Anxiety is a debilitating and scary emotion. For those who struggle with anxiety, it often comes out of nowhere. Anxiety is exhausting for the person and their close family and friends. Many people who know someone with an anxiety disorder, reporting feeling anxious around that person.
Anxiety is an emotion that causes one to feel tension with worried thoughts. It also causes physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, high blood pressure, flushing the face, and crying. This is a very normal feeling for many people. Anxiety pops up around a new job, buying a new home, or when someone is hospitalized. It is when it happens regularly without these major life events that it turns into a disorder.
Jump To Section
Signs of a Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Of all mental health conditions, generalized anxiety disorder is the most common. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 31.1 percent of adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. Everyone experiences anxiety, so many people don’t understand when it becomes a disorder. The difference is when it becomes a persistent issue. It invades every aspect of a person’s life, and they cannot enjoy things the way others can. There are several types of anxiety disorders, and everyone responds differently to their own disorder. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different types.
Different types of anxiety disorders
- Social anxiety disorder – avoidance of social situations
- Phobias – avoidance of the things that scare us
- Separation anxiety disorder – fear associated with separation from a family member or a pet
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder – individual experiences a panic attack at certain triggers
A lot of people with anxiety disorders also has another mental illness. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are the two most common diagnoses with an anxiety component.
What Are Common Anxiety Symptoms?
Some anxiety symptoms are unique to the individual, but common symptoms can indicate an anxiety disorder. These signs include:
- intense anxiety
- racing heart
- disturbing thoughts
- quick breathing
- increased blood pressure
- sense of impending doom
- trouble concentrating
- unable to speak
- gastrointestinal problems
Some people go as far as to do things like planning for an escape route or avoiding known triggers to avoid anxious feelings. They believe that if they avoid and plan, they won’t feel as anxious. Unfortunately, that is not true in most cases.
There are ways to treat anxiety that can be learned from a mental health professional.
Managing Anxiety Disorder
One way to heal from this kind of disorder is to manage anxiety. Sounds easy to say that out loud, but the reality is, it’s hard work.
The first thing to do is seek out treatment options to help the patient learn effective coping skills. Most with anxiety disorder do not know healthy coping that can lower anxiety. No one wants to feel anxious so getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself.
Control Your Inner Dialogue
Oftentimes people with mental illness use negative language that only further worsens their condition. Words like:
These become a staple in their speech and contribute to low self-esteem. Learning to identify the words and replacing them is crucial to leading a life with healthy anxiety. Little changes like this may not seem like much, but they can change your attitude completely in the long run.
Cognitive-Behavior Therapy To Process Your Thoughts
A therapist can offer cognitive behavioral therapy that can help change how a person thinks and handles situations. For example, anxious people often feel attacked by their feelings, but there is a clear explanation of what actually happens. In talk therapy, they discuss their thoughts and feelings and their behavioral response to those. Most often, this is done by comparing healthy responses to unhealthy responses. The next step is to be mindful of when these thoughts and feelings come up, then practicing the healthy response. The therapist will also teach them how to cope in those moments of intense anxiety so that they don’t react harshly.
This may sound cliche, but meditation is actually a helpful tool in treating anxiety. Meditation is a method to practice mindfulness. Meditation is often associated with emptying the mind, but that is not the only way to meditate. Going to a “happy place” is common to help those feel calm in moments of high stress. Many focus on your breathing. The person will breathe deeply for a couple of seconds, feeling it go into their chest and lungs, then release it slowly. When experiencing anxiety, this is the first trick to calming down.
Grounding is a complimentary coping skill for meditation. It is a moment in which a person is completely present in the moment. They focus on the things they can hear, they can touch, they can see, and what they can taste. Rather than being weighed down by intrusive thoughts of danger, they will see the world as it is, safe.
Remember To Breathe
To affect anxiety healthily, remember to breathe. Many folks with anxiety disorders will hyperventilate or hold their breath. As mentioned before, with meditation and mindfulness, breathing will reduce anxiety at the onset. Deep breaths are important for slowing down the heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and calm a racing heart. It also helps you from letting your mind race and “fall down the rabbit hole,” a code phrase for running with your thoughts in an unhealthy way.
Eat and Drink Right
Believe it or not, there is empirical evidence that certain foods and beverages will increase your anxiety. If you want to stop anxiety before anxiety starts, look at what you are drinking and eating. Water, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy proteins are a must. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and anything that causes distress to your bowels. Although it is not food or drink, avoid nicotine! It is a stimulant and tricks the brain into thinking the body is relaxing when the exact opposite occurs.
Get The Right Kind of Sleep
Getting sleep is important but getting restful sleep is life-changing. People with anxiety disorders often report insomnia issues and difficulties in falling asleep. In addition, the less sleep one gets, the more anxiety-prone one becomes.
Creating a healthy routine around bedtime is important. It starts by not eating a heavy meal hours before bed. Bowel distress is a common reason for sleeplessness. An hour before bed is the best time to stop using any screen. Laptops, televisions, tablets, and phones should be turned off or in sleep mode. This is the perfect time for a hot bath with some lavender oil in it. The hot water will help tense muscles relax. Lavender contributes to relaxation and helps one to drift off to sleep. People can get the lavender powder to sprinkle on bedsheets too.
Get Some Physical Activity In
It’s true; exercise can help with anxiety disorders. Exercise helps with a lot of things, but its effect on anxiety is pretty amazing. People can work out their stress while doing great things for the body. Imagine cycling on a stationary bike and “running over” those intrusive thoughts that have been plaguing someone all day. Or bench-pressing positive affirmations for healthier self-esteem while taking care of yourself.
Call BasePoint Psychiatry & Wellness for Treatment Today
Many of the coping skills are simple lifestyle changes. They may not work well for you right away or cause you additional anxiety when you try them. If you are suffering from an anxiety disorder, counseling is a great option. Doctors and therapists can work with you to find the best form of treatment to meet your needs. Contact BasePoint Psychiatry & Wellness today to schedule an appointment with a trusted and experienced team member. With advice diagnosis or treatment, we can help you manage heart palpitations, anxious thoughts, anxiety symptoms, deep breathing techniques, panic attacks, anxiety disorders, and much more.