Katelyn Hagerty

Reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Written by Our Editorial Team

Published 07/31/2021

Updated 09/09/2019

Did you know that 40 million American adults are dealing with an anxiety disorder? Sadly, only 36.9 percent of those who suffer receive treatment.

But even if you’re not dealing with a diagnosable anxiety disorder, it’s common to occasionally feel overwhelmed by life. 

No matter what type of anxiety you’re dealing with, however, it’s important to have coping mechanisms. That way, when you’re feeling particularly anxious you can nip it in the bud. 

Read on to learn how to  identify the type of anxiety you might have as well as ways to handle it. 

Do You Have An Anxiety Disorder?

Maybe you have a big work presentation or a moody family member. Well, it’s totally normal if these things (and others!) cause your anxiety to spike. 

If you only experience anxiety every once in a while, there’s nothing to be worried about. 

But what if your anxiety is more frequent? According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, if you’re struggling to control your anxiety more days than not over a period of six months, you may be dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

People with GAD often experience the following symptoms:

  • Feeling nervous and/or irritable

  • Feeling panic or doom

  • An increased heart rate

  • Hyperventilation 

  • Sweating

  • Tiredness and/or weakness

  • Concentration issues

  • Issue sleeping

  • Stomach problems

If you suspect you are dealing with GAD, it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional. 

Aside from GAD, there are four other types of anxiety disorders.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: OCD involves recurrent, unwanted thoughts and compulsive behavior — such as repetitive handwashing, counting or checking. 

  • Panic Disorder: People who have panic disorder experience unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear along with physical symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations and shortness of breath. 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: This type of anxiety disorder develops after a traumatic event such as a violent assault, natural disaster, accident or military combat. 

  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Also called social phobia, it’s categorized by feeling extremely overwhelmed in social situations. It can be limited to very specific situations (like speaking in public) or be so severe that you feel anxiety any time you’re around other people. 

Anxiety Triggers 

A variety of things can set off your anxiety and make it feel ‘bad.’ As previously mentioned, stressful life events (like work and family issues) commonly cause an increase in anxious feelings. 

But there are also some more unexpected things that can trigger it. For example, a 2010 study found that caffeine can spike anxiety in some people.

Anxiety can also be brought on by a feared object or situation. For example, people with social anxiety may go into a spiral if they’re going to be around a lot of people.

It’s also important to remember that anxiety isn’t linear. Some days it may be really high, while other times it can dip and be almost nonexistent. 

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How to Treat Anxiety

No matter what makes you anxious or how often you feel anxious, there are many ways you can approach treating your anxiety. Check them out: 


Breaking a sweat doesn’t just keep you physically healthy — though it’s definitely great for that. Regular exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, helps you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and more.

Research has also shown that working out can have a positive effect on mental health. 

A 2013 review of animal studies found that exercise reduced levels of stress and anxiety and led to overall mood improvements.


Time to get your Om on. A 2014 study found that 20 minutes of mindful meditation can decrease anxiety by reducing overall brain activity. 

Need more evidence about meditation? John Hopkins published findings from more than 47 randomized clinical trials and concluded that meditation helps people cope with anxiety and stress.


There are a few different types of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders. The type you need depends on what symptoms you have. 

You’ll want to use online mental health services to determine the type of therapy you’d benefit from most. Different types of therapy used to treat anxiety include: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT revolves around identifying patterns and behaviors that may lead to anxiety and using problem-solving skills to cope.

  • Exposure therapy: In this form of therapy, people confront their fears in a safe environment. It has been shown to help with GAD, among other things.

  • Dialectical behavior therapy: This is a form of CBT that was originally used for people with borderline personality disorder before also being used for anxiety.

  • Interpersonal therapy: Working with a professional, people in this type of therapy work to overcome interpersonal issues that may be affecting mental health — like coworker dynamics and romantic relationships.

  • Psychodynamic therapy: The focus of this therapy is on past issues that may contribute to current feelings or dynamics. It involves a lot of reflection.


In some cases, a healthcare professional may suggest prescription anxiety medication as a way of managing anxiety. 

Commonly prescribed medications for anxiety include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

  • Beta Blockers

  • Benzodiazepines

To determine if medication could help you and, if so, which one might be best for you, talk to a healthcare professional. 

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Managing Your Anxiety

The first step to dealing with bad anxiety is to...actually deal with it. 

Whether you try relaxation techniques like medication or start taking a prescription medication, there are plenty of ways to address your specific situation. 

For best results, to help your anxiety not feel so bad — it’s helpful to consult with a healthcare professional or try online therapy, to find what’s best for you. 

15 Sources

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

  1. Facts and Statistics. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from
  2. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from
  3. Symptoms, Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from
  4. Diogo, L. (2010). Caffeine, mental health, and psychiatric disorders. J Alzheimers Dis, 1:S239-48. Retrieved from
  5. Anxiety Disorders. National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved from
  6. What are the five types of anxiety disorders? U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from
  7. Benefits of Exercise. Medline Plus. Retrieved from
  8. Anderson, E., Shivakumar, G. (2013). Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety. Frontiers in Psychiatry. Retrieved from
  9. Zeidan, F., Martucci, K., Kraft, R., et al. (2013, May 21). Neural correlates of mindfulness meditation-related anxiety relief. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 751-759. Retrieved from
  10. Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E., et al. (2014). Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine. Retrieved from
  11. What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? American Psychological Association. Retrieved from
  12. What is exposure behavior? American Psychological Association. Retrieved from
  13. Dialectical Behavior Therapy. University of Washington. Retrieved from
  14. Markowitz, J., Weissman, M., (2004, October). Interpersonal psychotherapy: principles and applications. World Psychiatry. Retrieved from
  15. Shedler, J. The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy. University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine. Retrieved from

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Katelyn Hagerty, FNP

Kate Hagerty is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over a decade of healthcare experience. She has worked in critical care, community health, and as a retail health provider.

She received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of Delaware and her master's degree from Thomas Jefferson University. You can find Katelyn on Doximity for more information.

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