How to help anxiety symptoms
Anxiety disorders - Diagnosis and treatment
You may start by seeing your primary care provider to find out if your anxiety could be related to your physical health. He or she can check for signs of an underlying medical condition that may need treatment.
However, you may need to see a mental health specialist if you have severe anxiety. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. A psychologist and certain other mental health professionals can diagnose anxiety and provide counseling (psychotherapy).
To help diagnose an anxiety disorder, your mental health provider may:
- Give you a psychological evaluation. This involves discussing your thoughts, feelings and behavior to help pinpoint a diagnosis and check for related complications. Anxiety disorders often occur along with other mental health problems — such as depression or substance misuse — which can make diagnosis more challenging.
- Compare your symptoms to the criteria in the DSM-5. Many doctors use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose an anxiety disorder.
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The two main treatments for anxiety disorders are psychotherapy and medications. You may benefit most from a combination of the two. It may take some trial and error to discover which treatments work best for you.
Also known as talk therapy or psychological counseling, psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to reduce your anxiety symptoms. It can be an effective treatment for anxiety.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety disorders. Generally a short-term treatment, CBT focuses on teaching you specific skills to improve your symptoms and gradually return to the activities you've avoided because of anxiety.
CBT includes exposure therapy, in which you gradually encounter the object or situation that triggers your anxiety so you build confidence that you can manage the situation and anxiety symptoms.
Several types of medications are used to help relieve symptoms, depending on the type of anxiety disorder you have and whether you also have other mental or physical health issues. For example:
- Certain antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety disorders.
- An anti-anxiety medication called buspirone may be prescribed.
- In limited circumstances, your doctor may prescribe other types of medications, such as sedatives, also called benzodiazepines, or beta blockers. These medications are for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms and are not intended to be used long term.
Talk with your doctor about benefits, risks and possible side effects of medications.
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Lifestyle and home remedies
While most people with anxiety disorders need psychotherapy or medications to get anxiety under control, lifestyle changes also can make a difference. Here's what you can do:
- Keep physically active. Develop a routine so that you're physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It may improve your mood and help you stay healthy. Start out slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. These substances can cause or worsen anxiety. If you can't quit on your own, see your doctor or find a support group to help you.
- Quit smoking and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages. Both nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety.
- Use stress management and relaxation techniques. Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
- Make sleep a priority. Do what you can to make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you aren't sleeping well, see your doctor.
- Eat healthy. Healthy eating — such as focusing on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish — may be linked to reduced anxiety, but more research is needed.
Several herbal remedies have been studied as a treatment for anxiety, but more research is needed to understand the risks and benefits. Herbal and dietary supplements aren't monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the same way medications are. You can't always be certain of what you're getting and whether it's safe. Some of these supplements can interfere with prescription medications or cause dangerous interactions.
Before taking herbal remedies or dietary supplements, talk to your doctor to make sure they're safe for you and won't interact with any medications you take.
Coping and support
To cope with an anxiety disorder, here's what you can do:
- Learn about your disorder. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider. Find out what might be causing your specific condition and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends and ask for their support.
- Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments your therapist may give you. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
- Take action. Learn what triggers your anxiety or causes you stress. Practice the strategies you developed with your mental health provider so you're ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
- Keep a journal. Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what's causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
- Join an anxiety support group. Remember that you aren't alone. Support groups offer compassion, understanding and shared experiences. The National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America provide information on finding support.
- Learn time management techniques. You can reduce anxiety by learning how to carefully manage your time and energy.
- Socialize. Don't let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.
- Break the cycle. When you feel anxious, take a brisk walk or delve into a hobby to refocus your mind away from your worries.
Preparing for your appointment
You may start by seeing your primary care provider. He or she may refer you to a mental health professional.
What you can do
Before your appointment, make a list of:
- Your anxiety symptoms. Note when they occur, whether anything seems to make them better or worse, and how much they affect your day-to-day activities and interactions.
- What causes you stress. Include any major life changes or stressful events you've dealt with recently. Also note any traumatic experiences you've had in the past or as a child.
- Any family history of mental health problems. Note if your parents, grandparents, siblings or children have struggled with any mental health problems.
- Any other health problems you have. Include both physical conditions and mental health issues.
- All medications you're taking. Include any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements, and the doses.
- Questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your appointment.
Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What's the most likely cause of my anxiety?
- Are there other possible situations, psychological issues or physical health problems that could be causing or worsening my anxiety?
- Do I need any tests?
