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Anxiety Disorder Treatment, Types, Causes, & Symptoms

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Anxiety disorder refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. Keep reading to learn more about this condition and its different treatments.

By We Level Up FL Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: February 6, 2022

What is Anxiety Disorder?

Anxiety disorder refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry and uneasiness. It might cause you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. It is a real and serious medical condition. Anxiety Disorder Treatment may include medication and psychotherapy. 

Most anxious people are born with a genetic vulnerability to develop an anxiety disorder. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recognizes it as the most common of mental disorders. It affects nearly 30 percent of adults at some point in their lives.

Anxiety can lead to a mental health problem if it impacts your ability to live your life as fully as you want to. It may be a problem if:

  • Your fears or worries are out of proportion to the situation
  • You avoid situations that might cause you to feel anxious
  • Your worries feel very distressing or are hard to control
  • You regularly experience panic attacks
  • You find it hard to go about your everyday life or do things you enjoy

It is time to seek some anxiety disorder treatment, a co-occurring program, as it is very common to see someone struggling with anxiety involved in alcohol or drug abuse at the same time.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) display excessive anxiety or worry. It lasts most days for at least 6 months. Fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in areas of their life, such as social interactions, school, and work.

Generalized anxiety disorder can dominate your life, and often lasts a long time. But there are a number of different treatments for generalized anxiety disorder that can help you learn to better manage your anxiety and lead a normal life again. Psychological treatment for generalized anxiety disorder includes Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What is the best treatment plan for generalized anxiety disorder? CBT is one of the most effective treatments for GAD. There are several ways you may be offered self-help and CBT: you work through a CBT workbook or computer course in your own time. you work through a CBT workbook or computer course with the support of a therapist who you see every 1 or 2 weeks.

Treatment for General Anxiety Disorder

Cognitive behavioral therapy as part of the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder has benefits that go beyond just helping to reduce anxiety. It can also help with the symptoms of depression, for example, which may accompany generalized anxiety disorder. General anxiety disorder treatments that employ CBT involve directly confronting your fears. The goal of the cognitive approach is to change thought patterns that trigger anxiety.

Panic Disorder

People with panic disorder have recurrent unexpected panic attacks. Furthermore, these panic attacks are sudden periods of intense fear that reach their peak within minutes. Attacks can happen unexpectedly and can be triggered by a feared object or situation.

A phobia is an intense fear of specific objects or situations. Although it can be realistic to be anxious in some circumstances, the fear people with phobias feel is out of proportion.

Social Anxiety Disorder

A person with a social anxiety disorder has anxiety and discomfort about being embarrassed, humiliated, and looked down on in social interactions. People with this disorder will try to avoid the situation or endure it with great anxiety. For instance, extreme fear of public speaking, meeting new people, or eating/drinking in public.

Social anxiety disorder treatments depend on how much social anxiety disorder affects your ability to function in daily life. The most common treatment for social anxiety disorder includes psychotherapy (also called psychological counseling or talk therapy) or medications or both.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

A person with a separation anxiety disorder is excessively fearful or anxious about separation from those with whom he or she is attached. The feeling is beyond what is appropriate for the person’s age, therefore causing problems in functioning. A person with a separation anxiety disorder may be persistently worried about losing the person closest to him or her.

Separation Anxiety Disorder Treatments

Separation anxiety disorder treatment usually involves psychotherapy, sometimes along with medication. Psychotherapy, sometimes called talk therapy or psychological counseling, involves working with a therapist to reduce separation anxiety symptoms.

Anxiety disorders treatment particularly separation anxiety disorder treatment may include CBT. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective form of psychotherapy for separation anxiety disorder. During therapy for treatment for separation anxiety disorder, the patient can learn how to face and manage fears about separation and uncertainty.

Illness Anxiety Disorder

Illness anxiety disorder (previously called hypochondriasis) is a psychiatric disorder defined by excessive worry about having or developing a serious undiagnosed medical condition. People with illness anxiety disorder experience persistent anxiety or fear of developing or having a serious medical illness despite normal physical examination and laboratory testing results. People suffering from illness anxiety disorder pay excessive attention to normal bodily sensations (such as functions of digestion or sweating) and misinterpret these sensations as indicators of severe disease. Illness anxiety disorder is typically a chronic condition.

Illness Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Treatment for illness anxiety disorder is focused on helping patients cope with their health anxieties. Primary care providers should aim to establish a rapport and therapeutic alliance with their patients so that patients feel comfortable in discussing their health concerns. Psychotherapy is the first-line treatment for illness anxiety disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on treating the patient’s dysfunctional maladaptive cognitive beliefs by behavioral modification strategies.

