What Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder is a condition in which your worries overwhelm you to the point where your daily routine seems difficult to carry out, and you have been worrying this way for at least six months. You may feel on edge and have difficulty focusing on tasks. There may be a tendency to fear and expect the worst some call this catastrophic thinking. You may know that your worries are perhaps irrational, but you still go on feeling them.
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.
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 for your loved one’s safety, spend time with them, or express your appreciation of them. With a little practice, you can learn to pick up a more positive outlook.
At times, 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.
In this situation, taking action may be the answer to reducing your anxiety. For example, you may need to update your resume and start job searching.
What Can You Expect From Anxiety Treatment
Weve covered a lot of heavy stuff, so now for the bright side: Its totally possible to treat anxiety and panic attacks. When you address whats going on psychologically, youll usually find that you end up feeling better physically too.
There are many lifestyle changes you can take on at home that can make a big difference in the way that you feel. But a diagnosed anxiety disorder calls for some professional help too. Ultimately, the best course of anxiety treatment is different for everyone and will depend on your specific symptoms. If you have access to them, a blend of therapy and medication helps the most. Some of the most common anxiety treatments include:
Seeing a mental health professional is a big move, but working with a therapist can be a crucial tool in your anxiety-fighting arsenal. Talk therapy is generally recommended for treating most types of anxiety disorders, per the NIMH. But the type of therapy youll benefit from will depend on the type of anxiety youre dealing with, your symptoms, your personal health history, and your overall lifestyle.
Theres no clear-cut answer on when its time to seek therapy, but a good rule of thumb is if anxiety symptoms are getting in the way of your life, you might want to consider seeing a licensed mental health professional.
When Do Physical Anxiety Symptoms Overlap With Panic Attack Symptoms
Panic attacks are the hallmark sign of panic disorder, a type of anxiety that causes a person to feel unrelenting fear, often without warning or a clear reason why, per the APA. People who suffer from them say panic attacks can make you feel like youre dyingas if youre being held underwater or like you cant move or breathe. Its a truly frightening and debilitating experience.
That terror is an integral part of having a panic attack. Beyond that, panic attacks symptoms typically include several of the following side effects :
- Palpitations, a pounding heart, or an accelerated heart rate
Don’t Miss: Is Cymbalta Good For Anxiety
Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder
Many of us may know what it feels like to be nervous before a party, or when meeting new people or making an important phone call. Those with social anxiety disorder have very intense versions of those fears intense fears of being judged by others that cause them to avoid those kinds of situations. For most people, fears of social situations usually subside once the intimidating event has been faced. But in social anxiety disorder, these feelings are persistent and usually last for at least six months.
You May Like: Do I Have Anxiety Or Am I Just Stressed
Are There Clinical Trials Studying Panic Disorder
NIMH supports a wide range of research, including clinical trials that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditionsincluding panic disorder. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct clinical trials with patients and healthy volunteers. Talk to a health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.
Do I Need Treatment For Anxiety
Thereâs a lot you can do on your own to relieve anxiety, but sometimes you need help. Psychotherapy and medication are the two main treatments for anxiety disorders.
Signs that itâs time to talk to a mental health professional include:
- Constant or nearly constant anxiety
- Anxiety that gets in the way of your daily activities, like work or social life
- Anxiety about things that donât actually threaten you
- Panic attacks
Check your health insurance policy to see what mental health services your plan covers. Then, review a list of your in-network providers to find one to connect with.
âYou donât want to add to your anxiety by paying big out-of-pocket fees,â Kissen says.
Your primary care doctor may also be able to recommend a mental health professional with experience treating anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Rosmarin notes that itâs important to find a provider you click with and trust. He also says therapy doesnât need to go on indefinitely to be effective.
âA course of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety may be eight to 10 sessions,â he says. âThereâs also data to suggest that people feel substantially better after just one therapy session for panic disorder.â
You May Like: Why Do I Have Bad Anxiety
Reduce Triggers Of Stress
Many things in our lives can trigger stress. For some people, it may be their job or finances. For others, it may be their relationships or health. Whatever the trigger, stress can hurt our lives.
One way to reduce stress is to identify the things that trigger it. Once you know your triggers, you can work on avoiding or managing them.
For example, if your job is a significant source of stress, you might try to find ways to reduce the amount of work you have to do. If your finances are a trigger, you might work on creating a budget or finding ways to save money.
Reducing the number of stressors in your life can help reduce your overall stress. You can improve your overall health and well-being by taking steps to manage your stress.
Focus On Your Breathing
Readjusting your breathing when you’re anxious changes your physiological response. It’s a huge key to tricking that parasympathetic nervous system back into a balanced state. Dr. Klapow recommends learning breathing techniques to help change your body’s response to anxiety. “Over time the more we practice the better we get at this,” Klapow says.
Deep breathing can be a very quick, and effective way to stop an anxious response before it accelerates. “During moments of anxiety, your brain’s fight-or-flight mechanism is activated,”Kevin Hyde, licensed psychologist tells Bustle. “It literally worries you are in a life or death situation and is preparing your body to react quickly. Filling your lungs completely sends the signal that you’re safe and there is no need for a quick reaction.” Breathing mindfully and exhaling more slowly than you inhale can readjust your body in a great way. “The easiest way to unwind quickly is taking five of the slowest deep breaths you can imagine. Most people do this too rapidly and don’t see the benefits. It should take you at least a full minute to complete if you’re going slow enough,” Hyde says. And if you’re doing it right, you’ll feel the effects right away.
