Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorder Treatment in Baltimore


Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition where persistent and excessive fear, worry, or nervousness interferes with normal daily activities. This condition is immensely prevalent and can affect people of any age, gender, or background. Symptoms include both physical and emotional effects.  Physical symptoms include a racing heart, sweating, trembling, dizziness, difficulty breathing, stomachache, and headache. Emotional symptoms include fearfulness, worrying, difficulty concentrating, racing thoughts, and behavioral changes like avoidance of social situations.

With professional guidance, most individuals will be able to successfully manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life to live life to the fullest. Dr. Ranen describes the details associated with anxiety disorder and his approach to treatment in more detail below.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorder manifests itself in excessive and ongoing fear, unease, nervousness, or worry. It can disrupt everyday activities and function due to physical symptoms such as racing heartbeat, perspiration, and muscle tension; psychological indicators include intrusive thoughts and avoidance of certain situations.

Anxiety affects millions, manifesting in various forms ranging from generalized anxiety disorder to social phobias. These conditions are treatable; the right combination of therapy and medication coupled with lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms while improving quality of life.

What are the symptoms?

Anxiety disorder can manifest in various forms, some of which include:

  • Persistent and excessive worry or fear
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
  • Sweating or muscle tension
  • Shortness of breath or tightness in the chest
  • Fatigue or difficulty sleeping
  • Stomach or digestive problems
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Avoidance behaviors, such as avoiding social situations or specific places
  • Intrusive thoughts or repetitive, irrational fears
  • Panic attacks, are characterized by sudden and intense feelings of fear or terror.


What causes Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorder can be complicated, but numerous factors likely contribute to its development. These may include:

Genetics: Anxiety disorder has a genetic component, suggesting that it may be passed down through families. This indicates that certain inherited elements are involved in the formation of these illnesses.

Brain chemistry: Imbalances of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, may be a potential cause of anxiety disorders.

Life experiences: When individuals endure harrowing or distressful life encounters, such as maltreatment, abandonment, bereavement of a family member, or financial strain.

Medical conditions: Certain health issues, such as hypothyroidism and heart disease, can lead to symptoms that resemble anxiety. These conditions may even cause an anxiety disorder to form if not adequately treated.

Substance use: Substance abuse and withdrawal from certain substances can cause anxiety-like symptoms.

Anxiety sufferers can develop these symptoms without a particular cause and their formation is often linked to several contributing elements. A proper assessment, diagnosis, and treatment plan can be performed by Dr. Ranen for any type of mental illness including anxiety disorder.


How is Anxiety Disorder diagnosed?

Diagnosing an anxiety disorder requires the skill and expertise of a mental health specialist such as Dr. Neal Ranen. Generally, this involves taking the following steps:

Medical evaluation: They will complete a comprehensive medical assessment to eliminate any potential underlying medical issues that could be producing signs and symptoms comparable to anxiety.

Psychological assessment: To accurately determine a diagnosis, they will not only inquire about an individual’s symptoms, thoughts, and actions but also their medical background. To aid in this process standardized questionnaires like the DSM-5 or Hamilton Anxiety Scale may be used.

Clinical interview: A mental health professional will engage in a comprehensive interview examining the individual’s symptoms, any prior treatment received for mental health issues or substance abuse, along with the possible family history of such matters.

After an in-depth medical assessment, psychological evaluation, and clinical conversation have been conducted, a medical professional like Dr. Ranen can decide whether or not the individual meets the criteria of having an anxiety disorder. To ensure that all physical causes are ruled out before a diagnosis is made, extra tests such as lab work or imaging scans may be required.


What are the types of Anxiety Disorder?

There are several different types of anxiety disorder, including:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): General Anxiety Disorder is characterized by persistent, overwhelming worries and fears about everyday occurrences like finances, well-being, family life, or employment. Individuals affected develop signs of restlessness, lack of focus and concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep issues that last over six months or longer.

