Match Your Support To Their Preferences And Attachment Style
Its best to ask someone what type of support they prefer rather than guess! However, we know from research that people who have an avoidant attachment style are likely to respond best to strong displays of concrete practical support. That could include helping the anxious person break tasks down into manageable steps, or talking through specific options for how to deal with a difficult situation, like how to respond to an angry email, but still acknowledging their autonomy and independence while doing so.
Other people are more likely to prefer emotional support, especially those who are securely attached, or who have a preoccupied attachment style due to a fear of being abandoned or of their emotions being overwhelming to others. Folks like this respond well to statements emphasizing that theyre part of a tight teamfor example, their supporter saying, This is tough but we love each other and well get through it together.
Phobias And Irrational Fears
A phobia is an unrealistic or exaggerated fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that in reality presents little to no danger. Common phobias include fear of animals , fear of flying, and fear of needles. In the case of a severe phobia, you might go to extreme lengths to avoid the object of your fear. Unfortunately, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
How To Help Someone With Anxiety
All of us worry and get scared from time to time. But those with anxiety may feel consumed by fears of things that might seem irrational to others. It can be hard to relate to these concerns, and as a result, many people dont know how to best help someone with anxiety. People are often dismissive of people experiencing anxiety, says Joseph McGuire, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist with Johns Hopkins Medicine. With other medical illnesses, you may be able to see physical symptoms. But with anxiety, you dont necessarily see what the person is dealing with. So its important to be sensitive to what the person with anxiety is going through, even if it doesnt make sense to you. Its distressing to watch a loved one experience panic attacks and face anxiety every day, but there are things you can do to help. It starts with recognizing the signs of excessive worry and understanding the best ways to support your loved one.
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How Is Anxiety Treated
The good news is theres much we can do to help release you from the prison of anxiety and help you enjoy your life again. When it comes to treating anxiety disorders, the providers at Plymouth Psych Group offer knowledgeable and compassionate care that relies on the latest science and treatment modalities.
Our highly trained mental health providers offer different types of services to treat men and women who suffer from a wide range of mental health disorders, including anxiety. Our team understands the effect a problem like anxiety can have on your quality of life, forcing you into an existence governed by worry, fear, and dread.
We customize a treatment plan specific to your type of anxiety, symptoms, and goals. Whether you choose to control your condition through psychotherapy, medications, behavior modification, or a combination approach, the end result is that were able to help you gain the upper hand on your anxiety.
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Find What Relaxes You
There are already things in your life that relax you. You may find it beneficial to make a list of things you enjoy and that help you to relax so you can reference it when symptoms of anxiety arise. When you notice your anxiety rising turn to those activities to help stop symptoms before they escalate.
For example, if you find that a warm bath is relaxing, don’t wait, draw a bath, maybe light some candles or add a few nice scents and get in. Whether it’s a bath, a shower, skipping stones at a park, getting a massage – if it works, do it right away, rather than allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by your anxiety.
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Write Down Your Thoughts
Writing down whats making you anxious gets it out of your head and can make it less daunting.
These relaxation tricks are particularly helpful for those who experience anxiety sporadically. They may also work well with someone who has generalized anxiety disorder when theyre in a bind too!
However, if you suspect you have GAD, quick coping methods shouldnt be the only kind of treatment you employ. Youll want to find long-term strategies to help lessen the severity of symptoms and even prevent them from happening.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day weekends included.
Your routine before going to bed also matters. Consider giving yourself wind-down times. For example, 20 minutes with no devices. Instead, you could read a book or take a bath.
Avoiding potential triggers, like watching TV or scrolling the news on your phone, is key.
Creating a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and reduce the chances that youll lie awake, worrying about unfinished tasks or the next morning.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Dealing with anxiety starts with recognizing and understanding the symptoms of anxiety. The symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can vary somewhat from person to person, and even different genders and ages, but there are marked consistencies. They include:
- A general sense of doom or the feeling that something âbadâ is going to happen
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
If you are experiencing physical symptoms, contact a healthcare practitioner right away.
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.
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Tip : Look At Your Worries In New Ways
The core symptom of GAD is chronic worrying. Its important to understand what worrying is, since the beliefs you hold about worrying play a huge role in triggering and maintaining GAD. You may feel like your worries come from the outsidefrom other people, events that stress you out, or difficult situations youre facing. But, in fact, worrying is self-generated. The trigger comes from the outside, but your internal running dialogue keeps it going.
When youre worrying, youre talking to yourself about things youre afraid of or negative events that might happen. You run over the feared situation in your mind and think about all the ways you might deal with it. In essence, youre trying to solve problems that havent happened yet, or worse, simply obsessing on worst-case scenarios.
