How Can I Help Someone With Anxiety
Knowing the symptoms of anxiety can help you realize and act when someone you care about is in distress. Common anxiety behaviors include avoidance of feared situations or events , seeking reassurance, second-guessing, and irritability. The person may be engaging in all-or-nothing thinking or catastrophizing and demonstrating their belief that the worst will happen. If you notice these symptoms, avoid telling the anxious person not to worry or downplaying their feelings, which may leave them feeling misunderstood and belittled. Instead, be an active listener, express your concern, and recognize how difficult this is for them. Kindly encourage them to talk to a mental health professional or to draw on the techniques they have learned in therapy, if they are already in treatment.
What Can You Do Now
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When Should I Seek Professional Help For Anxiety
If you’re experiencing any of the signs if anxiety indicated above, it may be time to get help. It takes courage to ask for help, but its an important first step. A behavioral health specialist may be able to help you find ways to cope with anxiety and manage your thoughts and worries. Learn how to choose a mental health provider.
If you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts or plans, call 911 right away. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at for 24/7 support at no additional cost, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. You can also find 24/7 support through Lifeline Chat .
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Connect To Your Community
A great way to feel emotionally strong and resilient in times of stress is to feel connected to a broad community. Think about the things you like to do. You can expand your social network by looking into a community organization that brings people together who share the same interests. For instance, many communities have local biking, hiking, or walking groups. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do like learn a new language? Take a class, or join a local group. You also may find the support you need through local support groups for a specific issue like parenting, dealing with a health problem, or caring for a loved one who’s ill.
Or consider volunteering with a community organization that helps fill a need. Here are some tips to make sure your volunteer experience works for you, and does not become an additional source of stress:
Go Out Of Your Way To Be Positive Around People
Have you ever noticed life always has more drama in it when you gossip about people, are ruder to people, or when youre in a more aggressive state? Same. When life isnt going well for you, go out of your way to be positive around people. Be more positive than usual even if everything in you wants to scream at the top of your lungs. Before you know it, youll notice your environment change. Behind everyones backs, praise people. Be the person who compliments people to their faces and behind their backs. When posting on social media, post things that uplift other people or make people happy. Randomly message friends and family to let them know why you appreciate them. When you put out true genuine positivity in the world, it comes back to you. Often, people complain about their hostile environments, not realizing how theyre contributing to them. By making others happy, you learn how to be happy yourself.
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Causes And Risk Factors
- Behavioral Choices
It’s important to note that everyone feels anxiety to some degree regularly throughout their life. Fear and anxiety are helpful emotions that can function to help us notice danger or threats that keep us safe and help us adapt to our environment. Anxiety disorders occur when significant distress impairs your ability to function in important facets of life, such as work, school, or relationships. There are many potential risk factors for anxiety disorders, and most people likely experience multiple different combinations of risk factors, such as neurobiological factors, genetic markers, environmental factors, and life experiences. However, we do not yet fully understand what causes some people to have anxiety disorders.
Genetic risk factors have been documented for all anxiety disorders. Clinical genetic studies indicate that heritability estimates for anxiety disorders range from 30-67%. Many studies, past and present, have focused on identifying specific genetic factors that increase one’s risk for an anxiety disorder. To date, an array of single nucleotide polymorphisms or small variations in genetic code, that confer heightened risk for anxiety have been discovered. For the most part, the variants that have been associated with risk for anxiety are located within genes that are critical for the expression and regulation of neurotransmitter systems or stress hormones.
What Happens If I Dont Get Treatment For My Child With An Anxiety Disorder
Getting your child help for an anxiety disorder can improve their development and self-esteem. But untreated anxiety disorders can harm:
- Family relationships.
- School performance.
- Social functioning.
Your child may also end up with more serious mental and physical health problems. Fortunately, there are several treatments for anxiety disorders. The right treatment can help your child manage their symptoms and feel their best.
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What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Chest pain.
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder
Severity of symptoms and a persons ability to cope separate everyday worries or anxious moments from anxiety disorders. National surveys estimate nearly one in five Americans over 18, and one in three teens ages 13 to 18, had an anxiety disorder during the past year.
If anxiety is persistent, excessive, or routinely triggered by situations that arent an actual threat, tell your doctor, who can discuss treatment options or refer you to an experienced mental health professional.