What is "first line treatment for generalized anxiety disorder?" Antidepressants, including medications in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) classes, are the first line medication treatments.
What is “first line treatment for generalized anxiety disorder?” Antidepressants, including medications in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) classes, are the first line medication treatments.

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Anxiety Fact Sheet

Anxiety Overview

A mental health condition marked by intense feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that interferes with daily activities. Panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are a few examples of anxiety disorders.
The inability to put aside worry, restlessness, and stress that is out of proportion to the severity of the incident are among the symptoms.
Counseling or medicine, including antidepressants, are used as forms of treatment for anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral: hypervigilance, irritability, or restlessness.

Cognitive: lack of concentration, racing thoughts, or unwanted thoughts.

Whole body: fatigue or sweating

Also common:  anxiety, excessive worry, angor animi, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling

Anxiety Disorder Treatments

  • Support group: A place where those pursuing the same disease or objective, such as weight loss or depression, can receive counseling and exchange experiences.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: A conversation treatment for anxiety disorders that aimed to change the negative attitudes, actions, and feelings connected to psychiatric discomfort.
  • Counseling psychology: A subfield of psychology that handles issues with the self that are connected to work, school, family, and social life.
  • Anger management: To reduce destructive emotional outbursts, practice mindfulness, coping skills, and trigger avoidance.
  • Psychoeducation: Mental health education that also helps individuals feel supported, validated, and empowered
  • Family therapy: psychological counseling that improves family communication and conflict resolution.

Anxiety Statistics

It’s critical to understand the distinction between anxiety and depression. Anxiety, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression, in its most basic form, is an excessive feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness. It is conceivable for someone to experience depression and anxiety simultaneously.

6.8 million

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatments for anxiety disorders.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health

19 million

19 million adults experience specific phobias, making it the most common anxiety disorder in America.  

Source: ADAA2020

17.3 million

Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults or about 7.1% of the U.S. population aged 18 and older.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Causes of Anxiety

Trusted Source says many factors can influence an anxiety disorder which includes genetics, brain chemistry, emotional fitness, environmental factors/stressors, prior life experiences with anxiety, etc.

There are many different types of anxiety disorders including phobias, social anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, generalized anxiety, etc. The exact causes of anxiety disorders are unknown according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it’s likely a combination of factors including genetics and environment play a role in developing them. Brain chemistry is being studied for its possible role.

The correct anxiety disorder treatment would try to figure out which are the undetermined cause of your anxiety issues.

 What are Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options? The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.
What are Anxiety Disorder Treatment Options? The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.

Some causes of anxiety disorders are: 

  • Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families. However, research shows it is inconclusive.
  • Brain chemistry. Research suggests anxiety disorders are linked to faulty circuits in the brain that controls fear and emotions. In effect, it leads to panic disorder.
  • Environmental stress. This refers to stressful events you have seen or lived through. Moreover, it could lead to sleep problems.
  • Drug withdrawal or misuse. Certain drugs may be used to hide or decrease certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder often goes hand in hand with alcohol and substance use. For instance, cocaine and alcohol.
  • Medical conditions. Some heart, lung, and thyroid conditions can cause symptoms similar to anxiety disorders or make anxiety symptoms worse. Likewise, this leads to an inability to concentrate and uneasiness.
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Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

The main symptom of anxiety disorders is excessive fear or worry. Anxiety disorders can also make it hard to breathe, sleep, stay still, and concentrate.  Your specific symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have. For instance:

  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Feelings of panic, doom, or danger
  • Sleep problems
  • Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling hands
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Thinking about a problem over and over again and unable to stop (rumination)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Intensely or obsessively avoiding feared objects or places
What triggers anxiety? What triggers anxiety? Difficult experiences in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood are common triggers for anxiety problems. Going through stress and trauma when you're very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. 
What triggers anxiety? What triggers anxiety? Difficult experiences in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood are common triggers for anxiety problems. Going through stress and trauma when you’re very young is likely to have a particularly big impact. 

Smoking And Anxiety

Anxiety Disorder Quitting Smoking

Unfortunately, anxiety may also be a concern for people who decide to stop smoking. When a person stops smoking, the nicotine withdrawal symptoms can cause episodes of hyperventilation as well, which increases anxiety.

Additionally, smoking generally deteriorates lung health to the point where you might already have formed poor breathing habits that will be made worse by how your lungs feel when they aren’t exposed to cigarette smoke.

