If you often feel uptight and hopeless or are experiencing an overwhelming feeling that life is a constant struggle, you might be suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is an uneasy feeling often characterized by fear and/or worry. You can experience mild, moderate or severe anxiety. Most people experience anxiety at some points in their life, and it is therefore quite a common condition with effective treatments available.

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Overview Anxiety In Houston Texas

At certain points in your life, you are most likely to experience anxiety when you encounter difficulties at school, work, and personal decisions. Anxiety disorders are not simply fear and worry – they’re much more than those often temporary feelings. In all likelihood, a person who experiences anxiety tends to suffer from it longer and the disorder can get stronger over time. The symptoms associated with this anxiety hinder us from undertaking or enjoying simple activities such as work, school and relationships.

Several types of anxiety disorders exist, such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder often consists of experiencing excessive anxiety for six months or more. This anxiety or worry is triggered by different situations like personal health, social health, work environment, or mundane routine work.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder may consist of the following symptoms:
  • – Restlessness
  • – Tiring easily
  • – Inability to focus and concentrate
  • – Muscle tension
  • – Irritability
  • – Difficulty suppressing emotions
  • – Poor sleep patterns
Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder occurs when a person has repetitive and sometimes unexpected panic attacks. These episodes of extreme fear can escalate within minutes and are often triggered either spontaneously or by an object, person, memory, or situation.

Panic Disorder may consist of the following symptoms:
  • – Increased heart rate
  • – Excessive Sweating
  • – Trembling or shaking 
  • – Shortness of breath, smothering or choking
  • – Feelings of impending doom
  • – Feelings of being out of control
A person with a panic disorder often worries when their next panic attack might take place and may attempt to prevent such future attacks by avoiding triggering situations, places, or people. These actions are likely to give rise to other challenges and in some cases may cause agoraphobia, which has been described as a fear of not being able to escape a situation might or get help.
Specific Phobias

Specific phobias consist of a feeling of intense fear towards a specific object or situation. Some examples of this type of phobia include the fear of:
  • – Heights
  • – Flying
  • – Animals such as spiders, snakes, and dogs
  • – Venipuncture
  • – Blood
Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, formerly known as social phobia, is the fear of being with people, including in social gatherings, where there may be an audience to address. People with Social Anxiety Disorder can get anxious about whether their actions or attitude may be negatively perceived by others, causing them to feel embarrassed. Social Anxiety Disorder can be triggered and exhibited in a range of situations like in the workplace, a school, and social gatherings.

A person suffering from agoraphobia has an extreme fear of two or more objects or situations. Some examples include:
  • – Using public transportation or busy areas
  • – Being in open and/or enclosed spaces
  • – Being in a crowd (falling in line)
  • – Being alone outside
People suffering from agoraphobia tend to avoid these situations in hopes of not encountering them. They feel as if leaving those situations will be difficult and impossible to the point of manifesting panic-like reactions and other serious symptoms. In a severe case, a person might become housebound.
Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is characterized by an extreme fear of being separated from a loved one or primary caregiver. People who suffer from Separation Anxiety Disorder often think that something terrible will happen to their loved one or primary caregiver while being away. As a result, symptoms that may be found in those that suffer from Separation Anxiety Disorder are feelings of reluctance to go to school or work by themselves, headaches, and nightmares.
Selective Mutism

Selective mutism is often considered a rare disorder and occurs when people are unable to speak in some social situations despite having the ability to speak normally. This type of disorder usually occurs before the age of 5 and is characterized by shyness, fear of interaction, compulsive attitude, clingy behavior, tantrums, and withdrawal. People suffering from selective mutism are more likely to be diagnosed with other anxiety disorders in the future as well.
Phobia-Related Disorders

An aversion to or an intense fear of specific objects or situations is referred to as “phobia”. The extreme fear they feel is out of proportion to the danger posed by that object or situation. People with a phobia tend to:
  • – Be irrational when faced with an object or situation they fear
  • – Take active measures to avoid such object or situation
  • – Experience intense anxiety upon contact with that object or situation
  • – Endure inevitable situations or unavoidable objects with extreme anxiety.
Brain Stimulation Therapies

If other treatments did not work, many psychiatrists recommend brain stimulation therapies as an alternative.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – this therapy involves transmitting short electrical impulses into the brain but may cause some side effects including memory loss. Individuals who are going to undergo such treatment should understand the risks and benefits beforehand.
  • Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a new type of brain stimulation that uses a magnet instead of an electric current to stimulate the brain. This helps medications become more effective and even allows some people to no longer need medications altogether.
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is an invasive procedure that works through a device implanted under the skin sending signals through the left vagus nerve, which carries messages from the brain to the major organs and to areas of the brain that control mood, sleep, and other brain functions.