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Exercise Multiple Times A Week
With busy schedules, it can be hard to find time to exercise every day. But if you find yourself sitting in front of a computer most of the day, youll need to find ways to incorporate exercise into the day. It could be as simple as taking your dog for a walk. You can also run up and down the stairs as you do chores at home. Cleaning your home can be a great way to incorporate some movement into your day. Plus, these days, many fitness programs or even fitness YouTube videos have workouts for as little as 10 minutes that are easy to squeeze in. By doing the types of exercises you enjoy, youll be more likely to commit to a schedule.
Ways To Provide Excellent Patient Care To An Anxious Patient
The one thing that most people can agree on about a hospital is that virtually nobody really wants to be there patients would rather be at home and healthy.
This leads to stress, anxiety, pain, and fear in the hospital setting and unfortunately are all common emotions experienced not only by patients and families, but healthcare workers as well.
Below are seven tips that Ive found work well with dealing with particularly anxious patients and family members both as a travel nurse and a charge nurse.
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How Does Psychotherapy Treat Anxiety Disorders
Psychotherapy, or counseling, helps you deal with your emotional response to the illness. A mental health provider talks through strategies to help you better understand and manage the disorder. Approaches include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of psychotherapy used with anxiety disorders. CBT for anxiety teaches you to recognize thought patterns and behaviors that lead to troublesome feelings. You then work on changing them.
- Exposure therapy focuses on dealing with the fears behind the anxiety disorder. It helps you engage with activities or situations you may have been avoiding. Your provider may also use relaxation exercises and imagery with exposure therapy.
How To Reduce Anxiety
Feelings of anxiety â uneasiness, dread, fear, or an inexplicable sense of impending doom â can be deeply unpleasant. Whether anxiety presents itself as an upset stomach, heart palpitations, a nervous tension that colors everything, or even a panic attack, the discomfort and distress can be extremely challenging.
Weâre not talking about general, everyday anxiousness here, but clinical anxiety â the kind that can be all-consuming and, sometimes, debilitating. When classified as a disorder, anxiety is âpersistent and excessive worryâ where individuals can lose rational perspective and âexpect the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern,â according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Chronic or severe symptoms may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder , which affects close to 40 million adults in the US and, according to the World Health Organization , 1 in 13 globally. Thankfully, there are effective therapies and medications as doctors and healthcare professionals determine the best treatment options that are right for you.
With the right skills and lifestyle changes, we can better regulate our emotions and train our brain to view life with a more balanced, less fearful perspective. Hereâs how to relieve anxiety naturally, and with awareness.
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How Does Medication Treat Anxiety Disorders
Medications cant cure an anxiety disorder. But they can improve symptoms and help you function better. Medications for anxiety disorders often include:
- Anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, may decrease your anxiety, panic and worry. They work quickly, but you can build up a tolerance to them. That makes them less effective over time. Your healthcare provider may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication for the short-term, then taper you off or the provider may add an antidepressant to the mix.
- Antidepressants can also help with anxiety disorders. They tweak how your brain uses certain chemicals to improve mood and reduce stress. Antidepressants may take some time to work, so be patient. If you feel like youre ready to stop taking antidepressants, talk to your provider first.
- Beta-blockers, usually used for high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of anxiety disorders. They can relieve rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling.
Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right medication combination and dosage. Dont change the dose without consulting your provider. Theyll monitor you to make sure the medicines are working without causing negative side effects.
How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
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How Do I Deal With Anxiety
There are many ways to deal with anxiety and combining a variety of approaches may help. For those with a diagnosed anxiety disorder, a combination of psychotherapy alongside a medication plan can be very effective. For those who experience anxiety from time to time, there are a variety of relaxation techniques to try that may qualm feelings of worry or fear: breathing techniques, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are just some examples of techniques to try. Finding a distraction, taking part in physical activity, and talking to someone you trust are also all great options for relieving everyday anxiety.
Understand Differences In How Anxiety Manifests
Because of evolution, were wired to respond to fear by either fight, flight, or freeze. For different people, one of these responses will typically dominate. For instance, my spouse tends to freeze and will bury her head in the sand rather than deal with things that make her feel stressed and panicky. I tend more toward fighting, and will become irritable, excessively perfectionistic, or dogmatic if I feel stressed.
When you understand that anxiety is designed to put us into a mode of threat sensitivity, its easier to understand someone who is feeling scared and acting out by being irritable or defensive, and to find compassion for them. By paying attention to how anxiety manifests in the person you care about, you can learn their patterns and be in a better position to help.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.