Two Ways Concussions Promote Anxiety
Anxiety is a secondary condition that can stem from concussions, meaning it doesnt result directly from brain injury. As far as we know, there isnt a mechanical or chemical failure behind most post-concussion anxiety or other post-concussion psychiatric disorders. But concussions can prompt our anxiety system to over-activate, sometimes leading to generalized anxiety disorder.
Think of your anxiety system as being on a gradient . A normal state for most people would be a 4 or a 5.
Lets say, for example, that a psychologist is sent to a war zone to work with the troops stationed there. She would be more alert and perhaps on edge. She might, without even noticing her own behavior, start scanning rooftops for signs of snipers, or flinch if someone with a big trench coat approached. Her anxiety systems level would increase because of a perceived increase in potential threats.
Now, what would happen when she returns to her hometown? She might gradually return to a less heightened state of vigilance, but it wouldnt happen overnight. It would take time for her system to settle down. But for some people, that system doesnt settle down it keeps worrying about possible threats, even when the initial threat it responded to subsided.
Finally, patients might also develop an anxiety reaction to the symptoms themselves. Headaches, vision problems, balance issues, sleep disorder, etc. are stressful and can lead to worry.
What Are Anxiety Disorders
We all have feelings of anxiety, worry and fear sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations. For example, you might worry about a job interview, or about paying a bill on time. These feelings can give you an awareness of risks and what you need to do in a difficult or dangerous situation. This reaction is known as fight or flight.
Your brain responds to a threat or danger by releasing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Even if the danger is not real, these hormones cause the physical symptoms of anxiety. Once the threatening situation has stopped, your body will usually return to normal.
But if you have an anxiety disorder these feelings of fear and danger can be ongoing and interrupt your daily routine long after the threat has gone. They can make you feel as though things are worse than they actually are.
Everyones experience of anxiety disorders is different. Not everyone who has an anxiety disorder will experience the same symptoms.
Mental symptoms of anxiety can include:
- racing thoughts,
Anxiety can lead to depression if left untreated.
How Do I Know If I Need Medication For Anxiety
Signs that medication is making things worse include anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, hostility, restlessness, and extreme agitationparticularly if the symptoms appear suddenly or rapidly deteriorate. If you spot the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, contact a doctor or therapist immediately.
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Anxiety Caused By Nothing At All
Anxiety is rarely caused by nothing. But the causes of anxiety can be so minute so minor that trying to figure out what caused it may not help. Even those that experienced a trauma they can point to as a cause of their anxiety may have experienced other issues along the way that put them at risk for developing anxiety.
So while environment may have played a role, it is also important to note that finding your anxiety causes may not result in any actionable information.
Understanding the Causes of Anxiety is Part of the Journey
Anxiety disorders are often incredibly complex – much more complex than many people want to give it credit for. It may be hard to figure out the exact cause of your anxiety, and in some cases, there may not be a specific cause to point.
But understanding the potential causes of anxiety are still important. And perhaps even more important is understanding that no matter what caused your anxiety, it can always be treated.
It doesnt matter whether the cause of your anxiety was biological or environmental – anxiety is a treatable condition, and if you make smart decisions you can even cure your anxiety completely, no matter how you were raised or how your body is designed to react.
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How To Get A Sudden Spike In Anxiety Under Control
Whether you live with an anxiety disorder or have found the events of 2020 affecting your mood, managing your mental health is more important than ever. Experiencing a sudden spike in anxiety is a common issueone thats being experienced by more and more people.
Tonya Crombie, Ph.D., author of Stop Worrying About Your Anxious Child, points to a poll released by the American Psychiatric Association that reveals that 62% of Americans feel more anxious than they did at this time last year. That marks a sizable increase over APA polls of the past three years, in which the number has ranged between 32% and 39%.
When you consider the significant stressors brought on by a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, social unrest, bitter political divisions, and a contested presidential election, Crombie says, it is completely understandable why so many more people are feeling more anxious than ever before.
Here, learn what causes a sudden onset of anxiety, and how can it be managed.
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How Can I Calm My Anxiety Fast
Medication is an option for long-term anxiety. But, they are not always an instant fix. Anti-anxiety medications, such as Ativan, Klonopin, or Xanax, can work quicklywithin minutes or hours. Antidepressant medications, sometimes used to treat anxiety, can take a few weeks to reach maximum effectiveness. As Heathman explains, Medication can take much longer to work as medication must be ingested, digested, absorbed, and then transferred in the bloodstream.
If youre experiencing anxiety for the first time or youre having an unexpected spike of anxiety, there are some techniques you can employ in the moment to help with your developing symptoms. Sudden onset anxiety is best controlled with relaxation techniques, Heathman says, which can work instantly after being employed. Some calming strategies include:
All of these techniques work by changing your brains focus, so that anxiety symptoms can pass. One of the keys to calming anxiety is also recognizing when and why it is happening. If you can sense that it is spiking, Saxena explains, then you can challenge yourself to use the same thought pattern to understand that it is a passing feeling.
Trauma Or Experience Based Factors
While clearly both genetic and biological factors have the potential to contribute to a person developing GAD, a greater percentage of people start to develop the disorder due to complex environmental, psychological, and social factors.
Traumatic experiences can play a big role in the development of generalized anxiety disorder, especially in the formative childhood years. Difficult events such as neglect, mental or physical abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, isolation, and abandonment can all be contributing factors. In fact, studies have found that traumatic events and maltreatment in early childhood can severely affect the physical development of a childs brain, leaving them predisposed to anxiety disorder later in life.
