The causes behind the development of anxiety disorders are still under research. Some feel that the answer lies in physiological factors or some kind of "chemical imbalance." Others stress the role of psychological or "environmental" factors. Many believe that anxiety disorders will, ultimately, be best understood as the culmination of an interaction among a variety of physiological and psychological phenomena.
Much progress has been made in the treatment of anxiety disorders. A variety of medications have been found to be effective for many sufferers. Psychological treatments known as cognitive behavioral therapies have also been demonstrated to be successful in treating many anxiety disorder patients. This type of treatment directly targets thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors involved in anxiety disorders, utilizing, whenever possible, research-proven effective techniques. Other forms of psychological treatment may be helpful for anxiety disorder sufferers, but have been less well researched.
For some, a combination of psychological treatment and medication is the most productive approach. Effective treatment of these often debilitating disorders can dramatically improve the quality of life of the sufferer and his or her family. It should be noted that a prudent first step, if an individual believes he or she suffers from an anxiety disorder, is to visit a physician to rule out the possibility that a medical condition is causing or exacerbating the anxiety symptoms.
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