Instead Say: Ive Noticed Youve Been Anxious A Lot Lately And Im Concerned
If you notice your friend getting more and more anxious and you know they havent sought any kind of professional help, its OK to express your concern if it comes from the heart. Focus on how youve seen the anxiety change them: maybe they arent going to concerts anymore even though they used to love live music, or they havent been socializing as much and youre worried about them being lonely. If theyre open to getting help but feel overwhelmed, offer to do some research on good therapists or to wait for them in the lobby during their first appointment. Remind them that anxiety is treatable, even without medication, and that this isnt something they have to fight alone.
If someone confides in you that theyre feeling anxious or having a panic attack, the most important thing to remember is that the feelingsand telling you about themare a big deal. It takes trust to show that kind of vulnerability. Listen and respond in a way that doesnt minimize their experience.
There are definitely times when I havent been heard, when my anxiety has been dismissed or questioned. Ive been subjected to jokes about how me and my fellow Millennials are the Xanax generation or how Im only anxious because U.S. culture is in an age of anxiety, as though everyone feels exactly as I do so I should just suck it up.
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.
Why Is It So Hard To Stop Worrying
Constant worrying can take a heavy toll. It can keep you up at night and make you tense and edgy during the day. And even though you hate feeling like a nervous wreck, it can still be so difficult to stop. For most chronic worriers, the anxious thoughts are fueled by the beliefsboth negative and positivethat you hold about worrying:
Negative beliefs about worry. You may believe that your constant worrying is harmful, that its going to drive you crazy or affect your physical health. Or you may worry that youre going to lose all control over your worryingthat it will take over and never stop. While negative beliefs, or worrying about worrying, adds to your anxiety and keeps worry going, positive beliefs about worrying can be just as damaging.
Positive beliefs about worry. You may believe that your worrying helps you avoid bad things, prevents problems, prepares you for the worst, or leads to solutions. Maybe you tell yourself that if you keep worrying about a problem long enough, youll eventually be able to figure it out? Or perhaps youre convinced that worrying is a responsible thing to do or the only way to ensure you dont overlook something? Its tough to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying serves a positive purpose. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.
Read Also: Can You Be Hospitalized 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:
Anxiety Provides The Energy Necessary For Taking Action
For many people, anxiety doesnt inspire over-achievement but instead a perceived inability to take action. Does anxiety ever leave you feeling paralyzed, unable to move forward? The good news is this stress response can work to your benefit.
Does anxiety ever leave you feeling paralyzed, unable to move forward? The good news is this stress response can work to your benefit.
The energy that fuels anxious thoughts and behaviors is giving you what you need to take action and get unstuck. By not taking action, the energy is just getting bottled up inside you with nowhere to go but in circles. A mind spinning in circles or a body that fidgets or panics is stifling the energy of anxiety. Taking action can channel and alleviate that pressure, and the stress response can help you have the energy to do that.
Especially for someone who struggles with depression in addition to anxiety, training the body and mind to take small actions using that energy can provide healing over timefor example, using that energy to take a walk outside or to start a conversation .
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What Causes Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are like other forms of mental illness. They dont come from personal weakness, character flaws or problems with upbringing. But researchers dont know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They suspect a combination of factors plays a role:
- Chemical imbalance: Severe or long-lasting stress can change the chemical balance that controls your mood. Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period can lead to an anxiety disorder.
- Environmental factors: Experiencing a trauma might trigger an anxiety disorder, especially in someone who has inherited a higher risk to start.
- Heredity: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. You may inherit them from one or both parents, like eye color.
Try A Meditation For Anxiety From Headspace
With regular meditation, we increase our ability to manage anxiety. Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe says that were not trying to get rid of the anxiety when we sit to meditate thats not how you tackle anxiety. As Andy says, Meditation isnt about resisting anxiety or pushing it away its about changing our relationship to it, being at ease with it, and being okay with it when it arises, without buying into it. When were able to watch the anxiety come and go, then thats a really comfortable, healthy place to be.
Also Check: How To Control Stress And Anxiety
Figure Out What’s Bothering You
The physical symptoms of panic and anxiety, such as trembling, chest pain, and rapid heartbeat, are usually more apparent than understanding just what is making you anxious. However, in order to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to figure out whats bothering you. To get to the bottom of your anxiety, put some time aside to exploring your thoughts and feelings.
Writing in a journal can be a great way to get in touch with your sources of anxiety. If anxious feelings seem to be keeping you up at night, try keeping a journal or notepad next to your bed. Write down all of the things that are bothering you. Talking with a friend can be another way to discover and understand your anxious feelings.
Make it a habit to regularly uncover and express your feelings of anxiety.
