Coping with Anxiety

Ranges from mild, persistent worry to disabling fear and full-blown panic attacks.

Causes: Anxiety may be the result of a traumatic experience, a genetic predisposition, or an imbalance of brain chemicals. It can also occur for no apparent reason.

Effect: Generalized Anxiety Disorder causes you to feel restless, impatient and constantly ‘on edge’. You may suffer from panic attacks, dizziness, fatigue, palpitations, aching muscles, excessive sweating, digestive problems and insomnia.

Phobias are also a type of anxiety disorder. Someone with a specific phobia knows the exact trigger for their anxiety, for example spiders (arachnophobia), leaving the house (agoraphobia) or entering small spaces such as lifts (claustrophobia).

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder arises after a very traumatic or life-threatening event, and usually includes flash-backs.

Social Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences disabling anxiety in social situations.

Solutions:

Relaxation techniques are helpful in combating anxiety disorders. These include breathing exercises and meditation.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

Flooding and Exposure Therapy are techniques in which you are forced to confront the things you fear, either suddenly (for specific phobias) or gradually, until you no longer respond to the trigger with anxiety.

Medication may be prescribed when anxiety is severe.

Cutting out caffeine and nicotine may help.

Yoga and pilates.

Exercise such as brisk walking helps to reduce anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. These disorders fill people’s lives with overwhelming anxiety and fear. Unlike the relatively mild, brief anxiety caused by a stressful event such as a business presentation or a first date, anxiety disorders are chronic, relentless, and can grow progressively worse if not treated.

Effective treatments for anxiety disorders are available, and research is yielding new, improved therapies that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives. If you think you have an anxiety disorder, you should seek information and treatment.

This feature will help you identify the symptoms of anxiety disorders, explain the role of research in understanding the causes of these conditions, describe effective treatments, help you learn how to obtain treatment and work with a doctor or therapist, and suggest ways to make treatment more effective.

The anxiety disorders discussed in this feature arepanic disorder,

  • obsessive-compulsive disorder,
  • post-traumatic stress disorder,
  • social phobia (or social anxiety disorder),
  • specific phobias, and
  • generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Each anxiety disorder has its own distinct features, but they are all bound together by the common theme of excessive, irrational fear and dread.

Discuss coping with anxiety

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