Anxiety disorders are mental conditions that involve feelings of excessive stress or worrying, all of which are very prominent in society today. In fact, according to the ADAA, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States alone every year. While some people may realize that they’re battling anxiety, many are often unaware of their struggle. Fortunately, there are online anxiety treatment options available that can help to educate and ultimately alleviate psychological distress.
As with the cycle of depression, the cycle of anxiety occurs when the connections between your emotions, physical sensations, behaviors, and thoughts contribute to overly worried moods or anxiety disorder. Feelings of anxiety can actually help alert us of possible danger or encourage us to overcome obstacles. But, these feelings can turn into a disorder when they become overwhelming and interfere with our daily lives. These overpowering anxieties can lower self-confidence, often disrupting one’s life by impacting relationships with others or reducing the ability to complete daily tasks at school or work.
The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
One of the main symptoms of anxiety is rumination, which is an over analyzation of negative thoughts and feelings. Rumination often causes mental exhaustion, distraction, and paranoia. While anxiety is most recognized for behavioral changes, it can also have serious consequences on one’s physical health. There are several types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) - GAD is diagnosed when constant feelings of extreme worry last six months or longer. Severe cases often have a profound impact on one’s life.
- Social Anxiety Disorder - This disorder involves paralyzing fear of social gatherings, often due to concerns of being judged or humiliated. These worries tend to leave people feeling alone and ashamed.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - People with OCD tend to feel overwhelmed with a desire to perform rituals continuously. They also often experience intrusive and unwanted thoughts.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - PTSD often occurs when an individual has witnessed or experienced something traumatic. Symptoms may begin immediately or be delayed.
- Phobias - These typically include fear of heights, tight spaces, and many others. People struggling with phobias will usually try to avoid the feared situation or object.
- Panic Disorder - This disorder causes panic attacks or spontaneous feelings of impending doom. Physical symptoms might include chest pain, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
The Effects of Anxiety on the Body
In the short term, anxiety increases your breathing and heart rate, which concentrates blood flow to your brain where you need it. This physical response prepares you to deal with an intense or stressful situation. However, if it starts to become too intense, you may experience a series of intense, physical effects, some of which include:
- Heart palpitations
- Breathing problems
- Upset stomach
- Muscle aches
For those who experience more mild cases of anxiety, the short-term effects may not lead to more serious health conditions. However, people who struggle with chronic anxiety disorders often experience far more serious health issues. The body releases large amounts of hormones such as norepinephrine and cortisol, which can lead to more serious problems such as:
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Lowered immune system
- Memory problems
- Frequent migraines
Stressful life experiences often increase the risk of developing an anxiety disorder. Symptoms might begin immediately or not until years later. A substance use disorder or serious medical condition may also further one’s chance.
Managing Psychological Distress With Online Anxiety Treatment
It can be quite challenging to find a therapist who is not only financially in line with your needs but who also has both flexibility and availability. This rings especially true as the COVID-19 pandemic has lessened the option of in-person sessions. Thankfully, there are several easy-to-follow and evidence-based online anxiety treatment options available.
Here at SilverCloud Health, we provide the safety and flexibility you need to seek guidance and support at your own convenience. Our mental health and wellbeing programs are built on years of clinical evidence. We utilize industry-established methods to measure, assess, and diagnose anxiety and record the improvement of symptoms so that you can manage feelings of anxiety with ease.