Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Treatment, Baltimore

Anxiety Disorders: This category includes a number of conditions, which are described below under Panic, Excessive Worry, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.  Some people have a combination of these.  In addition, anxiety very frequently co-occurs with depression.

Worry, nervousness, fear, and an overall sense of feeling unsettled can be symptoms of anxiety. Physical symptoms can also occur, like gastrointestinal symptoms, a feeling of shaking inside, tension, and fatigue. Anxiety often revolves around a sense of uncertainty, which can lead to worry about the future, a feeling that something bad is about to happen, or the person ruminating about whether they’ve done something wrong. Anxiety sufferers may experience a constant loop of worry in their heads. There may be one major worry as a focus, or the person may be a worry wart — having anxiety about everything and anything. Feelings of restlessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, and difficulty concentrating may also occur. Anxiety can be a huge barrier for people, causing missed opportunities by avoiding doing things, pursuing opportunities, or connecting with people. Individuals with Panic Disorder may also experience a racing heart, a sense of not being able to take in good breaths or hyperventilating (“air hunger”), feeling as though they may pass out or be experiencing a medical emergency.

There are excellent treatments for anxiety. I take a number of approaches depending on the type of anxiety. I offer both therapy and medication approaches. Various types of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies are highly effective. There are also a number of proven safe medications, which, when used in a targeted, informed and judicious way, are highly beneficial too. Even though either can be effective alone, often the combination of therapy and medication is a particularly powerful approach. Medication can be highly effective in and of itself but also works in concert with therapy to reduce the intensity of the anxiety symptoms, which allows the individual to focus more effectively on the therapy component. An analogy for the combined effect would be that with anxiety (and depression for that matter), things feel distressing and effortful, like swimming against the current, and, the harder one tries to swim, the stronger the opposing current gets. Medication helps ease the current – one still has to swim (therapy) but it’s against less resistance.

Again, please see the sections on the specific anxiety disorders for more information.