Everyone feels anxiety from time to time. For those who suffer from an anxiety disorder, the disorder can impair one’s ability to do certain things (e.g., get on a plane) or handle specific situations (e.g., public speaking). Anxiety can make people act in ways they know to be irrational. Anxiety can even make living a normal life almost impossible.
What are the different types of disorders and their symptoms?
Rapid heartbeat, dizziness, difficulty breathing, and sweating are among the many symptoms that can accompany a panic feeling that something terrible (like losing control or dying) is about to happen. People who experience recurring attacks or who are distressed about having these attacks have "panic disorder."
A person’s fear of these attacks can lead him or her to avoid any situation that might trigger an attack. The person may avoid driving, crowds, or being alone.
The fear of embarrassment makes some people avoid certain ordinary social or performance situations—like public speaking, going to parties, eating in restaurants, writing in front of others, or using public restrooms. People with a social phobia feel so threatened by certain situations that they either avoid them completely or suffer terribly when they cannot avoid them.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Some people try to cope with severe anxiety by repeatedly doing something that may calm their fears. Individuals obsessively worried about contamination, for example, may wash their hands repeatedly. People who fear causing unintentional harm may check something—like whether the gas is turned off or whether the doors are locked—over and over again.
Other signs of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) include excessive collecting or hoarding, compulsive counting, doing things in an unnaturally slow or ritualistic manner, replacing "bad" thoughts with "good" ones, and fears related to religious beliefs. People with OCD are usually aware that their behavior is unnecessary or extreme, but they feel they are unable to stop their actions or thoughts.
There are other disorders that may be associated with OCD. The most common is Tourette’s disorder, with symptoms of sudden, rapid, repeated tics (e.g., eye blinking, sticking out one’s tongue) or sounds (e.g., barks, throat clearing).
The term "specific" refers to fears of a single type of thing. Fears of flying, illness, heights, small spaces, or certain animals are all examples. Specific phobias are common. Most people, in fact, will tell you they have at least one phobia or one thing that makes them nervous. However, not everyone needs treatment.
When a phobia interferes with normal life, treatment can help. For example, if fear of flying makes it impossible to conduct business or visit relatives, overcoming the phobia is important.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) worry excessively and may experience symptoms like fatigue, restlessness, irritability, and muscle tension. The GAD interferes with their ability to function at work and at home.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may follow a traumatic event such as an accident, rape, assault, or natural or man-made disaster. Often, people with PTSD will have frightening thoughts and memories about the traumatic event that interferes with their daily routine. Nightmares, flashbacks, numbed emotions, depression, feeling angry, and being startled are common when someone is suffering with PTSD.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation. A clinician evaluates the nature and severity of the anxiety, and assesses whether physical, emotional, or environmental stressors could be contributing to the development and maintenance of the disorder. Then you and your clinician develop a treatment plan. The plan is individualized so that your treatment addresses the most pressing problems first. Anxiety disorders can be treated by therapy, medications, or a combination of the two.
Mood disorders are characterized by depressive, hypomanic and/or manic episodes. Diagnoses in this category include Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorders and Mood Disorders Due to General Medical Condition. These illnesses can be quite severe, and can cause significant suffering for patients and their families. Many psychological and biological treatments exist and are effective for these disorders. Our therapists and doctors are experts at providing evidence-based, empathic and effective treatments for these problems.
People with depressive episode typically experience at least a few weeks of most of the following symptoms:
· Sad mood, with frequent crying spells
· Lack of interest in, or inability to enjoy, previously enjoyable activities
· Changes in appetite that result in weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
· Insomnia or oversleeping
· Loss of energy or increased fatigue
· Restlessness or irritability
· Feelings of worthlessness or persistent guilt
· Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
· Ongoing body aches and pains, or problems with digestion that are not caused by physical disease
· Increased drinking, cigarette smoking, or using prescription or illicit drugs
· Thoughts of death, suicide or attempted suicide – if this is the case seek help immediately
People with manic episode typically experience at least a week of most of the following symptoms.
· Extremely elevated or euphoric mood
· Extreme irritability
· Increased energy
· Decreased need for sleep
· Talking too fast, difficult to interrupt
· Impulsive, including spontaneous travel, with no concern for consequences
· Poor judgment, typically in the form of excessive spending or gambling, increased sexual activity, driving too fast, drug use
People with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) experience symptoms of depression in a cyclic, seasonal pattern. This means that symptoms usually come back and go away at the same times every year. In most people, SAD symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during late spring and summer. Some people have the opposite pattern, developing SAD with the onset of spring or summer.
Program Director: K. Luan Phan, MD
Medical Director: Joshua Nathan, MD
The Mission of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at The University of Illinois at Chicago is to provide the best opportunity for treatment of adults with psychiatric illness, by having a range of treatment options, tailored to fit patients' needs. We strive for compassion, competence, respect and making treatment decisions in collaboration with our patients.
Our goal is to treat each patient and family as we would want our own family to be treated.
How to reach us:
We are located in the historic NeuroPsychiatric Institute (NPI) of the University of Illinois at Chicago
912 S. Wood St., M/C 913, Chicago, IL 60612
Call today to speak with one of our intake coordinators
Click here for directions.
Conditions Commonly Treated:
- Major Depression
- Bipolar Disorder
- Dysthymic Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Specific Phobias Phobias
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Adult Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
We offer treatment for adults using a comprehensive, individualized, evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach, including the following services:
- A full diagnostic psycho-social and medical-psychiatric evaluation
- Individualized treatment planning
- Medication management (pharmacotherapy)
- Individual Psychotherapy, including:
- Cognitive -Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal psychotherapy
- Insight-oriented psychotherapy.
- Group psychotherapy, including currently weekly on-going groups:
1. Chronic Medical Illness and Depression Group
Tuesdays from 1pm-2:15pm
Group leaders: Pat Smith, RN, MS, and a resident physician.
Description: The group enables patients with chronic medical illness to receive support and information about their illnesses, to develop better coping skills to deal with their physical conditions and resulting depression, and to form a support network with each other, for problems solving and improving communication skills.
2. Schizoaffective Group
Group leaders: Pat Smith, RN, MS, and a resident physician.
Description: The group is constructed to assist affected patients to learn to self-monitor their moods and report any early signs of relapse to avoid hospitalization. Patients form a support network and engage in problem solving and develop improved coping and interpersonal skills.·
Most treatment is conducted on an outpatient basis. For severe illness, patients can also be referred to our Inpatient Clinical Program or our Community Reintegration Program (an intensive outpatient program).
Our clinicians have diverse expertise, skills and credentials to care for patients with mood and anxiety disorders. Our team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, and social workers.
Jennifer Duffecy, PhD
Denika McMillen, LCSW
Kalyan Rao, MD
Colleen Reese, LCSW
Participate in Patient-Oriented Research:
Several of our clinicians are also investigators in clinical research. We are currently looking for patient participants in several research studies. Many of these studies provide, at no charge, clinical assessments along with medication and psychotherapy (‘talk therapy’) treatments known to be effective. If interested, please click on the link to see if there is a study you may qualify for:
Other Useful links: