According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. One out of every five adults in the United States, which is about 40 million people, has an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 7% of children aged between three and 17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before the age of 21.

What Is It?

Feelings of anxiousness, or anxiety, are both common and normal to experience. We often feel these feelings as a big event is approaching, including our first day of school, while in a stressful situation or meeting, or when we think about things that might be important to us. These feelings are important since they help motivate us to do our best and usually subside. It’s when these feelings of fear and distress stop us from doing the things we need to do and affect our normal functioning. When this happens, it might be an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can cause people to try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Job performance, school work, and personal relationships can be affected. In general, for a person to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, the fear or anxiety must:

  1. Be out of proportion to the situation or age inappropriate.
  2. Hinder ability to function normally.

The two most common anxiety disorders are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Disorder (PD). GAD produces chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life. This worrying can consume hours each day, which makes it hard to concentrate or finish daily tasks. PD is characterized by panic attacks and sudden feelings of terror that are sometimes striking repeatedly and without warning. Many people will go to desperate measures to avoid an attack, including social isolation.

How It Is Treated

Since there are several different types of anxiety disorders, and each of them have their own unique symptoms, they each have unique plans for anxiety treatment in Long Beach at Roots TMS. However, anxiety disorders are most often treated with one or a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or complementary treatments.

Common medications include anti-anxiety sedatives that are classified as benzodiazepines. Benzos have a calming effect on both the body and the mind and create a sense of euphoria by acting on the GABA receptors and the central nervous system. When taken as prescribed, benzos can be safe and effective, however, one should be careful when medication is set for long-term treatment.

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy and Anxiety Disorders

TMS works as an anxiety treatment by accessing your limbic system. Your limbic system regulates the emotional center of the brain. The amygdala is a crucial part of the brain that works to process our emotions. It controls our fight-or-flight responses. If you suffer from anxiety, then your brain is hyperactive in the amygdala. This is what causes extreme symptoms that characterize an anxiety disorder. TMS treats anxiety by bringing the neurons in your brain back to a healthy level, which relieves stubborn symptoms of anxiety.

A recent study of TMS for patients with GAD consisted of six sessions over three weeks of low-frequency stimulation over the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). TMS resulted in noticeable improvements in the patients’ symptoms of anxiety. These improvements remained consistent over a six-month period upon follow-up appointment.

At the 2014 American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting, the results of a randomized controlled study were shared. GAD patients were given either active TMS or a placebo treatment using a ‘sham’ coil. In this study, low-frequency stimulation was applied to the DLPFC for 30 sessions — 5 sessions every week for 6 weeks. The scientists found that over two-thirds (71%) of the TMS group responded favorably to the treatment. Only one-quarter of the sham group experienced positive effects.

At the 3-month follow-up appointment, the positive effects were sustained in the group receiving repetitive and active TMS. 43% of patients in this group experienced symptom remission. However, only one patient in the sham group experienced the same thing. Get in touch with us if you’re looking for anxiety treatment in Long Beach.

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