Is Anxiety Curable, Or Will I Always Feel This Way?
By Sarah Fader
Updated December 17, 2018
Reviewer Tanya Harell
Everyone feels anxious at times. Everyday life events can bring about mild anxiety, larger events such as weddings, new job, moving, etc., can bring about more severe anxiety, but in these cases the anxiety is situational and will ultimately pass. It is when anxiety has become a part of one's daily existence, that it becomes crippling to normal functioning that it is considered a disorder.
Anxiety: A Stumbling Block
Anxiety that is more severe can cause individuals to avoid normal routine events such as grocery shopping, meeting friends out for coffee, or even walking the dog ("Effective Recognition and Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Primary Care," 2004). Some might refer to this form of anxiety as social anxiety as it has to do with getting out around others; however, it may have less to do with the social aspect and more to do with compulsions of leaving things undone.
At times anxiety may be related to a stress disorder related to work or relationship stressors ("Anxiety," n.d.). In these situations, the individual may miss work or avoid taking care of matters related to their relationship. Work-related anxiety can lead to decreased productivity, and increased sick days(Helbig-Lang, Lang, Petermann, & Hoyer, 2012); all of which could lead to quitting the job. With relationship-related anxiety the individual may avoid discussing bills or household chores, which can ultimately lead to conflict and arguments.
Avoidance is a key symptom of anxiety sufferers (Levin, 2012). The avoidance begins as a means of alleviating the anxiety, but is counter-productive. Unfortunately, most individuals fall into the anxiety abyss before they recognize the danger signs. One of which is anxiety-related depression. All in all, anxiety is a vicious cycle that if left unchecked can lead to more serious disorders.
Heredity, Medication, and CBT
Some individuals are more anxiety prone than others, just as some are more prone to depression and other mental health disorders (Sokolowska & Hovatta, 2013). For those due to the genetic propensity fighting off anxiety may be more difficult. There are medications for severe anxiety, but without a change in how one thinks and behaves these often prove ineffective. The side-effects (Baldwin et al., 2014) such as weight gain, loss of interest in sex, insomnia, etc. can actually cause more problems, leading to further anxiety.
Anxiety can be mediated with proper treatment involving cognitive as well as behavioral therapy (Otte, 2011). If medication is used, it should not be used for the long-term. The goal should be that medication is used to help during the crises phase of anxiety ("Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Anxiety Disorders | JAMA | The JAMA Network," n.d.). If an individual is placed on medication, but is not involved in a treatment program involving cognitive-behavioral modalities, the medication serves about the same purpose as someone taking an antacid and consuming a spicy meatball sandwich.
Sometimes simply having someone to talk with when feeling anxious can help to alleviate symptoms. However, many either do not have an available support system, or are too embarrassed to discuss their anxiety with family or friends. Seeking therapy from a qualified mental health therapist is a step forward in the right direction; however, some may need more support than even weekly sessions can offer.
The need for more support is the reason that many find services such as Betterhelp a viable option when it comes to therapy and counseling. Through the Betterhelp.com network of licensed, qualified therapists who are available via email, chat, or video conferencing. Most are able to respond to emails within a 24-hour period. Recent research supports the positive effects of online therapies for people with non-life threatening disorders (Kahn, 2012). Anxiety does not have to be crippling, visit Betterhelp today for more information.
Anxiety. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2017, from http://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety/index.aspx
Baldwin, D. S., Anderson, I. M., Nutt, D. J., Allgulander, C., Bandelow, B., den Boer, J. A., … Wittchen, H.-U. (2014). Evidence-based pharmacological treatment of anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder: A revision of the 2005 guidelines from the British Association for Psychopharmacology. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28(5), 403-439. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269881114525674
Effective Recognition and Treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in Primary Care. (2004). Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6(1), 35-41.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder | Anxiety Disorders | JAMA | The JAMA Network. (n.d.). Retrieved May 15, 2017, from http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/645425
Helbig-Lang, S., Lang, T., Petermann, F., & Hoyer, J. (2012). Anticipatory Anxiety as a Function of Panic Attacks and Panic-Related Self-Efficacy: An Ambulatory Assessment Study in Panic Disorder. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy; Cambridge, 40(5), 590-604. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1352465812000057
Kahn, E. (2012). On being "up to other things": The nondirective attitude and therapist-frame responses in client-centered therapy and contemporary psychoanalysis. Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies, 11(3), 240-254. https://doi.org/10.1080/14779757.2012.700285
Levin, A. (2012). Postdisaster Avoidance, Numbing Could Indicate PTSD Risk. Psychiatric News; Washington, 47(20), 12,22.
Otte, C. (2011). Cognitive behavioral therapy in anxiety disorders: current state of the evidence. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 13(4), 413-421.
Sokolowska, E., & Hovatta, I. (2013). Anxiety genetics - findings from cross-species genome-wide approaches. Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders, 3, 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/2045-5380-3-9