Childhood Anxiety Can Worsen As Children Grow Left Untreated Anxiety Can Impact Both Physical And Emotional Health Here’s How To Help Your Child Manage Anxiety On Their Own
Fathers bravely patrolling the perimeter of bedrooms to show a frightened child there arent any multi-legged, hairy creatures hiding under their bed is a nighttime ritual regularly performed in homes around the world. But when spider anxiety prevents you from sleeping away from home or traveling, thats a problem. Its not the spider that stops you from doing adventurous things its youand your anxietythat stops you.
Its important to know the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder though. Fear of spiders, bugs, birds, monsters, or strangers are considered common childhood fears that may cause temporary anxiety in a child. Thats a normal response. But, regardless of the trigger , normal anxiety turns toxic when it begins to occupy the childs thoughts in an all-consuming way and negatively affects the childs ability to engage in normal activities and behaviors.
Figure Out What’s Bothering You
The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are usually more apparent than understanding just what is making you anxious. However, in order to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to figure out whats bothering you. To get to the bottom of your anxiety, put some time aside to exploring your thoughts and feelings.
Writing in a journal can be a great way to get in touch with your sources of anxiety. If anxious feelings seem to be keeping you up at night, try keeping a journal or notepad next to your bed. Write down all of the things that are bothering you. Talking with a friend can be another way to discover and understand your anxious feelings.
Make it a habit to regularly uncover and express your feelings of anxiety.
What Causes Anxiety In Children
Research shows that biology, biochemistry, and environmental factors play a role. While anxiety disorders do run in families, a family history doesnt mean a child is destined to develop a disorder. Much depends on the childs nature, innate sensitivity, experiences, and family dynamics. For some children, stressful or traumatic events can set off an anxiety disorder.
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The Difference Between Stress And Anxiety
“I think of anxiety as a very internal feeling, says Ashley Zucker, M.D., director of psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana, Calif. And it’s usually in anticipation of a future threat you’re worried about something that might happen.
Anxiety rises above what you would consider a normal response to a fear and often continues after the possible threat or incident has gone away. The person continues to worry about something that already occurred, Zucker says. Did I make a mistake? Did I say the wrong thing? The brain can’t let it go.
Stress, on the other hand, is a response to an external event, say, a deadline at work or an argument with a spouse. Once it’s passed, it goes away, Zucker says. It doesn’t have that lingering effect that anxiety does. Stress also tends to be less debilitating.
Special Benzodiazepine Risk Factors
Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:
People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
People with a history of substance abuse. Because theyre physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.
The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents
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Can Anxiety Disorders Be Prevented
You cant prevent anxiety disorders. But you can take steps to control or reduce your symptoms:
- Check out medications: Talk to a healthcare provider or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medications or herbal remedies. Some of these contain chemicals that may make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Limit caffeine: Stop or limit how much caffeine you consume, including coffee, tea, cola and chocolate.
- Live a healthy lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Seek help: Get counseling and support if you experienced a traumatic or disturbing event. Doing so can help prevent anxiety and other unpleasant feelings from disrupting your life.
Natural Medicine Is Still Medicine
The most important thing to understand is that the most “natural” way to treat anxiety is without any type of medicine at all. Many people turn to herbal supplements, for example, because these supplements are not made from synthetic products, but medicine is still medicine, herbal or not. The safest possible way to cure anxiety – and the most natural way to treat anxiety – is with some type of therapy or exercise that does not involve any type of herbal or medicinal treatment in any way.
Keep that in mind as you consider alternative options to prescription anxiety medications. While an herb or mineral may improve your anxiety, they still affect your body and are not truly as natural as learning new coping mechanisms and ways to control stress.
ALSO NOTE: Many natural treatments still have compounds that interact with other medications you may be taking. That is why it is always important to talk to your doctor before taking any medication, natural or manmade. Herbal supplement companies are not required to state the risks on their products, but that doesnt mean theyre 100% safe. Your doctor should give approval.
Struggles With Intimacy Or Commitment In Friendships Or Romantic Relationships
Heightened anxiety is essentially your body going into fight or flight mode because it thinks you are in danger. So if your body is working extra hard to protect you and keep you safe, it makes sense that you would find it extra hard to be vulnerable and open up with other people.
But all healthy relationshipsespecially romantic relationshipsare built on intimacy . So if you cant be vulnerable, it severely limits your ability to grow and deepen your relationships, which eventually can lead to conflict or struggle in the relationship itself.
And once again, this unfortunately becomes a vicious cycle: the less willing you are to be vulnerable, the more the relationship struggles but the more the relationship struggles, the more anxious and afraid you are to be vulnerable.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder
An anxiety disorder is a type of mental health condition. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may respond to certain things and situations with fear and dread. You may also experience physical signs of anxiety, such as a pounding heart and sweating.
Its normal to have some anxiety. You may feel anxious or nervous if you have to tackle a problem at work, go to an interview, take a test or make an important decision. And anxiety can even be beneficial. For example, anxiety helps us notice dangerous situations and focuses our attention, so we stay safe.
But an anxiety disorder goes beyond the regular nervousness and slight fear you may feel from time to time. An anxiety disorder happens when:
- Anxiety interferes with your ability to function.
- You often overreact when something triggers your emotions.
- You cant control your responses to situations.
Anxiety disorders can make it difficult to get through the day. Fortunately, there are several effective treatments for anxiety disorders.
