American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Breaking Free from Anxiety Disorders

Many people experience brief moments of fear just before a public speaking engagement or a first date. However, for people suffering from anxiety disorders, feelings of fear and dread aren't one-time events. They disrupt their lives for at least six months out of the year. 

“Anxiety disorders impair social and occupational functioning,” explains Christine Blue, DO, an osteopathic psychiatrist in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

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Identifying Types of Anxiety 

While many different anxiety disorders exist, Dr. Blue says that the most common are:

  • Specific phobias caused by intense fear over particular situations or things, such as spiders or heights.

  • Social anxiety disorder, which is characterized by the fear of being judged negatively in social settings.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a life-threatening event.

  • Generalized anxiety disorder caused by constant, uncontrollable worry about daily events, such as finding a parking spot or preparing for a storm.

Calming the Mind

Since it is not uncommon for anxiety disorders to occur in people who have pre-existing mental or physical illnesses, physicians will first rule out any medical causes for anxiety symptoms. Then, the treatment can focus on the underlying cause of the anxiety.

“Treatment options differ for specific phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders,” says Dr. Blue. “However, most anxiety disorders are treated with medication, psychotherapy or both.”

At your appointment, your physician may ask about your medical and psychiatric history, perform a physical examination and order lab tests to determine the best treatment for controlling the disorder.

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, or DOs, look beyond your symptoms to understand how lifestyle and environmental factors affect your wellbeing. They listen and partner with you to help you get healthy and stay well.


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