Trust Yourself And Fight Anxiety

Sunday, Nov 21, 2021 08:15 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Nov 21, 2021 02:46 [IST]

Trust Yourself And Fight Anxiety

BHAWANA LAMICHANEY

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
Everyone experiences anxiety. Everybody knows what it's like to feel anxious – Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem, the tension you feel when your boss is angry, and the way your heart pounds if you're in danger. Before taking a test, or before making an important decision. Anxiety rouses you to action. It gears you up to face a threatening situation. It makes you study harder for that exam, and keeps you on your toes when you're making a speech. In general, it helps you cope. But if you have an anxiety disorder, this normally helpful emotion can do just the opposite, it can keep you from coping and can disrupt your daily life. There are several types of anxiety disorders, each with their own distinct features.
An anxiety disorder may make you feel anxious most of the time, without any apparent reason. Or the anxious feelings may be so uncomfortable that to avoid them you may stop some everyday activities. Or you may have occasional bouts of anxiety so intense they terrify and immobilize you. Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear.  
Many people still carry the misperception that anxiety disorders are a character flaw, a problem that happens because you are weak. They say, "Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps!" and "You just have a case of the nerves." Wishing the symptoms away does not work -- but there are treatments that can help.
Anxiety disorders and panic attacks are not signs of a character flaw. Most importantly, feeling anxious is not your fault. It is a serious mood disorder, which affects a person's ability to function in everyday activities. It affects one's work, one's family, and one's social life.
What are anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are the most common of all the mental health disorders with more than 10 million cases per year (India). It is characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one's daily activities. Considered in the category of anxiety disorders are: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia, Social Phobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Specific Phobia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Acute Stress Disorders. An estimated 40 million adults or 18%, have an anxiety disorder. Approximately 8% of children and teenagers experience the negative impact of an anxiety disorder at school and at home. Most people develop symptoms of anxiety disorders before age 21 and women are 60% more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men. Social phobia is the most common anxiety disorder, an anxiety disorder that twice as many women suffer from as men. Specific phobias affect more than 1 out of every 10 people with the prevalence for women being slightly higher than for men. Obsessive Compulsive disorder affects about every 2 to 3 people out of 100, with women and men being affected equally.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are several types of anxiety disorders:
Generalized anxiety disorder: You feel excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.
Panic disorder: You feel sudden, intense fear that brings on a panic attack. During a panic attack you may break out in a sweat, have chest pain, and have a pounding heartbeat (palpitations). Sometimes you may feel like you’re choking or having a heart attack.
Social anxiety disorder: Also called social phobia, this is when you feel overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. You obsessively worry about others judging you or being embarrassed or ridiculed.
Specific phobias: You feel intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights or flying. The fear goes beyond what’s appropriate and may cause you to avoid ordinary situations.
Agoraphobia: You have an intense fear of being in a place where it seems hard to escape or get help if an emergency occurs. For example, you may panic or feel anxious when on an airplane, public transportation, or standing in line with a crowd.  
Separation anxiety: Little kids aren’t the only ones who feel scared or anxious when a loved one leaves. Anyone can get separation anxiety disorder. If you do, you’ll feel very anxious or fearful when a person you’re close with leaves your sight. You’ll always worry that something bad may happen to your loved one.
Selective mutism: This is a type of social anxiety in which young kids who talk normally with their family don’t speak in public, like at school.
Medication-induced anxiety disorder: Use of certain medications or illegal drugs, or withdrawal from certain drugs, can trigger some symptoms of anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders concerned. These are a group of related conditions, and each with unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. People can experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Emotional symptoms:
• Feelings of apprehension or dread
• Feeling tense and jumpy
• Restlessness or irritability
• Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
Physical symptoms:
• Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
• Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhoea
• Sweating, tremors and twitches
• Headaches, fatigue and insomnia.
• The main symptom of anxiety disorders is excessive fear or worry. Anxiety disorders can also make it hard to breathe, sleep, stay still, and concentrate.  Your specific symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have.
Causes of Anxiety Disorder
Some causes of anxiety disorders are:
Genetics. Anxiety disorders can run in families.
Brain chemistry. Some research suggests anxiety disorders may be linked to faulty circuits in the brain that control fear and emotions.
Environmental stress. This refers to stressful events you have seen or lived through. Life events often linked to anxiety disorders include childhood abuse and neglect, a death of a loved one, or being attacked or seeing violence.  
Drug withdrawal or misuse. Certain drugs may be used to hide or decrease certain anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder often goes hand in hand with alcohol and substance use.
Medical conditions. Some heart, lung, and thyroid conditions can cause symptoms similar to anxiety disorders or make anxiety symptoms worse. It’s important to get a full physical exam to rule out other medical conditions when talking to your doctor about anxiety.
Anxiety Disorder Causes and Risk Factors
Researchers don’t know exactly what brings on anxiety disorders. A complex mix of things play a role in who does and doesn’t get one. Some things also make you more likely to develop an anxiety disorder. These are called risk factors. Some risk factors you can’t change, but others you can.
Risk factors for anxiety disorders include:
History of mental health disorder. Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety disorder.
Childhood sexual abuse. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood is linked to anxiety disorders later in life.
Trauma. Living through a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can cause panic attacks.
Negative life events. Stressful or negative life events, like losing a parent in early childhood, increase your risk for anxiety disorder.  
Severe illness or chronic health condition. Constant worry about your health or the health of a loved one, or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
Substance abuse. The use of alcohol and illegal drugs makes you more likely to get an anxiety disorder. Some people also use these substances to hide or ease anxiety symptoms.
Being shy as a child. Shyness and withdrawal from unfamiliar people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teens and adults.
Low self-esteem. Negative perceptions about yourself may lead to social anxiety disorder.
Anxiety Disorder Treatments
There are many treatments to reduce and manage symptoms of anxiety disorder. Usually, people with anxiety disorder take medicine and go to counselling. As each anxiety disorder has a different set of symptoms, the types of treatment that a mental health professional may suggest also can vary. But there are common types of treatment that are used:
Treatments for anxiety disorder include:
Medication:
Several types of drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders. Talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about the pros and cons of each medicine to decide which one is best for you.
Psychotherapy: This is a type of counselling that helps you learn how your emotions affect your behaviours. It’s sometimes called talk therapy. A trained mental health specialist listens and talks to you about your thoughts and feelings and suggests ways to understand and manage them and your anxiety disorder.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): This common type of psychotherapy teaches you how to turn negative, or panic-causing, thoughts and behaviours into positive ones. You’ll learn ways to carefully approach and manage fearful or worrisome situations without anxiety. Some places offer family CBT sessions.
Complementary health approaches, including stress and relaxation techniques
Anxiety can often make these related conditions worse, so talk with a mental health care professional if anxiety begins to interfere on a daily basis.
Managing Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
These tips may help you control or lessen your symptoms:

