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.
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.
Dos And Donts Of Helping Someone With Anxiety
- It is challenging to love someone that lives with anxiety
- Some of the ways that friends/family try to help can make anxiety worse
- There are many dos and donts for those who have loved ones with anxiety
- Your support is going to be a big part of their recovery
- If you personally have never experienced an anxiety disorder, it is helpful to remember that the experience of living with anxiety is typically not what most people imagine
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Help Your Loved One Plan For The Future
Anxiety is often rooted in a fear of the future and things outside our control. Making a plan for each day and each week helps keep anxiety at bay because you know what to expect and you know what role you have to play. This is especially important if you have a spouse struggling with anxiety.
Be specific about what your picture of the upcoming days and weeks look like for you. Planning together and affirming each others decisions helps your loved one believe in their bones that theyre safe and supported.
Treating Anxiety Disorders With Therapy
Whether youre suffering from panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, unrelenting worries, or an incapacitating phobia, its important to know that you dont have to live with anxiety and fear. Treatment can help, and for many anxiety problems, therapy is often the most effective option. Thats because anxiety therapyunlike anxiety medicationtreats more than just the symptoms of the problem. Therapy can help you uncover the underlying causes of your worries and fears learn how to relax look at situations in new, less frightening ways and develop better coping and problem-solving skills. Therapy gives you the tools to overcome anxiety and teaches you how to use them.
Anxiety disorders differ considerably, so therapy should be tailored to your specific symptoms and diagnosis. If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder , for example, your treatment will be different from someone who needs help for anxiety attacks. The length of therapy will also depend on the type and severity of your anxiety disorder. However, many anxiety therapies are relatively short-term. According to the American Psychological Association, many people improve significantly within 8 to 10 therapy sessions.
Online vs. in-person therapy
However, not all online therapy is the same. Communicating via a messaging app, phone, or email, for example, is no substitute for live face-to-face interaction using video chat.
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Are There Tests That Diagnose Anxiety
A single test cant diagnose anxiety. Instead, an anxiety diagnosis requires a lengthy process of physical examinations, mental health evaluations, and psychological questionnaires.
Some doctors may conduct a physical exam, including blood or urine tests to rule out underlying medical conditions that could contribute to symptoms youre experiencing.
Several anxiety tests and scales are also used to help your doctor assess the level of anxiety youre experiencing. Reach about each of these tests.
Do Look After Yourself
When you offer to help with anxiety, it is understandable for you to feel frustrated, scared or tired from time-to-time. It is likely that their anxieties are having an effect on you too.
Make sure that youre dealing with these emotions and maintaining your wellbeing. Talk to other friends or family members about how you are feeling, think about accessing therapeutic support, take really good care of your physical and mental health, and book in time every week to do activities that you enjoy. By keeping yourself well, you will be in a much better position to help the person with anxiety.
And always remember, youre doing your best.
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Understand The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety can manifest in many different ways and levels of severity. But the symptoms or signs are often the same. While not an exhaustive list, the following physical symptoms, anxious thoughts, and behaviors are some of the most common.
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Feelings of panic, fear, or nervousness
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- All-or-nothing thinking
- A feeling of impending doom
- Difficulty concentrating
- Believing the worst will happen
- Problems falling or staying asleep
Learning How To Better Communicate About The Anxiety
Anxiety can be scary. It can make you want to avoid talking about it.
Nonetheless, one of the most effective ways to cope with anxiety in a relationship is to talk about it openly, honestly and directly with your partner.
Having candid talks together on what they are feeling and validating those feelings is paramount, said therapist Daryl Cioffi.
To show your partner you accept their anxiety, you need to encourage them to open up about it. Try to listen without judging, becoming defensive or taking their anxiety personally.
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Learn About Social Anxiety Disorder
The best way to ultimately help someone with SAD is to really understand the disorder yourself. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments and what it’s like to live with social anxiety.
Read books, watch movies, or learn about famous people with the disorder. Arm yourself with knowledge so that you can be more understanding and approach situations from a nonjudgmental perspective.
Give Yourself An Exit Strategy
Sometimes, anxiety is due to feeling out of control. You cant always be in the driver seat of your life, but you can take steps to identify your triggers and cope with circumstances that cause anxiety.
Does the thought of going into a social situation or meeting new people make you want to jump off a bridge? As everyone at a party engages in exciting conversations, maybe you see yourself holding up the wall and counting down the seconds until youre put out of your misery. You drove with friends and cant leave, so you spend the entire night looking like the punchbowl attendant. Its this fear that makes you decline invitations and sleep through the weekends.
But what if you had an exit strategy in place before leaving the house? For example, instead of carpooling with your party animal friends, you could drive yourself. This way, you can leave if your anxiety starts to build and you cant handle another minute of awkward interactions. The more in control you feel, the less anxiety youll have.
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How Gad Is Treated
GAD can have a significant effect on your daily life, but several different treatments are available that can help ease your symptoms. These include:
- psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy
- medication such as a type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
There are also many things you can do yourself to help reduce your anxiety, such as going on a self-help course, exercising regularly, stopping smoking and cutting down on the amount of alcohol and caffeine you drink.
With treatment, many people are able to control their levels of anxiety. However, some treatments may need to be continued for a long time and there may be periods where your symptoms worsen.