- Should I see a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider?
- What type of therapy might help me?
- Would medication help? If so, is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing?
- In addition to treatment, are there any steps I can take at home that might help?
- Do you have any educational materials that I can have? What websites do you recommend?
Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor will likely ask you several questions, such as:
- What are your symptoms, and how severe are they? How do they impact your ability to function?
- Have you ever had a panic attack?
- Do you avoid certain things or situations because they make you anxious?
- Have your feelings of anxiety been occasional or continuous?
- When did you first begin noticing your feelings of anxiety?
- Does anything in particular seem to trigger your anxiety or make it worse?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your feelings of anxiety?
- What traumatic experiences have you had recently or in the past?
- What, if any, physical or mental health conditions do you have?
- Do you take any prescription drugs?
- Do you regularly drink alcohol or use recreational drugs?
- Do you have any blood relatives who have anxiety or other mental health conditions, such as depression?
Preparing and anticipating questions will help you make the most of your time.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
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11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder
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- Behavioral Health
- Balance your mental and emotional health
Having occasional feelings of anxiety is a normal part of life, but people with anxiety disorders experience frequent and excessive anxiety, fear, terror and panic in everyday situations. These feelings are unhealthy if they affect your quality of life and prevent you from functioning normally.
Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:
- Feeling nervous
- Feeling helpless
- A sense of impending panic, danger or doom
- Increased heart rate
- Obsessively thinking about the panic trigger
These feelings of anxiety and panic can interfere with daily activities and be difficult to control. They are out of proportion to the actual danger and can cause you to avoid places or situations.
You should see your health care provider if your anxiety is affecting your life and relationships. Your provider can help rule out any underlying physical health issue before seeing a mental health professional.
While most people with anxiety disorders need psychotherapy or medications to get anxiety under control, lifestyle changes and coping strategies also can make a difference.
Here are 11 tips for coping with an anxiety disorder:
- Keep physically active.
Develop a routine so that you're physically active most days of the week. Exercise is a powerful stress reducer. It can improve your mood and help you stay healthy. Start out slowly, and gradually increase the amount and intensity of your activities.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
These substances can cause or worsen anxiety. If you can't quit on your own, see your health care provider or find a support group to help you.
- Quit smoking, and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.
Nicotine and caffeine can worsen anxiety.
- Use stress management and relaxation techniques.
Visualization techniques, meditation and yoga are examples of relaxation techniques that can ease anxiety.
- Make sleep a priority.
Do what you can to make sure you're getting enough sleep to feel rested. If you aren't sleeping well, talk with your health care provider.
- Eat healthy foods.
A healthy diet that incorporates vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fish may be linked to reduced anxiety, but more research is needed.
- Learn about your disorder.
Talk to your health care provider to find out what might be causing your specific condition and what treatments might be best for you. Involve your family and friends, and ask for their support.
- Stick to your treatment plan.
Take medications as directed. Keep therapy appointments and complete any assignments your therapist gives. Consistency can make a big difference, especially when it comes to taking your medication.
- Identify triggers.
Learn what situations or actions cause you stress or increase your anxiety. Practice the strategies you developed with your mental health provider so you're ready to deal with anxious feelings in these situations.
- Keep a journal.
Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what's causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
Don't let worries isolate you from loved ones or activities.
Your worries may not go away on their own, and they may worsen over time if you don't seek help. See your health care provider or a mental health provider before your anxiety worsens. It's easier to treat if you get help early.
Learn more about anxiety management:
- 5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Countdown to make anxiety blast off
- 9 ways to tame anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Addressing your mental health by identifying the signs of anxiety and depression
Siri Kabrick is a nurse practitioner in Psychiatry & Psychology in Fairmont, Minnesota.
For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Topics in this Post
- Behavioral Health
- Balance your mental and emotional health
Tips to help ease anxiety
Use mindfulness to improve well-being
5, 4, 3, 2, 1: Countdown to make anxiety blast off
How to cope with anxiety: 7 ways to help ‹ GO Blog
Anxiety is an emotional state caused by the expectation of danger or threat. While fear is a basic human emotion associated with the instinct of self-preservation, and appears directly at the moment of danger.
The terms "fear" and "anxiety" are not synonymous, but they can be used interchangeably when it comes to situational anxiety (state at a given moment in time). nine0006
In the normal state, the self-preservation function encourages action, but there are also moments of apathy when anxiety intensifies.
We will tell you how to cope with anxiety on your own and determine its level in yourself.
