It’s normal to feel anxious occasionally. Whether you have a big test coming up at school or a public speaking engagement at work, feeling anxious once in a while is a part of life. Intense, persistent worrying, however, is a reason to seek help from a medical professional.
Family medicine specialist Poonam Malhotra, MD, and the team at Central Clinic want patients to feel comfortable discussing anxiety that may be interfering with their ability to enjoy life to the fullest.
Anxiety disorders impact close to seven million Americans and that number is rising. Symptoms of anxiety have increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re struggling with anxiety symptoms, healthcare professionals are here to help.
Identifying a problem
Sometimes it’s difficult to know when your anxiety requires medical attention. Anytime you have anxiety that is intense and long-lasting, it’s wise to discuss it with a healthcare professional. If symptoms interfere with your life, cause you to withdraw from social activities, or miss out on things you used to enjoy, you may have an anxiety disorder.
There are several types of anxiety disorders and it helps to learn more about each of these conditions and how they might impact your day-to-day life.
Generalized anxiety disorders
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common type of anxiety and is marked by persistent and excessive worrying about events or activities, even minor daily issues. It’s a red flag when the anxiety or worrying is disproportionate to the circumstance and when it alters the way you function in your daily life.
Also called social phobia, social anxiety involves intense anxiety and fear surrounding social situations. If you have social anxiety you may feel embarrassed or self-conscious to an extent that you take steps to avoid social situations. Many people with social anxiety have a deep fear of reaction based on real or perceived flaws and are highly concerned about being judged negatively by others.
Panic disorder is characterized by sudden and unpredictable feelings of fear, terror, and intense anxiety that peak quickly. People with panic disorder often describe feelings of doom. Physical changes such as rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath commonly accompany panic disorder. You may feel as though you’re about to die or the world is about to end even if you are in a safe environment with no impending danger.
Phobias provoke intense fear and panic. This happens when you’re exposed to a trigger, which may be an object or a certain situation. The anxiety it provokes may be so intense that you do everything possible to avoid it.
Phobias surrounding flying, heights, spiders, and reptiles are the most common.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that involves intense fear and panic of open spaces or crowded places. You may feel helpless and trapped. It can strike while you’re in line at the grocery store or waiting on an elevator. Some people with agoraphobia choose to stay inside to avoid triggering their panic.
These are just a few types of anxiety. The important thing to know is that anxiety disorders are treatable. Dr. Malhotra will work closely with you to find an appropriate treatment plan to manage your symptoms so that you can get back to enjoying life. Treatment may include a combination of medication and talk therapy.
Help for anxiety
If you’re struggling with anxiety there is help. To get started, we invite new and existing patients to call our friendly and knowledgeable staff at 352-254-5649 to schedule a visit with Dr. Malhotra at our Springhill location or use our webform to send your request online.