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What is anxiety?

In a typical case, anxiety is a regular natural response to stress that is found on the spectrum of emotions. However, when an individual is constantly faced with disproportionate levels of anxiety, it branches out into being a medical mental health disorder. An anxiety disorder is different from ordinary anxiety in that it cripples you and can be debilitating. Simply put, it is excessive fear that interferes with your daily life.

Stimulated by real or imagined dangers, anxiety affects people of all ages and social backgrounds. When it occurs in unrealistic situations or with unusual intensity, it can disrupt everyday life. Some researchers believe anxiety is synonymous with fear, occurring in varying degrees and in situations in which people feel threatened by some danger. Others describe anxiety as an unpleasant emotion caused by unidentifiable dangers or dangers that, in reality, pose no threat. Unlike fear, which is caused by realistic, known dangers, anxiety can be more difficult to identify and alleviate.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety itself is at the root of a number of disorders including:

Panic disorder: The longevity of prolonged stress and state of fear faced by people with panic disorders usually results in a panic attack that is characterized by an accelerated heartbeat, heavy sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, restlessness, uncontrollable feelings of worry, and the overall feeling that everything is closing in on you. These attacks tend to occur randomly when in the face of triggers and can escalate very quickly sometimes lasting for as long as hours.

Specific phobia: This is the deep-rooted irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation that is often difficult for the affected to individual to escape from. Someone with a phobia can acknowledge that their fear is illogical but still remain crippled with fear in the face of the trigger.

Agoraphobia: This type of anxiety disorder is the irrational fear and avoidance of events, places, and situations that are typically difficult to escape from when an individual is trapped. The most common type of agoraphobia is being claustrophobic, however, it can also present itself in the form of being afraid of leaving home or using public transportation. 

Selective mutism: Mostly affecting children, this anxiety disorder prevents them from speaking in certain contexts and places even though they are verbally adept to coherently speaking around people they are used to. It is an extreme version of social phobia.

Social anxiety or Social phobia: The extreme fear of embarrassment or negative judgment in social settings is referred to as social anxiety. This anxiety disorder translates into a range of feelings like anxiety around rejection, fear of intimacy, and stage fright. People suffering from social anxiety often isolate themselves and keep human contact to a very minimal point.

Separation anxiety disorder: When separated from an individual, item or place that provides one with a sense of safety and security, individuals suffering from separation anxiety are faced with high levels of anxiety. More often than not, this separation results in panic disorder symptoms.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Individuals suffering from this disorder have recurring, unwanted thoughts or sensations that drive them to carry out a task repetitively and compulsively.  Their compulsive behaviors often interfere with their daily activities and social interactions.

Illness anxiety disorder (hypochondria): Hypochondria is an anxiety disorder that makes affected individuals to excessively worry about being seriously ill despite there being no signs and symptoms that allude to it.  On the other hand, they may believe that normal body sensations and minor ailments are signs of the prevalence of a chronic disease.

Post-traumatic stress disorder:  This form of anxiety is triggered by the occurrence of a traumatic event in the individual’s life – either by firsthand experience or merely witnessing the incident. Common symptoms of PTSD are nightmares, severe anxiety, and random regular flashbacks.

Top American Practitioners in the Field of Anxiety

Who are the best Doctors in America who treat anxiety? The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has a bevy of clinical fellows and doctors revered to as experts in the field of treating anxiety disorders. Though the list is long, here are a few of the top runners:

Dr. Michelle Witkin, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience treating children, teens, and adults.  She is a specialist in treating anxiety disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and related disorders. Dr. Witkin utilizes cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), and exposure and response prevention (ERP) to treat anxiety disorders and OCD.

Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett, Ph.D. is a professor of psychology at Kent State University, is a leading expert on anxiety disorders among African Americans. She is the CEO of Soothe Your Nerves, Inc., and the author of Soothe Your Nerves: The Black Woman’s Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Anxiety, Panic, and Fear

David Brendel, M.D., Ph.D. is a Board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of complex conditions including major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, attention deficit disorder, psychosis, eating disorders, and substance abuse.

Research Backing Up the use of CBD Cannabidiol to Treat Anxiety

There have been numerous research studies that have explored the use of cannabidiol to treat anxiety disorders. Some studies outline that cannabis helps alleviate the stresses of anxiety disorders while others suggest that having mild anxiety is a risk factor in the recreational use of marijuana. While the latter carries some truth, the notion has been overthrown by the numerous benefits CBD cannabidiol provides people suffering from anxiety with.

In 2015, and analysis of all the previous research studies on the link between CBD cannabidiol and anxiety concluded that CBD is a powerful treatment agent when dealing with panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, the report solely focused on the use of CBD cannabidiol to treat short-term anxiety. There is very little information out there that touches on how cannabidiol can be used for long-term/prolonged treatment of anxiety disorders.

For some, anxiety is just one of their other emotions, but for others, it an intense and sometimes crippling disorder. Luckily, there are very many practitioners who have devoted their time to research and treatment of said patients. On top of that, CBD cannabidiol products can be used to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety disorders. It is not a cure, but it is a holistic treatment agent. 

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