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When Does Anxiety Warrant Professional Help?

Stress is a normal part of life and usually correlates to a short-term trigger such as losing your job, the end of a relationship, or other life changes. However, when you start to feel stressed outside of triggering events and circumstances or find that it starts to interfere with your normal functioning, it might be a sign of an underlying anxiety disorder.

At LiveWell TMS in Huntington, New York, Dr. Nina Greif offers transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) as a drug-free, non-invasive treatment for those suffering from anxiety and anxiety disorders. If you’re still not sure whether you need professional treatment, this blog can help you understand whether it’s time to call our office.

When is anxiety normal?

Stress and anxiety are normal parts of life. Stressors can include things such as a looming deadline, moving house, relationship problems, illness, or a loss in the family.

Your body responds to stress by releasing chemicals that help you stay alert, focused, and motivated so that you can be aware of possible threats (such as losing your job) and make necessary changes (such as preparing to move house). 

That’s why it’s normal to have anxiety-related symptoms in response to major life events, which can manifest as:

Anxiety and anxiety disorders can cause many of the same symptoms as well, which can make it hard to know whether you’re dealing with a normal stress reaction or an anxiety disorder that requires treatment.

What differentiates normal anxiety and anxiety disorders?

It’s normal to experience some anxiety symptoms in response to major life events and stressors. However, these symptoms can indicate a possible disorder if they last for a long time or are interfering with your normal life. 

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by uncontrollable worry about common situations, often for weeks on end. Generally, people with GAD worry about many different things for at least 6 months or struggle to identify a single source of worry. 

Additionally, sometimes people develop severe anxiety reactions such as regular panic attacks or phobias which also warrant treatment. In a panic attack, you might feel like you’re having a heart attack, find it difficult to breathe, or get sweaty or dizzy. If you start to have panic attacks regularly, you might be experiencing panic disorder. 

Similarly, if you experience a persistent and excessive fear of something for more than six months, you might be developing a phobia disorder, which is often characterized by excessively avoiding situations and objects.

How are anxiety disorders treated? 

After receiving a diagnosis, most people with anxiety disorders are treated with a combination of therapy (often cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy) and medicine (such as SSRIs and other antidepressants).

However, for people who find these treatments aren’t enough, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can help to rewire the brain naturally from the inside out. TMS works by using gentle magnetic pulses to encourage the brain to adopt healthier neural patterns by rebalancing your neurotransmitters. 

In a normal TMS course for anxiety, you have sessions Monday to Friday for six weeks, followed by a transitional period for two weeks. During your regular sessions, Dr. Greif places an electromagnetic cap on your head to generate gentle pulses of magnetic energy. Over time, this rewires your brain into healthier patterns. 

Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or are wondering if your anxiety symptoms require treatment, contact LiveWell TMS at 631-228-7674 or request an appointment online.

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