What to do When Anxiety Sneaks into Your Life

In our hectic, stressed-out, achievement-driven society, there are many people who deal with stress on a daily basis. But did you even wonder if some of your stress and anxiety can be an Anxiety Disorder?
An Anxiety Disorder affects around 18% of the adult population, and is the most common form of mental illness in the United States, and that is just the people who have been diagnosed, while there are still many out there who haven’t been diagnosed.

6 Main Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This is categorized as a long-lasting anxiety that is not specific to any situation or object. These are the people who feel anxious more often than not. They start to worry about everything and that never truly goes away.
Panic Disorder: This is when there is a quick hit of terror. It causes difficulty breathing and trembling. Pretty much everyone has experienced this in their lives. It could be that moment when the car starts to slide in the mud and your heart starts racing or even something as simple as watching a movie when someone jumps out at you.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Repetitious obsessions and compulsions. This one seems like one of the most common ones. For example, this person may hate it when cabinet doors are left open, or if something isn’t straight then they have to go straighten it. This is another example that I seem to see a lot in school rooms. When a teacher is finished writing on the board and goes to erase it but they leave a small mark behind, for anyone with OCD, this would drive them nuts.
Social Anxiety Disorder: This is when someone has an intense fear in social interaction. With Social Anxiety Disorder, that person would manage this anxiety by avoiding the social interactions. This person can start to have anxiety attacks at even the mention of a large party or social get together.
Specific Phobias: This one is probably the most common form of anxiety. This is the fear of a specific situation or object. Many of us would know this as things like Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), Coulrophobia (fear of clowns), Claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces), and even Philophobia (fear of falling in love). And these are only naming a few. Most people have at least one Specific Phobia.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Or also known as PTSD. This is when someone gets anxiety from a traumatic experience. The most common form of this is when we hear about our soldiers coming home from war. War is a very traumatic experience and many of the soldiers carry that home with them. But war isn’t the only way of getting PTSD. It could be through a traumatic experience with a car wreck, or witnessing an accident as well. Or even through a traumatic experience when one was a child.

Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder
-Sweat
-Pounding Heart
-Shortness of Breath
-Constantly on Edge
-Insomnia (difficultly with sleep)
-If fears remain even though you know the outcome is impossible.
-And if because of this anxiety, you start to avoid everyday activities.

An anxiety disorder differs from person to person and also from different levels of intensity and duration. It is a normal thing for everyone to have those moments of embarrassment and to be self-conscious at an event, but this enters into a disorder when that person starts to avoid the event because of such fears.

Drug-free Ways to Help an Anxiety Disorder
Exercise: Exercise is a great stress-relieving activity, and most forms of it will provide benefits. Any kind of activities in the outdoors or even team sports seem to be particularly beneficial for stress relieving. Just don’t push yourself too hard or you will find your stress increased. Any kind of physical activity will boost your mood.
Listening to Music: Music is one of the most studied treatments for anxiety disorders. It doesn’t have to be the soft music you would associate with yoga. Just take some time to listen to your favorite music. Whatever that may be. You will find that it makes a big difference in your mood. There have been dozens of studies to show that music reduces pain, helps relieve stress, and also improves mood for those in health care.
Getting a Massage: Physical touch is another form of therapy that is beneficial in reducing anxiety and promoting mental wellbeing. It has been shown to reduce stress by reducing cortisol and then increasing dopamine and serotonin, which are important hormones in the regulation of mood. The fight-or-flight response, also known as SNS activity, is elevated during times of anxiety. Massage therapy has been shown to decrease this SNS activity.

Written by: Colbi Judd

Sources:
Laura Schoenfeld, 3 Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Drugs (2014), www.chriskresser.com
Laura Schoenfeld, 5 More Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Drugs (2014), www.chriskresser.com
What You Should Know About Anxiety Disorders (Infographic) (2014), www.mindbodygreen.com

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