All this worrying may give you the impression that youre protecting yourself by preparing for the worst or avoiding bad situations. But more often than not, worrying is unproductivesapping your mental and emotional energy without resulting in any concrete problem-solving strategies or actions.
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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If Someone Has A More Serious Anxiety Problem Avoid Stigmatizing Them
What can we do for folks with more serious issues? People experiencing things like panic disorder, depression mixed with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessional thinking may fear that theyre literally going crazy. Helping them may feel beyond your ability.
You can still be supportive in many ways. When someone is experiencing significant anxiety, its helpful to reassure them that your overall perception of them hasnt changed. Theyre still the same person theyre just suffering a temporary problem situation that has become out of control. Theyre not broken and who they are hasnt changed. To the extent possible, you can help the person stay connected to positive aspects of their identity by participating in or encouraging their interests and hobbies.
Sometimes, individuals who have chronic anxiety problems arent interested in changing. For example, you might be friends with someone who has agoraphobia or an eating disorder, but their condition is long-term and stable. In these cases, you can be accepting of that person so that they dont feel isolated. Being matter-of-fact about their limitations without excessively shaming them or insisting they should pursue becoming normal is often the best strategy.
Treatment For Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If youve given self-help a fair shot, but still cant seem to shake your worries and fears, it may be time to see a mental health professional. But remember that professional treatment doesnt replace self-help. In order to control your GAD symptoms, youll still want to make lifestyle changes and look at the ways you think about worrying
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one type of therapy that is particularly helpful in the treatment of GAD. CBT examines distortions in our ways of looking at the world and ourselves. Your therapist will help you identify automatic negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. For example, if you catastrophizealways imagining the worst possible outcome in any given situationyou might challenge this tendency through questions such as, What is the likelihood that this worst-case scenario will actually come true? and What are some positive outcomes that are more likely to happen?.
The five components of CBT for anxiety are:
Education. CBT involves learning about generalized anxiety disorder. It also teaches you how to distinguish between helpful and unhelpful worry. An increased understanding of your anxiety encourages a more accepting and proactive response to it.
Monitoring. You learn to monitor your anxiety, including what triggers it, the specific things you worry about, and the severity and length of a particular episode. This helps you get perspective, as well as track your progress.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Gad
Not everyone with generalized anxiety disorder has the same symptoms, but most people experience a combination of emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms that often fluctuate, becoming worse at times of stress.
Emotional Symptoms of GAD include:
- Constant worries running through your head
- Feeling like your anxiety is uncontrollable there is nothing you can do to stop the worrying
- Intrusive thoughts about things that make you anxious you try to avoid thinking about them, but you cant
- An inability to tolerate uncertainty you need to know whats going to happen in the future
- A pervasive feeling of apprehension or dread
Behavioral symptoms of GAD include:
- Inability to relax, enjoy quiet time, or be by yourself
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing on things
- Putting things off because you feel overwhelmed
- Avoiding situations that make you anxious
Physical symptoms of GAD include:
- Feeling tense having muscle tightness or body aches
- Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep because your mind wont quit
- Feeling edgy, restless, or jumpy
- Stomach problems, nausea, diarrhea
Maximizing Effectiveness Of Therapy For Anxiety
Modes of therapy are different ways a type of therapy can be conducted. It can include how many people are in therapy with you and how you get treatment. As anxiety can present its own set of challenges, certain modes of therapy may be more or less effective for a person with anxiety than someone with another condition.
Sometimes, obstacles prevent people from getting help for anxiety. A person with social anxiety might feel nervous about meeting a therapist in person or calling them on the phone. Agoraphobia or other specific phobias can also make people reluctant to leave their house or drive in a car. These activities are often necessary for getting to therapy. In this case, finding a therapist who can meet you in your home can be helpful. Or, you might choose to speak with a distance therapist online or on the phone.
Some people with anxiety might find it helpful to speak with others with similar experiences. These people could benefit from group therapy for anxiety. In a group therapy session, people can discuss and learn about their anxiety together, led by a licensed therapist. Not only can the group therapy experience be validating for many people, it can also help them practice skills they can use to reduce anxiety with other group members.
Gad Symptoms In Children
In children, excessive worrying centers on future events, past behaviors, social acceptance, family matters, personal abilities, and school performance. Unlike adults with GAD, children and teens often dont realize that their anxiety is disproportionate to the situation, so adults need to recognize their symptoms. Along with many of the symptoms that appear in adults, some red flags for GAD in children are:
- What if fears about situations far in the future
- Perfectionism, excessive self-criticism, and fear of making mistakes
- Feeling that theyre to blame for any disaster, and their worry will keep tragedy from occurring
- The conviction that misfortune is contagious and will happen to them
- Need for frequent reassurance and approval
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