Friday, August 23, 2013

Depression and Anxiety II: Overcoming Anxiety

Signs and Symptoms
Everyone has felt anxious one time or another. Your heart racing at the prospect of giving a presentation in front of a room full of people, feeling shaky asking someone on a date, or the feeling of dread due to financial problems.

These are all anxiety provoking situations dealt with as everyday problems. Usually we become scared or tense when faced with a stressful situation. But when it becomes constant and we feel overwhelmed to the point of it interfering with our work, our relationships and our daily activities, we have reached the area of anxiety disorder.

What are the symptoms indicating an anxiety disorder? If you have several of the following symptoms, you may have an anxiety disorder.
• Are you continuously feeling up tight, worried or on edge?
• Does your worry interfere with your work, relationships, or daily activities?
• Do you have fears which are irrational, but don't go away?
• Do you have to repeatedly perform certain behaviors or something bad will happen to you?
• Does anxiety cause you to miss activities and to avoid situations?
• Do you always expect the worse is going to happen to you?
• Do you have heart pounding attacks with no warning?

Emotional and Physical Symptoms Along with the worry and fear anxiety symptoms can be divided into emotional and physical reactions. The physical symptoms can be mistaken for medical illness and result in trips to the doctor's office and emergency room before being identified as an anxiety disorder.

Emotional Symptoms
• Anticipating something bad is going to happen
• Difficulty concentrating
• Difficulty relaxing
• Having a sense of dread
• Easily angered
• Hyper-vigilant
• Thought blocking

Physical Symptoms
• Racing heart
• Perspiring
• Sick to your stomach and dizziness
• Frequent urination and diarrhea
• Difficulty breathing
• Insomnia
• Headaches
• Tremors and twitches
• Muscle tension

Panic Attacks
A panic attack is frightening and disabling. The attacks occur suddenly and without warning. Sometimes there is a precipitating event, such as giving a speech in front of a group of people, but most of the time it comes out of the blue. The attacks can last between ten to thirty minutes. The physical symptoms are so severe that people feel they are having a heart attack. Following an attack, many people develop a fear of having another attack causing them to stay close to home or avoid certain situations.

Symptoms of a Panic Attack
• Surge of overwhelming panic
• Losing control and going crazy
• Sharp pains in your chest and heart palpitations
• Feeling you are going to lose consciousness
• Difficulty breathing or sensation of choking
• Hyperventilating
• Hot flashes or cold sweats
• Trembling
• Upset stomach
• Sense of unreality

Anxiety and Depression
It should be noted that many times when someone suffers from an anxiety disorder they also suffer from depression. It is believed that anxiety and depression have same the biological vulnerability. There is a tendency for anxiety to make depression worse and on the other hand, for depression to make anxiety worse.

What Action Can You Take to Reduce Your Anxiety?
Take a look at your lifestyle ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you give yourself time for fun and relaxation?
• Do you get the necessary emotional support from friends and family?
• Do you take care of your body?
• Do you overwork yourself?
• Do you ask for help when you need it?

The answers to these questions are important because they recognize how well you are taking of yourself. If you find your lifestyle out of balance, it is time to make some adjustments. You can make the following adjustments:

• Reduce your workload. Recognize that you are not super human, reduce the number of hours you work or the amount of responsibility you take on.

• Learn relaxation techniques. Practice daily relaxation techniques such as mindful meditation, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation to increase your sense of well being.

• Eat healthy, stop either missing meals or overeating and going to fast food places. Eat well balance meals; don't let your blood sugar fall, this well increase your anxiety.

• Reduce your intake of alcohol and nicotine which can affect your anxiety.

• Exercise on a regular basis at least 30 minutes three to four times a week for maximum anxiety reduction effect.

• Get enough sleep go to bed regularly to give yourself 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Seeking Professional Help
If after you have tried the lifestyle changes, and you continue to have anxiety to the point it is causing you extreme distress in your life, it is time to seek professional help. Anxiety disorders respond well to treatment. Your therapist will discuss with you the course of treatment best suited to you.

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