What is Anxiety?

Anxiety disorders represent the most common mental health disorders in the U.S., which affects approximately 40 million Americans.  Anxiety is a normal human emotion that almost everyone experiences at one time or another.  Most people feel anxious when faced with an important or stressful decision.  Anxiety disorders, however, represent such severe anxiety that they inhibit everyday life.

Anxiety disorders have been classified into several major types: social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. Social anxiety disorder causes one to fear and worry about normal social situations.  The fear is often centered around what others may think or the fear that one may be ridiculed. Generalized anxiety disorder involved a general worry or fear, even when there is apparently nothing to worry about. Panic disorder is a condition in which a person may be stricken with sudden fear or terror repeatedly and without warning.  This disorder is often associated with elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, chest pain, and sweating. Phobias are fears of an object or a situation, and often the fear is inappropriate to the situation and so severe that daily life can be hindered.

What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?

The symptoms of anxiety disorders are often common among various anxiety disorder types. These may include panic, uneasiness, fear, difficulty sleeping, cold hands/feet, sweaty hands/feet, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dry mouth, muscle tension, nausea, and dizziness.

What is the Treatment for Anxiety?

In conventional medical practices, the goal is general suppression of anxiety symptoms through the use of medications such as anti-depressants, anxiolytics, and benzodiazepines. Cognitive behavioral therapy may also be used to treat anxiety. At Cascade Integrative Medicine, our approach to anxiety is quite different.  First, we acknowledge that anxiety has a place in our emotions and that a healthy expression of this emotion is the goal.  Anxiety may be managed through the use of specific diets, herbal medicine, biofeedback, mind-body medicine, and supportive supplementation. We aim to address the total balance in each patient’s biochemistry, biomechanics, and psycho-social interactions to treat anxiety.