ANXIETY AND STRESS

Stress and Coping

Anxiety is a natural response of the body to stress. It involves feelings of fear, uncertainty, or anticipation of something negative, accompanied by mental discomfort.

Everyone experiences anxiety to some extent at certain moments. For example, many feel nervous before starting a new job or speaking in public.

However, sometimes anxiety is intense and persists most of the time, significantly reducing the quality of life. If such anxious feelings persist for more than six months, it may indicate a disorder.

Anxiety disorder — what is it?

Worrying about moving, changing jobs, or taking an exam is normal. While this type of anxiety can be unpleasant, it also motivates more effective work.

Anxiety that does not exceed normal limits comes and goes without significantly disrupting daily life. 
In the case of an anxiety disorder, the feeling of baseless fear is constant or very frequent, intense, and exhausting.
This type of anxiety robs its victim of freedom of action. In severe cases, it can hinder everyday tasks such as entering an elevator, crossing the street, or even going outside. Without treatment, anxiety tends to intensify.
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental disorders, affecting individuals of all ages. According to the American Psychiatric Association, these disorders are diagnosed more often in women than in men.

Types of anxiety disorders

Feelings of anxiety and baseless fear are symptoms of several disorders:
  • Panic disorder — involves recurring sudden panic attacks. A person with panic disorder may constantly fear the next panic attack.
  • Phobia — excessive fear of a particular object, situation, or activity.
  • Social anxiety disorder — intense fear of being judged by others in the situations of social interaction.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — involves repeated irrational anxious thoughts, leading to specific repeated actions to alleviate discomfort.
  • Separation anxiety disorder — fear of being far from home or loved ones.
  • Illness anxiety disorder — excessive worry about one's health.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — persistent anxiety after a traumatic event, with uncontrollable memories, flashbacks, and sudden bursts of anger or fear.

Symptoms of anxiety

The feeling of anxiety is experienced differently depending on the individual. Subjective feelings can range from discomfort in the solar plexus and restlessness to baseless fear and tachycardia. Sometimes, a person loses control as if the connection between the mind and body is disrupted. The severe form of this disconnect is called depersonalization or derealization — a protective reaction to intense stress. Still, sometimes these phenomena can be symptoms of serious mental disorders.

Other symptoms of anxiety include night terrors, panic attacks, obsessive unpleasant thoughts, and memories that cannot be erased. Sometimes, baseless feelings of fear and anxiety are associated with specific places or events, while other times they are more general.

General symptoms of anxiety include:
  • increased heart rate
  • rapid breathing
  • feelings of anxiety
  • concentration difficulties
  • sleep disturbances
Symptoms of anxiety are individual and can vary greatly among different people. It's essential to be aware of all possible types not to miss the moment when it's time to seek help.

Panic Attack

A panic attack is an overwhelming sense of anxiety, baseless fear, and panic. In many people, the intensity of these feelings increases as a stressful event approaches.
Symptoms of panic attacks and their signs can vary significantly among different individuals.
The most common symptoms of a panic attack include:
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Apprehension and worry
  • Panic
  • Grief
  • Baseless fear
  • Numbness or tingling in different parts of the body
  • Fear of death
While panic attacks and anxiety attacks share common symptoms, they are not the same thing.

To find out how to quickly alleviate an anxious state during a panic attack, consult a psychologist. There are specific anxiety-relief exercises and techniques that help distract from the overwhelming feeling of fear. Sometimes, they need to be combined with medication for a better effect.
For more details on panic attacks, read the full article.

Causes of Anxiety

Researchers do not have definitive data on the cause of anxiety. It is assumed that a combination of factors plays a role. These include genetic predispositions, environmental conditions, and brain chemistry.

Scientists propose that anxiety disorders involve disruptions in the areas of the brain responsible for fear control. Current research aims to delve deeper into the study of these areas.

Is there a test for anxiety?

It is impossible to diagnose pathological anxiety with just one test

Prolonged observation by a psychologist or psychiatrist, evaluating physical and mental health using specialized questionnaires, is required.

There are several anxiety tests and scale variants that help assess the severity of the problem. They assist the specialist in evaluating the condition and making a correct diagnosis.
For instance, morning anxiety is often associated with adrenal gland disorders, while persistent tension and heightened situational anxiety are linked to thyroid gland issues.

