Can An Anxiety Disorder Be Prevented?

Question: Can an anxiety disorder be prevented?

Answer: Anxiety disorders can be prevented. If you start to notice an increase in your general anxiety, and it's going on for a long period a time -- a few months -- or you notice your anxiety around particular situations or objects is increasing, and you've made several attempts to try and manage the anxiety, cope with the anxiety -- nothing's working, it's starting to get worse, it's beginning to interfere with your day-to-day functioning -- it's actually very important that you access help from your primary care physician or a mental health professional. If you catch this in the early stages, it won't develop into an anxiety disorder.

There might be some common sense strategies that you're trying to do to manage the anxiety that's inadvertently making the anxiety worse. So again, if there's a kind of transient anxiety and a stressor, or you just experience high anxiety for a few days or even a few weeks, don't worry so much about that. This is anxiety -- if it's going on for a period of time, make sure that you get help for it. And again, the earlier that it's caught and the earlier that you learn more protective strategies to manage it, the less likely it's going to develop into a disorder or something that will be difficult to manage in an ongoing way.

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