7 Different types of Anxiety Disorders treated by the Chicago Therapists at SpringSource Psychological Center

Written by: Kirstin Schafer, Psy.D., Angela Derrick, Ph.D. & Susan McClanahan, Ph.D.

7 Different types of Anxiety Disorders treated by the Chicago Therapists at SpringSource Psychological Center

7 Different types of Anxiety Disorders treated by the Chicago Therapists at SpringSource Psychological Center

Anxiety disorders are prevalent, affecting over 40 million adults in the United States. The good news is that they are also highly treatable. In this post, we will look at seven different types of anxiety disorders that Chicago therapists commonly treat. If you or someone you know is struggling with an anxiety disorder, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is a serious condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause chronic feelings of anxiety and worry, typically without any concrete source of stress or concern.

People with GAD often have difficulties:

  • Sleeping
  • Concentrating
  • Relaxing both mentally and physically
  • Making decisions
  • Maintaining relationships due to their persistent worrying thoughts

While the exact causes of GAD are not well understood, several factors are believed to contribute to its development. For example, individuals who have experienced traumatic events in their past may be more predisposed to developing GAD. Additionally, genetic factors may play a role in increasing one’s susceptibility to GAD.

Despite the severity of this disorder, treatment options to manage its symptoms do exist. These can include therapy or medication; however, it is essential for those suffering from GAD to reach out for help as soon as possible to find relief from their symptoms and lead more fulfilling lives.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder that affects people of all ages. OCD is characterized by repetitive, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that the person feels compelled to do to relieve anxiety or distress.

People with OCD often recognize that their thoughts and behaviors are irrational, but they feel unable to control them. OCD can profoundly affect a person’s life, interfering with work, school, and personal relationships.

Obsessive thoughts might include:

  • Fear of contamination or germs
  • Intrusive thoughts about harm coming to oneself or others
  • Excessive focus on orderliness, symmetry, or exactness
  • Unwanted sexual or religious thoughts

Compulsive acts can include:

  • Excessive hand-washing or showering
  • Checking things excessively (e.g., locks, appliances)
  • Counting or ordering objects
  • Arranging things in a specific, precise way
  • Needing to touch objects a certain number of times
  • Hoarding or collecting items

Treatment for OCD typically includes exposure and response prevention, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps people gradually confront their fears and learn to let go of their compulsions. In some cases, medications such as antidepressants may also be prescribed.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder that causes repeated and unexpected episodes of intense fear. These episodes, also known as panic attacks, can last for several minutes or longer and wreak havoc on a person’s life.

Panic Disorder

Panic attacks are characterized by various physical and cognitive symptoms, including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, and dizziness. Many people also experience feelings of terror and fear of dying or going crazy. It is not uncommon for someone having a panic attack to go to the emergency room, believing they are having a heart attack or dying.  In addition to the physical symptoms, panic attacks can also cause severe disruptions to a person’s daily routine.

People with panic disorder often avoid situations or places where they have experienced a panic attack, severely limiting their ability to function in day-to-day life. The good news is that panic disorder is highly treatable with cognitive-behavioral therapy. As a result, many people can live full and productive lives with proper diagnosis and treatment.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a debilitating condition in individuals who have experienced severe or life-threatening trauma.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares,
  • Difficulties with concentration & sleeping
  • Mood swings
  • Reckless or aggressive behavior

To manage these symptoms effectively, people with PTSD may need professional help from a therapist or counselor. Treatments for PTSD can vary depending on its severity and the individual’s specific needs but typically include interventions such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and types of exposure therapy such as prolonged exposure, EMDR (Eye Movement Desnsitization Rapid), or written exposure therapy. Additionally, medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs can be used to manage specific symptoms of PTSD. Through early recognition and proper treatment, those living with this condition can learn to live healthy and fulfilling lives.

Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder)

Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is a type of anxiety disorder that involves intense fear of social situations.

People with social phobia may feel anxious about:

  • Interacting with others
  • Talking in front of groups
  • Meeting new people
  • Being in situations where they might be judged
  • Work or school performance

This can lead to avoidance of social situations, and severe distress is unavoidable when exposed to these situations. In some cases, people with social phobia may also experience physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heart, and difficulty breathing.

Depression Therapy Chicagoland

Social phobia can significantly impact the quality of life, but fortunately, effective treatments are available. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication can help reduce symptoms and help people manage their fear of social situations.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation anxiety disorder is a common psychological condition that affects many people, particularly children, and adolescents. This condition is characterized by intense fear and worries about being separated from important figures in one’s life, such as parents or close family members.

People with a separation anxiety disorder may feel undue stress and panic when they are apart from these important individuals, and they may experience physical symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rapid heartbeat, and fainting. Treatment for this disorder typically involves therapy and medication, though some people find that techniques like yoga or meditation can also be helpful.

Phobia-Related Disorder

A phobia-related disorder is when a person experiences an irrational fear or excessive anxiety concerning a particular object, activity, or situation. This fear often disrupts normal functioning and interferes with a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks.

