Tennis great Naomi Osaka, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and five-time NBA All-Star Kevin Love have spoken openly about their battles with anxiety.
And they're not alone. Around 40 million American adults contend with the chronic feelings of dread, irritability, upset stomach, racing heartbeat, shortness of breath, and insomnia that are associated with anxiety disorders.
COVID-19, rising expenses, the war in Ukraine, and climate change have all added fuel to the fire.
Whether you’re dealing with general anxiety disorder (a persistent and exaggerated worrying), social anxiety disorder (intense fear of social interaction), panic disorder (panic attacks and feelings of terror), or phobias (irrational fear of a specific thing or situation), anxiety can be life-altering.
If left untreated, only about 37% to 58% of patients report recovery 12 years after their initial attack, according to Dr. Naomi M. Simon of NYU's Grossman School of Medicine.
The good news is that these disorders are treatable, and a new review by Dr. Simon in JAMA Network reveals which approaches work best.
Cognitive behavioral therapy — often coupled with exposure-based interventions — offers substantial benefits for anyone contending with general anxiety disorder, and can help ease social anxiety and panic disorders.
In addition, all disorders may benefit from medication. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as sertraline, as well as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as venlafaxine extended release are associated with small to medium benefits.
If you're feeling chronically anxious, ask your doctor for a referral to a specialist and look forward to a happier new year.