Anxiety is a common and frequent function of the human experience. Our fight-or-flight response is built-in, and it serves a discrete purpose.
At one time, it was a valuable tool for ensuring our survival in the face of an immediate threat. It steeled us to run from large predators across the icy wild and kept our eyes and ears attuned to any signs of danger.
In a modern world where we don’t have to evade saber-toothed tigers, anxiety is a little less obviously useful. But, for many, it’s an even more pervasive experience than it was for our ancestors.
What is anxiety?
According to the CDC’s 2022 National Health Statistics Report, about 37% of surveyed adults currently suffer from some form of anxiety.
We’ve all experienced occasional anxiety flare-ups in the form of feelings of tension, worried thoughts, a spike in blood pressure, increased sweating, and other physical and psychological symptoms.
Those who don’t suffer from an anxiety disorder largely only experience these symptoms when there’s an identifiable threat. A little anxiety is good. It sharpens our mental acuity, makes us more aware of our surroundings, and helps us stay alert if we’re doing something mildly risky like crossing the street.
But anxiety becomes a burden when it rears its jittery head in less stressful scenarios. People who suffer from anxiety on a regular basis may be triggered by seemingly mundane situations or stimuli, like driving, being outdoors, or being in crowded rooms.
People with anxiety disorders may also experience more intense, frequent, or persistent worry about specific concepts or situations than the average person. Worse still, they may experience sudden, debilitating episodes of intense anxiety, fear, or terror in the form of panic attacks.
Panic attacks can spur physical symptoms including shaking, disorientation, nausea, rapid, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, breathlessness, sweating, and dizziness. Severe anxiety can limit a person’s ability to partake in daily activities.
People who have a number of triggers may inadvertently start to build a fortress around themselves, and they soon find that their world has become very small. They may be anxious about driving, leaving the house, or being in social situations.
This can beget feelings of shame, which may prevent those with anxiety disorders from getting the help they need. These feelings of shame contribute to the stigma surrounding anxiety disorders, which prevents access to care.
How MediTelecare™ can help
Telehealth, or clinical care conducted online through computer, tablet, or smartphone, can be a crucial tool for combatting anxiety. Those who suffer from anxiety related to leaving their houses, driving, and interacting with people are particularly well-suited to glean immense benefit from telehealth.
For some, anxiety can be so confining that it renders sufferers too anxious to leave their bedrooms. This makes it difficult for patients to get to in-person therapy appointments with clinical care providers. As a result, severe anxiety can pose a barrier to care by virtue of its symptoms.
With MediTelecare™, those with anxiety disorders can get the help they need from the comfort of their own homes. Clinicians can work with patients within their comfort zone to make progress toward expanding that comfort zone.
Ultimately, telehealth enables clinicians to meet patients where they’re at. Clinicians can provide patients with a safe space to talk through issues without requiring that they confront anxiety-provoking situations head-on. This helps to reduce treatment avoidance and improves access to care.
With greater access to care, patients with anxiety disorders can accumulate a number of tools in their toolbox to rely on when they’re struggling. Acquiring healthy coping mechanisms through therapy is a healthier long-term solution for many patients than relying on certain medications, such as benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines are a class of medication often used to treat severe anxiety. While effective, benzodiazepines can pose serious health risks — particularly for the elderly. Some of the dangers of this class of medication include cognitive impairment, delirium, increased risk of falls, increased risk of fractures, and increased risk of car accidents.
As of 2012, the American Geriatric Society began warning clinicians of the dangers of benzodiazepines for elderly patients.
Integrating telehealth into a patient’s treatment plan may enable patients to improve symptom management without relying on benzodiazepines and other effective but risky medications.
Meditelecare’s™ integrated model provides comprehensive psychology and psychiatry services to patients via telehealth to improve patient health outcomes and reduce reliance on antipsychotics and other medications.
We offer multiple platforms for care delivery that can adapt to patients’ and clinicians’ specific needs.