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What Causes Anxiety and What Can I Do About It?

Anxiety is a normal response to a threat, but an anxiety disorder can last for months or even years and interfere with your life.

It’s important to learn how to recognize an anxiety attack and talk about it with your doctor. If left untreated, anxiety can lead to depression and other problems.

Your doctor can help you find treatment if your symptoms are severe and last for more than 6 months. They can also refer you to a specialist for further assessment.

The causes of anxiety are not fully understood, but a number of factors can increase your risk. These include:

Family history – if you have a parent or other family member with an anxiety disorder, you may be more likely to develop it yourself.

Situations – if you have experienced a stressful event, such as a job loss or relationship breakup, your symptoms may be more severe.

Medications that can treat an anxiety disorder are based on a range of different principles, including:

Behaviour therapy is part of CBT. This helps people change the way they think, which can reduce their symptoms.

This can be done through a program of exercises, such as breathing techniques and relaxation techniques. It can also be combined with medicine like antidepressants to reduce anxiety symptoms.

Some of these medicines can also be used to control physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shaking and trembling. These medicines are called beta-blockers, and they can be prescribed by your doctor for a short period of time.

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You can also try some self-help strategies, such as meditation, to manage your symptoms. It can take some trial and error to find what works for you, so do not give up if it doesn’t work immediately.

Avoid things that make you anxious. For example, caffeine and other stimulants can make you feel more anxious. It can be helpful to get some exercise, particularly in the morning.

Getting enough sleep can also help with symptoms of anxiety. A good night’s sleep is essential to maintain a healthy mind and body, so make sure to have a good night’s sleep every night.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used psychotherapy for treating anxiety disorders. This involves learning to recognise the thought patterns that cause your anxiety and re-learning how to change them.

It can also involve ‘desensitisation’, which is slowly exposing you to feared situations so you can reduce your feelings of anxiety when you face them.

Other treatments can include medication, such as antidepressants or benzodiazepines for short-term symptom relief. However, they can be dangerous if you become dependent on them, so you should discuss with your doctor if these medications are the best course of action for you.

You can try some natural remedies, such as acupuncture and massage. These can help with the symptoms of anxiety and can also improve your quality of life.

Your doctor can help you find a specialist if your symptoms are severe and last for longer than 6 months. They can also refer you if you have a family member with an anxiety disorder, and they will provide treatment.

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