Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Anxiety Specialist

Advanced Psychiatric Associates

Tina Okonkwo, DNP, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC

Psychiatric Mental Health Care for Children, Adolescents and Adults located in Charlotte, NC

When feelings of anxiety or fear get out of control, you become a prisoner of your emotions. If you're avoiding going out or your relationships are suffering because of your anxiety, Justina Okonkwo, DNP, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC, of Advanced Psychiatric Associates can help. At the practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, Justina and her team provide in-person and virtual holistic health care, encompassing your mind, emotions, mood, and body. For effective solutions to anxiety disorders, call Advanced Psychiatric Associates or book an appointment online today.

Anxiety Q & A

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion most people feel when facing life choices, stressful situations, or problems in their lives, and that's perfectly normal.

However, if anxiety persists, gets worse, and prevents you from leading the life you’d like to, this normal emotion has become a mental health disorder. There are several types of anxiety disorder, including:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

If you have GAD, your worries about issues like your health, family, money, and work become excessive, taking over your daily life for six months or more. Your fears don't focus on a single subject and often extend to areas like world events over which you have no control.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder causes sudden episodes of overwhelming fear in everyday situations (panic attacks). These attacks can make you unable to breathe or think properly, and they can cause physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, and chest pain. 

Fear of experiencing another attack can make you reluctant to leave a place of safety, like your home.


People who have phobias experience intense feelings of fear, revulsion, or panic when they’re exposed to a specific object, like spiders or snakes, or an experience, like flying or heights. A phobia of being in social situations is now known as social anxiety disorder.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

While all forms of anxiety make you feel stressed and afraid, the symptoms of each anxiety disorder vary.

For instance, a phobia could make you feel nauseous or even cause you to vomit, while generalized anxiety disorder symptoms tend toward irritability, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, and constant muscle tension.

While panic disorder is a condition in its own right, other types of anxiety disorders can also cause you to experience panic attacks. These attacks are so distressing and make you feel so helpless that you start taking every precaution to avoid having another.

What treatment options are there for anxiety?

The Advanced Psychiatric Associates team designs a treatment program to fit your needs and the nature of your anxiety. Treatments likely to be in your plan include:


Medications like selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and benzodiazepines reduce your anxiety to a level where you can benefit from therapy. Antidepressants may also help improve your mood and make you less vulnerable to stress triggers.

It may take a while to find the medication that works for you, so it's important to be patient.


Some talking therapies aim to help you understand the reasons for your anxiety and the distressing feelings and thoughts you're experiencing. Another type of therapy that can help people with anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT focuses on helping you alter the way you respond to your anxiety and to look at your situation differently. This enables you to handle it more realistically.

If anxiety, panic attacks, or phobias are causing you distress, the Advanced Psychiatric Associates team can help. Call the office or book an appointment online today.