Read Also: What Supplements Help With Anxiety
Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.
When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.
What Are Some Anxiety
In addition to medication and therapy, exercise can be helpful. Aerobic exercise has been found to improve mood and anxiety by releasing endorphins and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, says Chand, adding that regular moderate exercise also helps with sleep, which in turn has a beneficial impact on anxiety.
Research suggests that yoga, meditation, and acupuncture may also reduce anxiety symptoms by reducing stress. Anecdotal evidence, notes Chand, indicates that massage therapy may be helpful in improving a sense of overall well-being.
More scientific evidence is needed to support treating anxiety disorders with aromatherapy and essential plant oils, such as lavender, but some people find they have a calming effect. Chand points out that certain scents work better for some people than others, so its good to try a variety.
Read Also: How To Know You Have Anxiety Test
How To Reduce Stress And Treat Stress
Learning to reduce stress can help prevent chronic stress and treat the symptoms of stress-related diseases. Here are a few science-backed recommendations to get you started:
Practice deep breathing and mindfulness.
Exercise every day.
Get outside and spend time in nature if you have access to it.
Spend time with animals either your own or in a volunteer setting.
Eat a healthy and nourishing diet, and avoid processed foods and alcohol.
Try to improve the amount and quality of your sleep.
Build and nurture a network of friends and family.
If you find that you can’t manage your stress, be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider about other ways to help, such as therapy or medication.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Panic Disorder
People with panic disorder may have:
- Sudden and repeated panic attacks of overwhelming anxiety and fear
- A feeling of being out of control, or a fear of death or impending doom during a panic attack
- An intense worry about when the next panic attack will happen
- A fear or avoidance of places where panic attacks have occurred in the past
- Physical symptoms during a panic attack, such as:
- Pounding or racing heart
- Stomach pain or nausea
Read Also: Can Anxiety Cause Breathing Problems
How Does Exercise Reduce Stress
Stress is a form of threat, and under threat the body releases cortisol and adrenaline to prepare to react. Exercise ‘hijacks’ or alleviates this process.
Dr Josephine Perry is a chartered psychologist and has just co-written the audiobook Power Down to Power Up.
“Adrenaline and cortisol make us feel really rubbish,” Dr Perry explains. “Heart rate goes up, breathing rate goes up, we get stomach problems, we get very tight shoulders and back muscles, and we may even lose some of our peripheral vision.
“But when we’re exercising, the exercise almost ‘takes over’ from that in our body, so we might then start to relax a little bit. We’ll start to notice what’s going on around us and our hearing will pick up. Heart rate and breathing rate will be up, but they’ll be up because we’re exercising. So, it feels like it dissipates some of those chemicals that are unhelpfully flooding our body.
In Power Up to Power Down, Dr Perry recommends that listeners ‘identify their threat zone’. “When we feel under threat, and those chemicals flood our body, each of us tends to have one area of our body where we feel it most,” she says. “Mine is the bottom right-hand corner of my stomach, it will literally start throbbing. Often when it starts throbbing, I’m not really aware what I’m anxious about. I’ll look at my diary and notice I’ve got a really big speech to give, but I won’t have practised properly.”
How to deal with stress through exercise
How Can I Treat Anxiety
Anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. One common treatment option is cognitive behavioral therapy , which helps provide people with tools to cope with anxiety when it occurs.
There are also certain medications, like antidepressants and sedatives, that work to balance brain chemistry and prevent episodes of anxiety. They may even ward off the most severe symptoms.If youre looking to go a more natural route, though, there are little and big ways you can help combat anxiety.
You can make adjustments to habits, like exercise, sleep, and diet. You can also try something totally new, like aromatherapy or meditation. No matter what your lifestyle demands, theres a natural way to help reduce anxiety for everyone.
You May Like: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Acid Reflux
Knowing How To Relieve Stresshelps Us Succeed In Life
When we learn how to reduce our chronic stress then the challenging situations we face in life can feel like opportunities to learn and grow.
For more tips on reducing stress and stress relief activitiesvisit Gentle Stress Relief home page.
Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?
Take Care Of Yourself Physically
Studies have shown that nutrition and exercise can impact your experience with panic disorder symptoms. To better manage the physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, consider making some healthy lifestyle changes.
- Avoid certain foods or drinks that may trigger or worsen anxiety. For instance, an overabundance of certain foods and substances, including caffeine and sugar, can aggravate feelings of anxiety.
- Physical exercise can help relieve stress and tension felt throughout the body, increase energy levels, and improve mood.
- Stress-reducing relaxation exercises, such as yoga and meditation can help you learn how to control your body sensations and remain calm in the face of anxiety.
You May Like: Can Anxiety Make You Angry
How To Relieve Physical Symptoms Of Anxiety
It is a psychological health condition that can cause feelings of anxiety as well as fear and anxiety. Anxiety can also cause physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea for some people. If you are experiencing physical anxiety symptoms, it can be challenging to go about your day-to-day life. Here, we will discuss how to relieve physical symptoms of anxiety.
Physical symptoms of anxiety are different from person to person and depend on how severe a persons anxiety is. Physical symptoms include but are not limited to:
Chest pain or tightness in the chest area due to hyperventilation can make it hard for you to breathe normally. It may lead some people to feel like they have heart problems when there is nothing wrong with their hearts at all! The most common symptom I see among patients who come into my office complaining about how anxious they feel all day long every single day. If something happened recently with them that caused them undue stress or perhaps even just going through the divorce/separation process, then its hard not to be able.