Some behavioral health professionals also believe that anxiety can be a learned behavior. They suggest that having a primary caregiver or parent that exhibits anxious behavior during a childs formative years can greatly increase their risk of developing GAD. Children learn how to overcome challenging and stressful situations from the important people that are close to them. If their caregiver exhibits poor or less effective stress management, their children do the same. These early social interactions and learning experiences can directly affect the development of GAD later in life.
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What Are Signs Of Bad Anxiety
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:Feeling nervous, restless or tense.Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.Having an increased heart rate.Breathing rapidly Sweating.Trembling.Feeling weak or tired.Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.More itemsMay 4, 2018
What Your Caregiver Can Do
Stick to the schedule – A schedule from you will only be useful if the caregiver actually follows it, so make sure you explain it to them thoroughly so they understand what they should be doing and at what time.
Be dependable – This goes hand in hand with closely following a schedule – a secure attachment bond can only be formed if the baby feels as though they can rely upon you. Remember the three elements of consistency, stability and mutuality that baby has built up with you, and make sure this is the case when it comes to care from another person.
Be attentive to baby’s needs – Again, a baby can’t make a secure attachment bond if they don’t feel as though their physical and emotional needs are being tended to! To be a caregiver, you need to literally give care to the baby – and a good nanny or sitter will know that this is the only way to establish a positive relationship, and prevent insecure attachment.
Play games like peek a boo – Not only is a game of peek a boo adorable to play with a baby, but it actually can help them further develop their sense of object permanence! This is because it gently reinforces that just because you’re temporarily hidden doesn’t mean that you won’t come back – for a baby’s nanny or her primary caregiver, this is a great tool for helping them form and strengthen an attachment relationship.
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Anxiety At Any Age: All Stages Of Adulthood
Psychological researcher Erik Erikson divided human life into multiple stages, each marked by developmental tasks that everyone, by nature, attempts to complete.1 Like the ages birth through 19, adulthood is broken into developmental stages. Each one has unique characteristics and each one has a unique potential for anxiety to develop.
Why Does Anxiety So Often Occur With Depression
Depression and anxiety share much in commonthey both derive from overresponsiveness of the negative affect system, the distinguishing feature of the personality trait of neuroticism. People with the trait of neuroticism tend to react to experience most readily and most strongly with negative emotions, such as irritability, anger, and sadness. Many of the same brain regions malfunction in both conditions, most notably the amygdala and prefrontal cortex . But there are important differences. Anxiety is an alarm intended to energize people to avoid possible future danger they sense depression shuts people down when they feel overwhelmed, disinclining them to ongoing activity and focusing their attention on losses and other negative experiences in the past. Stress can trigger both responses. And anxiety itself can lead to depression. In fact, nearly 70 percent of people who suffer from depression also have anxiety, and 50 percent of those with anxiety have clinical depression.
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders To Develop
The specific causes of anxiety disorders are unknown, in spite of one-in-eight Americans being affected by them. As with most mental illnesses, anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of factors. It’s likely genetic, psychological and environmental factors come together to cause anxiety disorders. Medical conditions are also known to cause an anxiety disorder.
Who Is At Risk For Anxiety Disorders
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can raise a persons risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Certain personality traits, such as shyness or behavioral inhibition feeling uncomfortable with, and avoiding, unfamiliar people, situations or environments.
- Stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Family history of anxiety or other mental health conditions.
- Certain physical conditions, including thyroid problems and heart arrhythmias .
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women. Researchers are still studying why that happens. It may come from womens hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too men have more, and it may ease anxiety. Its also possible that women are less likely to seek treatment, so the anxiety worsens.
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Is It Anxiety Dysautonomia Or Overwhelm
Many patients are confused by their symptoms and looking for the right words to describe their experience. Sometimes, they confuse their experiences for anxiety when theres actually something else going on.
Two conditions that are easy to confuse with anxiety are autonomic nervous system dysregulation and feelings of overwhelm.
Draw On The Support You Need
Dont forget that being a good support person means getting support for yourself too.This may mean mutual carer support online or by attending a group of others who are in the same situation education and training in looking after yourself as well as the person with the Anxiety disorder, and finding respite care too so you can take a break.
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Medications Can Trigger An Anxiety Attack
Certain medications have some ugly side effects and can cause anxiety symptoms or an anxiety attack. Prescription medications to watch out for include thyroid drugs and asthma drugs, while over-the-counter decongestants have been known to cause anxiety symptoms in some people. If you suddenly stop taking certain medications sometimes used to treat anxiety, such as benzodiazepines, withdrawal may cause added anxiety.
Psychologists And Other Clinicians
Clinical and counselling psychologists specialise in the treatment of mental illnesses, including Anxiety disorders. They can provide psychological treatments, which are usually the most effective treatments for Anxiety disorders.For further information, please see the Psychological treatments section in the Guide to Medication and other Treatments.
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Prevalence Of Anxiety And Depression In Men
On average, one in 8 men will have depression and one in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives.
Men are less likely to experience anxiety and depression than women. They are also less likely to talk about it. This increases the risk of their anxiety or depression going unrecognised and untreated.
Untreated depression is a high risk factor for suicide. In Australia, there are about 3,000 suicides each year. Around 75% of people who take their lives are men, with an average of almost 7 men taking their lives every day.
Its important to remember that anxiety and depression are conditions, not weaknesses, and effective treatments are available.
What Is A Panic Attack
A panic attack is when you feel overwhelmed by the physical and mental feelings of fear the signs listed under What do fear and anxiety feel like? People who have panic attacks say that they find it hard to breathe, and they may worry that theyre having a heart attack or are going to lose control of their body. See the Support and information section at the end of this booklet if you want help with panic attacks.
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