- Mental Health
The Anxiety of Being
Do you have a feelings of dread? How about thinking the worst about a situation? What about sweating, heart palpitations, or even shortness of breath?
You had tests done and find out you're perfectly healthy but you feel something is wrong with you.
This is what anxiety does to you.
A certain amount of anxiety is normal. It is a natural response to a stressful situation. It helps you focus at the task before you.
However, when it becomes excessive, it can interfere with everyday life. There are some cases when it becomes quite debilitating.
There are five major anxiety disorders. They are: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), and Panic Disorder. People may suffer from more than one form, sometimes at the same time.
GAD is a disorder characterized by exaggerated worry and tension without any provocation. They can't seem to be rid of the concern, and develop physical symptoms. Among these are: headaches, muscle tension and/or aches, trembling, twitching, fatigue, hot flashes, sweating, and irritability.
The sufferer of OCD has unwanted and recurring thoughts and/or repetitive behaviors. Handwashing, counting and recounting, checking then rechecking, and cleaning are done to alleviate obsessive thoughts, or make them disappear if they are already present. These rituals are the way they cope, and if in their view, not done properly, creates more anxiety.
PTSD develops after an exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm has occurred and/or implied. Victims of natural disasters, violent crimes, accidents and military combat are traumatic events that could trigger symptoms of PTSD. Suffers usually have sleep problems, nightmares, detachment and/or numbness, and startled by everyday noises. They are often emotionally distant, especially to ones they were once the closest.
SAD, or social phobia, is the fear of doing certain things in front of other people. It can be only one situation, like speaking in formal gatherings, or it can be as severe as having symptoms anytime one is around people at all. They are in constant fear of being judged by others and humiliated by their own actions. Symptoms of SAD include: blushing, sweating profusely, trembling, difficulty speaking, and nausea. There are times where their fear interferes with work of school or even everyday activities they once enjoyed.
Panic Disorder is characterized by episodes of intense fear and strike repeatedly with no warning. Physical symptoms include chest pain, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, heart palpitations, tingling or numbness in the hands, and shortness of breath. These symptoms mimic conditions of a heart attack, in which case creates more anxiety. Emotionally, fear of something bad happening or loss of control are common.
If you think you have an anxiety disorder, first see your family doctor. He or she can determine if your symptoms are not are sign of another medical condition.
The next step if an AD is diagnosed is seeing a mental health professional. They can determine what steps can be taken to help combat it. Behavioral Therapy is usually tried first and if necessary and the patient is open to it, medication.
Remember, if you are prescribed medication, don't stop suddenly taking it. Some drugs must be tapered off under the supervision of a doctor to prevent bad reactions. If you have side effects, they made be alleviated by changing the dosage and/or the frequency of the meds. Also, some drugs might not work for certain individuals, and a combination of different drugs may be in order.
Talking to another individual that understands what you are going through goes a long way. A good friend you can call, or if you are comfortable, a support group.
A strong and supportive family is important to recovery. They should not trivialize the disorder, nor create more stress. Educating them is one way to show how serious this can be.
Meditation is something else that could be used to your advantage. Focusing on a pleasant thought is a very good way to relieve stress, and no stress helps with your anxiety.
Anxiety can be overcome. You can control it and make it work for you. You can be productive. The good news is that it gets easier with time and practice.
If you believe, you will achieve.