Related Mental Health Disorders
People who have anxiety disorders often suffer from other mental health concerns, such as depression, eating disorders, and substance addiction. Specific phobias, panic attacks, and panic disorder are also forms of anxiety disorders. Like other anxiety disorders, phobias and panic disorder cause significant distress, reduce feelings of well-being, and affect your ability to function.
A phobia is a specific fear of a place or thing that does not pose any real threat to your well-being.
- An intense desire to escape the situation or thing.
There are many types of phobias, but some of the more common ones include:6
- Acrophobia: the fear of heights.
- Claustrophobia: the fear of enclosed spaces.
- Agoraphobia: the fear of public spaces.
Panic disorderis a type of anxiety disorder that involves panic attacks. Panic attacks can be extremely frightening, as they usually seem to come out of the blue. People can experience panic attacks without any obvious cause, and they can happen at any time or place. Some people feel like they are having a heart attack. People who have had panic attacks often live in fear of having another. For some, this fear becomes so intense that they are afraid to leave home. Some of the symptoms of panic disorder include:7
- Feelings of extreme fear and terror for no reason.
- Racing heartbeat.
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Teaching Your Child About Anxiety
Four important points to communicate to your child:
1. Anxiety is normal
Everyone experiences anxiety at times. For example, it is normal to feel anxious when on a rollercoaster, or before a test. Some teens may appreciate some facts about how common anxiety problems are. For example, Did you know that one-in-seven children under 18 will suffer from a real problem with anxiety?
2. Anxiety is not dangerous
Though anxiety may feel uncomfortable, it doesnt last long, is temporary, and will eventually decrease! Also, most people cannot tell when you are anxious .
3. Anxiety is adaptive
Anxiety helps us prepare for real danger or for performing at our best . When we experience anxiety, it triggers our fight-flight-freeze response and prepares our bodies to defend themselves. For instance, our heart beats faster to pump blood to our muscles so we have the energy to run away or fight off danger. When we freeze, we may not be noticed, allowing the danger to pass. This response is also called anxious arousal. Without anxiety, humans would not have survived as a species!
4. Anxiety can become a problem
Anxiety can become a problem when our body reacts as if in danger in the absence of real danger. A good analogy is that its like the bodys smoke alarm.
More about How Anxiety Works
Explain to your child the three parts of anxiety: thoughts physical feelings and behaviours . A good way to describe the interconnection of these parts is to draw a triangle with arrows .
Why Anxiety Causes A Fear Of Talking
- Social anxiety itself often causes a fear of talking.
- Anxiety may also distract the mind, making it harder to put words together.
- Tangentially related anxiety fears, such as fear of being judged, often cause fear of talking.
- Other anxiety symptoms, such as overthinking, excessive saliva, and more can make it hard to speak.
- There are simple techniques that someone can do to reduce this specific fear, and reducing anxiety overall can decrease it further.
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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.
Discussing Your Anxiety Symptoms
Everybody experiences anxiety differently. What symptoms do you experience and how frequently do you experience them? Common symptoms include:
Restlessness and agitation
Think about when you typically experience symptoms, and when your symptoms first began. Share this information with your healthcare provider.
Its also important to be open and honest about the way anxiety is affecting your life. Is it hard for you to go to work or school? Have you cut down on social outings? Given up driving or public transportation?
Your doctor will carefully consider all of this information and ask you some questions about your health and family history. Youll probably fill out a standard anxiety questionnaire in which you rate your symptoms over the past 7 to 14 days or so. She may want to run a few tests, such as thyroid function blood tests some medical conditions cause symptoms that are similar to anxiety, so shell want to rule out any possible physical cause of your symptoms.
If you experience any symptoms of depressionhopelessness, persistent sadness, worthlessness, lack of energyshare those with your healthcare provider as well. Anxiety and often occur together giving your doctor the whole picture will help her to select the most effective treatment plan.
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How Can I Best Cope With An Anxiety Disorder
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as through meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in-person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you feel more in control. Help friends and loved ones understand the disorder as well so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorder find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your healthcare provider: Your provider is your partner in your care. If you feel like treatment isnt working or have questions about your medication, contact your provider. Together, you can figure out how to best move forward.
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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.
How A Doctor Can Help With Anxiety
When you go to the doctor to get treated for anxiety, they will probably assess your physical health first. Next, they will ask you questions related to anxiety disorders that could be the underlying problem. This includes things like low blood sugar, heart disease, and hyperthyroidism.
