A young woman wearing headphones rides the train and looks at her phone.


Compassionate treatment for anxiety

We all experience feelings of anxiety from time to time – it’s one of the ways we navigate different situations in life. But for someone living with anxiety, worry and fear isn’t temporary. It can make everyday activities like school, work and relationships feel overwhelming.

Research shows that nearly one in five people in the U.S. faced a mental health condition in the past year. So no matter how you’re feeling, know you’re not alone.

At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we take an integrated approach to treating mental health, using the skills and experience of both our primary care doctors and mental and behavioral health specialists to give you the care you need.

If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety, we can help. Our doctors are experts at diagnosing anxiety and providing personalized treatment options.

What we treat

There are several types of anxiety, and symptoms can vary from mild to more severe. The most common types of anxiety we treat are:

Generalized anxiety

Generalized anxiety disorder occurs when you feel worried and stressed about many everyday events and activities. This type of worry disrupts your life most days. Everyone gets worried or anxious sometimes. But people diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder experience more than normal everyday worries.

Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills, using relaxation techniques, psychotherapy or medications can be effective forms of generalized anxiety disorder treatment.


Panic attacks and anxiety attacks can have similar symptoms, but they are not the same thing. Understanding the differences between naturally occurring anxiety, worry and panic can help you better understand and your feelings and treatment options available.

A panic attack is a sudden, intense fear or anxiety that may make you short of breath, dizzy or make your heart pound. You may feel out of control, and some people believe that they are having a heart attack. A panic attack usually lasts from 5 to 20 minutes. But it may last longer, up to a few hours. You have the most anxiety about 10 minutes after the attack starts. If these attacks happen often, they are called a panic disorder.

Panic attacks can be scary and can get in the way of your daily activities. Treatment can help most people have fewer symptoms or even stop the attacks.

More women than men get panic attacks.


Having a phobia means you are extremely afraid of a specific object, situation or activity. Having a phobia is very different from everyday worry or stress. For example, most people feel worry and stress at some time, such as when speaking in front of a large group of people. People with phobias have so much fear that it's hard to do normal activities, such as going to work.

Having a phobia includes feeling stressed about being near the object, being in the situation or doing the activity. It also includes being afraid of the object, situation or activity itself. People with phobias avoid what they are afraid of so they won't feel worried and stressed.

Symptoms of anxiety

Symptoms of anxiety disorders may differ from person to person. People with anxiety disorders may experience irritability, muscle tension, fatigue and insomnia (trouble sleeping), feeling “on edge” or tense, intrusive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, trouble letting go of past traumatic events or difficulty concentrating. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it might be a good idea to schedule an appointment with one of our primary care doctors. Our primary care doctors are experts in diagnosing hundreds of conditions and can help connect you to one of our anxiety specialists if needed.

Anytime you have new or unusual symptoms that you are concerned about or are worsening, it’s best to call and we can help you decide on next steps.

Anxiety causes

A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a person’s risk for developing anxiety. You may be at higher risk if you:

  • Experienced stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood
  • Have a family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions
  • Suffer from certain physical conditions, like thyroid problems or unusual heart rhythms

Anxiety diagnosis

Our doctors use a variety of methods when understanding whether someone has anxiety. We talk with you about how you’ve been feeling and take note of all symptoms, both mental and physical. From your answers, we’re able to make a diagnosis and begin discussing anxiety treatment options with you.

Anxiety treatment options

Our team includes primary care clinicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and licensed clinical social workers with expertise in treating anxiety. Anxiety can be treated with talk therapy, medication or lifestyle changes. Often a combination of all three is best for improving symptoms long-term. Your doctor will work with you to develop an anxiety treatment plan you’re comfortable with.

Talk therapy

Our primary care doctors may recommend or refer you to a behavioral health professional for talk therapy, sometimes called psychotherapy or therapy. Talk therapy with a psychologist or other behavioral health professional involves talking and then taking action to make changes based on your therapy discussion.


Medication can be an effective treatment option for anxiety. The most commonly prescribed anxiety medications are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). We will work with you to find an anti-anxiety medication that works best for you.

Lifestyle changes

While it may sound simple, another common treatment for anxiety involves making healthy lifestyle changes. Sometimes people don’t realize how their basic daily routine may be contributing to stress and affecting their health. Combined with therapy or medication, our doctors or therapists may recommend specific changes to your sleep schedule, diet or exercise to improve your daily mental and physical health.

Doctors may also recommend quitting smoking and cutting back on substances like caffeine and alcohol, which can make anxiety worse. But, you aren’t asked to make these changes alone. Our doctors and therapists are here to offer guidance and support so lifestyle changes are easier to adopt and sustain long-term.

If this is your first time seeking help for anxiety, we’re glad you’re here. At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, our primary care doctors can diagnose and treat common conditions like anxiety.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)