Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in America, with anxiety attacking about 18 percent of the population every year. But its commonness doesn’t mean it’s any easier to deal with than another health condition. In fact, its symptoms and causes are difficult to identify, resulting in many people not receiving the care they need to become well. If you suspect you or a loved one suffers from anxiety, get help today.
DO YOU KNOW THE SIGNS OF ANXIETY?
Managing anxiety and deciding on one or more treatment options depends on knowing the signs of anxiety before they get worse. Here are the most common signs to watch for:
- Extreme worry about a situation, disproportionately compared to potential danger or consequences.
- Feeling anxious.
- Restlessness or the urge to keep moving.
- Becoming easily tired before or after an anxiety attack.
- Trouble concentrating or focusing as needed.
- Irritability when anxiety is at its precipice.
- Muscle tension, which can be managed with muscle relaxation techniques.
- Sleep trouble, either falling asleep, staying awake, or varied wake times.
- Panic attacks.
- Avoiding social interaction.
- Illogical fears.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
- Trauma as a child – either witnessing or surviving abuse or other trauma. Adults who experience trauma can also have anxiety disorders.
- Stress due to an ailment.
- Big events or an accumulation of tinier hectic life events could spark extreme anxiety — like the death of a loved one, employment issues, or financial distress.
- Your personality type could make you more susceptible to getting an anxiety disorder compared to someone else.
- If you suffer from other mental health conditions, like depression, you may experience an anxiety disorder.
- Family history of blood relatives.
- Substance abuse or misuse, or withdrawal symptoms can exacerbate anxiety.
HOW TO STOP AN ANXIETY ATTACK
- You may be experiencing an anxiety attack when hit by sudden feelings of fear or panic,
unsteadiness, momentary chest pains, shortness of breath – all warnings that something’s on the horizon. But these indicators can be stopped.
- Be cognizant of what’s occurring. Controlling anxiety hangs on realizing it’s happening and being mindful of the symptoms earlier.
- Use deep breathing methods. Hyperventilating can be controlled by using a paper bag for breathing. Pull in deep breaths through your mouth, hold them briefly, and then expel the air out through the nose. Repeat as needed.
- Verbalizing helps. Feelings of isolation, despair, the pressure to succeed, certain phobias, can be reduced by talking to a doctor or therapist, a loved one, or another person you can trust.
- If you’re trying to halt anxiety, don’t consume alcohol or caffeine at the same time as they worsen the symptoms or cause other illnesses or accidents.
- Try and relax through a low-stress exercise like walking or aerobics, or try reading, listening to Spotify, or flipping through a photo book.
- If possible, put notes on paper or record them on a smartphone app with specifics regarding the panic attack – date, time, location, triggers.
- Anxiety attacks can be triggered by the mundane – a messy home, congested commute to work, or poor eating habits, which should be reduced and controlled.
There are other ways to stop an anxiety attack besides self-help routines and holistic-based methods. Critical studies have been launched with federal money which shows potential for ketamine to reduce the common symptoms of major depressive disorder, including unhealthy eating, fluctuating weight, or being irritable. Work by the U.S. National Institutes of Health reveals that ketamine helps control symptoms of anxiety, while another study on neuropsychopharmacology indicates it may have some efficacy for healing social anxiety disorders.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
To be diagnosed with anxiety, you must undergo a medical exam, and then see a psychologist or therapist. The initial visit will likely include a medical exam to uncover an underlying cause for the anxiety, such as illness, a previous injury, surgery, or another condition. If you visit a mental health provider, he or she may:
- Proceed with a psychological evaluation to discuss your thoughts, feelings, behavior.
- The goal of the exam is to find an underlying cause for the symptoms, which may be inherited or environmental.
- Look at the DSM-5 criteria to formally diagnose an anxiety disorder.
- Eventually, treatment could include regular psychotherapy, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or even the prescription of ketamine-based medicine in the form of nasal sprays or infusion therapy.
Millions of people live every day with the effects of anxiety, some more capable of managing the symptoms than others due to many factors. But make no mistake – it’s a treatable condition, either through therapy or medicine like ketamine, and is a condition that can be controlled with regular, proper care.
If you or a loved one has questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of anxiety we can help.