How Can I Help Myself
Face your fear if you can
If you always avoid situations that scare you, you might stop doing things you want or need to do. You wont be able to test out whether the situation is always as bad as you expect, so you miss the chance to work out how to manage your fears and reduce your anxiety. Anxiety problems tend to increase if you get into this pattern. Exposing yourself to your fears can be an effective way of overcoming this anxiety.
Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Keep an anxiety diary or thought record to note down when it happens and what happens. You can try setting yourself small, achievable goals for facing your fears. You could carry with you a list of things that help at times when you are likely to be become frightened or anxious. This can be an effective way of addressing the underlying beliefs that are behind your anxiety.
Try to learn more about your fear or anxiety. Keep a record of when it happens and what happens.
Increase the amount of exercise you do. Exercise requires some concentration, and this can take your mind off your fear and anxiety.
Learning relaxation techniques can help you with the mental and physical feelings of fear. It can help just to drop your shoulders and breathe deeply. Or imagine yourself in a relaxing place. You could also try learning things like yoga, meditation, massage, or listen to the Mental Health Foundations wellbeing podcasts.
Avoid alcohol, or drink in moderation
Who Is This Anxiety Quiz For
Below is a list of questions designed for people who are experiencing anxiety-inducing thoughts. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder . If youd like to learn more about anxiety read Psycoms guide, Tell Me All I Need to Know about Anxiety.
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
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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Replace Negativity With Positivity
Being positive is contagious. If you have a habit of seeing the world through a negative lens , try becoming an optimist, if only for a day at first. Replace any negative thoughts with more positive alternatives. See if that doesn’t help you start to climb out of your rut.
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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Coping Support And Resources
In addition to your prescribed treatment, you may want to join a support group. It can be very helpful to talk with other people who are experiencing symptoms similar to yours. Its good to know that you are not alone. Someone else with similar symptoms can understand what youre going through and offer support and encouragement. Being part of a group can also help you develop new social skills.
Your community will likely have several support groups, either for your specific disorder or for anxiety in general. Check with your medical professionals to learn what resources are available in your area. You might ask your:
- mental health provider
- primary doctor
- county mental health services agency
You can also participate in support groups online. This may be a good way to start if you have social anxiety disorder or feel uncomfortable in a face-to-face group setting.
Treatment of diagnosed anxiety is often multi-disciplinary. This means you may see one or all of the following medical practitioners:
- primary care physician
Where Do I Go From Here
In addition to talking to your family doctor, check out the resources below for more information about anxiety disorders:
Visit www.anxietycanada.com for anxiety resources for children, youth, and adults. Learn more about anxiety, use My Anxiety Plan to help manage anxiety, download the MindShift app, and find local mental health professionals and services across Canada.
BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information
Visit www.heretohelp.bc.ca for info sheets, tips and personal stories to help you understand anxiety disorders. You can also take self-tests to check in on your anxiety, mental health, and well-being.
Call 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.
Crisis lines aren’t only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information.
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Date Ideas That Could Help You Feel Less Anxious
Naturally, it’s not just the person you’re with who’ll make you feel anxious â the setting you’re in plays an important role as well.
That said, it’s totally acceptable for you to suggest a date spot based on what will make you feel more comfortable, based on what scenarios usually make you feel more socially anxious.
Masini explains that you should “let your anxiety guide you”:
If you get anxious at one on one dates, start dating someone in group situations. If you get anxious in groups, invite your date to dinner. If public places make you anxious, starting dating by cooking dinner at home.Don’t fight your anxiety. Use it to understand where your ‘safe’ places are.
Lopano offers some ideas that’ll leave you and your date with a lot to talk about .
According to her, dates at a museum are often a solid choice because “the art you view will provide infinite conversation starters.” You could also go for the tried-and-true dinner and a movie date. Lopano suggests leaving dinner for after the movie, though, “so that you can discuss what you liked and disliked about the movie over your meal.”
All in all, while social anxiety may make managing stressful situations a little more difficult, it’s absolutely not impossible.
As Masini says, don’t have it out with your anxiety. Listen to what your body needs at the moment, and act accordingly. Plus, if your date understands what you’re going through, that’s a signal they’re worth your time.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
Youve probably thought of a million questions you want to ask your doctor. But when youre in the office, theyre easy to forget. Writing them down will help both you and your doctor, and save time. Its a good idea to put the most important questions at the top of the list in case there isnt time for all of them. Here are some questions you may want to ask. Add any others you think are important for your doctor to know.
- Do I have an anxiety disorder?
- Is there something else that might be causing my symptoms?
- What treatment do you recommend?
- Should I see a psychiatrist or a psychologist?
- Is there a medication that I can take? Does it have side effects? What can I do to prevent or relieve the side effects?
- Is there a generic medication I can take? How long will I need to take it?
- When will I feel better?
- What else can I do to relieve my symptoms?
The list of questions you make will help you be prepared to answer your doctors questions. Here are some questions your doctor will probably ask you:
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Where Should You Start When You Need To See A Doctor For Anxiety
Your general doctor can be an asset in your anxiety treatment. While these practitioners dont specialize in psychiatric disorders, they are versed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition . Anxiety is common, and doctors, in general, know how to begin treatment.
Doctors arent psychotherapists or counselors, however, and will stick to the physical symptoms and medical aspects of anxiety. They are in a position to know of community resources plus can give you a referral to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist if youd like one.
When you see your doctor about your anxiety symptoms, you will be taking an important step in getting back your life. Anxiety and meta-anxiety wont forever be in the way of happiness and your ability to thrive.
In the below video, I discuss meta-anxiety. I invite you to tune in.
Finding The Right Mental Healthcare Provider
Youll know your mental healthcare provider is right for you if you feel comfortable talking with them about your anxiety. Youll need to see a psychiatrist if its determined that you need medication to help control your anxiety. Its sufficient for you to see a psychologist if your mental healthcare provider determines your anxiety is treatable with talk therapy alone.
Remember that it takes time to start seeing results of treatment for anxiety. Be patient and follow the directions of your mental healthcare provider for the best outcome. But also know that if you feel uneasy with your mental healthcare provider or dont think youre making enough progress, you can always seek treatment elsewhere. Ask your primary care doctor to give you referrals to other mental healthcare providers in your area.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
The different types of anxiety disorders can have different symptoms. But they all have a combination of:
- Anxious thoughts or beliefs that are hard to control. They make you feel restless and tense and interfere with your daily life. They do not go away and can get worse over time.
- Physical symptoms, such as a pounding or rapid heartbeat, unexplained aches and pains, dizziness, and shortness of breath
- Changes in behavior, such as avoiding everyday activities you used to do
Using caffeine, other substances, and certain medicines can make your symptoms worse.
Become Your Own Best Advocate
Nobody else is going to look out for you the way you can look out for yourself. Gather knowledge about SAD so that you can make better decisions. Ask for accommodations at work and school if you feel they will help you. Guide others toward better understanding of the struggles you face. Take time out at parties if you feel the need. Nobody else knows what it is like to be you.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders
In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational fear and worry, other common emotional symptoms include:
- Feelings of apprehension or dread.
- Watching for signs of danger.
- Anticipating the worst.
- Feeling like your minds gone blank.
But anxiety is more than just a feeling. As a product of the bodys fight-or-flight response, it also involves a wide range of physical symptoms, including:
- Pounding heart.
- Shaking or trembling.
Because of these physical symptoms, anxiety sufferers often mistake their disorder for a medical illness. They may visit many doctors and make numerous trips to the hospital before their anxiety disorder is finally recognized.
Don’t Be Afraid To Start The Conversation
If someone else doesn’t start the conversation, don’t be afraid to initiate it yourself! If you are standing in line, for instance, it’s a great opportunity to connect with someone since you’ll likely be standing there for several minutes before you both change location.
It’s a good idea to have some conversation starters in mind. For instance, a lot of people make casual conversation about the weather, especially if the weather has been unusual or unpredictable.
You might start up a conversation based on an observation on your surroundings. If you’re in a park you might say, “I’ve never seen the park this crowded before!”
No matter what the topic is that you start with, remember that conversations are fluid.
Listen to what the other person says and be flexible when it comes to subject matters. As long as you are comfortable engaging with this person and feel safe talking about a topic, you can let the conversation flow naturally.
You might try to start a conversation with someone who doesn’t respond. That’s OK, too. Research shows that while strangers often ignore each other in public spaces, most of us feel more positive after interacting with another person. So, it’s worth it to try to connect with other people, even if it doesn’t work out.
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What Causes Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain are involved in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think that misreading of others behavior may play a role in causing or worsening social anxiety. For example, you may think that people are staring or frowning at you when they truly are not. Underdeveloped social skills are another possible contributor to social anxiety. For example, if you have underdeveloped social skills, you may feel discouraged after talking with people and may worry about doing it in the future. By learning more about fear and anxiety in the brain, scientists may be able to create better treatments. Researchers are also looking for ways in which stress and environmental factors may play a role.
Information For Carers Friends And Relatives
If you are a carer, friend or relative of someone who hears voices, you can get support.
How can I get support?
You can do the following.
- Speak to your GP about medication and talking therapies for yourself.
- Speak to your relatives care team about a carers assessment.
- Ask for a carers assessment from your local social services.
- Join a carers service. They are free and available in most areas.
- Join a carers support group for emotional and practical support. Or set up your own.
What is a carers assessment?A carers assessment is an assessment of the support that you need so that you can continue in your caring role. To get a carers assessment you need to contact your local authority.
How do I get support from my peers?You can get peer support through carer support services or carers groups. You can search for local groups in your area by using a search engine such as Google. Or you can contact the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service and we will search for you.
How can I support the person I care for?
You can do the following.
- Read information about anxiety disorders.
- Ask the person you support to tell you what their symptoms are and if they have any self-management techniques that you could help them with.
- Encourage them to see a GP if you are worried about their mental health.
- Ask to see a copy of their care plan, if they have one. They should have a care plan if they are supported by a care coordinator.
- Help them to manage their finances.
You can find out more about:
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