Read more: "9 Proven Ways to Beat Procrastination"
How to Measure Anxiety
American psychologist Charles Spielberger studied more than 117 signs of human anxiety and created a scale to determine its level. His "assessment of the level of anxiety" is divided into situational and personal. Situational is responsible for the state at a given moment in time and the influence of external circumstances - for example, self-isolation. Personal - character of a person. nine0003
To determine “your level” of anxiety, you can take a test of 40 short questions.
What causes anxiety
The main factors that provoke increased anxiety in us are loneliness, problems at work, problems in relationships, health, environment and all sorts of conflicts.
Our way of life also has a great influence. For example, we are more likely to experience anxiety states if we are constantly on the phone or watching the news on TV. Digital progress has certainly made our life faster and better, but we pay for this comfort with an additional level of stress, new fears and complexes due to the large flow of news. nine0003
Try to minimize the number of hours spent on the Internet. Go outdoors, read, do yoga, cook, cross-stitch, build LEGOs – there are so many more options than you might think.
Stages of anxiety
– Waiting alarm. People who foresee the most unfavorable of all possible situations suffer. Such anxiety can appear at certain moments or haunt a person constantly.
– Anxiety in the form of phobias is associated with certain situations and objects. For example, fear of loneliness, spiders or darkness. May be a clinical case if expressed in the form of panic attacks.
- Neurotic anxiety. This form of anxiety is the most serious and is found in many psychological diseases: hysterical, schizoid. There is a pathological level of fear here that destroys the mental health of a person.
The whole planet is now in fear of waiting due to the incessant flow of news and uncertainty. "Fear of waiting" or "free fear" is formed due to the information flow in which we are constantly immersed. The tools that help to cope with situational anxiety, which has no connection with clinical cases, will be described below. nine0003
Feelings of fear are easily confused, so before we talk about how to get rid of anxiety, we will learn how to identify it.
There are situations when we do not distinguish between emotions, so the so-called "false alarm" is formed. In this case, the first thing psychologists can advise is to learn how to isolate anxiety from a large stream of other emotions. Observe for yourself - in what situations you are overcome by anxiety. Divide these situations into those in which anxiety is justified and those where it is not. nine0003
For example, you are on a bus and as you approach the bus stop, you are overtaken by a feeling of anxiety. On the one hand, this may be due to fear that you will miss your stop, or a sense of shame, as it is embarrassing to ask the driver to stop the car.
Another example is when you want to ask the teacher in class, but you are afraid to raise your hand. This fear may arise from self-doubt and the expectation that classmates will laugh at you.
Sometimes anxiety is born from some other feelings, such as shame or insecurity. Realizing this and overcoming it, you no longer have a reason for concern, and with it the state of anxiety disappears. nine0003
Read more: “How to stop being shy and get rid of the language barrier”
How to cope with anxiety
Alarm often occurs due to uncertainty in actions and feelings. First, try to find out what causes anxiety. For example, you are worried about being fired from your job. Before you panic, look at the facts: look at the state of the market and the area in which your company operates, evaluate the workload at work now and predict the task plan for the next month. And this applies not only to work, but to any area in which you feel anxiety. nine0003
Usually such an exercise helps to see the true picture. If you understand that while everything is under control, you can exhale, if not, proceed to your detailing. Write out a detailed plan of action that will help you avoid uncertainty and tell you how to act in any situation:
Write down what skills you have and where they can be useful. For example, being an illustrator or photoshop, having a driver's license and owning a car, copywriting skills, etc. nine0003
Edit your resume and prepare some cover letters to the employer about yourself.
Build your own range of services, from the most preferred activities to the least interesting.
Leave a list of potential employers to whom you can offer your services. The bigger, the better.
Write to them!
The work done will help you feel more confident and have a plan to get out of a crisis situation. nine0003
Sometimes anxiety arises from the conviction that we will not cope with this or that action. A visual picture of your skills will always help to believe in yourself. When you read your list, you will realize that you can achieve a lot, despite the circumstances.
Read more: “4 things on your resume that will help the employer to choose you”
Use exposure therapy
A complex combination of words with a simple meaning - a meeting with your problem "on the forehead. " It is important to understand that this is NOT a fight against a problem. The point is to acknowledge the existence of anxiety, not to get rid of it completely.
Don't ignore things that make you feel anxious. For example, to move up the career ladder, you need to learn English, but you haven’t opened your textbook for three days and you constantly scold yourself for it. This lowers your self-esteem and increases your anxiety about your success at work and in life. nine0003
Give yourself a full day of rest without worries or self-criticism. Imagine that this is an official vacation or vacation. And then gradually get down to business: you can start with one page of English text per day or a five-minute video. Gradually, you will accustom your body to the load and develop a habit.