Accessing Professional Support For Anxiety
If the person with anxiety hasnt been accessing professional support, yet their anxiety is having a significant impact on their day-to-day life, it may be something to think about suggesting to them.
Remind them that many people have experienced anxiety and that there is plenty of support available. Let them know that you will be there to help them during their first appointment and will continue to support them as they work towards feeling better. There are professionals who know how to deal with someone with anxiety and can provide all of the help and support needed to overcome this condition.
You may want to suggest that they start off by visiting their local GP. GPs are there to help with our mental health as well as our physical health, and they are able to provide advice, support and access to specialist treatment providers, like the Priory Group.
You can also suggest that the person starts off their journey by visiting Priory Group. Here, they will be assessed by one of our consultant psychiatrists, who will then work with the person to determine a diagnosis and the most effective treatment path for them at Priory Group. Depending on the person and their anxiety symptoms, this could include a course of therapy sessions, medication, a series of day sessions at one of our centres or an inpatient stay, if deemed necessary.
If you would like to find out more about the treatment that we offer for people with anxiety, please visit our anxiety treatment page.
Also Check: What Medication Helps With Social Anxiety
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.
Fight Flight Freeze A Guide To Anxiety For Kids
For even more information and tools, visit MAP for Children! My Anxiety Plan is an anxiety management program designed to provide adults struggling with anxiety with practical strategies and tools to manage anxiety. MAP includes 6 easy to navigate units with 45 lessons.
Does My Child Have An Anxiety Disorder?
As discussed throughout this website, anxiety is useful in certain situations, some of the time. But how do you, the parent or caregiver, know when the signs of anxiety you are seeing in your child might be significant enough to qualify for an anxiety disorder? An appointment with your family physician or a trained mental health professional is a good first step. However, in preparation for that visit, or to decide whether a visit is needed, it can help to understand what professionals look for in diagnosing an anxiety disorder.
To begin with, there are eleven different types of anxiety disorders, and each anxiety disorder has a list of commonly occurring symptoms clustered into 4 areas:
- Physical responses
- Attending school
- Joining social, athletic or recreational clubs
- Meeting age expected demands such as sleeping through the night, doing homework, and making friends.
Common Topics for Children
Knowing How Anxiety Works Can Help You To Better Support Loved Ones Without Inadvertently Making Their Anxiety Worse
When I first moved into my spouses house in 2001, she didnt want to include my name in our answering machine greeting. Because of our big age gap and same-sex relationship, she was justifiably anxious about how her parents would react to my having moved in so she kept it from them for several months. Though I felt a great deal of compassion for her and her situation, I was also frustrated that her anxiety was affecting meand I didnt like acting as though we had something to be ashamed of.
Scenarios like this are common when someone in your life is struggling with anxiety. Your loved one may feel so fearful that they avoid taking action, or act in ways that are inconsiderate or that increase your own anxiety. This might look like a boyfriend constantly putting off important tasks or discussions, a friend complaining about being lonely but refusing to date, or a boss always focusing on what could go wrong, making everyone miserable. Its difficult to witness anxiety in someone you know, and its even harder when their anxiety triggers yours.
But what can you do to help anxious people?
While its upsetting and frustrating to see these folks suffer, there are things you can do to help. Here are some of the strategies I recommend based on my book, The Anxiety Toolkit.
Best Free Screening Tools: Mental Health America
Mental Health America
Why We Chose It: It has a free online discussion forum for anxiety and phobias.
Offer articles and self-help tools
No official support group for anxiety
Not very guided
Mental Health America is the nations leading community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting mental health. They offer a variety of services and programs, including an online discussion forum.
They do not offer an official support group for anxiety, but they do offer a free forum for anxiety and phobias. Members can ask questions about anything anxiety-related, such as which medications might be helpful and how to deal with specific symptoms.
There are community leaders who monitor the forums, and they say the purpose of their forums is to connect patients, families, friends, and caregivers for support and inspiration.
They also offer screening tools that can help you identify if you might have a mental illness, such as anxiety or PTSD. Simply click on the screening test youd like to take and youll be given a few questions to answer about your symptoms. Within a few minutes, the site will let you know if you should talk to your physician or a mental health professional about the possibility of having a certain condition.
They provide many other online resources, such as articles and self-help opportunities.
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When Should I Go To The Emergency Room For An Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can resemble symptoms of a heart attack or another health emergency. If youre experiencing an anxiety attack for the first time, or youre concerned in any way about your health, call 911 or head to the nearest ER. A healthcare provider will check you for serious or life-threatening conditions.
If youre having an anxiety attack and unsure whether you should head to an ER or not, its better to go. Healthcare professionals can make sure youre OK and give you any necessary treatment.