Learn about your disorder. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to manage symptoms and roadblocks along the way. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor any questions you might have. Remember, you are a key part of your health care team.
Stick to your treatment plan. Suddenly stopping your meds can cause unpleasant side effects and can even trigger anxiety symptoms.
Cut down on foods and drinks that have caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine is a mood-altering drug, and it may make symptoms of anxiety disorders worse.
Don’t use alcohol and recreational street drugs. Substance abuse increases your risk of anxiety disorders.
Eat right and exercise. Brisk aerobic exercises like jogging and biking help release brain chemicals that cut stress and improve your mood.
Get better sleep. Sleep problems and anxiety disorder often go hand in hand. Make getting good rest a priority. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine. Talk to your doctor if you still have trouble sleeping.
Learn to relax. Stress management is an important part of your anxiety disorder treatment plan. Things like meditation, or mindfulness, can help you unwind after a stressful day and may make your treatment work better.
Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts before the day is down may help you relax so you’re not tossing and turning with anxious thoughts all night.
Manage your negative thoughts. Thinking positive thoughts instead of worrisome ones can help reduce anxiety. This can be challenging if you have certain types of anxiety, however. Cognitive behavioural therapy can teach you how to redirect your thoughts.
Get together with friends. Whether it’s in person, on the phone, or the computer, social connections help people thrive and stay healthy. People who have a close group of friends that support and chat with them have lower levels of social anxiety.
Seek support. Some people find it helpful and uplifting to talk to others who are experiencing the same symptoms and emotions. Self-help or support groups let you share your concerns and achievements with others who are or who have been there.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking any over-the-counter meds or herbal remedies. Many have chemicals that can make anxiety symptoms worse.
Anxiety Disorder Outlook
It can be challenging and frustrating to live with an anxiety disorder. The constant worry and fear can make you feel tired and scared. If you’ve talked to a doctor about your symptoms, then you’ve taken the first step toward letting go of the worry.  It can take some time to find the right treatment that works for you. If you have more than one anxiety disorder, you may need several kinds of treatment. For most people with anxiety disorders, a combination of medicine and counselling is best. With proper care and treatment, you can learn how to manage your symptoms and thrive.  
There’s saying that ‘’Breath is the power behind all things’’ so just breath more powerfully and don’t let anxiety weaken you.
Stay calm and be kind to yourself and be kind to your mind.
(The writer is a mental health activist Follow @miss_mental on Instagram and let’s talk mental in Facebook for more details and enquiry. Email: bhawanalamichaney2510@gmail.com)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi