Anxiety is a state of dread, tension, and unease. It is considered a normal response to stress or uncertain situations. Feeling anxious for long periods of time or at intense levels may mean that you have an anxiety disorder. You may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder if the anxiety:
Occurs without an external threat (called "free-floating" anxiety)
Is excessive or unreasonable for the situation or threat
Negatively affects how you function during the day
This therapy addresses thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that play a role in anxiety. It helps you work through traumas and conflicts.
can help you identify negative thought patterns and behaviors. Over time, you can learn to retrain your thinking. This will help you respond better to stress and anxiety.
CBT has been very effective in children and teens.
For severe anxiety or anxiety disorder, medications may include:
Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants
Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of these medications. Some types may cause dependence.
To help reduce your chances of anxiety:
Be aware of situations, occupations, and people that cause you stress.
If unavoidable, confront and overcome situations that provoke anxiety.
Find a relaxation technique that works for you. Use it regularly.
Develop and maintain a strong social support system.
Express your emotions when they happen.
Challenge irrational beliefs and thoughts that are not helpful to you.
Correct misperceptions. Ask others for their points of view.
Work with a
Avoid using nicotine or other drugs. If you drink alcohol, drink only in
moderation. Moderation is 1 drink or less per day for women and 2 drinks or less per day for men.
Last reviewed November 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 1/26/2016
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.