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What is Debilitating Anxiety?


Anxious Woman

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It’s normal to feel anxiety or nervousness amid changes or during a high-pressure situation, such as giving a performance or public speaking. However, if you feel anxiety often and avoid certain situations, events, or people because of it, you may have an anxiety disorder. 

These disorders are usually progressive and—if left untreated—can become debilitating. The guide below discusses how to identify debilitating anxiety, what causes it, and how you can treat it. 

If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder and want fast, convenient, affordable treatment, book an appointment on Klarity today. We’ll connect you with a healthcare provider who can assess your symptoms and provide treatment 100% online.

How Can Debilitating Anxiety Affect Your Life?

Left untreated, debilitating anxiety can have a deep and lasting impact on your life. It can cause difficulty doing the following: 

  • Cultivating close relationships
  • Having new and enriching experiences
  • Getting enough rest and sleep
  • Feeling relaxed and being present

What’s ironic about anxiety is that what it prevents you from doing—such as getting enough sleep—are the very things that can help ease and manage anxiety in the long term. That’s why it’s important to manage your symptoms in the short term—so that you can experience new things and care for yourself holistically. 

Symptoms of Debilitating Anxiety

Clinical anxiety manifests in the mind, which regulates how you experience the world. When the mind senses a potential threat, it can cause physical, emotional, and behavioral reactions meant to protect us. However, anxiety often skews your perspective, causing threat responses even when you’re safe. 

Below is a list of common anxiety symptoms. If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms for two weeks or longer, it may be beneficial to seek a clinical anxiety diagnosis.

Physical Symptoms

Individuals with debilitating anxiety often experience physical symptoms, such as: 

  • Racing heartbeat
  • Sweating or dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Constant muscle tension
  • Nausea or diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia or fatigue
  • Restlessness

Emotional Symptoms

Having debilitating anxiety means your senses are always on high alert, creating distressing and uncomfortable emotional symptoms, such as: 

  • Incessant worrying 
  • Constant apprehension or dread
  • Anticipating any new experience will be unpleasant
  • Imagining worst-case scenarios
  • Engaging in black-and-white thinking

Behavioral Symptoms

Physical and emotional symptoms put strain on the body and mind. Left unmanaged, this strain can manifest as anxiety-related behaviors, which often include:

  • Hypervigilance 
  • Avoiding places or events that may cause fear
  • Sudden irritability and frustration
  • Being withdrawn or isolated
  • Seeking external reassurance
  • Second-guessing decisions
  • Compulsive behaviors

What Causes Debilitating Anxiety?

Clinical anxiety and related disorders—such as panic disorder—can come from a variety of sources. Anxiety can be hereditary, being passed from parent to child. It can also arise from external factors that are very stressful or traumatic. 

Regardless of the source, debilitating anxiety is usually treated the same way—with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, knowing where your anxiety comes from can help determine what kind of therapy or prescription may work best for you. 

Genetic Factors

Just like any other health condition, anxiety can run in families. It may skip a generation or only affect two siblings out of three, but the fact remains—if your parent or grandparent has anxiety, you’re more likely to have it, too. 

Further, certain personality types and neurotypes are more prone to developing anxiety. For instance, introverted individuals need time to reset and recharge after socializing. Being unable to do so could lead to acute or chronic anxiety. 

Environmental Factors

The human brain is very malleable because it creates neural pathways based on new information. While this function is essential for learning and problem-solving, it can lead to anxiety if the same stressful or traumatic pattern is retraced too often. 

For instance, a person who was bullied frequently in school may develop anxiety around social interaction. This pattern could cause them to perceive a relatively safe environment—such as their workplace—as dangerous because their brain is prepping for self-defense. 

How Can I Tell If My Anxiety Is Debilitating?

Debilitating anxiety happens when your anxiety becomes so intense and overwhelming that it affects most aspects of your daily life. You may isolate yourself to avoid potentially uncomfortable situations, endure constant tension, be unable to sleep, or have frequent panic attacks. 

These symptoms are not only exhausting and uncomfortable, but they can also keep you from having new experiences or doing the things you enjoy. If you suspect you have debilitating anxiety, it’s best to seek professional medical assistance. Treatment can help you gain control of your anxiety and reclaim your peace.

Seek A Professional Diagnosis

Getting an official diagnosis from a qualified healthcare provider is the first step to anxiety treatment. A diagnosis can help you access counseling, prescription medication, and other therapies to help alleviate your symptoms and make managing your condition easier. 

To get a professional diagnosis, you can schedule an online appointment with a healthcare provider on Klarity. Every provider is fully licensed and qualified to evaluate your symptoms and provide a professional diagnosis.  

Treatment for Debilitating Anxiety

Treatments for anxiety disorder come in several forms, including: 

  • Counseling or therapy
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Prescription medication

Since anxiety can come from various sources, most healthcare providers treat it comprehensively with a combination of these therapies. Counseling and lifestyle changes help you manage your anxiety in the long term, while prescription medication provides immediate relief. 


Prescription anti-anxiety medication is especially useful for managing your anxiety. It helps alleviate symptoms quickly so you can focus on developing healthy coping skills for long-term anxiety management. 

When taking medication for anxiety, it’s important to disclose all medications, supplements, and medical conditions to your healthcare provider. Having more information will help them choose the right medication for you.

There are a number of anti-anxiety medications available via prescription. Most of them fall under the category of SSRI or SNRI, as detailed below. 


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, along with a number of other bodily functions. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of medications that help alleviate anxiety by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Taking an SSRI prevents your neurons from absorbing serotonin, so more of it is available in the brain. This process helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. 

A few common SSRI medications include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, and Paxil. 


Like SSRIs, serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) ease anxiety by affecting certain neurotransmitters in the brain—namely, serotonin and norepinephrine. Just as serotonin regulates moods, norepinephrine plays a role in regulating wake-sleep cycles and nervous system responses. Too little norepinephrine can disrupt these systems and contribute to the onset of anxiety. 

SNRI medications increase both serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain by preventing your neurons from absorbing them. Common SNRIs include Cymbalta, Pristiq, and Effexor XR. 

Get Diagnosis and Treatment From A Licensed Healthcare Provider on Klarity!

When it comes to debilitating anxiety, the last thing you need is to jump through hoops to get treatment. At Klarity, we remove obstacles like travel times and insurance coverage so you can get the help you need on your own terms. Simply book an online appointment to speak with a board-certified healthcare provider in 48 hours or less—no insurance necessary. Monthly treatment starts at $25.


“Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs).” Mayo Clinic.

“Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).” Mayo Clinic.

“What to Do When Your Anxiety Becomes Debilitating.” EXIS Recovery, Inc.

“What Is Debilitating Anxiety? How to Seek Help for Crippling Anxiety.” Georgetown Behavioral Hospital.

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