Common examples of phobia-related disorders include specific phobias, such as:

  • Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • Agoraphobia (fear of crowded places)
  • Acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces)

These conditions are typically treated using a combination of behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, and medication. While treatment can be challenging for some people, managing these disorders and leading an everyday, healthy life is possible.

With the right treatment plan and support from friends and family, anyone can overcome their phobia-related disorder and regain control over their behavior.

What are the most common treatments for anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders are generally treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two. The most common types of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders are Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment therapy (ACT).

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common treatment for anxiety disorders. CBT is a type of therapy that helps people identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety. CBT typically involves meeting with a therapist regularly for several weeks or months.

During CBT sessions, people learn techniques for managing their anxiety, such as challenging their thoughts and identifying new ones, and finding ways of relaxing/grounding.  Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that gradually exposes people to what they fear in a safe and controlled environment. This can help people to overcome their fears and reduce their anxiety levels.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

This type of therapy involves accepting the underlying thoughts and emotions causing anxiety while still focusing on taking action in one’s life. By encouraging patients to be mindful of their thoughts and feelings without trying to change them, ACT aims to help individuals more effectively cope with unpleasant emotions and situations.

In addition, ACT also teaches patients to identify their values and use these values to guide daily committed actions that are in-line with these values, which helps guide the recovery process. 

Overall, acceptance and commitment therapy is an effective treatment for a wide range of anxiety disorders and provides numerous tools that individuals can use throughout their lives to better cope with difficult emotions.

Medication can also help reduce symptoms of anxiety disorders but should always be prescribed by a doctor or other mental health professional.

Some of the most common medications used to treat anxiety disorders include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Beta-blockers

It is vital to work with a mental health professional to find the right treatment plan for you. Most people with anxiety disorders can manage their symptoms and live happy and healthy lives with the proper treatment.

How can anxiety disorders affect your daily life?

Anxiety disorders can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. If you suffer from one of these conditions, you may find it difficult to:

  • Leave your home
  • Be around people
  • Concentrate or focus
  • Sleep
  • Perform work and other tasks
  • Enjoy leisure activities and hobbies
  • Relax your mind and body

If left untreated, anxiety disorders can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Health problems
  • Problems in relationships

If you are struggling with anxiety, it is crucial to reach out for help. Many resources are available to you, including hotlines, therapy, and support groups. Unfortunately, you are not alone in this struggle. You can overcome your anxiety and live a happy, fulfilling life with the proper treatment.

Lifestyle changes to help manage anxiety disorder symptoms.

Managing the symptoms of an anxiety disorder can be a challenge, especially if you are already dealing with the stress and uncertainty of the disorder itself.

However, in addition to medication and therapy, several lifestyle changes can help manage anxiety disorder symptoms. Some lifestyle changes that may be helpful include:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Limiting or eliminating caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation
  • Getting adequate sleep each night
  • Make time for hobbies and activities you enjoy
  • Building a support system of family and friends

These lifestyle changes can help reduce anxiety symptoms and make it easier to manage anxiety disorders. However, it is essential to remember that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

Talk to your doctor or mental health professional about which lifestyle changes would be most helpful for you.

What to look for when choosing a mental health professional.

If you are considering seeking treatment for an anxiety disorder, it is important to choose a mental health professional that is right for you. When selecting a therapist or doctor, make sure to look for someone who:

  • Is experienced in treating anxiety disorders
  • Uses evidence-based treatments
  • Make you feel comfortable and safe
  • Listens to your concerns and respects your wishes

Anxiety disorders are treatable conditions that often require the help of mental health professionals. For example, if you have insurance, check with your provider to see what coverage is available for anxiety disorder treatment. In addition, many insurance plans cover some or all of the cost of therapy and medication.

If you do not have insurance, many other options are available to help you pay for treatment. Many therapists offer sliding-scale fees, which they charge based on your ability to pay. There are also a number of free or low-cost mental health clinics available in most communities.

The benefits of seeking treatment for anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in the United States, affecting millions of people. These disorders can cause a wide range of symptoms, including panic attacks, insomnia, and physical tension. Left untreated, anxiety disorders can interfere with daily life and adversely affect physical and mental health. However, many effective treatments are available that can help individuals manage their symptoms and regain control over their lives.

One of the main benefits of seeking treatment for anxiety disorders is receiving support and guidance from mental health professionals. Therapists and counselors are experts in treating these conditions and can provide valuable insights into managing symptoms and developing healthy coping strategies. Additionally, therapies such as exposure therapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy are very effective in helping individuals overcome their anxiety.

Another benefit of seeking treatment is that it allows access to medications targeting anxiety symptoms. Certain medications are very beneficial for many individuals with anxiety disorders, as they can relieve sufferers’ worst symptoms while enabling them to maintain normal function in their day-to-day lives.

Overall, there are many benefits to getting help for an anxiety disorder – from reducing the severity of anxious thoughts and feelings to regaining control over one’s life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.  The professionals at Springsource Psychological are here to support you through your journey to wellness. Contact us today at 224-202-6260 and let us help you find the relief you deserve.