Panic Disorder: Panic Disorder involves unexpected and regular panic attacks, which occur suddenly and can last for several minutes. During these episodes of intense fear or terror, physical indications like an accelerated heartbeat, perspiration, trembling, chest discomfort, and breathlessness arise. As a result of these attacks, they may avoid certain situations that could possibly trigger their attacks. This avoidance can cause disruptions in daily activities and relationships.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Social Anxiety Disorder is where individuals experience intense distress or self-consciousness in social situations. Those affected by it may dread being watched and assessed harshly by others or constantly worry about the possibility of embarrassing themselves. Social anxiety disorder is more than just the occasional anxiety that one experiences due to shyness – it’s a persistent fear that affects every aspect of day-to-day existence.

Specific Phobias: Specific phobias, which are referred to as specific fears, comprise extreme and irrational fear towards a certain object or circumstance that doesn’t match the amount of danger it could cause. Examples include fear of animals like spiders or snakes; heights; closed spaces; flying in an airplane; giving public talks and medical procedures. People with this type of phobia may suffer from intense anxiety and try to avoid these objects/situations at all costs – even if it interferes with their daily lives.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a psychological disorder distinguished by intrusive thoughts, known as obsessions, and often accompanied by compulsive behaviors. Individuals with OCD feel compelled to do the compulsions in an effort to reduce anxiety brought on by their intruding thoughts. Despite this, these compulsive urges can meddle greatly with one’s everyday activities and associations. Examples of obsessions are apprehension about pollution, fear of germ contamination and other worries regarding potential danger to oneself or others, as well as unwelcome whimsical ideas of a sexual or aggressive nature. Examples of compulsions consist of repetitive cleaning rituals, checking and re-checking, and counting exercises that stretch on for hours at a time without purpose. There are many other obsessions and compulsions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD is an emotional condition that can emerge after a person experiences a traumatic incident, like combat duty, sexual or physical attack, natural calamities, or serious accidents. There are other psychological traumas as well. Those affected by PTSD display signs of re-experiencing the traumatic event and avoiding things that remind them of it. PTSD can disrupt one’s everyday life and relationships but is treatable through a combination of psychotherapy, medication, as well as other treatments. To determine the most effective plan for managing PTSD symptoms successfully, it should be tailored to each person according to their individual needs.


What are the treatments for Anxiety Disorder?

Finding the right treatment can be a journey that requires extensive customization. Even if two people are both dealing with similar types of anxieties, their individual, unique needs will dictate which kind of therapy and/or medication is most effective. Successful evidence-based treatment options commonly used when treating anxiety disorder include:

Psychotherapy: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are two immensely successful methods of psychotherapy that have been clinically proven to be effective. CBT works by enabling people to confront their negative thought patterns and modify them accordingly, while exposure therapy slowly introduces individuals to the situations or items they fear in a safe setting. A specific supplement and medication added before or after exposure can enhance the effects of a session.

Medication: To manage anxiety and its associated symptoms, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) represent the most common medications. Many other medications are options too. Occasionally benzodiazepines are indicated. Determining the best type of medication for each individual’s situation is based on their specific experience with anxiousness.

Lifestyle changes: Proactively incorporating healthy practices, like exercising regularly, sleeping well, and managing stress levels can help in reducing the symptoms of anxiety. Cutting down on caffeine intake, as well as abstaining from alcohol and recreational drugs can also be advantageous.

Complementary therapies: Certain individuals may find solace from the effects of anxiety with holistic treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy, or yoga.


Why choose Dr. Neal Ranen?

Many clients suffering from an anxiety disorder often feel defeated and lack self-esteem. With the help of services provided by Dr. Neal Ranen, they can learn to understand their issues better and find relief. His anxiety disorder treatment center in the greater Baltimore, Maryland area creates a supportive environment for all those struggling with anxiousness. Dr. Ranen offers a safe, non-judgmental environment for adults with anxiety disorders by providing cognitive behavioral therapy, outpatient clinics, and individual therapy. Proven safe medications when used in a targeted, informed and judicious way are highly beneficial as well.