They will be able to refer you to a mental health professional who can diagnose you. A mental health professional will look for criteria in the DSM-5 for specific symptoms. They will uncover the root of your anxiety and figure out the best treatment plan for you. This could be medication, therapy, or a combination of the two.
Causes Of Anxiety Disorder
Some causes of anxiety disorders are:
- Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
- Brain chemistry. Some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and emotions.
- Environmental stress. This refers to stressful events you have seen or lived through. Life events often linked to anxiety disorders include childhood abuse and neglect, a death of a loved one, or being attacked or seeing violence.
- Drug withdrawal or misuse. Certain drugs may be used to hide or decrease certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder often goes hand in hand with alcohol and substance use.
- Medical conditions. Some heart, lung, and thyroid conditions can cause symptoms similar to anxiety disorders or make anxiety symptoms worse. Itâs important to get a full physical exam to rule out other medical conditions when talking to your doctor about anxiety.
Whats The Outlook For People With Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can often go undiagnosed and untreated. Fortunately, treatment can help. The right treatment can help improve your quality of life, relationships and productivity. It can also support your overall well-being.
You dont need to live with constant worry and fear. If you notice symptoms of an anxiety disorder, talk to your healthcare provider. Its best to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Doing so can limit the problems that anxiety disorders can cause. Often, a combination of medications and counseling for anxiety can help you feel your best.
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Treatment For Anxiety And Depression In Men
Your doctor is a good source of information and can discuss with you whether what youre experiencing may be anxiety or depression. They can also refer you to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Any of these health professionals can help you with an action plan, whether or not you are diagnosed with anxiety, depression or both.
Anxiety and depression are like any other conditions there are ways to treat and manage them.
Lifestyle changes, such as spending time with supportive friends and family, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet and cutting down on alcohol and other drugs are all worthwhile changes that can help to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms.
Psychological treatments, including cognitive behaviour therapy, are effective in treating anxiety and depression and are often recommended first, particularly for mild to moderate anxiety and depression. Your doctor may refer you to see a psychologist or other counsellor for this type of treatment.
For some people, antidepressant medication might also be an option. Antidepressants can be effective for both anxiety and depression. They usually take at least 2 weeks before they start to help, and it may also take some time for your doctor to find the medication and dose that is most effective for you.
Strategies To Reduce Speaking Anxiety
Whether you’re about to lead a big presentation at work or you’re simply about to go out with friends and you’ll need to socialize with others, there are several strategies you can implement before the engagement that may help you with your speaking anxiety. These include:
There is an anxiety disorder known as social phobia that can make it harder to speak in public, and may make these strategies a bit more difficult. However, utilizing these strategies can lead to more self-confidence and comfort with the idea of speaking publicly.
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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:
How To Talk To Your Doctor About Anxiety: Seeking Help
Anxiety is a daily part of life for people. A certain amount of anxiety is good, it keeps us safe and helps us make smart decisions. But for some people, it can be excessive and intense.
Anxiety disorders can often cause disruptions in routine activities and even manifest as panic attacks. However, if youre someone who struggles with anxiety, you arent alone. There are doctors available to help put you on the right path.
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Your Anxiety Is Harming Your Physical Well
Occasional anxious thoughts may cause more mental stress than physical symptoms. However, if you have an anxiety disorder, you will likely experience physical symptoms that sap your energy and interfere with your daily functioning. These signs could include sleeping troubles, unexplained muscle aches and digestive issues.
How To Empathetically Acknowledge Someone Elses Anxiety
It takes a lot for someone to open up about anxiety, and your job isnt to be their therapist but rather an empathetic listener. Theres such a fear of the unknown, and peoples anxieties are shifting not just day-to-day, but throughout the day as well, says Berman. Their reasoning for doing one thing or not doing anything may not make sense, so just listen non-judgmentally and treat them with respect and dignity.
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Talking With Your Doctor About Anxiety
A little anxiety is healthy. Too much anxiety can be paralyzing. If your thoughts, fears and worries are getting in the way of your life, you might have an anxiety disorder. A lot of people do. In fact, nearly 20% American adults has anxiety.
The good news is anxiety is highly treatable. Unfortunately, many people continue to suffer in silence. Its not necessarily easy to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your anxiety, but doing so opens the door to effective treatment.
Healthcare professionals who treat anxiety include:
Family medicine doctors, such as your primary care doctor. In cases of moderate to severe anxiety, a may make a referral to a for a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.
Nurse practitioners who specialize in mental and behavioral health
Physician assistants to primary care doctors or to psychiatrists
Professional counselors and therapists
Among these providers, psychologists, counselors and therapists offer testing and therapy but they do not prescribe medicine.