Anxiety is a natural response to many situations that arise in life, but anxiety disorders involve ongoing, chronic, elevated feelings of fear, excessive worry and ongoing feelings of dread and uneasiness. About 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder, making them among the most common of all psychological disorders. Only one-third of people with chronic anxiety get the treatment they need to make a full recovery, even though anxiety responds extremely well to treatment. In fact, all anxiety disorders can improve with care and treatment.
Anxiety affects how a person thinks and feels and also has significant effects on the body. There’s a feedback loop between physical stress and mental stress and anxiety. The more we perceive a threat, even if one isn’t present, the more our bodies react. When the body grows tense, the mind tends to interpret that tension as proof that a threat is becoming more likely. Consequently, anxiety scales higher and higher.
Just a few common anxiety symptoms include:
There are several different classes of medications that have been found to be effective for reducing anxiety. They include:
Worry and anxiety takes us out of the moment and drops us into imagining a potential outcome that hasn’t happened. Mindfulness re-focuses us on the here and now and gets us to pay attention to what’s real. Mindfulness is also a way to accept our thoughts and emotions without judging them.
Anxiety disorders often require therapy for long-term alleviation of anxiety. Sometimes medication is also required. One of the most common and effective therapeutic approaches for anxiety is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is based on the idea that we are disturbed and stressed not so much by the impact of negative events as their implications. Learning how our thoughts affects us can give us useful tools to defuse anxiety. CBT also delivers these tools
Other approaches to psychotherapy can also be helpful, like Rational-Emotive Behavioral Therapy.
Exercise is one of the best self-care techniques for managing exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon, either. Just get moving and increase your heart rate for at least ten to twenty minutes a day.