Anxiety

The high stressed, overworked, perfectionistic lifestyle many of us are attempting to live is causing our US society a lot of anxiety.  There are many anxiety symptoms but despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America give the following statistics about anxiety disorders in the US on their website:

  • “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.”

Another interesting point about anxiety is the role it plays in conjunction with depression.  Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression often creates anxiety symptoms (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions. In fact, nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Seeking help, treatment, and support can lessen anxiety along with finding techniques to avoid or prevent anxiety before it becomes problematic in one’s life.

suicidewarningtoolSuicide Warning Tool: Is path warm?

People sometimes contemplate suicide because of overwhelming things in their life, depression, loss, or for many other reasons. But being aware of some signs and symptoms can help to prevent suicide. Often, preventing a loved one from suicide can depend on the ability of individuals in their life to recognize distress and risky behaviors. Recently, the American Association of Suicidology developed a simple tool that is available for everyone to use to remember the warning signs of suicide. This helpful tool is called “IS PATH WARM” and outlines the key points to remember:

I  – Ideation (suicidal thoughts)

S – Substance Abuse

P – Purposelessness

A – Anxiety

T – Trapped

H – Hopelessness/Helplessness

W – Withdrawal

A – Anger

R – Recklessness

M – Mood changes

The American Association of Suicidology also indicated that other signs and behaviors to be aware of including:

  • Direct and indirect verbal expressions: “I don’t want to live anymore”, “there is nothing to live for anymore”, “people will be better off without me”
  • Dramatic changes in mood
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Agitation
  • Increase in drug and alcohol use
  • Risk taking behavior
  • Aggressive, impulsive and/or violent acts
  • Expressions of hopelessness and purposelessness
  • Lack of self care or outright neglect of self
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight
  • Changes in eating and sleeping pattern
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and interests
  • Giving away prize possessions and/or making a will; tidying up personal affairs; writing notes; making notes on belongings
  • Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye
  • Previous unresolved or recent suicide attempt(s)
  • Unusual happiness and peace after an intense period of turmoil and displaying the above characteristics

If a loved one is showing these symptoms, it is important to get help from a trustworthy source and to let other loved ones know as soon as possible. Doing so could prevent suicide and help the loved one find peace and solace and heal from suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

 

Source: yourlifecounts.org

Anxiety SymptomsThere are several types of anxiety disorders.  However, the main anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety disorder)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year.  These disorders cause individuals to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Brief anxiety that can be caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), is very mild in comparison with anxiety disorders which last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make symptoms worse. In some cases, treatment for alcohol or substance abuse needs to occur before a person will respond to treatment for an anxiety disorder. Each individual anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all of the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. (nimh.com)

Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives.  Some effective treatments for anxiety disorders include psychotherapy, aerobic exercise and medications. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has indicated that certain psychotherapy techniques known as behavioral therapies or cognitive behavioral therapies are most useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  Cognitive behavioral therapy involves examining connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This examination is helpful in teaching individuals to address their fears by modifying the way he or she thinks and responds to stressful events. Relaxation techniques, including meditation, are also useful for people with anxiety disorders to help decrease their stress and to help them cope with severe worrying.

Further, the importance of having a good diet and getting enough sleep are known to decrease symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Regular exercise has also been scientifically proven to be effective and is essential to coping with anxiety disorders.

Panic-Attack

Am I Having a Panic attack??

Sometimes people wonder if they are having a heart attack or a panic attack. Most of the symptoms of a panic attack are physical, and many times these symptoms are so severe that people think they’re having a heart attack. In fact, many people suffering from panic attacks make repeated trips to the doctor or the emergency room in an attempt to get treatment for what they believe is a life-threatening medical problem. While it’s important to rule out possible medical causes of symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, or difficulty breathing, it’s often panic that is overlooked as a potential cause – not the other way around.

So… what is a panic attack and when does it usually happen?  Well,

In many cases, panic attacks strike out of the blue, without any warning. Panic attacks often strike when you’re away from home, but they can happen anywhere and at any time. You may have one while you’re in a store shopping, walking down the street, driving in your car, or sitting on the couch at home.  Often, there is no clear reason for the attack. They may even occur when someone is relaxed or asleep.

A panic attack may be a one-time occurrence, but many people experience repeat episodes. Recurrent panic attacks are often triggered by a specific situation, such as crossing a bridge or speaking in public – especially if that situation has caused a panic attack before. Usually, the panic-inducing situation is one in which a person feels endangered and unable to escape.

The signs and symptoms of a panic attack develop abruptly and usually reach their peak within 10 minutes. Most panic attacks end within 20 to 30 minutes, and they rarely last more than an hour.

According to the mayo clinic, a full-blown panic attack includes a combination of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations or a racing heart
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Choking feeling
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy

One of the worst things about panic attacks is the intense fear that you’ll have another one. You may fear having a panic attack so much that you avoid situations where they may occur. You may even feel unable to leave your home (agoraphobia) because no place feels safe.

It’s recommended that if you have any panic attack symptoms, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Panic attacks are hard to manage on your own, and they may get worse without treatment. And because panic attack symptoms can also resemble other serious health problems, such as a heart attack, it’s important to get evaluated by your health care provider if you aren’t sure what’s causing your symptoms. (www.mayoclinic.com)

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety Symptoms

Do I Have Anxiety Symptoms or an Anxiety Disorder?

Have you ever wondered if your anxiety symptoms are present enough to classify you as having an anxiety disorder?  Well, because anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person making it hard to draw definite conclusions.  For instance, one individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may have the anxiety symptom of struggling with a disabling fear of driving, or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Yet another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.

Despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.

Another interesting point about the topic of anxiety symptoms is the role they play in depression.  Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety symptoms (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions.

Are you wondering if your anxiety symptoms indicate an anxiety disorder?

This quick list may help you answer that question:

  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
  • Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
  • Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

If you identify with several of the above anxiety symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

Source:http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

 

Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety Treatments: Alternative or Prescription?

Anxiety disorders are treatable, and the vast majority of people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with professional care.  However, success of treatment varies. Some may respond to treatment after a few weeks or months, while others may need more than a year. Anxiety treatment may be complicated if people have more than one anxiety disorder or if they suffer from depression, substance abuse, or other co-existing conditions. This is why treatment must be tailored specifically for each individual.

Although anxiety treatment is individualized, several standard approaches have proved effective.  Generally, your health care professional will use therapy, medication, complementary and alternative treatment or a combination of these.

Recently, newly researched natural treatments for anxiety have been researched.  Many people deal with anxiety but are hesitant to take prescribed medicine.  These natural treatments include:

  • Passionflower herb
  • Body work (massage, shiatsu, etc.)
  • Mind/body breathing exercises
  • Valerian herb
  • Kava herb
  • Gamma-amino butyric Acid (GABA)
  • Aromatherapy
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • B vitamins
  • Chamomile

(See here for more information)

Additionally, there are prescription medicines, which are available for anxiety treatment and are generally combined with psychotherapy sessions.  These include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Buspirone
  • Benzodiazepines

(For more information visit Mayoclinic)

For most people, the holiday season is a time of joy and happiness, filled with parties, presents and family functions.  For some, however, this time of year can be hard to bear.  Whether it’s because of stress, loneliness or anxiety about the future, holiday depression can happen to anyone at any time.

A recent article on Depression-Guide.com highlights some important facts about holiday depression. These include:

  • Seniors are more prone to holiday depression.
  • Women are more susceptible to holiday depression than men.
  • Depression and suicide rates are at their highest during the holidays.
  • People who don’t view themselves as depressed (but actually are) have a tendency to be stressed, drink more alcohol, eat too much food, and may have headaches or difficulty sleeping.
  • Post-holiday sadness can occur after all the festivities are over.

What to do about holiday depression:

First off, if you feel that you’re depressed, do everything possible to not be alone for the holidays!  Other ways to fight depression include listening to non-holiday music, simplifying your gift-card or gift-giving routine, scaling back on decorating, and more.

Remember, if you or someone you know is suffering from depression, whether or not it’s related to the holidays, it’s never too late to seek help.  Even if you don’t contact Turning Point Centers, we encourage you to seek help from a proper treatment facility.

Many people with high anxiety levels find that having a drink at night to “calm them down” does exactly that…it calms them down and decreases their anxiety.  The problem is this is a very short-term effect and typically gets worse because 1 drink per night turns into 2 turns into 3 and goes from abuse to dependency.  Marijuana is another substance commonly abused to help “calm down.”  It becomes a terrible circle because dependency on alcohol and other substances actually increases anxiety so the person then uses more to calm the anxiety…you see where this is going?  If you notice yourself or a loved on entering this stage get help soon because it will almost always get worse.

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