Keep a sleep schedule
It is during sleep that growth hormone is produced, which is responsible for the restoration of our body, including the nervous system. Especially if we go to bed before 12 o'clock at night. nine0003
The BBC TV show Trust Me I'm a Doctor, in collaboration with the University of Oxford, did a little experiment on how sleep affects our psychological state. The study involved people who are distinguished by "strong sleep". During the experiment, the participants were given conditions: in the first three nights they had to sleep for 8 hours, which is the norm, and the next three nights - for 4 hours. Every day, the subjects answered questions that helped determine changes in their psychological state, behavior and emotions. The results showed that after two nights of sleep deprivation, negative emotions began to predominate in the subjects, as well as an increase in distrust of others and aggression. nine0003
The study also shows that insomnia is not always the result of mental disorders, sometimes it is lack of sleep that provokes the appearance of psychological problems.
It is important to periodically switch from one activity to another - for example, from physical activity to mental activity. So, when you go in for sports, there is a restoration of brain functions due to the supply of oxygen. And with mental stress, the muscular system is restored by improving blood flow in the muscles. nine0003
A simple alternation of work and study with a little physical activity will improve the functioning of the body's metabolic processes, and at the same time speed up the restoration of the nervous system, contributing to its strengthening.
Meditate and breathe
Meditation and breathing are sure helpers in overcoming psychological instability. A Johns Hopkins University study found a relationship between meditation practice and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. The team of researchers found that the effect of meditation is comparable to the effect of depressants - in this case, being a more useful solution to the problem, as it does not cause side effects. Meditation also helps to switch the work of the brain and focus on yourself, and not on the "noise" around. nine0003
Breathing techniques are equally beneficial: they improve blood circulation and help to speed up the overall metabolism. Also, the deep breathing technique, combined with relaxation exercises, reduces nervous tension well.
Routine helps reduce anxiety. Engage in hobbies, watch movies, clean up, play sports - try to periodically disconnect from the news flow and take time for yourself and your body. nine0003
Read more: "What to do with a child at home at any age"
If your anxiety does not go away, consult a doctor - this way, you can quickly understand yourself and solve internal problems! Do not forget that your health is the most valuable thing and going to a specialist is an act that you do primarily for yourself.
treatment, how to get rid of anxiety, how to deal with anxiety without a cause
Anxiety is a negatively colored mood with feelings of worry, tension, and fear. In moderation, such emotions are useful: they help to mobilize forces and find a way out of extreme situations. But there must be grounds for concern, and normally it lasts a limited period of time.
If a person constantly experiences a feeling of anxiety and anxiety for no reason, this may indicate the presence of a mental disorder. In the absence of help, constant tension wears out the nervous system and the body as a whole, which leads to a breakdown in adaptation mechanisms and the development of chronic diseases. nine0003
If you notice that you cannot relax for a long time, then you should think about visiting a specialist.
In pathological cases, a state of anxiety and restlessness without a cause manifests itself both mentally and physically.
- constant feeling of fear and excitement for no reason,
- poor concentration and attention,
- sleep disorders,
- emotional lability, irritability, tearfulness,
- inability to relax and fully engage in daily activities or communication,
- the need to reassure others that everything is okay. At the same time, words of support do not bring relief.
- rapid breathing and heartbeat,
- headaches, pain in the abdomen and in the region of the heart,
- excessive sweating,
- eating disorders: increased or loss of appetite,
- shivering, chills,
- stool disorders: frequent urge, constipation,
- feeling short of breath,
- muscle spasms and pain.