Because of this, you should prepare for these emotions before quitting smoking and ensure that you have a support network in place to assist you to stay away from cigarettes.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment Assessment Quiz

Take the quiz below to learn more about your personal anxiety case. If your anxiety questions responses score 50 points or more, reach out to one of our specialists for further support.

Please enter your email:

1. Do you feel very anxious or worry about a lot of things?


2. Do you think you worry excessively?


3. Do you worry virtually every day?


4. Have you been worrying like this for 6 months or longer?


5. Do you find it difficult to stop worrying?


6. Are you experiencing physical symptoms like restlessness, feeling tired, trouble concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, or trouble sleeping?


7. Does worrying negatively impact you at school, work, with friends & family, or in other areas of your life?


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When Does Anxiety Need Treatment?

Like every other mental health disorder, anxiety needs treatment when, through frequency or intensity, or both, worry interferes with functioning. Anxiety encourages the maladaptive response of avoidance of uncomfortable situations, limiting experience, and, often, enjoyment of life. Worries can consume an inordinate amount of time, day and night, disrupting concentration, preventing sleep, and just creating all-around suffering.

And like most other mental health disorders, anxiety is isolating, discouraging the very contact that counters anxiety’s pervasive sense of threat. As a preoccupation with some imagined future bad outcome, anxiety keeps people from enjoying the present and, perhaps more cruelly, finding a solution to whatever problem is the source of worry—when, In fact, freeing up mental space to engage in immediate activities is more likely to create the conditions for resolving the worry, one of the major goals of treatment of anxiety disorders.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment Without Medication

Anxiety treatment without medication (anxiety disorder natural treatment) can and does work. It is important for people to work with a knowledgeable provider and discuss their specific concerns about medication and anxiety disorders and treatment options.

Exercise can help manage symptoms of anxiety and, in some people, may even be a substitute for other types of treatment. A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis found that aerobic exercise — especially high-intensity exercise — could be particularly beneficial.

Psychotherapy is a highly effective intervention for anxiety. In fact, the American Psychological Association emphasizes that therapy is typically more effective than medication. This is because psychotherapy gives a person the chance to talk about their anxiety, explore coping mechanisms, and work through experiences that contribute to their anxiety.

Support groups help people with anxiety feel less alone. They may also offer practical wisdom that can help a person find the right provider, talk to their loved ones about their anxiety, or manage the process of seeking workplace accommodations.

Diet and nutrition changes. Some people find that changing their diet helps reduce anxiety. Options to consider include drinking less alcohol. Though few studies have directly assessed the link between alcohol and anxiety, many find that people self-medicate with alcohol. 

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a newer anxiety treatment that uses magnets to create a weak electrical current in the brain. This current may stimulate the release of neurotransmitters that relieve anxiety or change how the brain processes anxiety. Doctors are not totally sure how it works.

Stress relief techniques may help ease anxiety. The right approach depends on the person and the type of anxiety. For example, people who feel anxiety about work may find that the right organizational system relieves their fear of missing a deadline, while people who feel anxious while at home alone at night might invest in an alarm system or get a dog.

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We Level Up FL Mental Health Center offers advanced anxiety dual-diagnosis therapy programs.
We Level Up FL Mental Health Center offers advanced anxiety dual-diagnosis therapy programs.

Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Intense inpatient anxiety disorder treatment can offer invaluable help in handling anxiety’s produced vicious cycle of emotional distress. Anxiety can be difficult to treat. However, with proper specialist therapies, the individual should be able to get down to the root of their problem.

Anxiety disorder treatment can work best with a combination of therapy and anti-anxiety medications. That is according to [3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Similarly, co-occurring integrated mental health therapy is one of the most effective therapeutic methods for complex anxiety disorders with two or more secondary conditions. Research has strongly indicated that to recover fully, a person with anxiety disorder needs treatment for all underlying corresponding problems. If an anxiety disorder is treated and its secondary-related disorder is left out, then it will add more problems than solutions.

Anxiety Disorder Medication

Background information for this anxiety disorder treatment with medication is that there are several types of generalized anxiety disorder treatments. Benzodiazepines, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and buspirone have all been shown to be effective in clinical trials. These drugs appear to work best when taken regularly over the course of a number of months. Anxiety disorder medication is different than antidepressants, which are used more to treat conditions like major depression.

