Around 40 million Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. This makes anxiety disorders the most prevalent mental illness in the country, but even so, symptoms aren’t always apparent.
Dr. Rebecca Swan of Anxiety Treatment Resources in Edina is one of five clinical psychologists at the specialized practice working to improve the symptoms of people with a range of anxiety-based disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety and performance anxiety.
She says, “Like many mental health conditions, many individuals with anxiety disorders experience a high level of symptoms, yet may be very highly functioning individuals. Anxiety disorders often go hidden.”
Despite its pervasiveness, Swan says, “there’s really a dearth of support groups” in the area. Some larger health care organizations such as Fairview and Allina offer support services, and there is also a local chapter of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation.
Swan’s offers advice to friends and family of people with anxiety disorders: Educate yourself about the condition, recognize and understand available treatment options, and communicate those resources. She says, “Just providing the individual with practical information, and just letting them know that there are effective treatments available,” can be helpful.
The primary approach at Anxiety Treatment Resources is cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy—this method aims to replace problematic habits with more positive ones and provides tools to cope with challenging situations. Anxiety Treatment Resources also refers patients to other resources in the community if determined to be a better fit. Find out more at anxietytreatmentresources.com