Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Overcoming Anxiety and Stress

12/12/2005

Question:

I am a senior level executive. Of late, I have developed a habit of constantly thinking of something or the other. Secondly, I have also become fearful of reactions by others as a result of which I have become slightly timid. I cannot speak assertively when I am supposed to be assertive. An element of compromise has developed in me. Thirdly, if someone talks aggressively or if at all I start reacting in a similar way, I get palpitations and trembling and I feel I shall lose my balance. I am also fearful of something unknown. I know that this is anxiety emotional disturbance and OCD. I have a sleep disturbance in the night. If someone argues with me, I cannot react beyond a limit. I also feel scared of the reactions of my wife and daughter and I cannot be assertive with them. I am hypertensive Kindly guide me.

Answer:

Well, it sounds like you know that anxiety is a likely cause of many of your problems.  Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety (worrying and being anxious about many things, ultimately even be anxious about feeling anxious), panic attacks (brief periods of extreme anxiety, usually associated with physical symptoms including palpitations, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath and nausea) and Obsessive-compulsive disorder (either repetitively doing or thinking the same thing in order to decrease feelings of anxiety) are felt to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain neurotransmitters.  There are also social, emotional and physical components to the causes (and treatments) of anxiety disorders, but this needs to be considered a real, medical disease.  The good news is that there are highly effective and successful treatments.  However, they take time and diligence to work.

Medications and counseling (especially cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)) are the most effective treatments.  Depending on the exact situation and personal preferences, both meds and therapy work, but the best results have been found using both together.  The most commonly used medications are the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptak inhibitors, like prozac, zoloft, lexapro and others).  CBT can help anxiety sufferers learn how to separate the feelings of anxiety from situations in real life and lean how to deal with anxiety.

First, it is important you see a physician to get an accurate diagnosis, and to have a complete examination to make sure there are no other medical problems or concerns.  Many mental health professionals offer CBT, and anxiety medications can be prescribed by both your primary care physician or a psychiatrist.

Remember that good nutrition, plenty of rest and exercise, as well as avoiding "legal" drugs like alcohol and tobacco (as well as illegal drugs) are also important components of therapy.

Check the weblinks for more information.

Good luck.

Related Resources:

anxiety disorders of america
NIH NIMH anxiety

For more information:

Go to the Anxiety and Stress Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati