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Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension, fear, or worry. Most everyone experiences temporary anxiety, a feeling of nervousness or fear, as a normal reaction to a stressful situation at some point in life. While anxiety is a natural response to some situations, it can develop into a debilitating disorder in some people. It is estimated that about 13% of the United States population has anxiety. Most peope suffering from anxiety do not consult a doctor as they believe only "mentally sick" people need to visit a psychiatrist. The important thing is to understand that anxiety can be treated and that living with constant anxiety is not necessary. Untreated anxiety disorders can push people into avoiding situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. People with anxiety disorders are likely to suffer from depression, and they also may abuse alcohol and other drugs in an effort to gain relief from their symptoms. Job performance, school work, and personal relationships can also suffer. Types of anxiety disorders There are several different anxiety disorders:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder - an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic, exaggerated worry and tension that is unfounded or much more severe than the normal anxiety most people experience. Worrying is difficult to control. Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder include muscle tension, trembling, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, irritability, loss of sleep and not being able to concentrate. Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder - an anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated panic attacks along with intense anxiety between attacks and possible avoidance of situations where attacks may occur. Panic attacks last about 5 to 30 minutes. Panic attacks can lead to phobias if they aren't treated. Phobias. A phobia is an extreme, unreasonable fear in response to something specific. Examples include fear of crowds, bridges, snakes, spiders, heights, open places or social embarrassment. A phobia is only considered a problem when it keeps you from living a normal life. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder - an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or rituals (compulsions), which feel uncontrollable to the sufferer. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - a debilitating anxiety disorder that may develop following a terrifying event. It is characterized by persistent frightening thoughts and memories of the ordeal.

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia - an anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of being embarrassed or humiliated by one's actions. Symptoms of anxiety disorders

Physical symptoms: rapid or irregular heartbeat, feeling as if you are having a heart attack stomach problems (gnawing feeling, nausea, diarrhea, irritated bowel syndrome) breathing heavily, shortness of breath difficulty in swallowing sweating, or feeling cold and clammy headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness muscle tension and pains chronic fatigue difficulty falling or staying asleep insomnia hot flashes or chills chest pain rubbery legs, tingling in fingers or toes frequent urination Emotional and psychological symptoms: a general sense of apprehension and dread nervousness jumpiness poor memory lack of concentration extreme exhaustion fearfulness or terror isolation from others strong desire to escape feeling incredibly self-conscious and insecure feeling of being overwhelmed fear that you are losing your mind fear of going crazy, of dying fear of losing control frequently feel like crying for no reason

feeling angry and lack of patience fear of madness, impending death feelings of being outside yourself, being cut off from reality feeling worried all the time, tired, irritable

Self-help methodsA self-help treatment is one that can be used by the public without necessarily consulting a health professional. Physical Exercise. Because anxiety is the body's response for fight or flight - physical exercise is a very good way of burning the adrenaline off. It improves our physical well-being and helps to restore balance. Eat a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Avoid alcohol and drug abuse. It may seem that alcohol or drugs relax you. But in the long run they make anxiety worse and cause more problems. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. Caffeine may increase your sense of anxiety because it stimulates your nervous system. Spend as much time as possible with people who make you feel good. Share your thoughts and fears with friends, family or a therapist. A journal might be a helpful way to record things that cause make you anxious, stressed or hurt. Often, helping someone else can take your mind off your worries and give you perspective. Volunteering on a regular basis or helping someone in need from your neighborhood, church or community can give you a break from yourself and your worries. Improve you intimate love relationships. If your anxiety stems from early life issues that interfere with your ability to build safe, trusting, intimate love relationships, you may benefit from learning ways to improve love relationships. Plan your day - list the chores or activities that need to be done today, then the ones that can wait until tomorrow. List them in order of priority, and make sure you at least try to do those at the top of the list. Relax. Take time out for play, recreation and relaxation and try to spend time doing hobbies or activities you really enjoy. Identify your stress or anxiety triggers. Identify the situations or thoughts that cause anxiety. It is only by identifying them that you will learn to control the anxiety. Consider the following: When do I feel anxious? Who am I with? How do other people cope in this situation? Is there anything I can do differently? Am I allowing myself enough time? Is there anyone I can talk to or telephone? Try to limit the known stressors in your life. Be realistic - don't set your goals too high. Lower your expectations. Become your own expert. Learning more about your anxiety will help you get the best treatment and enable you to conquer your fears. Read books, visit websites, go to lectures and workshops, and talk to your doctor and therapist. Laugh as much as possible and seek out things and people that you find funny (like exercise, laughter causes the release of healthy endorphins in the body). Try to find humor or absurdity in stressful situations. DonТt generalize. Notice when you use expressions that generalize ("He always lets me down." "She is never nice to me." "Everyone knows I'm a loser." "No one will help me."). Such statements are rarely true, but when you use them, you are more likely to react to the situation as if they are, which will increase your anxiety. Deal with situations/problems before they get out of control. Positive Thinking. Optimism can counteract the negative impact stress, tension and anxiety has on your immune system and well-being. Often it is how you perceive things that determine if you get overwhelmed, both mentally and physically. Having a positive attitude, finding the good in what life throws your way and looking at the bright side of things enhances your ability to effectively manage stress.

Sleep. Getting enough sound sleep has a profound impact on your stress levels, immune function and disease resistance. A chronic lack of sleep can leave you feeling sluggish, irritable, forgetful, accident-prone, and have difficulty concentrating or coping with life's daily aggravations. Strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Medications for anxiety According to the National Institute for Mental Health, the types of medications often prescribed for anxiety disorders include:

Antidepressants: SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), Tricyclic antidepressants. SSRIs are helpful in a variety of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD, and social phobia. The FDA has granted specific indications to the following disorders and agents: generalized anxiety disorder (venlafaxine, buspirone, escitalopram, paroxetine), social phobia (paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine), OCD (fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, fluvoxamine), and PTSD (sertraline, paroxetine). Anti-Anxiety Medications: Benzodiazepines, Azipirones. Benzodiazepines are especially useful in the management of acute situational anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder where the duration of pharmacotherapy is anticipated to be 6 weeks or less and for the rapid control of panic attacks. If long-term use of benzodiazepines seems necessary, obtaining a confirmatory opinion from a second physician may be helpful because chronic benzodiazepine use may be associated with tolerance, withdrawal, and treatmentemergent anxiety. Benzodiazepines include clonazepam, which is used for social phobia and GAD; alprazolam, which is helpful for panic disorder and GAD; and lorazepam, which is also useful for panic disorder. Buspirone is a newer anti-anxiety medication that is used to treat GAD. Unlike the benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least two weeks to achieve an antianxiety effect.

Yury Bayarski is the author of If you would like to learn more about anti anxiety medications, please visit the author's website.

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Types Of Anxiety Disorders  

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