There are some differences in how these drugs act on the body and what symptoms they target, though they all work towards some degree of reduction of anxiety. One commonality among them is that they must be taken regularly for some time before improvement will be noticed. Anxiety disorder medications do not generally cause dependency or addiction when properly prescribed; however, there are rare cases where patients become dependent on benzodiazepines after prolonged use. Some people can become addicted to specific prescription drugs if combined with alcohol or other substances like marijuana.

If you or your loved one suffer from a severe anxiety disorder, professional anxiety disorder treatment can become necessary. Searching for anxiety disorder treatment near me? To learn more, contact us today at the We Level Up FL Treatment Facility, we provide the utmost care with doctors and medical staff available 24/7 for life-changing and lasting recovery. We can help provide an enhanced opportunity to return to a fulfilling and productive life.

Vaping Without Nicotine For Anxiety (Anxiety Vapes Without Nicotine)

Medically speaking, using a nicotine-free vaporizer as a treatment for anxiety disorder won’t reduce anxiety. However, some claim that the process of vaping will calm them down, therefore vaping without nicotine does, in a sense, aid with anxiety. However, nicotine-containing vapes can definitely cause anxiety.

Herbal Smoking Blends For Anxiety

Mullein and marshmallow are calming to your mucous membranes and beneficial to your overall lung health. They are included in this mixture to strengthen your lungs as you smoke and to provide a healthy foundation for the other herbs. Catnip is incredibly calming and aids in mental relaxation. Lavender has a peaceful, flowery, and soothing effect. Anxiety is greatly reduced by California poppy.

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6 PolularDoes Nicotine Cause AnxietyFAQs

  1. Does Nicotine Cause Anxiety? Can Nicotine Cause Anxiety?

    Does Smoking Cause Anxiety? Does Nicotine Give You Anxiety? Nicotine and anxiety: Most people think that smoking makes you feel more relaxed. However, smoking really makes people more tense and anxious. Over time, smokers have a higher risk of developing depression than non-smokers.

  2. Does Nicotine Help With Anxiety? Nicotine Anxiety

    Can Smoking Cause Anxiety? The majority of smokers claim to desire to quit, yet some do so nonetheless since it seems to reduce stress and anxiety. Most people think that smoking makes you feel more relaxed. However, smoking really makes people more tense and anxious. Over time, smokers have a higher risk of developing depression than non-smokers.

  3. Is it true when people claim “Quitting Smoking Cured My Anxiety”? Can Nicotine Help With Anxiety or Does Nicotine Calm Anxiety?

    Does Smoking Help With Anxiety? After quitting smoking, people with mental health issues are likely to feel considerably calmer and more optimistic and have a higher quality of life. There is evidence that quitting smoking can have a similar positive impact on anxiety and depressive symptoms as medications.

  4. Does Nicotine Make Anxiety Worse? Smoking Anxiety

    Smoking is a costly and harmful habit. Smoking can actually make anxiety worse, especially for people with GAD. Smoking can exacerbate anxieties about money and health, which can result in severe and persistent anxiety, even though it may temporarily help you feel better. The high prices may gradually increase anxiety symptoms.

  5. Can Nicotine Cause Anxiety And Depression? Does Nicotine Help Anxiety?

    Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the original notion that smoking is associated with stress reduction is false. Of course, many individuals smoke to help them deal with life’s inevitable stresses, but they may not be aware that smoking can really make anxiety worse.

  6. What are the Nicotine Patch Side Effects Anxiety?

    The negative effects of nicotine patches are typically minimal. People can mistakenly believe they are experiencing nicotine patch adverse effects when they may actually be going through withdrawal. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you are experiencing irritability, frustration, anxiety, or restlessness. They may advise you to try a higher dose or to use a faster-acting version of NRT more frequently. Some people may get skin discomfort from nicotine patches.

Search We Level Up FL Anxiety and Depression Resources

[1] American Psychiatric Association (APA)– /treatment plan for separation anxiety disorder pdf

[2] Psychiatric Times – generalized anxiety disorder

[3] Anxiety and Depression Association of America – / anxiety disorder treatment center

[4]  Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017 Jun;19(2):93-107. doi: 10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/bbandelow. PMID: 28867934; PMCID: PMC5573566.

[5] NIMH – treatments for anxiety disorder / adjustment disorder with anxiety treatment plan

[6] Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – National Center for Biotechnology InformationU.S. National Library of Medicine

[7] ‘Treatment Anxiety Disorder’ – National Institute Of Mental Health (

[8] Psychopharmacology of anxiety disorders – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

[9]  Products – Data Briefs – Number 379 – September 2020 ( Depression – National Institute of Mental Health

[10] Coping with Stress – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention