Marla Ahlgrimm Dishes on Anxiety Disorders in Women

Marla AhlgrimmIt’s normal to feel some anxiety at some point in your life, says women’s health expert Marla Ahlgrimm. However, if your anxiety takes control of your actions and changes your day-to-day life in a negative way, you may be suffering with an anxiety disorder. Here, Ahlgrimm opens up about anxiety issues in women, which are affected twice as often as men.

Q: What is anxiety?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Anxiety can be best described as a sense of nervousness or worry. People often feel anxious when facing a stressful situation, such as a wedding or high-stakes academic testing. Usually, these feelings subside during the event or soon after it’s over. But anxiety that interferes with daily life can be debilitating.

Q: What are some common anxiety disorders?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are a number of different formal anxiety disorders and each has multiple levels of severity. Most common is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People with this type of anxiety typically fixate on everyday stresses and almost typically believe that worst-case scenarios are always looming.

Q: Are phobias anxiety disorders?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Absolutely. Social phobia is often referred to as social anxiety disorder and is characterized by the sufferer becoming extremely self-conscious in normal social situations. People with social phobia, and especially adolescent and teenage girls, believe they are being judged by everyone. Other types of phobias, claustrophobia, for example, focus on a specific trigger. A sufferer may feel extreme anxiety when faced with normally mundane situations, such as swimming or climbing stairs.

Q: How are anxiety disorders treated?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Most anxiety disorders can be treated by a combination of medication and counseling. A cognitive behavioral therapist, psychiatrist, or psychologist can offer coping techniques and help the sufferer come to terms with the source of their anxiety. Medications that may be employed to treat anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and beta blockers.

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