Anxiety Disorders & Treatments in Pleasanton

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Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a common condition defined as chronic anxious excessive worry for at least six months that causes distress or impairment. Key symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include restlessness or nervousness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, or sleep disturbance.

To meet a diagnosis of GAD, at least three of the six symptoms must be present. The diagnostic process is also in part a diagnosis of exclusion: medical conditions, medications or substances, and other mental disorders should be ruled out as a primary cause.  Physical examination and laboratory studies are generally normal if no coexisting medical problems or substance abuse issues exist.

Anxiety treatment can include medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. As a trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Alex Anastasiou has experience with the treatment of anxiety disorders in adults in the Pleasanton area.

Panic Disorder & Anxiety Attacks

Panic disorder is characterized by recurring panic attacks, in addition to worry about future attacks, over a one-month period. Those with panic disorder will also experience changes in behavior as a consequence of the attacks.

It is not uncommon for panic disorder to be at a higher risk among first-degree relatives. Typically, the onset of anxiety or panic attacks is triggered by stress. Panic disorder is commonly comorbid with other anxiety, mood, and substance-use disorders.

Assessment of panic attacks is made through ruling out organic causes; self-report; clinical interview; and behavioral observation. Following an assessment, psychiatrists can determine the best course of action for treatment. Dr. Anastasiou specializes in patients suffering from panic disorder. Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and cognitive behavioral psychotherapy are first-line treatments.

Through a patient-focused approach, Dr. Anastasiou can determine the best course of treatment for you, from prescribing SSRIs to recommending therapy. Long-term management of panic disorder includes relapse prevention after discontinuing treatment.

If you are suffering from panic attacks, anxiety attacks, or panic disorder, contact Dr. Alex Anastasiou for treatment in Pleasanton, CA.

Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is characterized by an excessive fear of social and performance situations where the individual is afraid of being embarrassed or negatively evaluated by others. It is one of the most common and impairing mental disorders with a high risk for comorbid anxiety, depressive, and substance-use/abuse-related disorders.

Social anxiety can lead to debilitating consequences if left untreated, such as agoraphobia, in addition to making everyday tasks and interactions feel like a battle. Dr. Anastasiou specializes in patients with various anxiety issues.

To seek assessment and treatment for social anxiety near San Ramon and Danville, contact Dr. Alex Anastasiou, a renowned psychiatrist based in Pleasanton. To schedule a new patient appointment, please call 925-425-0191.

Professional Anxiety Assessment in Pleasanton

Assessment of anxiety is based on a multitude of factors, including self-reporting, clinical interview, and behavioral observation. Through this methodology, mental health professionals can deduce whether a patient is experiencing a form of anxiety, and if so, they may propose a treatment plan.

First-line treatments of anxiety include different types of medications and therapy, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

When looking to treat anxiety long-term, clinical management and monitoring are typically required, as patients are prone to relapse following discontinuation of acute treatment.

Dr. Alex Anastasiou offers professional anxiety assessments and treatment near San Ramon, Dublin, and Livermore. To schedule a new patient appointment, please contact his office in Pleasanton by phone at 925-425-0191 during business hours, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Anxiety FAQs

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders differ from regular worry or anxious feelings. Anxiety disorders are chronic and can cause such distress that it interferes with your ability to lead a normal life.

This type of disorder is a serious mental illness. For people who have one, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming, and can be disabling. With treatment, many people can manage those feelings and get back to a fulfilling life.

What Are the Causes of Anxiety Disorders?

The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, but anxiety disorders — like other forms of mental illness — are not the result of personal weakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing. As scientists continue their research on mental illness, it is becoming clear that many of these disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress.

Like other brain illnesses, anxiety disorders may be caused by problems in the functioning of brain circuits that regulate fear and other emotions. Studies have shown that severe or long-lasting stress can change the way nerve cells within these circuits transmit information from one region of the brain to another. Other studies have shown that people with certain anxiety disorders have changes in certain brain structures that control memories linked with strong emotions. In addition, studies have shown that anxiety disorders can run in families, which means that they can at least partly be inherited from one or both parents, similar to the genetic risk for heart disease or cancer. Moreover, certain environmental factors — such as a trauma or significant event — may trigger an anxiety disorder in people who have an inherited susceptibility to developing the disorder.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed?

If symptoms of an anxiety disorder are present, the doctor will begin an evaluation by asking you questions about your medical history and performing a physical exam. Although there are no lab tests to specifically diagnose anxiety disorders, the doctor may use various tests to look for other medical illness as the source of the symptoms.

How Do You Know When Worry Turns to Anxiety That Needs Treatment?

If no other medical illness is found, you may be referred to a psychiatrist or another mental health professional who is specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate a person for an anxiety disorder.

The doctor bases his or her diagnosis on the patient's report of the intensity and duration of symptoms, including any problems with daily functioning caused by the symptoms, and the doctor's observation of the patient's attitude and behavior. The doctor then determines if the patient's symptoms and degree of dysfunction indicate a specific anxiety disorder.

How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated?

Fortunately, much progress has been made in the last two decades in the treatment of people with mental illnesses, including anxiety disorders. Although the exact treatment approach depends on the type of disorder, one or a combination of the following therapies may be used for most anxiety disorders:

Medication: Drugs used to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders include many antidepressants, certain anticonvulsant medicines and low-dose antipsychotics, and other anxiety-reducing drugs.

Psychotherapy: A type of counseling which addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This is a particular type of psychotherapy in which the person learns to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings.

Dietary and lifestyle changes: Some lifestyle changes such as exercising more or eliminating certain foods can help lessen symptoms of anxiety. Other lifestyle changes, such as journaling, can be effective ways to cope with anxiety as well.

Relaxation therapy: Meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation therapy are effective in treating anxiety disorders in many. For some, it may not be enough on its own, but when combined with other treatment options, anxiety can decrease significantly.

Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented?

Anxiety disorders cannot be prevented; however, there are some things you can do to control or lessen symptoms. Stopping or reducing consumption of products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, and chocolate can help mitigate some anxiety symptoms. There are also some vitamins and supplements that can help, but be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter medicines, supplements, or herbal remedies. Many contain chemicals that can increase anxiety symptoms.