Anxiety Management Services
Stop letting your anxiety get in the way of living your life. Learn more about your stress, worry, anxiety triggers and how to manage them. At PlatinumCare LA, we help men and women with anxiety management in Los Angeles. We can help you find the causes and solutions to reduce your anxiety through lifestyle changes, therapy, medication or a combination of the three.
Severe anxiety can come in a number of forms from avoiding activities and interactions or enduring distress during them to panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are more common than any other category of mental health disorder and are estimated to affect about 15% of adults in the US. Anxiety disorders include:
Feeling nervous or having anxiety is a normal survival instinct and response to threat, fear or stress. However, for people with anxiety disorders, anxiety is more frequent, severe and/or long-lasting. When anxiety interferes with your normal, everyday life, it is considered a disorder where you should speak with a doctor about treatment and therapy.
Why Anxiety Management is Important
Treatment is important if you’re suffering from any anxiety disorder. If your anxiety is left untreated, it could get worse or you can form harmful coping methods (such as self-medication with alcohol or drugs). Getting treatment to identify the symptoms and possible causes of the anxiety disorder and learning to react differently to triggers can significantly improve the life of someone with anxiety. In some cases, anti-anxiety medications prescribed by a psychiatrist can also be very effective in reducing anxiety.
History of Anxiety Management
Anxiety Disorders were only just recognized in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association. Before this recognition people experiencing severe anxiety were diagnosed very generally with ‘stress’, ‘nerves’ or a ‘phobia’. Back then, there was no understanding of anxiety disorders by health professionals, therefore very few people received effective treatment. Since 1980, research about anxiety has been developed rapidly. Today, there is much more media attention and awareness of how people can be affected by anxiety, so recognition and treatment is more common and the disorder carries less stigma.
When Should You Seek Anxiety Treatment
When anxiety is constant, severe or uncontrollable, it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor about possible anxiety treatment. You may benefit from treatment if you find yourself avoiding many social interactions or other activities to avoid feeling anxious during them. When anxiety is interfering with your life in this way, you should talk to your doctor about the anxiety you’re experiencing.
There are other symptoms like thinking constantly about worst case scenarios. Or, there can be physical symptoms like shaking, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, muscle tension, etc.
Questions to Ask your Doctor about Anxiety Treatment
Here are some questions you should ask your doctor about your anxiety:
- What could be a cause of my anxiety?
- Are there any other physical health problems or medications that could be causing or worsening my anxiety?
- Do I need any tests?
- Should I see a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider?
- What type of therapy might help me?
- Could I benefit from any medications?
- In addition to treatment, are there any steps I can take at home that might help?
- Do you have any educational materials or websites you recommend?
How to Prepare for your Appointment
Before an appointment to discuss anxiety, write down:
- Your symptoms- Make a list of when they occur, whether anything seems to make them better or worse and how much they affect your everyday life.
- What causes you stress- Include any major life changes or stressful events you’ve dealt with recently. Also note any traumatic experiences you’ve had recently or in the past.
- Family history of mental health problems- Find out if your parents, grandparents, siblings or children have struggled with any mental health problems before.
- Other health issues- Include both physical conditions and mental health issues that you have had.
- Medications you’re taking- Write down any and all medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements and the doses of each.
What to Expect
You can discuss your concerns about your anxiety with your primary care physician first during a checkup or a separate appointment. They will ask you some questions to try to measure the cause and severity of your anxiety. In some cases, they may be able to easily diagnose your anxiety and provide simple treatment. However, depending on the case, your doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist like a psychologist and/or psychiatrist for further diagnosis and for treatment like regular therapy or for prescription and monitoring of anxiety medications.
How Anxiety Treatment Works
Treatment varies greatly between patients and their specific anxiety disorder. Generally, though, it is agreed in the medical community that a combination of “talk” therapy and medication is the most effective treatment for managing anxiety. There are many life changes patients can make in eliminating stressors and anxiety triggers in their life. There are also many additions, like exercise, patients can add to their routines to help with anxiety. Good anxiety treatment is approached from all of these angles.
Not everyone with an anxiety disorder needs medication. Your doctor will make the proper recommendations for you on whether you need medications and what types. Each anxiety disorder has its own medication regimens. For many different anxiety disorders, certain antidepressants are an effective medication to treat and prevent symptoms. However, there are more than one type of antidepressant and they all work a little differently to treat the different disorders. Beta-blockers are also taken by some patients as-needed for anxiety, or immediately before a patient knows they are about to deal with an event or activity that is anxiety-provoking for them. Other anxiety medications for fast-acting treatment when patients are experiencing severe anxiety symptoms are benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc.). These three types are the most common medications prescribed for anxiety disorders.
Potential Medication Interactions
Since there are so many medications and combinations of medications used to treat different anxiety disorders, there are a number of possible harmful medication interactions. With many types of antidepressants, benzodiazepines and other drugs for anxiety medications, alcohol intake should be restricted or avoided. Here is a small (and incomplete) list of interactions to watch out for with medications for anxiety:
Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc.) can potentially interact dangerously with:
- Sleeping pills
- Some dosages of SSRI antidepressants
SSRI antidepressants for anxiety (Prozac, Zoloft, etc.) can potentially interact dangerously with:
- John’s Wort
- Beta blockers
- Antiarrhythmic medicines
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Beta blockers can potentially interact dangerously with:
To avoid the many potentially dangerous medication interactions, it is important to work closely with your doctor or psychiatrist to inform them of all medications and drugs you take so that they can prescribe you the safest and most effective medication regimen for your anxiety.
Potential Side Effects
Some common side effects of benzodiazepines include:
- Poor balance or coordination
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Stomach upset
Some common side effects of SSRI antidepressants for anxiety:
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Dry mouth
- Increased sweating
Some common side effects of beta blockers for anxiety include:
It is important to communicate closely with your doctor to avoid these side effects.
Benefits of Anxiety Management
For some, medications help for treatment of anxiety disorders. Others can manage their anxiety without medication. Some use a combination of medication and self-management options. With all kinds of anxiety disorders and cases, patients tend to benefit from regular talk therapy, exercise, mindfulness techniques, yoga/meditation and more. Many people with anxiety disorders also benefit from making lifestyle changes like reducing caffeine, alcohol and tobacco use, reducing stress by limiting workload at work or school, getting better sleep, reducing time on social media, eating a healthier diet, etc. Every step you take (medication, therapy or lifestyle changes) toward treating your anxiety will benefit you in a better, less anxious life.
Anxiety Management at PlatinumCare LA
You don’t have to live such a worry-filled life. We can help. We provide comprehensive care for anxiety identification and treatment at PlatinumCare LA. We can help you take steps toward a more balanced and less anxious life. Book an appointment here with one of our primary care doctors to take the first step to getting help with easing your anxiety.