Dealing With Anxiety
Anxiety can be normal for some people, but if it becomes a problem, you may need to talk with a mental health professional. It’s important to get help and find ways to manage your symptoms so you can live a full life.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, phobias and separation anxiety disorder. Each type has its own specific symptoms.
Risk factors for anxiety can include your environment, family history and a medical condition. For example, people with thyroid disease or heart problems often experience intense anxiety. Other illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and menopause can also increase your anxiety.
Having a close family member with an anxiety disorder is another risk factor. This is because anxiety is genetic and if you have someone in your family who has a condition like this, it could be more likely that you will too.
Your age and gender can also be a factor, especially if you have been through stressful events in your life. For instance, losing a parent in childhood or experiencing trauma can cause your anxiety to increase.
You can lower your risk for an anxiety disorder by changing the way you think and behave. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), can be effective in helping you learn coping strategies and skills to feel less anxious. You can also try ‘desensitisation’, where you gradually expose yourself to situations that you fear so you are more comfortable with them.
Other treatment options for anxiety include self-help programs and support groups. Joining these groups can help you share your experiences and feelings with others who understand.
Medications can also be used to treat your symptoms. There are many different kinds of medications available, and your doctor or psychiatrist will discuss the best one for you.
Antidepressants are the most common medication for treating anxiety and can be used alone or in combination with other therapies. They will not cure your anxiety, but they can provide significant relief from symptoms.
These medicines come in different forms and can have different side effects, so ask your doctor which ones are right for you. You may need to take them for several weeks before you see any results.
Counseling or “talk therapy” is another effective treatment for anxiety. These sessions focus on identifying problematic thought patterns and behaviors that cause anxiety, and reprogramming these to help you feel better.
You can work with a therapist to find ways to manage your anxiety, such as tackling small tasks that you have been avoiding or talking to a friend about your worries. Some types of counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), have been well-studied and have been shown to be highly effective.
The sooner you seek help, the better your chances of recovery are. You can get help with your symptoms by talking to a doctor, a mental health professional or a school counselor.
Your doctor can help you determine if your symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder and can recommend the most effective treatment. They can also refer you to a specialist, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist.