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.
What Is A Panic Disorder
If you have a panic disorder, you get intense, sudden panic attacks. These attacks often feature stronger, more intense feelings than other types of anxiety disorders.
The feelings of terror may start suddenly and unexpectedly or they may come from a trigger, like facing a situation you dread. Panic attacks can resemble heart attacks. If theres any chance youre experiencing a heart attack, go to the emergency room. Its better to err on the side of caution and have a healthcare professional check you.
During a panic attack, you may experience:
- Chest pain.
- Feeling of choking, which can make you think youre having a heart attack or going crazy.
Panic attacks are very upsetting. People with panic disorder often spend a lot of time worrying about the next panic attack. They also try to avoid situations that might trigger an attack.
Aim To Get A Good Nights Sleep
Not enough sleep can worsen symptoms of both anxiety and depression but too much sleep can also affect well-being and mood.
Experts recommend most adults get
These tips can help you get the sleep you need:
- Make a habit of going to bed and getting up around the same time each day.
- Turn off electronic devices about 1 hour before bedtime.
- Create a soothing ritual that helps you wind down before bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
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Safety And Other Considerations
It’s also important to realize that the long term use of a mental health medication is going to have an effect on your wellbeing. Some cause digestion issues. Others cause extreme fatigue. These side effects can have a disruptive effect on your life.
Similarly, some anti-anxiety medications cause dependency with severe withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it or miss too many doses. Some medications may also lose their effectiveness over time . Keep this in mind and discuss with your doctor when you are choosing the right medication for you.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day weekends included.
Your routine before going to bed also matters. Consider giving yourself wind-down times. For example, 20 minutes with no devices. Instead, you could read a book or take a bath.
Avoiding potential triggers, like watching TV or scrolling the news on your phone, is key.
Creating a sleep routine will help you fall asleep faster and reduce the chances that youll lie awake, worrying about unfinished tasks or the next morning.
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Generalized Anxiety Disorder: When Worry Gets Out Of Control
Do you often find yourself worrying about everyday issues for no obvious reason? Are you always waiting for disaster to strike or excessively worried about things such as health, money, family, work, or school?
If so, you may have a type of anxiety disorder called generalized anxiety disorder . GAD can make daily life feel like a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. The good news is GAD is treatable. Learn more about the symptoms of GAD and how to find help.
Alternative Anxiety Attack Definition
Earlier we mentioned that “anxiety attack” is not a medical term, but rather a descriptive term for intense moments of anxiety. Most people, including some medical professionals, refer to panic attacks as anxiety attacks simply because it is easier for people to understand. When you say panic, people tend to think of someone running away from Godzilla. When you term them anxiety attacks, people tend to understand it better.
But because anxiety attack is not a medical term, not everyone uses it the same way. Some people use anxiety attack as a way of describing severe symptoms of other anxiety disorders. For example, those with obsessive-compulsive disorder may have an “anxiety attack” when they encounter a trigger of extreme anxiety that forces them deep into their compulsions. Those with an upcoming test in school may call their significant worry about the test an anxiety attack even though theyre really just talking about being very nervous.
Keep this in mind when people describe anxiety attack, as the term may lead to a bit of miscommunication. For the purposes of this article, however, were talking about panic attacks, because panic attacks are a very real, very common anxiety problem that most people are referring to when they say they have these attacks.
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Tips For Coping With An Anxiety Disorder
Having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life, but people with anxiety disorders experience frequent and excessive anxiety, fear, terror and panic in everyday situations. These feelings are unhealthy if they affect your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
- Feeling nervous
- A sense of impending panic, danger or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger
These feelings of anxiety and panic can interfere with daily activities and be difficult to control. They are out of proportion to the actual danger and can cause you to avoid places or situations.
You should see your health care provider if your anxiety is affecting your life and relationships. Your provider can help rule out any underlying physical health issue before seeing a mental health professional.
While most people with anxiety disorders need psychotherapy or medications to get anxiety under control, lifestyle changes and coping strategies also can make a difference.
Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
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.
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What Other Treatments Can Help Manage Anxiety
Medications for anxiety are safe and effective and are good options for many people. But some people want to avoid medication, and some want to combine medication with other treatments. You can try:
- Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a first-line treatment for anxiety, and phobias can respond to biofeedback and exposure therapy.
- Stress management techniques. You can learn breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation to reduce anxiety.
- Lifestyle modifications. Getting enough quality sleep, exercising, and avoiding alcohol, illicit drugs and excessive caffeine can help reduce anxiety.
- Support groups. Connecting with people who share your experiences can be valuable.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Generalized Anxiety Disorder
People with GAD may:
- Worry excessively about everyday things
- Have trouble controlling their worries or feelings of nervousness
- Know that they worry much more than they should
- Feel restless and have trouble relaxing
- Have a hard time concentrating
- Startle easily
- Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Tire easily or feel tired all the time
- Have headaches, muscle aches, stomachaches, or unexplained pains
- Have a hard time swallowing
- Tremble or twitch
- Feel irritable or “on edge”
- Sweat a lot, feel lightheaded, or feel out of breath
- Have to go to the bathroom frequently
Children and teens with GAD often worry excessively about:
- Their performance in activities such as school or sports
- Catastrophes, such as earthquakes or war
- The health of others, such as family members
Adults with GAD are often highly nervous about everyday circumstances, such as:
- Job security or performance
- The health and well-being of their children or other family members
- Being late
- Completing household chores and other responsibilities
Both children and adults with GAD may experience physical symptoms such as pain, fatigue, or shortness of breath that make it hard to function and that interfere with daily life.
Symptoms may fluctuate over time and are often worse during times of stressfor examplewith a physical illness, during school exams, or during a family or relationship conflict.
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.
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Stick To A Regular Sleep Schedule
- Establish a regular, consistent time for sleeping and waking.
- Do something relaxing before going to sleep like reading or taking a warm bath.
- Dont use the bedroom for non-sleep activities .
- Avoid strenuous exercise, caffeine, alcohol or tobacco a few hours before bedtime.
- Avoid naps during the day. Get outdoors for some activity to refresh.
- Talk to a health care provider about using a sleep medication.
Figure Out What’s Bothering You
In order to get to the root of your anxiety, you need to figure out whats bothering you. You can do this by putting some time aside to explore 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.
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What Are The Different Types Of Anxiety Disorder
This section provides an overview of the most common types of anxiety disorders.
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Generalised anxiety disorder
GAD is common. The main symptom of GAD is over worrying about different activities and events. This may feel out of your control. You feel anxious a lot of the time if you have GAD. You might feel on edge and alert to your surroundings.
This can affect your day-to-day life. You might find that it affects your ability to work, travel places or leave the house. You might also get tired easily or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You might have physical symptoms, such as muscle tension and sweating.
It is common to have other conditions such as depression or other anxiety disorders if you have GAD.
GAD can be difficult to diagnose because it does not have some of the unique symptoms of other anxiety disorders. Your doctor is likely to say you have GAD if you have felt anxious for most days over six months and it has had a bad impact on areas of your life.
You will have regular panic attacks with no particular trigger if you have panic disorder. They can happen suddenly and feel intense and frightening. You may also worry about having another panic attack.
Panic disorder symptoms can include the following.
You may also dissociate during a panic attack. Such as feeling detached from yourself.
Social anxiety disorder
Some common situations where you may experience anxiety are the following.
Questions To Ask Yourself And A Mental Health Professional
- Is medication the best option for my anxiety problem?
- Am I willing to put up with unpleasant side effects in return for anxiety relief?
- What non-drug treatments for anxiety might help?
- Do I have the time and am I willing to pursue non-drug treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy?
- What self-help strategies might help me get my anxiety under control?
- If I decide to take anxiety medication, should I pursue other therapy as well?
- Is anxiety really my problem? Or is something else going on, such as an underlying health condition or pain, for example?
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Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy Manage Anxiety Andstress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity , or a combination of the two.
- 5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
- Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
- Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
- Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find its more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
- Recruit an exercise buddy. It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
- Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
How To Deal With Anxiety
Treatments for anxiety include prescription drugs, counseling, meditation and exercise. Experts recommend a combination of these modalities. Experiencing some anxiety when facing difficult decisions or life changes is normal, but when that anxiety interferes with daily life it becomes a disorder.
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Challenge The Negative Thoughts As They Arise
For example, ask yourself, Do I know for certain that Ill be rejected? Or, Even if the date doesnt work out, does that mean that Im a bad person? The answer to both is of course not.
One of the most important things to do is to try and silence your inner critic while youre on a date. Remember that people actually prefer imperfection. If you make a mistake, it may even increase your likability.
Who Gets Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults every year. Anxiety disorders also affect children and teens. About 8% of teens ages 13 to 18 have an anxiety disorder, with symptoms starting around age 6.5
Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.2 Also, some types of anxiety disorders affect some women more than others:
- Generalized anxiety disorder affects more American Indian/Alaskan Native women than women of other races and ethnicities. GAD also affects more white women and Hispanic women than Asian or African-American women.6
- Social phobia and panic disorder affect more white women than women of other races and ethnicities.7
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When Is The Best Time Of Day To Take Zoloft For Anxiety
If you take Zoloft or are thinking about taking it for anxiety, theres no doubt you want to do whatever you can to make sure the medication is as effective as possible.
After all, dealing with anxiety in your daily life is tough and can have quite an impact on your life.
And if a medical professional has suggested that Zoloft may help, you want to make sure nothing you do stands in the way of it working.
With that, you may have heard that the time of day can affect how well certain medications work. Wondering if Zoloft is one of them? Keep reading to find out.
A common anxiety disorder in adults is Generalized Anxiety Disorder .
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America say that those who struggle to control their anxiety more days than not over a period of six months, may be dealing with GAD.
The following symptoms are associated with GAD:
But GAD is not the only anxiety disorder. Other anxiety disorders include:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder
Speaking to a health care professional can help you identify if your anxiety is just occasional, run-of-the-mill nervousness or if it could be an anxiety disorder that is impacting your daily life.
If its determined that you are dealing with one of these, it may be suggested that you consider anxiety medications to help manage it like Zoloft.