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How Does Meditation Treat The Anxious Brain
How Anxiety and Meditation Change Your Brain 1. Meditation Breaks Anxious Thought Patterns A primary way that meditation helps anxiety is by breaking negative 2. Meditation Balances Brain Chemicals No one knows for sure what causes anxiety. Risk factors include basic personality 3. Meditation
How can I reduce my anxiety in 5 minutes? Beat anxiety in 5 minutes Try a relaxation app. Listen to a song. Get your body moving. Can meditation reduce anxiety? Meditation, which is the practice of focused concentration, bringing yourself back to the moment over and over again, actually addresses stress, whether positive or negative.
Medication For Anxiety And Depression
There are many medications for anxiety and depression that are available for patients experiencing both disorders.
Danielle Plummer, Pharm.D., says that antidepressants can treat panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias. Dr. Shelton adds that the medications are also somewhat effective for OCD, and less so for PTSD, which are technically not anxiety disorders.
Dr. Plummer says that the treatment depends on which anxiety disorder a patient has. For generalized anxiety disorder , both SSRIs and SNRIs are first in line, she says. She added that the most commonly prescribed medications to treat both depression and anxiety are SSRIs and SNRIs.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are a class of medications that have a broad therapeutic range. They can be used to treat some anxiety disorders, depression, or, in some cases, both at the same time. SSRIsblock the reuptake, or reabsorption, of serotonin. As a result, SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are a class of medication that are similar to SSRIs because they too inhibit reuptake and increase the level of serotonin. Unlike SSRIs, they also increase norepinephrine, which is considered a component of our brains stress response.
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Where To Get Help
For mild to moderate anxiety, these strategies might be enough to manage your symptoms. Still, it’s a good idea to discuss your efforts with your primary doctor, who can make more personalized suggestions about anxiety treatment without medication.
If these strategies don’t work, or if you have severe or worsening anxiety, talk to your doctor immediately. He or she will want to screen you for underlying medical conditions that could contribute to your anxiety. Your doctor might also recommend prescription medications or refer you to a mental health specialist for therapy.
Just remember that you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are common and treatable. There’s no shame in seeking help, and nothing to gain by suffering in silence.
Spend More Time Around People Who Appreciate You
For some reason, people with social anxiety have this tendency to spend a lot of time with and around people they dont actually enjoy being around.
- You really dont enjoy the people you work with, but youve got it into your head that you should enjoy spending time with them.
- So youre constantly stuck in this push-pull dynamic of telling yourself you should go to these social events you dont actually want to go to, then feeling anxious about it, then berating yourself for not wanting to go, etc.
- And then, when you do hang out with these people, you dont enjoy it, it quickly gets awkward and you start feeling anxious, and then you start criticizing yourself for being anxious and internalizing the whole thing as all the fault of your damn social anxiety.
Look, overcoming social anxiety doesnt mean that you magically start loving to spend time with everyone on Earth. And its completely normal to simply not enjoy certain peoples company, and as a result, avoid spending more time with them than you have to!
Just because you want to overcome social anxiety doesnt mean you have to constantly push yourself to spend all your time in socially draining situations.
In fact, the opposite is often true: It can be very helpful to give yourself permission not to spend time with certain people. And instead, use that time to hang out with people you actually enjoy and people who appreciate you exactly for who you are.
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Giving Myself Permission To Play Was The Cure For My Anxiety
It was a subtle but powerful shift in how I viewed the world.
For two years, I had unknowingly prevented myself from playing. I am a workaholic, which can be pretty horrible when you work alone. No one tells you to stop or take a break, or that youre burning yourself out. Id find myself tethered to the internet all day, sitting in a chair for 10 hours and staring at a bright screen.
Even when I was finished, Id impulsively check email several times between midnight and 2 a.m. I know its dumb and unnecessary and What could be so important? and You need your sleep, but I did it anyways.
I was oblivious to the fact that my nerves were being frayed for hours on end, and that I desperately needed fun face-to-face time with real human beings.
What made matters worse were the idiotic rituals Id fallen into
Drinking coffee all day, then drinking alcohol with friends on the weekend.
I didnt get outside, I didnt move enough, I didnt sleep enough.
My weeks were a cycle of over-stimulation and numbing.
Learn To Enjoy And Live In The Moment
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
If you take time to meditate on this important question, you will realize anxiety takes away from you. Worrying about what you shall eat, drink, wear, the experiences that are to come only takes joy away from you. Learning how to live in the moment is something that I have had to learn. You should always be intentional about this. This is because for some people it does not come naturally.
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Focus On What You Can Change
Many times anxiety stems from fearing things that havent even happened and may never occur. For example, even though everything is okay, you may still worry about potential issues, such as losing your job, becoming ill, or the safety of your loved ones.
Life can be unpredictable and no matter how hard you try, you cant always control what happens. However, you can decide how you are going to deal with the unknown. You can turn your anxiety into a source of strength by letting go of fear and focusing on gratitude.
Replace your fears by changing your attitude about them. For example, stop fearing to lose your job and instead focus on how grateful you are to have a job. Come to work determined to do your best. Instead of fearing your loved one’s safety, spend time with them, or express your appreciation of them. With a little practice, you can learn to dump your anxiety and pick up a more positive outlook.
At times, your anxiety may actually be caused by a real circumstance in your life. Perhaps youre in a situation where it is realistic to be worried about losing your job due to high company layoffs or talks of downsizing.
When anxiety is identified as being caused by a current problem, then taking action may be the answer to reducing your anxiety. For example, you may need to start job searching or scheduling interviews after work.