Dealing With Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal human response to worry about things that are threatening, but it can get out of hand and cause problems. Most people feel anxious at some time in their lives, but when it happens frequently and interferes with your daily life, you may have an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can be a symptom of other mental health conditions, such as depression, so it’s important to get help from your doctor or a mental health provider to make sure you’re getting the right treatment. Anxiety can also worsen symptoms of depression and affect relationships with friends and family.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, perform a physical exam and order tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing your anxiety. If the test results don’t reveal a medical reason, they’ll refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for a diagnosis.
There are many types of anxiety disorders. Some have a specific fear of something or someone, while others have a generalised anxiety disorder that can include fears about animals, places and situations.
Depending on the type of anxiety, there are several types of medication that can be used to treat it. They don’t cure it, but they can help control your symptoms so you can function normally and enjoy your life.
Beta-blockers, which are usually used to treat high blood pressure, can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of an anxiety disorder, such as a rapid heart rate and shaking or trembling. Your healthcare provider will work with you to find the right combination and dose of medication and monitor your progress.
Other medications, such as benzodiazepines, can help relieve your symptoms by blocking the brain’s natural response to stress. They’re often used with other medicines, such as antidepressants and sedatives.
Lifestyle changes can also help to relieve some of the anxiety you may be experiencing. These can include changes in diet, exercise and sleep habits.
Psychotherapy helps you to understand and change your thoughts, behaviours and feelings that are triggering your symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the most common kind of psychotherapy used for anxiety.
Exposure therapy can also be used to teach you how to deal with feelings that are triggering your anxiety. This involves gradually exposing you to situations that are likely to trigger your anxiety, using a “fear hierarchy.”
The goals of psychotherapy are to change the way you think and behave so you can better cope with your anxiety and improve your quality of life. It also can help you to develop strategies to avoid anxious situations in the future, and to recognise when your anxiety is affecting your daily life.
If the problem doesn’t respond to these treatments, your therapist might suggest more intensive interventions like cognitive restructuring. This involves a series of steps that aim to prove to you that distorting the reality of events and situations is not a healthy or positive way to think and behave.