When Anxiety Spirals Out of Control

Aug 02, 2023
When Anxiety Spirals Out of Control
Experiencing some anxiety on occasion is normal. But when you’re stuck in a heightened state of stress or your anxiety is disproportionate, it can significantly impact your life.

Only moments after you wake up, so does your anxiety — your heart feels like it’s racing, your stomach churns, and there’s just an overwhelming sense of dread. Or, maybe these episodes strike at different times of the day, and they’re so strong that they paralyze you.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are common in the United States, affecting nearly 20% of adults and millions of kids. 

Unchecked anxiety can quickly take over your life and lead to more significant problems, which is why Dr. Sanjoy Sathpathy and our team at So Cal Psychiatric Care recommend prompt care at the first signs of an anxiety disorder.

If your anxiety (or a loved one’s) has spiraled out of control, here’s what we want you to know.

Defining anxiety

The term anxiety encompasses several conditions, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder

While each of these disorders has its own unique characteristics, what they all have in common is a heightened stress response. Also called the “fight-or-flight” response, this biologically driven reaction to a stressful situation is designed to help you keep safe by giving you the tools you need to either fight or flee a perceived threat.

With an anxiety disorder, this response goes a little haywire, activating outside of danger and getting stuck in the response.

How anxiety affects your life

When anxiety spirals out of control, it has a far-reaching impact on your life and affects nearly every area of your health.

First, your physical health can be impacted if you’re stuck in a stress response, which can include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Gastro-intestinal issues
  • Headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction

While the physical toll is significant, we’re also concerned about the mental impacts. People with ongoing anxiety challenges are at an increased risk for developing a substance use disorder as they try to self-medicate the symptoms. 

Furthermore, unchecked anxiety can also affect how well you function. When you’re in a heightened stress response, you might be unable to focus on school or work or shy away from social situations. As a result, you begin to withdraw, which only further exacerbates the issue and can lead to related mental health disorders, such as depression.

Getting help

For the reasons we outlined above, seeking medical help for your anxiety disorder is essential — and the earlier, the better. 

Through psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medications if needed, we can help you gain control over your anxiety so that it doesn’t take over your life. 

Other innovative treatment such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS has a significant role to play as regards to treatment of anxiety.

For expert and compassionate management of your anxiety, we invite you to call our office in San Diego, California, at 858-923-5226 or book an appointment online today to learn more.