Anxiety is a perfectly normal human reaction to situations and events that are bound to come up at times throughout our lives. Problems related to work, relationships, health issues, and other parts of our everyday lives are all natural causes of stress or apprehension, and ordinarily these feelings, however unpleasant, will pass on their own. However, when feelings of tension or nervousness are constant, very frequent or severe to a degree where they mount into unmanageable panic, they can significantly interfere with your ability to operate on a day-to-day basis.
People with generalized anxiety disorder – including almost 40 million Americans – will often find that they have extremely strong reactions to normal stressors and emotional fluctuations. These towering anxieties can be disruptive and debilitating, making it impossible to concentrate, interact normally with friends, colleagues, and loved ones, and focus on important daily tasks. In turn, quality of life suffers, and the problem may continue to grow worse over time.
There are a wide range of anxiety disorders which stem from various causes and are triggered by different stimuli. If issues related to anxiety disorders are causing problems for you, you should know that treatment is available to help you free yourself from these paralyzing feelings of fear and dread. At Neurotherapeutix, we have used our unique functional guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technique to effectively help many of our patients overcome persistent anxiety and greatly improve their focus, happiness, and quality of life.
The specific cause of anxiety disorders will vary from person to person and may be difficult to pin down.
Anxiety will often stem from or be triggered by traumatic life events, fears, or phobias, but can also have a hereditary factor, with your genetic makeup potentially making you more susceptible to anxiety. There can also be a physiological component, with anxiety disorders sometimes being linked to physical ailments like heart disease or diabetes. Use of drugs can contribute to feelings of mental unease both due to abuse of the drug itself and chemical imbalances caused by withdrawal.
It is also important to take note of external factors, as spikes in worry and emotional disquiet are often concurrent with situations such as social settings, or with stressful life events such as divorce or losing a job. Chronic pain disorders can also increase the burden of stress and inspire feelings of extreme anxiety.
The most straightforward symptom of chronic anxiety is a recurring feeling of dread, nervousness, or fixation which makes it difficult for you to focus on regular daily activities. You may often feel that you are in danger without any clear and present cause for alarm. This can have physiological effects such as sweating, shortness of breath, and digestive problems. Incessant focus on sources of stress and worry can make it difficult to find the focus to take care of basic aspects of your everyday life or avoidance of activities and situations which trigger anxiety. Interruptions to your sleep schedule may also occur due to fixation on these stressors.
Untreated anxiety can be crippling, and may also result in panic attacks, in which you are overwhelmed by an intense peak of these heightened emotions. These can be dangerous, resulting in heart rate spikes and even fainting spells.
All candidates for guided TMS treatment at Neurotherapeutix are first evaluated by a board-certified psychiatrist who will review symptoms and medical history, identifying current stressors in your day-to-day life, past treatments which have been attempted, and any external or medical issues which could possibly be triggering your anxiety.
Using our unique, cutting-edge functional MRI (fMRI) technology, our doctors are able to map the brain and spot abnormal activity and connectivity. Often there will be disruptions in neural pathways of the brain which are contributing to the issue. Our fMRI method shows where these disruptions are affecting blood flow and connectivity in the brain, allowing us to establish the severity of the disorder and create a unique treatment plan to suit each patient’s needs.
Treatments for chronic anxiety will vary depending on the severity of the issue and the needs of each individual person. Some people are able to mitigate the effects of anxiety through stress management techniques such as mindfulness meditation or breathing exercises. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be helpful in empowering patients to identify and cut out unhelpful thought patterns. In some cases, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may prove beneficial.
While psychotherapy or medications will be helpful for some people, others may find that these do not substantially lessen their experience of anxiety, with symptoms continuing to cause significant disruptions in their lives. For patients who are not able to achieve results with medication, or for whom the associated side effects are debilitating, guided transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) may be the right option.
Neurotherapeutix is unique in its implementation of guided TMS using functional MRI technology. Our clinic uses a sophisticated algorithm to single out specific parts of the brain which are behaving abnormally in order to reach the most accurate possible diagnosis and create a targeted treatment plan which is individualized for each patient. We are the only doctors in New York City who provide this cutting-edge treatment technique.
In addition to being able to diagnose abnormal blood flow and connectivity in the brain to a degree of accuracy not available from other mental health clinics, we are also able to use this fMRI technology to monitor progress over the course of several sessions. As function is restored during repeated sessions, you will experience a stabilizing of your emotions, with fewer worries and anxious thoughts. We will also continue to adjust your personalized treatment based on the results shown by ongoing fMRI monitoring in order to get the best possible results.