Unreasonable anxiety and anxiety increase or smooth out from time to time. Exacerbations often accompany stress: conflicts, important events, illness. Normally, a person recovers quickly after the situation is resolved, but when upset, negative emotions do not go away. nine0003
The intensity of anxiety varies from mild to severe. The extreme is panic. If you ignore an anxiety state for a long time for no reason, then panic attacks can join it. They overtake unexpectedly and sometimes without a good enough reason, but after this episode, a person begins to avoid situations similar to the one in which it happened: public transport, an elevator, or just a crowd of people. This greatly reduces the quality of life and can lead to social isolation. nine0003
Causes of causeless anxiety and anxiety
The occurrence of anxiety disorder is influenced by heredity. It has been found that certain brain structures and features of biological processes play an important role in the emergence of fear and anxiety. Personal characteristics, somatic health problems, lifestyle and various types of addictions also matter. Sometimes there is no cause for causeless anxiety and worry. Negative feelings usually have a trigger - an event or thought that causes an anxious response. However, most people are not aware of their triggers and believe that their emotions are groundless. In this case, only a specialist will help to understand why excitement arises for no reason. nine0003
There are a number of diseases, the symptoms of which are constant anxiety. With causeless fear and anxiety, the reasons may be as follows:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Constant nervousness and worry about small things that are usually visible to others and last 6 or more months. It starts in adolescence and intensifies with age.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: obsessive thoughts and fears that are accompanied by obsessive actions that do not bring relief. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is distinguished - a person is indomitably haunted by memories that reproduce a traumatic situation. nine0086
- Phobias: irrational fear of any, even mundane, things. Accompanied by uncontrolled panic and physical manifestations.
- Panic attack is an excruciating and sudden attack of panic, which is accompanied by fear of death and vivid somatic symptoms. The regular occurrence of panic attacks means the development of a panic disorder.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: occurs after a severe traumatic situation and is accompanied by high levels of anxiety, avoidance and flashbacks. nine0086
These are the most common examples, but pathological anxiety can be a symptom of other disorders or the result of a failed stress management. If you want to understand why there is a feeling of anxiety for no reason, you should consult a doctor. Without clarifying the main factor and working on it, it is impossible to restore health and peace of mind.
What to do with causeless anxiety and anxiety
It is difficult to live in constant stress. If you experience causeless anxiety and fear of what to do, the following list will tell you: nine0003
- Talk to someone you trust. This could be a relative, a close friend, a therapist, or a helpline employee. People are social creatures, so communication is a good way to relieve internal tension.
- Find a way to calm down quickly. There is not always a person with whom you can share. Therefore, it is important to find a suitable method that will help you relax: breathing techniques, soothing music, aromatherapy, self-massage, and more. If you cannot independently choose a technique that quickly helps with anxiety for no reason, a specialist will tell you what to do. nine0086
- Add physical activity to your life. It is a natural and effective remedy for anxiety. Moderate sport relieves stress, lowers stress hormones, and strengthens the nervous system. Get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise a day.
- Normalization of lifestyle. Get enough sleep, eat well, give up bad habits. This stabilizes physical performance and neurotransmitter levels, which helps maintain emotional balance. nine0086
- Start keeping a diary. Notes help identify patterns of anxiety flare-ups, understand the causes, and notice early signs of their occurrence. Also, thanks to this, you will begin to focus more on positive events that you might not have noticed before.
With excitement for no reason, everyone who regularly encounters this wants to know what to do. There is no universal method, however, the 5 steps listed above are recommended for every person with increased anxiety. This may be enough to alleviate symptoms. But if self-help techniques do not give the desired effect, then with a regularly occurring feeling of anxiety for no reason, you need to find out from a specialist what to do. nine0003
Treatment of causeless feelings of anxiety and restlessness
Regardless of the cause of pathological anxiety, professional help is the only complete method to eliminate the problem. If you have constant excitement and anxiety for no reason, you can quickly and effectively learn from a psychiatrist or psychotherapist how to get rid of this condition.
Due to the diversity of anxiety disorders, their therapy must be adapted to the individual clinical picture and diagnosis. Therefore, only a highly qualified specialist who has experience working with different types of anxiety conditions can tell you how to get rid of an anxiety state for no reason. For example, the therapy algorithm for a patient with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is different from the help for panic attacks. nine0003
For a state of anxiety and anxiety without a cause, treatment includes the following approaches:
- Psychotherapy. The most promising direction, which not only eliminates the symptom, but identifies the cause and fights it. Therapy teaches when feeling anxiety for no reason, how to get rid of acute attacks of anxiety, relax, look at life situations differently. The doctor will help to uncover the main causes of your fears and work them out. The patient receives the tools to overcome anxiety and uses them successfully. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is usually used: in the course of treatment, the patient encounters an object of concern and gradually gains confidence that he can control the situation. nine0086
Medical therapy. Depending on the type of anxiety and the presence of associated mental or physical health problems, antidepressants, sedatives, sleeping pills, and other drugs may be prescribed. When anxiety is felt without a cause, drug treatment will alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life of the patient during his psychotherapeutic work on the underlying cause. Uncontrolled medication leads to dangerous side effects and withdrawal syndrome, so they can only be used according to the individual course prescribed by the doctor.