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?
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.
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Here, some strategies that have worked for others that may help you:
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Excretory And Digestive Systems
Anxiety also affects your excretory and digestive systems. You may have stomachaches, nausea, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Loss of appetite can also occur.
There may be a connection between anxiety disorders and the development of irritable bowel syndrome after a bowel infection. IBS can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.
Anxiety: What It Is What To Do
- By Francesca Coltrera, Editor, Harvard Health Blog
While anxiety symptoms vary widely, odds are good that at some point youve experienced occasional physical and emotional distress signals such as panicky breathing, your heart pounding in your chest, trouble sleeping, feelings of dread, or even loops of worry. Thats normal.
Experiencing anxiety is normal, says Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of the Clay Center for Healthy Young Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. A certain amount of anxiety can even be helpful. The problem is that sometimes the systems underlying our anxiety responses get dysregulated, so that we overreact or react to the wrong situations.
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Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.
How Is Anxiety Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms. Often they will use a detailed questionnaire to do this. The more detailed answers you can give about what you’re experiencing, the better.
You may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder if the symptoms are affecting your ability to function in some way, either at work, school or socially. The questionnaire may also pick up if you have depression and how severe the problem may be.
Your doctor will diagnose the type of anxiety disorder you have based on recognised criteria such as those listed in the DSM-5 .
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Childhood Anxiety Can Worsen As Children Grow Left Untreated Anxiety Can Impact Both Physical And Emotional Health Here’s How To Help Your Child Manage Anxiety On Their Own
Fathers bravely patrolling the perimeter of bedrooms to show a frightened child there arent any multi-legged, hairy creatures hiding under their bed is a nighttime ritual regularly performed in homes around the world. But when spider anxiety prevents you from sleeping away from home or traveling, thats a problem. Its not the spider that stops you from doing adventurous things its youand your anxietythat stops you.
Its important to know the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder though. Fear of spiders, bugs, birds, monsters, or strangers are considered common childhood fears that may cause temporary anxiety in a child. Thats a normal response. But, regardless of the trigger , normal anxiety turns toxic when it begins to occupy the childs thoughts in an all-consuming way and negatively affects the childs ability to engage in normal activities and behaviors.
How To Help Kids With Anxiety
Parents have an important and essential role in helping children deal with anxiety disorders. One of the vital ways that parents can be instrumental in reducing a childs anxiety is by not inadvertently reinforcing it. Childrens natural response to anxiety is to rely on parents for help and that is a normal way that human beings respond to fear or anxiety when they are young, Lebowitz explains While an adult might respond to fear primarily with self-defense, the fight or flight response, children dont have that capacity. They are programmed to respond to fear by signaling their parent so that the parent can protect and soothe the child until the perceived danger has passed, says Lebowitz. Parents, in turn, are naturally hardwired to detect cues of fear in their children and to step in to provide that protection and emotional regulation, he says.
However, a child with an anxiety disorder experiences anxiety even when the situations or circumstances dont warrant that heightened response. And what that happens the parent responds to the childs distress through accommodation, explains Lebowitz. What that means is that to help the child, the parent responds differently to the situation than they normally would.
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Are You Facing Challenges Sleeping
Another real sign or symptom that you are dealing with a tremendous amount of extreme anxiety or GAD is that you chronically find yourself lying awake for hours and hours on end worrying about issues that shouldnt be keeping you up for even just a single moment.
According to information published by the experts at WebMD.com, close to half of all the people living with GAD or extreme anxiety are struggling with sleep issues that only further compound the problems that they are already dealing with.
Trying to find a methodology and treatment protocol that allows you to get better sleep can be difficult, especially if you arent able to really uncover the root core issues that are keeping you want and causing your extreme anxiety to begin with.
CBT can be incredibly effective at helping open up this kind of information to you, giving you the answers you need to effectively treat and eliminate extreme anxiety without you having to fiddle around with potentially dangerous anxiety or antidepressant medications.
Obviously, youll want to talk about all of the options available to you with a trusted and highly trained medical professional and take advantage of the answers that they have to share with you.
When Should I See My Doctor
If anxiety is impacting your everyday life, talking to a doctor or a mental healthcare professional is the first step to getting the right support and understanding the options for treatment.
It might help to write down your symptoms for some time leading up to your appointment, so it’s easier to explain to a doctor or mental health professional what you’re going through. It will help them to make a thorough anxiety disorder diagnosis.
If you are thinking about suicide, then its important to seek help immediately by calling an ambulance on triple zero .
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What Are Medications For Severe Anxiety
Before treatment for an anxiety disorder is determined, a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation must be completed. This will include a physical examination, an interview, and completion of a psychiatric evaluation or assessment. Because of the different features of the various anxiety disorders, careful attention must be made to create an appropriate treatment plan that addresses those unique features.
When treating anxiety disorders, medications are typically the first line of treatment.Anxiety is treated with psychotropic substances, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or sedatives plus psychotherapy. Those who are prescribed sedatives, or benzodiazepines, will experience nearly instant relief of their symptoms of anxiety. Of this class of substances, the most popular one is Xanax . Xanax provides a swift relaxing sensation that makes it extremely prone to dependency. In fact, self-medicating anxiety with Xanax has become a serious health problem, as Xanax dependency can result.
The medications used to treat anxiety include:
Medications for anxiety are prescribed in tandem with psychotherapies, such as:
Try Some Aerobic Activity
During periods of anxiety, your body is filled with adrenaline. Putting that adrenaline toward aerobic activity can be a great way to improve your anxiety. Exercise has numerous advantages for controlling your anxiety symptoms:
- Exercise burns away stress hormones that create anxiety symptoms.
- Exercise tires your muscles, reducing excess energy and tension.
- Exercise releases endorphins in your brain which can improve overall mood.
- Exercise is linked to healthier breathing.
- Exercise is a healthy distraction.
Aerobic activity, like light jogging or even fast walking, can be extremely effective at reducing the severity of your anxiety symptoms, as well as the anxiety itself.
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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.
Risk Factors For Anxiety Disorder
Some things also make you more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors you canât change, but others you can.
Risk factors for anxiety disorders include:
- History of mental health disorder. Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Childhood sexual abuse. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood is linked to anxiety disorders later in life.
- Trauma. Living through a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder , which can cause panic attacks.
- Negative life events. Stressful or negative life events, like losing a parent in early childhood, increase your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Severe illness or chronic health condition. Constant worry about your health or the health of a loved one, or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Substance abuse. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs makes you more likely to get an anxiety disorder. Some people also use these substances to hide or ease anxiety symptoms.
- Being shy as a child. Shyness and withdrawal from unfamiliar people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teens and adults.
- Low self-esteem. Negative perceptions about yourself may lead to social anxiety disorder.
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