Holbein, of Chicago, was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) three years ago but is now able to live a normal life by incorporating cognitive therapy and medications into his daily routine.
Generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million adults per year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
In fact, some medical experts have found that 90 percent of people will experience some form of anxiety, such as having a panic attack or having an obsessive thought that makes them anxious, at least once a year.
The good news is there are some easy coping methods to help get rid of the symptoms of anxiety.
Dr. Karen Cassiday, director of the Anxiety and Agoraphobia Treatment Center in Chicago and Deerfield, said anxiety is a normal feeling for most human beings but added that it can get out of control for some.
“Anxiety is a part of life, though it can become a problem when it starts to take over your life,” she said.
Some symptoms of anxiety and GAD include difficulty sleeping, fatigue, restlessness, muscle tension and even gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea. The symptoms can change and become worse if not taken care of, and other anxiety disorders might develop like panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorders.
Cassiday said anxiety disorders can be hereditary or may even develop from living a particular lifestyle. She adds that her clinic is seeing more young people — including children — with anxiety disorders and believes parents are partially to blame.
“There are a lot of parents who are too overprotective with their kids,” said Cassiday. “It can turn into something worse later in life. We see many young adults these days that just live in their parents’ basement, for example, and are afraid and fearful of the stresses of adulthood.”
Cassiday suggests that parents slowly expose their children to the things they fear.
“If a child is afraid of clowns, go to the circus,” Cassiday said. “Exposing them to these things might help them deal with other fears they might face in the future.”
She also said our fast-paced lifestyle along with work issues can contribute to stress and anxiety.
She said exercising is a great way to relieve work-related and other types of anxiety.
“It doesn’t have to be boot camp, but simple exercising like walking or biking can reduce stress,” she said. “Yoga and meditation have also proven to be effective.”
Cassiday said altering one’s attitude, such as trying to have a sense of humor, can also ease up on stress and anxiety.