Scientific studies suggest that both genetic and environmental factors significantly affect the chances of developing an anxiety disorder. The triggers and/or risk factors may vary from person to person but some general factors include:

Shyness or behavioral inhibition in childhood

Exposure to stressful environment or negative life events during early childhood or adulthood

History of anxiety or other mental illnesses

Physical health conditions (such as but not limited to thyroid problems, a heart arrhythmias) may produce or aggravate anxiety symptoms.

Scientific studies suggest that both genetic and environmental factors significantly affect the chances of developing an anxiety disorder. The triggers and/or risk factors may vary from person to person but some general factors include:
Family support is the best option when helping somebody who experiences anxiety. Some of them may only want someone to talk to and want to feel that they have a companion who is willing to understand and empathize with their situation.

Treatment And Therapies

Anxiety disorders can be treated with psychotherapy, medications, or both. There are several ways to alleviate and treat anxiety disorders. To be free from such illnesses requires cooperation from both the patient and the doctor in charge.
Psychotherapy or “talk therapy” greatly helps people in managing their anxiety disorders. In order for it to be effective, psychotherapy must be directed to the specific needs and anxieties of a person.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people by teaching them the different ways and approaches of thinking, behaving, and reacting to triggers. CBT also helps them learn and practice social skills which are necessary to treat social anxiety disorder.

There are two CBT methods that can be applied to people with anxiety disorders – cognitive and exposure therapy. Cognitive therapy gives more attention to identifying, challenging, and neutralizing negative and unhelpful thoughts that sprout from the disorder. This therapy helps people recover and be able to engage in activities they have been avoiding. Exposure therapy, on the other hand, is used alongside relaxation exercises and/or imagery. CBT can involve one person or a group who shares the same struggle. Often home tasks are given to these people to compete between sessions, giving them more opportunities to further improve.
Taking medications does not completely treat anxiety disorders but can only relieve some of  its symptoms. These medications are prescribed by doctors, most especially psychiatrists, or primary care providers. In some states, psychologists who have specialized training are allowed to prescribe psychiatric medication to patients. The most commonly prescribed drugs for anxiety disorders are anti-anxiety drugs (e.g benzodiazepines), antidepressants, and beta-blockers.

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Taking antidepressant medication may help reduce or control symptoms which may take at least 2-4 weeks until 12 weeks before it reaches it full effect. Most individuals have to test what dose of medication is best for them. Here are some antidepressants commonly used to treat depression:

Anti-anxiety medications

Help ease symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, and extreme fear or worry. The most common medication of this type is benzodiazepine. Although they are commonly used as first-line treatments for generalized anxiety disorder, they still have advantages and disadvantages you should be aware of. They are also effective in relieving anxieties and take effect quicker than other antidepressants. Like any other drugs, they also have drawbacks or risks. Some include resistance to such medications if taken over a long period of time. In such cases, patients may need to increase the dosages in order to take effect thus may result in drug dependence.
In response to people being dependent on this drug, doctors prescribe benzodiazepines for only short periods of time – a practice helpful for older adults, for those who have substance abuse problems, and those who easily become dependent on medications. 

If people abruptly stopped taking medications

Benzodiazepines in particular, may exhibit withdrawal symptoms or worse, their anxiety may return. Benzodiazepines should then be tapered off slowly. If the time comes when you need to stop taking it, the doctor in charge will decrease your dosage and slowly be independent. When used for a longer term, they are considered as a second-line treatment for anxiety and “as needed” treatment for any distressing and elevated showcase of symptoms.   

Another type of anti-anxiety medication is called Buspirone. It is a non-benzodiazepine medication indicated specifically for chronic anxiety and is not effective for all people taking it up.