If these initial treatments do not help, you will usually be offered either a more intensive psychological treatment or medication. These are described below.
Are There Treatments Available For Anxiety
Fortunately, there are effective strategies and treatments for the management of anxiety.
It is best to consult with a health care professional for a full health assessment and management plan. There are prescription medications that can be used to treat anxiety and there are non-pharmacologic therapies such as relaxation therapies , cognitive therapies , or exposure therapy.
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Shifting Your Mental State To Relieve Stress
Anxiety causes stress because we instinctively perceive it as a problem, nothing more. This evokes anger and fear.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Carol Kershaw recommended couples try to shift their mindset regarding anxiety. Rather than seeing it only as a source of stress, they can develop a curiosity about it. Trying to understand the anxiety makes it more difficult to become angry about it.
Curiosity can turn off worry and anxiety, Kershaw said. You cant feel two at once.
Dont Buy Into The Common Myths About Anxiety
We have a lot of misconceptions about anxiety in our culture. As a result, we can give really bad advice to people were trying to help. Here are a few of the common phrases people with anxiety often hear:
- Just chill out.
- Try some yoga or deep breathing.
- Anxiety is a disease.
- Anxiety is a genetic disorder that was passed down to you from your parents. Its just the way you are!
- Anxiety means something is wrong with you.
- Anxiety only affects lazy, weak or undisciplined people.
- If youre anxious, youre probably hiding something from your loved ones, from God or from yourself.
- Anxiety is just stress. We all worry. Get over it.
Now, you might not say those things word for word, but I bet youve heard a similar rationale beforeor at least felt it. The truth is, anxiety is caused by about a million different factors converging together to create a chaotic ecosystem. And while things like yoga and breathing can help, healing from anxiety takes more than just a 10-minute meditation with some essential oils. Dont belittle or minimize the anxiety your loved one is feeling.
Anxiety Relief Checklist
While there’s no quick fix for anxiety, there are practical steps you can take today to find relief.
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How Do Anxiety Disorders Affect Children
Its normal for children to feel some amount of anxiety, worry or fear at certain points. For example, a child may feel scared of a thunderstorm or barking dog. A teenager might get anxious about an upcoming test or school dance.
But sometimes, children approach these situations with overwhelming dread or they cant stop thinking about all the fears tied to one of these events. It may seem that none of your comforts help. These children often get stuck on their worries. They have a hard time doing their daily activities, like going to school, playing and falling asleep. Theyre extremely reluctant to try something new.
When thinking about your childs anxiety levels, getting stuck is key. It separates the regular worries of childhood from an anxiety disorder that needs professional help. If the anxiety or worry interferes with your childs ability to function, it may be time to seek help
Social Anxiety Therapy Online How To Get Treatment And Help Online
If you feel extremely shy meeting new people or your heartbeat rises when called on to answer a question, you may be suffering from a social anxiety disorder. While it is pretty normal for people to feel awkward under such conditions but excessive fear of being judged by others and self-consciousness is not normal.
Research suggests that nearly 7% of Americans suffer from the condition. It is a matter of concern because social anxiety disorder limits your ability to reach your full potential. In the long run, the anxiety makes it hard to make new friends, communicate with others, perform day-to-day activities, and excel in your career.
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Causes Of Concentration Problems
Focus requires a great deal of mental energy. There are distractions everywhere in the world, making it harder and harder to pay attention to the tasks at hand.
What’s interesting is that calling them concentration problems may be misleading. Often you ARE concentrating – you’re simply focusing on the wrong things . It’s very hard to focus on work when you’re worried about the day or feeling incredibly anxious.
In some cases, you may also be suffering from rapid thoughts. Rapid thoughts are another type of anxiety symptom and are caused by your body becoming overly activated to the point where it starts processing all thoughts as rapidly as possible, only to end up focusing on nothing at all. Both of these may be considered trouble concentrating, though they vary in many ways.
Finally, another problem is that many people use distractions to cope. For example, you may find yourself browsing the web more at work because browsing the web relaxes you. However, by doing this you are distracting yourself from your work as well making it difficult to be focused on your work.
Dealing With Anxiety The How
Here are some ways to manage anxiety by strengthening the structure and function of your brain in ways that protect it against anxiety. Remember though, the brain is like any other muscle in your body it will get stronger with practice. I wish I could tell you that it would get stronger with pizza and tacos but that would be a dirty big lie and very unhelpful. Delicious maybe, but unhelpful. What isnt a lie is that the following strategies have been proven by tons of very high-brow research to be very powerful in helping to reduce anxiety.
Mindfulness. But first to show you why.
A mountain of studies have shown that mindfulness can be a little bit magic in strengthening the brain against anxiety. In a massive analysis of a number of different mindfulness/anxiety studies, mindfulness was found to be associated with robust and substantial reductions in symptoms of anxiety.
Mindfulness changes the brain the way exercise changes our body but without the sweating and panting. Two of the ways mindfulness changes the brain are:
Okay then. What else can mindfulness do?
Plenty. Mindfulness can improve concentration, academic performance, the ability to focus, and it can help with stress and depression. It also increases gray matter, which is the part of the brain that contains the neurons. Neurons are brain cells, so we want plenty of them and plenty of gray matter for them to hang out in.
So mindfulness hey? What is it exactly?
Is there an app for that?
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