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June 6, 2023

What is Anxiety?

by Zara Jethani

Pacific Neuroscience Institute® experts discuss the signs and symptoms of anxiety. Discover the latest treatment and innovations at PNI’s Pacific Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP) program.

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. It is a normal and often healthy emotion, but it can become overwhelming or chronic in some people, leading to an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by excessive and persistent feelings of anxiety and fear that interfere with daily activities.

Understanding the Symptoms and Available Treatments for Anxiety

Anxiety conditions affect millions of people worldwide and can greatly impact quality of life. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States affecting over 40 million adults in the U.S.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

The symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary from person to person, but some common include:

  • Constant worry or fear
  • Avoiding certain situations or activities due to anxiety
  • Physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, shaking, or dizziness
  • Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Irritability or restlessness

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): characterized by excessive and persistent worry about a variety of topics and events, even when there is little or no reason to worry.
  • Panic Disorder: characterized by sudden and intense episodes of fear, or panic attacks, that can occur without warning.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: characterized by intense fear or anxiety about social situations, such as public speaking, interacting with others, or being judged.
  • Specific phobias: characterized by intense fear or anxiety about specific objects or situations, such as heights, flying, or animals.

Current Treatments for Anxiety Disorders

Treatment for anxiety disorders often involves a combination of therapy and medication. The most commonly used treatments include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): a form of therapy that helps individuals understand and change negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their anxiety.
  • Medications: such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and benzodiazepines, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety by altering the levels of certain chemicals in the brain.
  • Lifestyle changes: such as exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques, can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve overall well-being.
  • Exposure Therapy: a form of therapy that helps individuals confront their fears and anxieties in a controlled and gradual manner.

Anxiety Treatment at Pacific Neuroscience Institute®

Anxiety is a common and treatable condition that can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. With the right treatment, individuals with anxiety disorders can lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Our team of behavioral and mental health specialists is available to treat people with anxiety disorders using innovative therapies and clinical trials.

More information:

Pacific Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP) | 310-582-7611 |

About Dr. Keith Heinzerling

Keith Heinzerling, MD

Keith Heinzerling, MD, practices internal medicine and is an addiction medicine specialist at the Pacific Brain Health Center, Pacific Neuroscience Institute. His clinical and research focuses are on the treatment of alcohol, drug and substance use problems, with anti-addiction medications. As director of the Treatment & Research In Psychedelics (TRIP) program, he is involved in the development of psychedelic-assisted therapies for those suffering with addiction, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

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About the Author

Zara Jethani, MS, MBA

Zara Jethani

Zara is the marketing director at Pacific Neuroscience Institute. Her background is in molecular genetics research and healthcare marketing. In addition, she is a graphic designer with more than 20 years experience in the healthcare, education and entertainment industries.

Last updated: April 4th, 2024