Family support is the best option when helping somebody who experiences depression. Some of them might only want someone to talk to and wanted to feel that they have a companion who is willing to understand and feel their situation.



as its name suggests, are used to treat and fight depression. They can also be useful in treating anxiety disorders. Taking this medication improves the way their patient’s brain uses certain substances that control mood and stress. Generally, you’ll have to try taking several types of antidepressants to find the right one – it is necessary to find what is suitable for you because the right medication can improve your symptoms and give manageable side effects. Antidepressants used by a close family member, who showed improvement, are also considered. 

Antidepressants take a long time to work. It is then necessary to give the medication time before judging its effectiveness. Ideally, you should not stop taking them once you have already started taking antidepressants. When your doctor decides to stop your medications, the dosage should be gradually decreased to give time for your body to adjust with the change. Stopping without your doctor’s consent can lead to withdrawal.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

And serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are types of antidepressants that are considered as first-line treatments for anxiety. Another type is tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are classified as an order class of antidepressants, are less commonly used but effective for treating anxieties.

Take Note: In some cases, children, teenagers, and even young adults under the age of 25 may experience suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressant medications, particularly in the first few weeks of taking it or when the dose changes. Due to this, patients of all ages should be carefully observed to avoid further complications.

Aside from its ability to treat high blood pressure, beta-blockers are also used to relieve physical symptoms of anxiety. Such symptoms include rapid heartbeats, trembling or shaking, and blushing. Taking this medication for a short period of time can control and stabilize the physical symptoms of the patient. They can also be taken as needed to reduce acute anxiety and as a preventive intervention for predictable forms of performance anxieties. 
Choosing The Right Medication
Certain types of drugs work effectively for specific types of anxiety disorders, hence, people should cooperate with their doctor in identifying the medication best suited to their needs. Some substances like caffeine, over-the-counter cold medicines, herbal medicines, and herbal supplements can make symptoms of anxiety disorders ever worse.  The patients must communicate well with their doctor to learn which medications are safe and which are not. Also discuss with your doctor about the things you should do and learn the precautions you have to take when taking medications.
What Should You Ask Your Doctor
Ask you doctor about:
  • How effective is the medication in improving your symptoms
  • Benefits and side effects of medication
  • Possible risk of serious side effects based on medical history
  • Likelihood of changing lifestyle while taking medications
  • Costs of medication
  • Other alternative therapies, medications, supplements that may help (a combination of medication and psychotherapy sometimes work best for people with anxiety disorders)
  • How can those alternative affect the treatment process 
  • When and how the medication should be stopped (Some drugs must be tapered off slowly under doctor’s supervision)
More Information About Medication
For more information, you can visit Mental Health Medications Health Topic WebPage. Please take into account that any information found on the website regarding medications is for educational purposes only and may possibly be outdated. Due to the advancement of science and technology, information about medications changes frequently. Diagnosis and treatments must be done with your doctor’s consent and supervision thus, consultation with your doctor is highly recommended before taking any steps. Visit the U.S Food and Drug Administration website for the latest and updated news on patient medication guides, newly approved medications, and warnings.
Support Groups
Joining one or more self-help and support groups may improve your anxiety disorders. Within the circle, you are free to share your problems and achievements with others and listen to theirs. Internet chat rooms may also be useful, but take their advice with caution as these internet users are anonymous. Always check with your doctor before proceeding to any kind of treatment found on the internet. You can talk to your trusted friend or member of the clergy for support but it will not be as effective as talking to a doctor or a health professional.
Stress Management Techniques
There are several techniques you can do to manage and calm your stress and enhance the effects of therapies. Some include meditation and aerobic exercise. Research, however, suggests that although aerobic exercise can help, it should not replace standard care and more research must be conducted to support the claim.
Join A Study
Research studies such as clinical trials help in providing new ways to prevent, detect, and treat diseases including anxiety disorders. In a clinical trial, treatments may be in the form of newly manufactured drugs, combination of drugs, surgical procedures, new ways to use existing treatments, new types of psychotherapy, and more. The objective of clinical trials is to determine what new tests and treatments are effective and useful. 

Although participants may benefit from taking part in a clinical trial, they should be aware that the purpose of clinical trials is to increase scientific knowledge and contribute to the development of new treatments. Decisions on participating in a clinical trial and what process is best suited for the participant, is best made in cooperation with a licensed mental health professional. 

If you want to know more about the clinical trials, you can visit the NIH Clinical Research Trials and You website. If you are looking for a clinical trial then visit ClinicalTrials.gov.

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