part of our daily lives.

However, when stress is allowed to unchecked, it can manifest in an anxiety disorder that inhibits our ability to live happily. Traumatic events and stress from an illness or a side effect from a medication can also cause anxiety. 

Working with a medical professional or a mental health practitioner can be helpful in determining what your anxiety triggers are to better manage symptoms.

  • Browse our network of top therapist to find one that matches your needs.

  • Get private and secure emotional support weekly from your dedicated therapist.

  • Experience comprehensive care with unlimited access to your care team and primary care physician.

Talk to an Online Therapist PlushCare-App-Steps

How to Calm Anxiety 

Untreated anxiety can interfere with day-to-day life, and can even increase the risk of digestive distress and heart disease.

Different therapeutic options like cognitive behavioral therapy have been shown to be beneficial for anxiety disorders, and those suffering from anxiety attacks should speak with their doctor about treatment options.

Generally a combination of therapy and medication is beneficial for calming anxiety.

Some lifestyle changes can also be helpful for those dealing with anxiety.

Things like regular exercise, and stress-reduction through the practice of mindfulness, deep breathing, and meditation may also help calm anxiety. Making this a regular part of your daily life is key. 

Limiting things like caffeine that may make you feel more on edge and avoiding cigarette smoking are both two important lifestyle factors that may play a role in calming anxiety. 


Read: Therapy for Anxiety Disorder


Get Anxiety Treatment Online  

If you are suffering from anxiety, you have many options for treatment. At PlushCare we’re proud to offer a variety of services that can get you the treatment you deserve.

Our online therapists will listen to your problems and guide you through the process of stress management and developing techniques to handle your anxiety.

Our virtual appointments make it convenient, reliable, and affordable for you to speak with a therapist from the comfort of your home. To book your first session, just click here.

Anxiety is often best treated with a combination of therapy and medication. In these instances, a therapist may recommend you meet with a doctor who can prescribe you the appropriate medication.

Our doctor’s at PlushCare are licensed and trained to set you up on the best treatment plan for your anxiety. Just click here to set up a virtual appointment with a PlushCare doctor today.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.”

There is no need to suffer silently. Seek professional help may be a difficult choice, but it’s the right one.

Book your appointment today and take your life back from anxiety.


Read More About How To Deal With Anxiety


Sources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Facts and Statistics. Accessed on December 17, 2020 at https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics

Harvard Health Publishing. Anxiety and Physical Illness. Accessed December 17, 2020 at https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness 

NCBI. Exercise for Anxiety Disorders: Systemic Review. Accessed December 17, 2020 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23299048 

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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