SAN ANTONIO – Forty-million adults suffer from anxiety disorders; yet, only a small percentage seek professional help.
Anxiety is highly treatable, so why do so many people continue to suffer?
Monica Reveley is finally loving life after being haunted for years by anxious and unwanted thoughts.
"The violent intrusive thoughts -- the sexual intrusive thoughts, especially. They were really uncomfortable, you know. You're not supposed to have those kinds of thoughts. " she said. "On the outside, I was straight A, involved in all the clubs, had all the friends. But on the inside, I was really miserable."
If an anxiety lasts for two weeks or longer, depression may be right around the corner. And that combination is not something you can think your way out of.
"Despite your efforts at self-talk and whatever else you do, you can't get rid of it," said Dr. Harry A. Croft, a psychiatrist.
Prescriptions like Xanax and Klonopin help, but it's not a cure all.
"Far and away, the best treatments for anxiety disorders are therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy or desensitization therapy," he said.
Cognitive behavioral therapy means facing anxieties head on.
"It's like the bear. The bear comes to get us and how do we respond? We respond with rapid heartbeat and all these other things. It's simply a way to help us get away from the bear -- to stay alive," said Randy Pollock, a licensed counselor. "I'm a big believer that if you change the thought, the feeling will follow. So, I put a lot of emphasis on, again, the cognitive part of it."
If it's been two weeks or more and anxiety is still tormenting you, here are a few quick tips:
- Avoid caffeine
- Breathe deeply
"I wish that a lot of people had a lot more awareness about mental illnesses, so that people could be more open about it," Monica said.
Alleviating stress and addressing any childhood trauma with a professional can go a long way toward keeping anxiety at bay.