Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a common and normal emotion that can help us cope with uncomfortable situations, or real danger.

The brain typically responds to stressors with what is called the “Fight or Fight response.” Fight or Flight has been a key to human survival since the beginning
of time, and has enabled humans to rapidly respond whenever threatened.

Over 40 million Americans suffer from an Anxiety Disorder as part of everyday life, because their Fight or Flight response is activated much too often, when it’s
not really needed and in the absence of any real danger.

Symptoms during these “false alarms” can range from the intense, such as a panic attack, to mild, like a feeling of uneasiness, worry or apprehension. Anxiety
can cause sweating, increased heart rate, muscle tension, shortness of breath, restlessness, chest pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping and adrenaline release.
Although frightening and extremely uncomfortable, these symptoms are not life-threatening or dangerous. However, left untreated, anxiety is progressive and
can get worse over time.

We treat all major categories of Anxiety Disorders including:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by persistent excessive worrying that occurs often, is difficult to control and significantly disrupts your job, activities
or social life. The intensity of the anxiety is usually far out of proportion to the potential impact of the feared event or activity.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder can arise over everyday situations related to work, relationships, marriage, money, health or even household chores. People with
GAD become constantly worried, upset and stressed about these and many other things, even when there is little or no reason to worry about them.

Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder include:

  • Feeling like there is nothing you can do to stop the worrying
  • Feeling like you must know what’s going to happen in the future
  • Feeling constant dread or apprehension
  • Avoiding situations that make you feel anxious
  • Feeling restless, edgy and irritable
  • Having difficulty focusing or concentrating on things
  • Having headaches, nausea, and stomach problems
  • Having trouble sleeping because your mind won’t stop
  • Feeling depressed due to ongoing stress and anxiety

Trying to live with General Anxiety Disorder without treatment can impact your normal ability to function and become a long-term problem. But GAD is treatable,
and with professional therapy and support you can overcome this disorder.

Panic Disorder/Panic Attacks

Panic Attacks are frightening sudden episodes of very intense anxiety that hit without warning and can strike at any time. Experiencing panic attacks can make
you think you’re having a heart attack, losing control or about to die. These severe physical feelings and reactions are totally out of proportion to any
situation and occur when there is not actually any real danger.

Symptoms of Panic Attack include:

  • Feeling weak, faint, or dizzy
  • Rapid or racing heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sweaty or having chills
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands and fingers
  • Feelings of terror, impending death, doom or losing control

Although some symptoms may linger, most panic attacks last less than 10 minutes. If you have suffered from one panic attack, you may or may not have
more. But if you have repeated attacks, worry about having more episodes, and are withdrawing from normal activities, you may have Panic Disorder and should
seek professional treatment.


One of the most common types of anxiety disorders, phobias, are extreme fears of animals, people, objects, activities or situations that, in reality, pose little or no
actual danger. Fears can become phobias if they are excessive, persistent, unrealistic and have significant impact on how you live your day-to-day life, even
though you know the fear is irrational. Phobias affect some 10% of the population and can cause great anxiety and distress.

Phobias can be limited and specific, such as a fear of snakes or a fear of spiders. With limited phobias, a person can simply avoid the things they fear and the
subsequent anxiety. Other phobias however can be problematic in a much wider scope of situations or places, such as fear of enclosed places or fear of heights.
People with these phobias may change their lives significantly to avoid being triggered, affecting activities, employment choices, driving routes, and living

Common phobias include:

  • Fears related to specific situations (flying, driving on high bridges and overpasses, taking an elevator)
  • Fears of leaving safe places like your home
  • Fears related to the natural environment (heights, storms, darkness, lightning)
  • Fears related to medical issues, injury or sickness (blood, injections, vomiting, broken bones)
  • Fears related to animals (spiders, snakes, dogs, insects, etc.)
  • Other fears such as clowns, loud noises, choking or drowning

With the proper treatment, phobias have the highest likelihood of positive outcomes as compared to all other psychological problems.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized as excessive self-consciousness and anxiety in social situations. People with Social Anxiety Disorder have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and negatively judged by others and of being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions whenever they are in public. Their fear may be so severe that it interferes with their daily routine, work, school, social life or other activities.

People with Social Anxiety Disorder often recognize that their fear of being around people is unreasonable and over-exaggerated, but they are not able to overcome it, sometimes worrying for days over an upcoming event in the future.

Physical Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Difficulty speaking/dry mouth
  • Muscle tension
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea

With proper treatment you can learn to reduce the dread of social situations and become comfortable again when being with other people and putting yourself out
in public.

The Anxiety and OCD Treatment Center of Florida successfully treats children, teens and adults with Anxiety Disorders using the most up to date evidence based treatment protocols including: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Behavioral Therapy combined with Medication Management.