What Is An Anxiety Disorder?

While many people may experience occasional anxiety during stressful or unfamiliar situations, such as giving a presentation at work or waiting to hear the results of a medical test, an individual that suffers from an anxiety disorder experiences debilitating effects daily.

“Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic psychiatric condition defined by excessive and uncontrollable worry, occurring more days than not for at least 6 months, and accompanied by at least 3 of 6 hyperarousal symptoms.” – Psychiatric Times.

Anxiety disorders can impair an individual’s work performance, ability to function at school, and may interfere with social relationships. But those affected don’t have to suffer through the symptoms. There are treatment options that can help.

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Anxiety Symptoms

While researchers do not know exactly what brings on anxiety disorders, it can be a combination of several reasons. Like other mental health disorders, anxiety disorders can stem from environmental stress, behavioral choices, and genetic background.

“Anxiety disorders are associated with chronic life stress. Unpredictable, unrelenting, unresolvable stressors chronically stimulate the stress hormone system and cardiovascular system and lead to states of constant increased activity.” – Anxiety.org

It is important to note that not everyone with an anxiety disorder will experience all of the symptoms below and these symptoms may be linked to another mental health disorder. It is important to take your concerns to a doctor if you experience any of the symptoms below:

  • Insomnia
  • Cold, sweaty, or numb hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tense muscles
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Common Anxiety Treatments

Antidepressants and/or anxiolytics are the most common treatment methods for anxiety disorders. While medication may work for some, it doesn’t work for all and it may bring about severe side effects that feel worse than the symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

The possible side effects — such as vomiting, lack of sexual desire or decrease in sexual performance, insomnia, headache, drowsiness, diarrhea, weight gain, constipation, and agitation — can negatively impact a person’s daily life. If symptoms are so severe, a person may be unable to operate their vehicle, leaving them housebound and withdrawn from the activities they previously enjoyed.

If the drugs are not taken with care, an individual may become dependent or addicted and experience withdrawal symptoms.

Another option for treating anxiety disorders is psychotherapy. This method involves meeting with a psychologist and discussing specific concerns and triggers, as well as developing coping techniques. However, not everyone affected feels comfortable meeting with a professional and opening up about their emotions and stressors.

Alternative Treatments for Anxiety

Lifestyle Changes

While lifestyle changes may not be able to cure anxiety disorders, they can help to manage symptoms and are often recommended alongside other treatment options. Cutting down or eliminating foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, soda, energy drinks, and chocolate, can help with the feelings of uneasiness. Caffeine is a mood-altering drug and can worsen symptoms already present.

It is important to not only focus on your mental health, but also on your physical health too. Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising or meditating daily, and getting enough sleep is crucial to giving your body the care it needs to get to a healthy state. These activities can also release chemicals in the brain that may boost one’s mood.

A symptom of anxiety disorders is insomnia, but sticking to a relaxing bedtime routine can help. Try to limit screen time before bed and instead read a book or listen to music. Have a cup of warm caffeine-free tea. Some herbal blends will promote healthy sleep. If these techniques do not work, talk to a doctor or pharmacist. There may be over-the-counter medication you can take, but they will be able to tell you if it is safe to take with an anxiety disorder. Some chemicals can make symptoms worse.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Anxiety disorders can also be treated with Transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS. The FDA approved, non-drug, non-invasive treatment method is for patients suffering from the symptoms of anxiety and can not find relief from standard medications and psychotherapy.

TMS Therapy uses short pulses of magnetic fields to stimulate cells within the brain that release serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in order to restore a chemical balance and relieve depression.

You have options when it comes to finding an effective treatment for an anxiety disorder. TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley is the Allentown area’s premiere provider of TMS therapy for depression and anxiety and our team is happy to walk you through the process and discuss a solution that will work for you.


Contact us today to set up your TMS consultation.