(Perri L. Zinberg, Ph.D.)
Anxiety is the most common reason that people seek psychological services. In the According to the NIMH, over 18% of people in the US suffer from anxiety. 22% of those with anxiety have “severe “ anxiety. Women are 60% more likely to suffer from anxiety than men. The average age of onset for anxiety is 11 years old.
While everyone worries from time-to-time, a diagnosis of Anxiety includes excessive, uncontrollable worry along with physiological responses such as feeling restless or on-edge, sleep disturbances, irritability, and muscle tension. The symptoms must be severe enough to impair functioning at work, school, or home. During the course of an evaluation for anxiety, the psychologist will need to determine if the symptoms are due to Generalized Anxiety, or are better explained by another mental disorder such as Panic Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or are due to substance abuse.
The American Psychological Association’s recommended treatment for anxiety is cognitive-behavioral therapy. In many cases, treatment can be completed in approximately 12 sessions, although patients often begin to see improvement in their symptoms very early in treatment. Many patients benefit from a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication. Medication such as SSRI’s, mild tranquilizers, and beta-blockers are commonly used.