Exploring Anxiety Disorders in Depth
Formal Diagnosis for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Although the symptoms of PTSD may be an appropriate initial response to a traumatic event, they are considered part of a disorder when they persist beyond three months.
Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Psychotherapy can help people who have PTSD regain a sense of control over their lives. They may also need cognitive behavioral therapy to change painful and intrusive patterns of behavior and thought, and to learn relaxation techniques. Support from family and friends can help speed recovery and healing. Medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety agents, can ease the symptoms of depression and sleep problems. Treatment for PTSD often includes both psychotherapy and medication.
It is common for anxiety disorders to accompany depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, or another anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can also co-exist with illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. In such instances, the accompanying conditions will also need to be treated. Before beginning any treatment, however, it is important to have a thorough medical examination to rule out other possible causes of symptoms.
As mentioned previously, anxiety disorders include:
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Phobias (such as social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobias).
Each year, approximately 19.1 million American adults ages 18 to 54 (about 13.3 percent of people in this age group) have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders, eating disorders, or substance abuse. Many people have more than one anxiety disorder.
Women are more likely than men to have an anxiety disorder. Approximately twice as many women as men suffer from panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and specific phobia, though nearly equal numbers of women and men have obsessive-compulsive disorder and social phobia.