I have suffered from anxiety my whole life. There are spaces in time when I actually think it has vanished into thin air but only returns with a vengeance. It’s an awful feeling and an awful way to have to live your life. You make it a point to stay away from places and people who trigger your symptoms, you plan every step of your day so there are no unexpected circumstances to trigger an attack, you walk through your day in fear that an attack may strike at the most inconvenient of times. It’s a real struggle just to get through the day. Does this sound familiar?
First, Let’s Understand What Anxiety Is
Feeling anxious is a normal physiological and mental response of a person, especially if facing something new or something very important that could have a great impact on their life. However, when the anxiety affects the person’s behavior and interferes with the ability to function properly, it becomes a problem.
Anxiety is a psychological state that is manifested with feelings of concern, worry, or fear. This state affects behavior, emotional state, and the mental status of a person. It will influence the person’s personality, and the way they behave emotionally or socially. It will also change the way they see life, can greatly disturb their routines and the way they interact with other people, either family or friends.
In simple terms, anxiety is used to describe a state when a person’s reactions exceed that of what is considered normal or appropriate to the situation.
There are many different classifications of anxiety. Here are a few of these disorders:
- Panic Attacks – Panic attacks are characterized by a sudden feeling of extreme fear that leads to difficulty in breathing, confusion, dizziness, palpitations, and chills.
- OCD – Obsessive compulsive disorder is characterized by repetitive cycles or rituals. These rituals are performed to relieve feelings of fear that have led them to obsess on certain issues.
- PTSD – Post traumatic stress disorder is a form of anxiety caused by traumatic events that happened in the past and now has a deep effect on the person.
- Phobias – Phobia is defined as an intense yet irrational fear about a specific place, item or situation. This fear is avoided at all costs to avoid having panic attacks. For example, some people may have a fear of heights, spiders or fear of driving or flying.
- GAD – Generalized anxiety disorder is a general fear or concern about many things in life that occur daily. There are often no valid reasons for these concerns, but the anxiety often cannot be controlled.
- Social Anxiety – Social anxiety disorder is the fear of being embarrassed or ridiculed by other people in social situations. This type of fear will cause the person to keep away from other people and avoid everyday situations that include others.
Medications are available to treat anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines are the traditional drugs used to treat this disorder. Others use anti-depressants and beta-blockers.
Though effective in providing relief from symptoms of anxiety disorders, these medications do not serve as cures. Also, these medications can be very addictive in large doses and the withdrawal symptoms can be very intense. If a course of medication is begun, medical advice should always be sought before ceasing the treatment.
Common side effects of anxiety medications are slurred speech, confusion, disorientation, depression, impaired thinking and judgment, memory loss, slow reflexes and lack of energy. Some anxiety may increase and result in aggression, irritability, hostility, aggressive behaviors and hallucinations.
Anti-anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines slow down the normal processing of the brain. This will result in sleepiness, uncoordinated movements and often give a foggy feeling. These drugs are metabolized slowly in the body, so prolonged administration will cause over-sedation of the patients and they may appear to be ‘drunk’.
Where possible, to avoid these side effects, the ideal way to manage anxiety is through natural methods. This can include cognitive behavior therapy, parental anxiety management for children, hypnotherapy and herbal remedies. A combination of two or more of these approaches has often proven to be more effective than drugs since these methods tackle the root of the anxieties as well as the symptoms. Over time this can lead to a lessening of the attacks, as well as desensitization to the causative triggers.
I’m an advocate for treating my disorder with natural methods and have found several things to be extremely helpful. Hypnotherapy, supplements and diet have been the main players in my arsenal but meditation and yoga have also not only help my symptoms but have enhance my life as well. I will be delving further into this mainstream condition that seems to be plaguing our world in my new series.
Have you been suffering from an anxiety disorder?
See you in the comments,