Anxiety Treatment in Seattle
Evidenced-based Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders affect many people, causing them to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event, such as speaking in public or a first date, anxiety disorders last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated.
Anxiety disorders commonly occur along with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make them worse. In some cases, these other illnesses need to be treated before a person will respond to treatment for the anxiety disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by marked, persistent, and unreasonable fear of being observed or evaluated negatively by others in social performance or interaction situations and is associated with somatic and cognitive symptoms. The feared situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anxiety or distress. These situations include fear of speaking in public, speaking to unfamiliar people or being exposed to possible scrutiny by others.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The main features of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) are excessive anxiety and worry. The patients suffer from somatic anxiety symptoms as well as from restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, sleep disturbances and being easily fatigued. Some patients may express constant worry that they or a relative will shortly become ill or have an accident.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is characterized by recurrent obsessions or compulsions, or both, that cause impairment in terms of distress, time, or interference with functioning. Concerns involving contamination, harm, hoarding, and sexual, somatic and religious preoccupations are the most common obsessions. Compulsions include washing, checking, repeating, ordering, counting, hoarding and touching (rare).
Panic Disorder is characterized by recurrent panic attacks. Panic attacks are discrete periods of intense fear or discomfort, accompanied by at least four somatic and psychic symptoms (palpitations, sweating, trembling, dyspnoea, choking sensations, chest pain, nausea, abdominal distress, dizziness, feeling of unreality, fear of dying, etc.). A panic attack reaches a peak within 10 min and lasts 30 – 45 min on average. Usually, the patient is afraid that he has a serious medical condition such as myocardial infarction.
About two-thirds of all patients with panic disorder suffer from agoraphobia, which is defined as fear in places or situations from which escape might be difficult or in which help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected panic attack. These situations include being in a crowd or standing in a line, being outside the home alone, or traveling in a bus, train or automobile. These situations are avoided or endured with marked distress.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers. The condition is characterized by recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, nightmares, a sense of reliving the experience with illusions, hallucinations, or dissociative flashback episodes, intense psychological or physiological distress at exposure to cues that resemble the traumatic event, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, inability to recall important aspects of the trauma, loss of interest, estrangement from others, sleep disturbances, irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance, and exaggerated startle response. The full symptom picture must be present for more than 1 month.
Benzodiazepines: Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam)