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Avoid caffeine.

Learn and practice ways to relax.
Anxiety Disorders:
What they are and what you can do
What is anxiety?
Anxiety can be a normal "alarm system" alerting you to danger. Imagine coming home and finding a burglar in your home. Your heart beats fast. Your palms get sweaty: Your mind races. In this situation, anxiety can add an extra spark to help you get out of danger. Under more normal but busy times, it can give you energy to help you get things done. But sometimes anxiety can be out of control, giving you a sense of dread and fear for no apparent reason. This kind of anxiety is a real problem and can disrupt your life. Anxiety disorders refer to a number of conditions, including generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, which are explained in this handout.


What is generalized anxiety disorder?

Generalized anxiety disorder is ongoing,
excessive worry or fear that is out of proportion to what you would expect -for instance, constantly worrying about a child who is perfectly healthy. Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include the following
Muscle tension
Dry mouth
Trembling or shaking
Dizziness
Shortness of breath
Irritability
Fast heartbeat
Loss of sleep
Fast heartbeat
Not being able to concentrate

What is panic disorder?
Panic disorder is another type of anxiety: It occurs when you have episodes of intense fear that' start abruptly: These are called panic attacks. Panic attacks feel like your body's alarnl system has been triggered when there is no danger. Panic attacks can include the following symptoms:
Chest pressure or chest pain
Sweating
Fast heartbeat
Trembling or shaking
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Fear of losing control
Shortness of breath or tightness in the throat
Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
Fast heartbeat
Fear of dying

What causes anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders can begin during or after a stressful event in your life, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce. Some people say they have been anxious their whole lives. Other people suddenly become anxious without being able to point to a reason. Anxiety may also be related to a side effect of a medicine or to an illness. Anxiety disorders often run in families
.

Can anxiety disorders be treated?

Yes. Talk to your family doctor if you think you have a problem with anxiety. He or she can help you foml a plan to develop skills to cope with your anxiety: Your doctor may also suggest counseling, medicine, or both. A specific foml of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy has been shown to be very helpful in treating most anxiety disorders.


How can I learn more?
For more information contact the following organizations:
Anxiety Disorders Association of America
301-231-9350 www.adaa.org

American Psychiatric Association
888-35-PSYCH www.psych.org

National Alliance for the Mentally III
800-950- NAMI www.nami.org


National Institute of Mental Health Info Resources and Inquiries Branch
888-8-ANXIETY
www.nimh.nih.gov
National Mental Health Association
800-969- NMHA
www.nmha.org
Tips on coping with anxiety
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Timothy L. Biliouris, M.D.
65 Route 134 Dennis, MA 02660
508-394-7113