- Anxiety is a feeling of fear or worry that consumes your life.
- It is the most common mental health condition in the United States.
- It is estimated that close to 20% of Americans have anxiety.
- Anxiety is more common in women and most people who are affected develop it before age 21.
How common is anxiety?
- Most of us experience some degree of anxiety.
- Some degree of anxiety may be beneficial in providing motivation to get things done.
- It becomes concerning though if these feelings of “what ifs” take over your life.
- These anxious feelings may develop into a cycle that becomes hard to break.
- People exhibit anxiousness in all different ways.
- Sometimes people will experience a racing heart, an upset stomach or headaches.
- There may also be complaints of inability to relax or sleep.
There are different types of anxiety.
- Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition where one worries to the point that they find it hard to concentrate and perform daily activities.
- Panic attacks usually come on abruptly. People may experience chest pain, dizziness or shortness of breath.
- Social anxiety order is a condition where one experiences extreme fear of being judged. These patients are less likely to participate in activities that involve other people. They are afraid of talking because they feel they may not be accepted by others. The typical age of onset is 13 years old. Consider reading more on the subject.
- Phobia is an exaggerated fear of something
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by persistent and uncontrollable thoughts and routines. Examples of this includes washing hands excessively for fear of germs.
- Post traumatic stress disorder is an extreme anxiety disorder that includes flashbacks and night mares.
In order to improve anxiety you must first recognize there is a problem and seek out help. The earlier you get help the better the outcome. Sometimes anxiety may be associated with depression and or drug abuse. These conditions need to be treated in addition to the anxiety in order to obtain the best results.
What activities may help reduce anxiety?
- Relaxation techniques.
- Avoidance of caffeinated products as they increase the chance of the jitters.
- Ask for help with chores and responsibilities to reduce stress levels.
- Exercise to increase endorphins and help clear your mind.
- Make sure you are getting a good night sleep.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Keep a journal to look for patterns of your anxiety.
- Set aside some time to look at what you previously wrote. Can you see a pattern?
- Try to break the cycle of worrying all the time. Can you set limits such as actual time frames to worry and when that time is up try to carry on with your other activities.
- Write down what you are worried about.
You may want to ask yourself if you can solve any of the worries.
- Realize that you will not be able to solve all your worries.
- Realize that there will always be an element of uncertainty in your life.
Try a workbook such as this one which will may help you work through your concerns Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-by-Step Techniques for Overcoming your Fear
If you are not improving you should see a therapist. Therapy can help if you are not able to control your anxiety.
Treatment for anxiety
Over the years anxienty has become more and more accepted as an actual medical condition that can require treatment from a medical professional as it can’t always be managed at home on your own, or swept under the carpet as something to be ashamed of like it used to be. These days no matter whether you need to seek anxiety treatment in LA or New York or Ohio or Tennassee now that it is more commonly recognised as a medical condition there are some really good treatment centres available to everyone, they aren’t just for the rich and famous as some might believe.
If you’re not sure that you’re at that stage yet or you would like therapy but don’t know which of the many types of therapy to try then hopefully my advice below can help you.
- Behavioral therapy focuses on teaching skills such as deep breathing and relaxation that will help you deal with your anxiety.
- Cognitive therapy helps you identify the negative thinking patterns and irrational beliefs that fuel your anxiety.
- Exposure therapy for anxiety disorder treatment encourages you to confront your fears in a safe environment. Through repeated exposures to the feared object, you gain a greater sense of control. Your anxiety will gradually diminish as you face your fear.
Several medications are used to help treat anxiety.
- Antidepressants work on the brains neurotransmitters. This class of medications include prozac, zoloft and lexapro.
- Medications are most effective when combined with therapy modification.
- Beta blockers which help slow your heart rate can help with anxiety. They may be used to help with rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling in anxious situations.
- Your doctor will help guide you with these choices.
If you need help NAMI can be a great resource.