By Sheela Seharawat,
Founder & Chief Mentor, Diet Clinic Health Care Pvt Ltd
Nearly all of us experience the feeling of being nervous, anxious, afraid, worries and even panicked often at times. As a phenomenon, it is considered to absolutely normal to be anxious and times, and perhaps it is accepted as a normal and healthy emotion. But saying all, there are many among us who suffers from severe and intense anxiety, which leads to having a depressed and difficult life and tends to keep them away from situations, which they find difficult to deal with. Since anxiety can lead to severe anxiety attacks, and has been linked to many life-threatening conditions and phobias, it is important we seriously look into it.
Anxiety is referred to as a future concern about something that can be associated with tensions in the muscles and avoidance behaviour. Fear is the most common symptom of any anxious situation that arises from the feeling of threat and can be associated with fight or flight – either opting to fight back or running away from the danger.
Since, anxiety disorders involves situations more than temporary fear or worry, for a person with anxiety disorder, her or her anxiety does not go away and can only become worse with time. The feeling starts interfering with day to day activities like relations, work performance and quality of life.
How can one know that they have an anxiety disorder?
There are several types of anxiety disorders and they can be categorized under the generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: people suffering from this type of anxiety disorder show excessive worry and anxiety with something for months and face several severe symptoms alike:
- Tensions in their muscles.
- Having difficulty concentrating and often their minds go blank.
- Feeling of restlessness and panic.
- Sleep disorders. Find difficulty in sleeping properly, keep awake all night and unsatisfied with their sleep.
- Feeling of fatigue and tiredness.
- Always worry with something or the other.
- Panic Anxiety Disorder: people with this type of anxiety disorder, have intense panic attacks that are characterized with intense fear that includes heavy palpitation, sweating, trembling and shaking, accelerated heart rates, shortness of breath and felling of choking and also includes:
- Sudden and regular attacks of fear and panic.
- Getting out of control during these attacks.
- Have repeated worries and tension of the next episode of attack.
- Avoiding places and situations where such attacks have happened in the past.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: also called as social phobia, is a sort of fear of social or public appearances and performances which make the sufferer feel embarrassed, offended and rejected by others. The symptoms in such kind of disorder includes:
- Find it difficult to talk to people in groups and gets anxious about such situations.
- Feel afraid of others judging them.
- Worrying and getting concerned with such events where others would be and thinking about them for days and weeks.
- Staying away from places where there are more people and others.
- Blushing, sweating, or trembling around other people.
- Feeling of nausea or stomach cramps when others are around.
- Finding it difficult to make and have friends.
- Always feeling bad and worried about others judging them.
Evaluation in cases of anxiety disorders often starts with a visit to the primary care provider. At times certain physical health conditions, like an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar, and even taking certain medications, can imitate or worsen an anxiety disorder.
A thorough mental health evaluation can be helpful, because anxiety disorders often co-exists with other related conditions like that of depression or obsessive-compulsive disorders.
How can one manage the symptoms of anxiety disorder?
Alike any other form of mental illness, anxiety disorder stems from a combination of things, including changes in the brain and environmental stress, and even our genes. The disorders can ruin families and could be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and other emotions.
Following certain tips can help you manage the symptoms of anxiety in a much better way:
- Eat right and exercise regularly. Exercises like jogging and biking help release brain chemicals that cuts stress and improves our mood.
- Try to get good sleep and it will help. Sleep and anxiety go hand in hand. Getting good sleep should always be the priority with anxiety disorder. Take help from your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
- Remove foods and drinks from your diet that have caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine works as a mood-altering drug, and can make symptoms of anxiety disorders worse.
- Follow a healthy and nutritious diet. Diet enriched with essential nutrients like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, dairy, legumes, beans, lean meats and poultry not only nourishes the body, but also aids in sound performance of our brains. A good brain keeps our mood good and helps us relax and get rid of anxiety.
- Self-help techniques: Stress management techniques, yoga and meditation is very helpful against anxiety disorders. There are a number of things people do to help cope with symptoms of anxiety disorders and make treatment more effective like group discussions, reading, listening music or even involving in social and community activities.
When it comes to dealing with anxiety disorders, it is a good idea to take help of someone who has personally dealt with and conquered anxiety in their own life. The experiences that they went through will greatly help in the recovery process. And moreover, once you realize that you are not alone in your battle with anxiety disorders, success in finding the right cure soon seems easier than you may have ever guessed.