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Debamita Banerjee

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Anxiety - Symptoms And Treatments

Anxiety is a mental health disorder that induces feelings of panic, worry, nervousness, and fear in extreme amounts in a patient. A little bit of anxiety is a part and parcel of life but, when it starts interfering with your capability to do your daily tasks, it turns into an anxiety disorder. The degree to which you face anxiety should decide your course of action. Mild anxiety can be dealt with through simple behavioral remedies whereas severe anxiety completely alters how a person reacts to any stressful situation that comes their way. Severe anxiety requires medical support for the person to revive and resume their life.  

SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY  

A person's anxiety can surface through numerous symptoms but they're most likely to represent a lack of mental adjustment to one's surroundings or life issues. Following are the most common symptoms of General Anxiety Disorder(GAD).  

Excessive Worrying

If you have been worrying and overthinking about every little thing in your life at great lengths, then you may be suffering from anxiety. It's natural to worry about things that are important to you, but it shouldn't bar you from living your life at the moment.  

Headache:

Anxiety and stress are centered majorly around brain functioning so it is obvious that an anxious person would undergo painful headaches due to being overloaded by thoughts and noises in their brain. 

Trouble in Concentration 

Anxiety leads to an influx of negative emotions and feelings. Being so occupied by various thoughts can lead to the patient-facing trouble while trying to concentrate on their work and surroundings. Anxious people procrastinate more than usual because they cannot focus on the task at hand.  

Fatigue  

Anxiety can take a toll on your mind and your body. If you feel persistent fatigue and are unable to perform your daily tasks with full effort, you're likely suffering from anxiety. Being fatigued will bring you prolonged exhaustion.  

Restlessness 

If you constantly feel like you're "on the edge" and cannot calm your mind or body, you may suffer from anxiety. Sitting still can prove to be a problem for a lot of patients because it leaves them with nothing else to focus on but their negative thoughts and emotions as a result of anxiety.

Bad Sleep Schedule or Insomnia  

Being succumbed to thoughts and panic can affect your ability to sleep properly. A healthy sleep schedule is essential to everyone's physical and mental well-being. A person suffering from anxiety might experience insomnia as a result of worrying too much and due to this will stay up for long hours. On the other hand, an anxious person might also start sleeping excessively to avoid being overwhelmed by their daily life. Both cases are harmful to one's lifestyle.  

 Increased heart rate and shortness of breath  

If being under any degree of stress sets off an extreme physical reaction in you in the form of heart palpitations and hyperventilation, you might be going through an anxiety disorder. Anxiety kicks off a fight or flight response in our brain which in turn makes our vitals switch to emergency mode functioning. As a result, our heart tries to pump more blood, lungs try to take in more oxygen and muscles start to twitch.    

Panic Attacks 

Panic attacks are almost a sure shot sign of anxiety. Panic attacks cause an intense sensation of pain which can restrict your ability to think or even move effectively in a spur. They're often accompanied by difficulty in breathing, chest pain, nausea, shaking, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and fear of dying. They can be triggered by drastic happenings but recurring incidents usually indicate a bigger cause.  

Fear without a definite cause 

Anxiety induces feelings of fear and doom in a person irrespective of the fact that there is a real danger or not. A person might have incessant thought spirals regarding their past, present, or future and feel apprehensive of their condition constantly.  

Dry mouth and sweating  

If you experience a dry mouth and excessive sweating without reasons such as dehydration or a hot climate, then it's possible that you have anxiety. Due to the panic and fear caused by anxiety, your body starts displaying signs of distress such as mentioned above.    

SOLUTIONS FOR ANXIETY  

Feeling anxious occasionally due to the varying highs and lows of our lives is normal. Problems arise when it's continual and acute.  

The treatment options would vary based on the severity of one's anxiety. If it's mild, then it can be cured by making simple lifestyle changes and standing by them. On the other hand, if a person is suffering from a severe anxiety disorder, then they should seriously consider seeking medical help along with making personal changes. If your anxiety has been persistent, reach out to a psychologist for a proper diagnosis of your condition.  

