How Do I Know If My Child Has An Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety-related problems in children share four common features. The anxiety:
- Is typically a fear or fixation that interferes with the ability to enjoy life, get through the day or complete tasks.
- Is puzzling to both the child and parents.
- Does not improve after logical explanations to address the worries.
- Is treatable.
How To Distinguish Between Productive And Unproductive Worrying
If youre focusing on what if scenarios, your worrying is unproductive.
Once youve given up the idea that your worrying somehow helps you, you can start to deal with your worry and anxiety in more productive ways. This may involve challenging irrational worrisome thoughts, learning how to stop worrying, and learning to accept uncertainty in your life.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed
If you have symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Theyll start with a complete medical history and physical examination.
There are no lab tests or scans that can diagnose anxiety disorders. But your provider may run some of these tests to rule out physical conditions that may be causing symptoms.
What Causes Generalised Anxiety Disorder
The exact cause of GAD is not fully understood, although it’s likely that a combination of several factors plays a role.
Research has suggested that these may include:
- overactivity in areas of the brain involved in emotions and behaviour
- an imbalance of the brain chemicals serotonin and noradrenaline, which are involved in the control and regulation of mood
- the genes you inherit from your parents you’re estimated to be 5 times more likely to develop GAD if you have a close relative with the condition
- having a history of stressful or traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence, child abuse or bullying
- having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis
- having a history of drug or alcohol misuse
But many people develop GAD for no apparent reason.
Treatment Options For Patients With Anxiety
There are two primary treatments for individuals with anxiety:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy , which involves learning how to lower anxiety and face distressing situations.
- Medication management with antidepressants, which works well on its own but even better when coupled with CBT.
During therapy, continue to show your support by:
- Asking your loved one what you can do to help them.
- Asking if you can attend a therapy session to learn some skills to better support them.
- Making time for your own life and interests to sustain your energy.
- Encouraging your loved one to try another therapist if the first one isnt a good fit.
How Science Can Help
The way you cope or handle things in life has a direct impact on how much anxiety you experience tweak the way youre coping, therefore, and you can lower your anxiety levels. Here are some of the top coping skills that have emerged from our study at the University of Cambridge, which will be presented at the 30th European Congress of Neuropsychopharmacology in Paris, and other scientific research.
Do you feel like your life is out of control? Do you find it hard to make decisions or get things started? Well, one way to overcome indecision or get going on that new project is to do it badly.
This may sound strange, but the writer and poet GK Chesterton said that: Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. And he had a point. The reason this works so well is that it speeds up your decision-making process and catapults you straight into action. Otherwise, you could spend hours deciding how you should do something or what you should do, which can be very time-consuming and stressful.
People often want to do something perfectly or to wait for the perfect time before starting. But this can lead to procrastination, long delays or even prevent us from doing it at all. And that causes stress and anxiety.
Using do it badly as a motto gives you the courage to try new things, adds a little fun to everything, and stops you worrying too much about the outcome. Its about doing it badly today and improving as you go. Ultimately, its about liberation.
Why It’s A Problem
Chronic anxiety can prevent you from meeting your daily responsibilities, at work, at home or socially. It gets in the way of getting along with other people, both meeting new people and maintaining existing relationships, says Jane Timmons-Mitchell, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
The physical effects can be wide-ranging, as well. Anxiety can impact physical health in almost any way you can imagine, Zucker says. It’s very, very powerful. It can contribute to sleeplessness, gastrointestinal difficulties, breathing problems, back pain and cardiovascular disease.
Boost Your Brain Health With Staying Sharp
How People Get Tricked
People’s natural instincts to protect themselves are what lead them to get tricked. See if you recognize your responses in these examples below.
A person with Panic Disorder gets tricked into holding her breath and fleeing the store , rather than shifting to Belly Breathing. and staying there until the feelings pass.
A person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder gets tricked into trying to stop the unwanted “what if?” thoughts, rather than accepting them and taking care of present business as thoughts come and go.
A person with Social Phobia gets tricked into avoiding the party, or hiding in the corner if he attends, rather than say hello to a stranger and see what happens.
A person with OCD gets tricked into repeatedly washing his hands, or returning home to check the stove, rather than accepting the intrusive thoughts of contamination and fire and returning his energies to the present activities at hand.
A person with a dog phobia gets tricked into avoiding the feelings by avoiding all dogs, rather than spending time with a dog until the feelings pass.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you have an anxiety disorder, ask your provider:
- Whats the best treatment for me?
- Do I need medication? What type?
- How long should I take medication?
- What type of psychotherapy will work best?
- What else can I do to manage my symptoms?
- What other conditions am I at risk for?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
An anxiety disorder can make it difficult to get through your day. Anxiety disorder symptoms include feelings of nervousness, panic and fear. You may also have physical symptoms such as sweating and a rapid heartbeat. But you dont need to live like this. Several effective anxiety disorder treatments are available. Talk to your healthcare provider to figure out your diagnosis and the best treatment plan. Often, treatment combines medications and therapy. Anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants, together with CBT, can help you feel your best.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/17/2020.
