Is Anxiety a Mood Disorder ?

What is a mood disorder?

Yes, anxiety is a mood disorder. Mood disorders are a common type of mental health disorder that involves an individual’s ability to experience and regulate emotional states. Symptoms range from anxiety, depression, and irritability to feelings of discontent or unease. While anxiety is often linked to mood disorders, anxiety itself is not necessarily a “mood disorder” as it involves more than just emotional states. The most common form of mood disorder is known as Major Depressive Disorder and affects over 17 million Americans each year according to the American Psychiatric Association – typically presenting with symptoms such as feeling overwhelmed by sadness or worthlessness. Other types of mood disorders specifically affect how the brain processes emotions, causing individuals to swing from anxiety into uncontrollable mania or broader shifts in their general attitude toward life situations. Regardless of the diagnosis, getting adequate treatment and support can have a profoundly positive effect on an individual’s mental and physical health.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety is a type of mood disorder that can include feelings of worry, anxiety, and fear that are excessive and unrealistic. Those experiencing anxiety may find it difficult to control their worries and they may have physical symptoms too, such as trembling, rapid breathing, palpitations, headaches, sweating, or fatigue. It is also common for people with anxiety to experience restlessness or irritability; find concentration difficult; experience fatigue regularly; struggle with digestive problems, or have an exaggerated startle reflex. If anxiety becomes very severe and disrupts one’s ability to function normally in day-to-day activities such as working or attending school the help of a mental health professional may be necessary to get anxiety under control. The symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person, but may include:

  • Persistent feelings of worry, fear, or unease
  • Rapid breathing or heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating

How is anxiety treated?

Anxiety treatments generally fall under three different categories: psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Psychotherapy involves working with a mental health professional to identify the root cause of anxiety and develop techniques to better cope. Medication may be used for anxiety relief. Common anxiety medications include benzodiazepines, antidepressants, beta-blockers, and antipsychotics. Lastly, anxiety can be managed through various lifestyle changes such as establishing healthy sleep habits or participating in exercise or mindfulness activities that help foster relaxation. Each person’s anxiety is unique so individualized anxiety treatments depend on the severity of anxiety and situations that trigger it. With guidance from medical professionals, individuals can develop an anxiety treatment plan tailored to their individual needs.

A Few Treatment Options for Anxiety

•Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that focuses on changing the thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to anxiety.
Exposure therapy is a type of CBT that focuses specifically on exposing a person to their fears in a controlled and safe environment.
Mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), involve paying attention to the present moment and accepting thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and benzodiazepines work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain or enhancing the effects of GABA which helps to calm the nervous system reducing anxiety.

It is important to speak to a mental health professional if you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety. They can provide a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. By seeking help and treatment, you can learn to manage your anxiety and improve your overall health and well-being.

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