Anxiety Disorder and Treatment

Anxiety disorders are more than just occasional nerves or worry. They can be debilitating, leading to panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, unrelenting worries, or an incapacitating phobia. But there is hope. At Pathways Behavioral Health (Pathways BH) in Burlington, New Jersey, we offer comprehensive anxiety treatment programs tailored to your unique needs.


Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults every year, or 18.1% of the population, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. However, only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. This gap underscores the importance of understanding anxiety disorders and seeking appropriate help when needed.

Anxiety disorders come in various forms, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder. Each type has specific symptoms and may require unique changes to their treatment.

Anxiety Disorders


Different Types of Anxiety Disorders

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear. These episodes, known as panic attacks, can last from minutes to hours. Panic attacks are typically triggered by specific situations or thoughts, and they can come on suddenly and without warning.

Symptoms during a panic attack can be very physical and intense. They include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress. These symptoms can make a person feel unreal or detached from themselves, and they may fear losing control or dying. After an attack, worry over having another one can lead to avoiding situations or places associated with the panic attacks.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, involves high levels of anxiety, fear, and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others. The fear can be so severe that it interferes with work, school, or other activities and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form relationships.

People with Social Anxiety Disorder may worry about acting or appearing visibly anxious, such as blushing, stumbling over words, or trembling. They often avoid social situations, leading to limited social circles and feelings of isolation and low self-esteem.

Specific Phobias

Specific phobias involve an intense, irrational fear of a specific object, situation, or place. Common phobias include fear of flying, heights, certain animals, receiving injections, seeing blood, etc. The fear is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the feared object or situation.

People with specific phobias will go to great lengths to avoid what they fear, even if it means restricting their lives. When encountering the feared object or situation, they may experience a panic attack or severe anxiety, leading to physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and a strong desire to get away.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about various different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. This worry often feels uncontrollable. They worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.

Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. They may worry excessively about minor things like appointments, arriving late, or minor repairs. This chronic worrying can affect daily functioning and cause physical symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

Separation Anxiety Disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that’s excessive for the child’s developmental level and related to separation from those to whom the child is attached, typically parents or primary caregivers. Children with this disorder may have an unreasonable fear of school or other places where separation from their parents might occur.

They could experience nightmares about separation, physical complaints when separation occurs or is anticipated, and may have difficulty sleeping alone. While it’s normal for younger children to have some anxiety about being separated from their parents, in Separation Anxiety Disorder, this fear is persistent, excessive, and impacts the child’s everyday functioning.

How Does Anxiety Develop?

Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. Some people may be genetically predisposed to anxiety, while others may develop it due to experiencing stressful or traumatic events.

Risk factors for developing an anxiety disorder include a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse, an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, certain medical conditions or medications, and having close biological relatives with anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Treatment at Pathways BH

At Pathways BH, we offer a variety of treatment options tailored to meet your individual needs. These include:

Individual Therapy

One-on-one sessions with a therapist where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) may be used.

Group Therapy

Sessions with other individuals experiencing similar issues which can provide support, reduce feelings of isolation, and allow you to practice new behaviors within a supportive and safe group.

Family Therapy

Sessions with family members to improve communication and resolve conflicts.

Medication-Assisted Therapy

Medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers may be prescribed to manage symptoms.

We also offer holistic therapies like yoga, meditation, and breathwork to complement traditional treatments, helping you to manage stress and promote relaxation.

How Many People Suffer from Mental Health Disorders?

According to the World Health Organization, approximately one in four people worldwide will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives. That equates to around 2 billion people based on the current global population. This significant figure highlights the magnitude of mental health issues and underscores the urgency of addressing this global health concern.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Anxiety

An Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) for anxiety is a step down from a PHP. It’s designed for individuals who still need comprehensive treatment but can manage their symptoms without full-time medical supervision.

The goal of an IOP is to further enhance the patient’s ability to manage anxiety symptoms, improve their coping skills, and help them return to their normal routine. Upon completion of the program, patients typically transition to standard outpatient therapy.

Intensive Outpatient Program for Anxiety

Outpatient Treatment for Anxiety

Outpatient treatment for anxiety is the least intensive level of care. It’s suitable for individuals who have a stable condition and can manage their symptoms effectively with less frequent support.

The goal of outpatient treatment is to maintain the patient’s stability, further improve their coping skills, and support them in leading a fulfilling life despite their anxiety. Patients have the flexibility to schedule therapy sessions around their work, school, or other commitments, making this level of care a good fit for those who are able to function well in their daily lives.

Coping Strategies and Lifestyle Changes

Along with therapy and medication, lifestyle changes can also make a significant difference. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, adequate sleep, reducing caffeine intake, and avoiding alcohol, nicotine, and recreational drugs can all help to reduce symptoms of anxiety.

As part of your treatment your medical team will help you discover the lifesstyle changes necessary to help you succeed after treatment. As part of regular therapy you will continously work on ways to overcome triggers and find a medication regime that will help you manage your anxiety symptoms.

Coping Strategies and Lifestyle Changes

At Pathways Behavioral Health, We’re Here to Help You

If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, don’t let another day go by without seeking help. Contact Pathways BH today to learn more about our anxiety treatment programs in NJ and take the first step towards a healthier, happier life.

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