Take Full Responsibility For Your Worry Habit
The first two mindsetsself-compassion and willingnessare about the dangers of judging yourself for and trying to control something over which you dont actually have direct control, the emotion of anxiety.
But theres an equally dangerous approach in not taking responsibility for something you do have control over, however difficult it feelsworry.
Worry is the mental habit that perpetuates and strengthens the emotion of anxiety. It usually takes the form of future-focused self-talk that imagines potential threats and negative outcomes in the future:
- Oh my God, why am I having heart flutters? Is this a heart attack? What if I pass out here on the trail No one will find me and Ill die before I get to the hospital!
- Should I not have mentioned his mother at dinner? He probably thinks Im a bitch. Why cant I just keep my mouth shut? Im probably going to sabotage this relationship just like I always do.
Worry is a tempting path to go down because it feels a lot like problem-solvinga helpful mental habit that we all use day in and day out for most of our lives.
The only difference between problem-solving and worry is that worry isnt really helpful, and usually, just makes things worse.
Worry is when we try to problem-solve something that either isnt really a problem or isnt something we can solve right now.
Whatever the initial cause, most of our chronic anxiety gets perpetuated and strengthened by our habit of worry.
So, how do we stop worrying?
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.
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.
Self Hypnosis Meditation To Stop Anxiety
ultimate way to break the cycle of anxiety
With this self-hypnosis meditation audio, your brain receives a clear signal that you are safe. if you practice this deep relaxation meditation on a daily basis, your brain gets a chance to realize you are not in danger and is open to re-program new thoughts and ways of behaving.
All this happens without any effort on your side. All you have to do is listen.
You can listen on your computer or device or via the free app which you can access anytime.
What Can I Do To Manage My Symptoms
You can learn to manage your symptoms by looking after yourself. Selfcare is how you take care of your diet, sleep, exercise, daily routine, relationships and how you are feeling.
Making small lifestyle changes can improve your wellbeing and can help your recovery.
Routine helps many people with their mental wellbeing. It will help to give a structure to your day and may give you a sense of purpose. This could be a simple routine such as eating at the same time each day, going to bed at the same time each day and buying food once per week.
Breathing exercises can help to calm you when you are feeling anxious. Or having a panic attack. You will get the most benefit if you do them regularly, as part of your daily routine.
There is more information about breathing exercises in the further reading section at the bottom of this page.
You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support.
You might be able to find a local group by searching online. The charity Bipolar UK have an online support group. They also have face to face support groups in some areas of the country. Their contact details are in the useful contacts at the bottom of this page.
Rethink Mental Illness have support groups in some areas. You can find out what is available in your area if you follow this link:
Forgive Yourself And Wait To Worry
Are you particularly critical of yourself and the blunders you make? Well, imagine if you had a friend who constantly pointed out everything that was wrong with you and your life. Youd probably want to get rid of them right away.
But people with anxiety often do this to themselves so frequently that they dont even realise it anymore. Theyre just not kind to themselves.
So perhaps its time to change and start forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make. If you feel like youve embarrassed yourself in a situation, dont criticise yourself simply realise that you have this impulse to blame yourself, then drop the negative thought and redirect your attention back to the task at hand or whatever you were doing.
Another effective strategy is to wait to worry. If something went wrong and you feel compelled to worry , dont do this immediately. Instead, postpone your worry set aside 10 minutes each day during which you can worry about anything.
If you do this, youll find that you wont perceive the situation which triggered the initial anxiety to be as bothersome or worrisome when you come back to it later. And our thoughts actually decay very quickly if we dont feed them with energy.
Aromatherapy And Essential Oils
Essential oils, the extract from plants, have been used for thousands of years to treat a number of conditions, including anxiety. Essential oils activate certain areas of your brain and release feel-good chemicals such as serotonin. They have been found to ease symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression, improve mood, and improve sleep.
Recommended use includes diffusing, inhalation, or topical treatment which can aid with anxiety symptoms. When diffusing an essential oil or essential oil blend you will need an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with the desired scent. Inhalation is used by deeply smelling the essential oil straight from the bottle or by applying a drop or two of the oil on something such as a diffuser pad or lava bead that is connected to a bracelet, necklace, or even keychain. You can also place a drop or two of essential oil into your hands, rub them together, then cup your hands and take a few deep inhalations to get the desired effect.
You should be sure that the essential oils you use are pure oils and not mixed with chemicals. Some good brands to use include: Mountain Rose Herbs, Plant Therapy, Young Living, Doterra. You can do your own research to find a brand that will best work for you and your budget. Remember that a bottle of essential oil will last a long time since you typically use only a few drops at a time.
Essential oils that are great for treating anxiety include: