If anxiety is a debilitating issue in your life, you’re not alone; over 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. Fortunately, anxiety is also extremely treatable. The team of mental health professionals at Uptown Psych, in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, has vast experience in helping patients overcome the full spectrum of anxiety issues. Make an appointment by phone or online to schedule a consultation.
Anxiety Q & A
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is your body’s response to fearful, stressful, or unfamiliar situations. It’s often characterized by uneasiness or a sense of foreboding before something. Common examples of typical anxiety we all feel include worrying about a test in school or a big presentation at work. Sometimes, normal anxiety like this keeps you alert and productive.
But if you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, the anxiety you feel in certain situations can be crippling, damaging, and impair your ability to function. They can keep you from getting a good night of sleep, keeping up with your social life, carrying a conversation, or even leaving your house.
What are some specific anxiety disorders?
There are a number of specific anxiety disorders that Uptown Psych’s team of trained healthcare professionals treats, including:
Generalized anxiety (GAD) If you have GAD, you live with constant worry and fear that impairs everyday life. Psychiatrist call this “free-floating anxiety,” which means that your anxiety often is not triggered by anything in particular.
Panic disorders Panic disorders are characterized by worrying constantly and dreading your next panic attack. Panic attacks are short bursts (sometimes under 15 minutes) of irrational fear coupled with physical symptoms. They can occur without impending threats.
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) People who suffer from PTSD relive bad memories and experience some physical symptoms after witnessing a traumatic event or experiencing a serious injury.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
People with OCD are consumed by obsessions that bring on compulsive regimented behaviors.
Social phobia Typically refers to excessive or irrational fear of being in social situations like parties or even your workplace.
What causes anxiety?
Although each case is very different, there are several potential causes of anxiety disorders. If you have an anxiety disorder, it’s not your fault. Most of the causes are outside of your control. The following contributors can put you at risk for an anxiety disorder:
- Chemical imbalances (brain chemistry)
- Prolonged stress
- Genetics (family history of anxiety and other mental health problems)
- Past trauma
- Substance abuse
- Side effects from medications
Women are almost twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder than men. Minorities and LGBTQ individuals also get anxiety disorders at a higher rate than others.
How do you treat anxiety disorders?
At Uptown Psych, trained therapists treat mild to moderate anxiety with a variety of non-drug therapy modalities, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Mindfulness (especially for sufferers of PTSD)
- Psychodynamic therapy
These innovative modalities aim to provide useful stress management techniques to pinpoint causes and alleviate overall anxiety. In more severe cases, medication may be prescribed in addition to one or more of the aforementioned therapeutic methods.