Anxiety is a natural response to stress, but when it becomes excessive and persistent, it can become a disorder. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health disorders and include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, among others. These disorders can cause a range of symptoms, including excessive worry and fear, physical symptoms such as a rapid heartbeat and sweating, and difficulty sleeping.
Anxiety is the body's normal reaction to stress, but if symptoms are severe, remain for at least 6 months, and interfere with daily life, it may be an anxiety disorder. Treatment options include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and stress management techniques.
People suffering from anxiety disorders may strive to avoid circumstances that trigger or intensify their symptoms. Job performance, schoolwork, and personal relationships may all suffer as a result.
In order to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, a person's fear or anxiety must: be out of proportion to the situation, be deemed inappropriate for the age group, limit a person's ability to perform daily tasks normally.
There are many different components and triggers involved in anxiety disorders. Examples include:
Additionally, anxiety can be a sign of a variety of mental health and physiological disorders, such as:
Anxiety can manifest in various ways for different individuals. Symptoms can range from physical sensations such as butterflies in the stomach or a racing heart, to feelings of being out of control or disconnected from one's own mind and body.
People may experience fear or anxiety in general or in specific situations, such as specific locations or events, and may even experience panic attacks. It is important to understand how anxiety presents itself in order to effectively manage it.
Anxiety can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Consulting with a doctor is the first step in addressing symptoms of anxiety, as they can help deter
mine if there is a physical cause. If a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder is made, a mental health professional can assist in finding the right treatment plan. Unfortunately, many individuals suffering from anxiety disorders do not seek treatment, often because they are unaware that there are effective therapies available. While each anxiety disorder is unique, most respond well to a combination of psychotherapy, also known as "talk therapy," and medication. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that can help a person change the way they think, react, and behave in order to feel less anxious.
Medications may not cure anxiety disorders, but they can provide significant symptom relief. Anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants are the most commonly used medications, and beta-blockers, which are typically used to treat heart conditions, may also be used to treat physical symptoms of anxiety.
Try different methods for coping with anxiety, either individually or in combination, to determine what works best for you. Practice your chosen method daily for a consistent period of time, until it becomes a habit. While some of these techniques can be done independently, others may require the guidance and supervision of a professional therapist.
Deep breathing, also known as diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing, and belly breathing, is a deliberate and leisurely technique that fills the lungs with oxygenated air, helping to calm the heartbeat and regulate blood pressure. This technique helps to distract from stressors and utilizes the full range of motion of the diaphragm, promoting relaxation in the body.
Yoga, tai chi, and qigong are low-impact exercises that incorporate slow movements, posture holding, mental concentration, and deep breathing, all of which can reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.
The cognitive challenge of confronting and countering anxiety-inducing thoughts that only serve to aggravate your condition is to disprove harmful notions and replace them with positive thoughts that can lessen anxiety.
When thinking of natural anxiety cures, consider things like exercise and meditation. While a psychiatrist may prescribe specific medications for severe anxiety disorders, there are alternatives you can practice that may provide relief:
There are many ways to help cope with the symptoms of anxiety disorders and make treatment more successful. Practicing meditation and stress management techniques can be beneficial. Joining support groups, either in person or online, can provide an opportunity to share experiences and learn coping skills from others. Educating oneself about the nuances of the disorder and helping family and friends understand the condition can also be beneficial. To alleviate symptoms, it's important to avoid caffeine and to consult with a doctor before taking any drugs.