Here are a few solutions that can be adopted to revive anxiety.  

Stress Management 

One of the most common reasons for anxiety is excessive stress on a person due to their job, finances, family issues, etc. Rid yourself of guilt and take a break if you need to. You can only devise effective solutions for your life problems when you're mentally and physically fit. Try to reduce your workload or ask your family to take it easy on you. Lesser stress will give you room to breathe and think clearly.    

Healthy Sleep Cycle  

It's a widely known fact that our body heals and replenishes itself while we sleep. Hence, when you're going through anxiety, a condition that extracts so much from you, proper sleep is non-negotiable. It can be difficult to battle insomnia that often accompanies anxiety. Try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Over time, your body will adapt to the cycle and release cues to automatically feel sleepy at the same time every day. You can also try listening to calming music, inhaling calming scents, or consuming sleeping pills as prescribed by your doctor.  

Reduce Caffeine Consumption  

Research Suggests that excessive caffeine consumption can induce anxiety in individuals. People with panic disorders and social anxiety disorders are furthermore prone to experiencing these effects. Caffeine can provide a consumer a quick "high" as it induces alertness by blocking adenosine and increases energy by triggering the release of adrenalin. Thus, it's easy to form a caffeine addiction and heavily depend on it. Try to bring down how many cups of coffee, tea, or energy drinks you consume in a day.  

Meditation  

Although meditation is not a quick fix for anxiety disorder, it can surely help you calm your mind over time. Anxiety creates intense turmoil in your brain and through meditation, you can regain your composure. This will help you think clearly beyond the panic and fear that you might've encountered.  

Proper Nutrition 

A diet rich in essential macro and micronutrients will not only give you the energy to stand strong against the exhaustion and fatigue caused by anxiety but also improve your mental health. Studies suggest that an adequate intake of fruits and vegetables can help patients with anxiety improve their brain function.

Medication 

This does not have to be your first course of action if your anxiety is mild. But in case it is severe, consult a psychologist. Your doctor will properly diagnose your condition and then prescribe you medication based on your age, work conditions, exercise routine, health limitations, etc.  

Therapy  

You can ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist or find one yourself based on your requirements. While dealing with anxiety, cognitive-behavioral therapy and psychotherapy can be very helpful. Your therapist can help you assess and work through your issues that are either triggering or making your anxiety worse. Through therapy, you can learn methods to stay calm even when you're in agony and get rid of all irrational fears.  

Abstain from alcohol and cigarettes  

Alcohol and smoking addictions have a deep relationship with anxiety disorders. Being addicted to either makes you far more vulnerable to anxiety than an average person. Staying away from cigarettes and alcohol will not only help your mental health but your overall long-term physical health too.

Find Support  

Anxiety is a harsh condition to go through. You need a strong support system to stand by you on the bad days or just hear you vent out. Your family and friends can be a big help in your fight against anxiety.    

The truth is, there is still intensive judgment regarding mental health issues in our society. It could be difficult for you to talk to the people you interact with in your day-to-day lives regarding the dark thoughts that knock your mind as a result of your anxiety.  

Visit iAmEars to find a community of supportive and understanding individuals that can help you through this tough time. At iAmEars, you can freely talk about your problems while maintaining complete anonymity. You can also interact in support groups with people who have been through similar experiences. The panel of experts and medical professionals at Iamears can provide you the right advice regarding your condition through consultation sessions. iAmEars is your safe haven. 

CONCLUSION

Anxiety can be exhausting, frustrating, and scary. But, it cannot break your spirit. As long as you patiently and consistently perform your treatment methods, you will be able to restore your mental and physical health.  

In the video linked below, renowned psychologist Dr. Ashish Mittal elaborates on the symptoms and treatments for depression.  

REFERENCES

  1. An update on the mechanisms of the psychostimulant effects of caffeine - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18088379/   
  2. The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and mental disorders: evidence from five waves of a national survey of Canadians - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23295173