What are anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders encompass a set of mental health conditions distinguished by an abundance of concern, unease, and trepidation. These feelings can be overwhelming and persistent, significantly impacting a person's daily life. Individuals with anxiety disorders often experience heightened stress responses to situations that others may find manageable. This heightened response can manifest physically, leading to symptoms such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, and difficulty concentrating.

The spectrum of anxiety disorders includes various forms, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias. GAD involves chronic worry about everyday situations, while social anxiety disorder revolves around an intense fear of judgment in social settings. Panic disorder leads to sudden and intense bouts of fear, accompanied by physical symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath. Specific phobias involve an irrational fear of specific objects or situations, leading to avoidance behaviors.

Living with anxiety disorders can be challenging, affecting relationships, work, and overall well-being. However, effective treatments, including therapy and medication, can help individuals manage symptoms and regain control over their lives. It's important to recognize that anxiety disorders are common, and seeking support is a crucial step toward understanding and managing these conditions.

Anxiety vs. worry

Anxiety and worry, though related, differ in intensity and persistence. Worry involves mild concern about potential future events, often fleeting. On the other hand, anxiety is a heightened, prolonged state of unease, impacting daily life. Online anxiety treatment offers accessible support, providing coping strategies and professional guidance. Embracing these resources empowers individuals to manage anxiety effectively, fostering mental well-being.

Types of anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are common mental health conditions characterized by excessive worry, fear, and nervousness that can interfere with daily life. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is marked by persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life, often without a specific cause. Panic Disorder brings sudden and intense episodes of fear, accompanied by physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.

Social Anxiety Disorder revolves around an overwhelming fear of social situations, leading to avoidance of social interactions. Specific Phobia involves an intense fear of specific objects or situations, such as heights or spiders. Agoraphobia is characterized by anxiety about being in places or situations where escape may be difficult.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves recurring, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) to alleviate anxiety. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) develops after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, causing intrusive memories, nightmares, and heightened stress responses.

Separation Anxiety Disorder is often seen in children, involving excessive anxiety when separated from caregivers. Selective Mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder where a child consistently does not speak in specific social situations. Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) stands out as a prevalent childhood anxiety disorder. It represents an amplification of naturally occurring developmental anxiety, characterized by an excessive preoccupation, heightened unease, and even apprehension regarding either the current or anticipated detachment from a primary attachment figure.

Each anxiety disorder varies in its symptoms and impact, but they share the common thread of excessive and debilitating worry. Treatment often involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle adjustments to help individuals manage and alleviate their anxiety.

What are the signs of anxiety?

Anxiety manifests as persistent worry, restlessness, and heightened nervousness. Physical symptoms include muscle tension, trembling, and difficulty concentrating. Sleep disturbances, fatigue, and a sense of impending doom are common. Racing heart, shallow breathing, and gastrointestinal discomfort may accompany anxious feelings. It can impact daily functioning, causing irritability and avoidance of triggering situations. Seeking support is crucial for managing anxiety and promoting mental well-being.

What causes anxiety?

Anxiety, a common emotional response, often stems from a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. At its core, anxiety arises when the brain perceives a potential threat, triggering the body's "fight or flight" response. This primal reaction, designed to keep us safe, can become problematic when activated excessively or inappropriately. Genetic predispositions can make some individuals more susceptible to anxiety, as certain genes influence the regulation of stress hormones.

Environmental stressors, such as traumatic experiences or chronic life challenges, can also contribute to anxiety. Additionally, personality traits, brain chemistry imbalances, and ongoing life stressors play pivotal roles. Coping mechanisms and resilience levels vary among individuals, influencing how they manage anxiety. Developing effective coping strategies, seeking support, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are essential in managing anxiety and promoting overall well-being. Understanding the multifaceted nature of anxiety is crucial in addressing its root causes and fostering mental health.

Other factors contributing to anxiety risk include:

  • Experiencing trauma, especially in childhood
  • Drug or alcohol use

How does Therapy Center of New York treat anxiety?

Therapy Center of New York offers personalized anxiety relief through empathetic counseling and evidence-based techniques. Our dedicated team fosters a supportive environment, guiding individuals toward lasting mental wellness with tailored strategies and compassionate care.

Medication management

Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may be prescribed in cases of acute anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder. Benzodiazepines act by increasing the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes a sense of calmness. They have a rapid onset of action, swiftly reducing panic, anxiety, and worry. It's important to note that these medications are most beneficial when used for short-term relief.

Antidepressants, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), function by increasing the presence of specific chemical messengers in the brain. SSRIs primarily impact serotonin levels, while SNRIs influence both serotonin and norepinephrine levels. The adjustment of these chemical levels can result in improved mood and a decrease in anxiety. The complete therapeutic effects of these medications may take several weeks to manifest.

Beta blockers, a class of drugs commonly prescribed for managing elevated blood pressure. These medications operate by inhibiting the effects of specific hormones such as adrenaline. Adrenaline is accountable for numerous adverse physical manifestations associated with anxiety, such as heightened heart rate, tremors, and shaking.

Not all individuals experiencing anxiety will find the same medications suitable for their needs. The optimal approach varies from person to person, with some responding well to a single medication, while others may benefit from a combination of two complementary medications to effectively manage their symptoms. If one medication proves ineffective, there is the possibility of finding success with an alternative option. Therefore, collaborating with a healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, is crucial to tailor the treatment plan according to individual requirements.


Your mental health professional might suggest supportive therapy alongside medication to address and cope with your anxiety. Provided by a psychiatrist (in conjunction with medication management) or a therapist, talk therapy serves as a valuable resource to gain insights into and overcome anxiety. Throughout your treatment, the psychiatrist or therapist may incorporate specific, evidence-based techniques aimed at effectively alleviating anxiety symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Most commonly, it treats anxiety and depression, but it can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.

Exposure therapy, a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), has demonstrated effectiveness in addressing anxiety. This therapeutic approach involves systematically confronting and engaging with activities or stimuli that individuals may have been avoiding in a secure environment. The goal is to facilitate the confrontation of fears, fostering increased confidence in dealing with triggers.