Anxiety: treatment

After establishing a diagnosis, the doctor prescribes treatment, which may vary depending on individual factors. Some people may not require specific therapy; modifying their lifestyle may be enough to alleviate anxiety symptoms. In moderate and severe cases, treatment helps eliminate discomfort and improve the quality of life.

Anxiety treatment includes two main directions: psychotherapy and medication.
It is essential to consult with both a psychologist and a psychiatrist to determine the suitable treatment strategy for a specific case.
Medication for anxiety typically involves the use of antidepressants and sedatives. They help balance biochemical processes in the brain, prevent attacks, and alleviate severe symptoms.

How to alleviate anxiety and fear naturally

Sometimes, lifestyle changes effectively reduce groundless anxiety. Most natural treatment methods involve self-care, a healthy lifestyle, and giving up harmful habits.

Constantly feeling anxious: How to get rid of it through lifestyle changes? Try following these rules:
  • Healthy sleep in sufficient quantity
  • Meditation
  • Physical activity and sports
  • Healthy nutrition
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Quitting smoking

Anxiety and Depression

If you have an anxiety disorder, it's worth excluding depression. While these mental health issues can occur separately, they often coexist. 

Unexplained anxiety is constantly ruining your life? 

It can be not only a standalone problem but also a symptom of clinical depression or major depressive disorder. The exacerbation of depressive symptoms is sometimes caused by an anxiety disorder.

Both conditions are managed using the same treatment methods: psychotherapy, medications, and habit changes. Anxiety pills (e.g., anxiety and fear tablets) should not be self-prescribed; only a doctor should determine the appropriate medication.

How to relieve anxiety and fear in children

Anxiety is a common and natural phenomenon among children. About one in eight experiences anxiety in the early years. As children grow and adopt behavior patterns from their parents, friends, and teachers, they develop self-soothing skills. They begin to understand how to overcome anxiety and groundless fear.
Sometimes, anxious states in children become chronic, and emotional reactions to stimuli are very acute.
Children of anxious parents have problems with adaptation mechanisms. Uncontrolled anxiety begins to interfere with daily activities. Anxious children sometimes avoid communication with their peers or family members.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders in children include:
  • nervousness
  • insomnia
  • feelings of fear
  • shyness
  • self-isolation

How to alleviate anxiety in children

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to treat the smallest patients, and in some cases, medication is prescribed.

How to relieve anxiety and fear in teenagers

Teenagers have plenty of objective reasons to worry. Exams, school, first love, and hormonal changes — these factors influence their emotional stability. However, in some cases, the process gets out of control, and anxiety disorders develop.
Anxiety in adolescents includes symptoms such as excitement, shyness, avoiding behavior, and self-isolation.
Some begin to struggle academically, skip social events, and experience behavioral issues. There is a risk of substance use. Some teenagers suffer from depression, which is accompanied by anxiety.

The most common treatment methods for anxiety in teenagers are talk therapy and medication. They also help alleviate symptoms of depression.

Anxiety and stress

Stress and anxiety are two sides of the same coin. Stress is the result of pressure on the brain or body, accompanying an exciting event or activity. 
Anxiety can be a reaction to stress, but sometimes, it arises without apparent factors.
Both anxiety and stress manifest physically and psychologically. Here are their most common signs:
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Increased heart rate and/or breathing
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Muscle tension
  • Panic
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained anger
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep disturbances
Stress and anxiety aren't always detrimental. At times, both phenomena act as motivators for accomplishing tasks and finding solutions. This occurs through the short-term influence of stress hormones on cognitive processes and motivation.

However, if anxiety becomes a constant presence, it deteriorates the quality of life. Hormones and neurotransmitters produced during chronic anxiety can adversely affect the body.

Depression and persistent anxiety, if left untreated, lead to chronic issues, including cardiovascular problems and disruptions in the endocrine system. Autoimmune disorders, frequent infections, and inflammation due to weakened immune defense mechanisms also result from prolonged mental tension.

Anxiety and alcohol

When considering how to quickly alleviate anxiety (e.g., mental anxiety), some resort to solving the issue with alcohol. Since it helps to relax by reducing central nervous system activity, affecting the same brain mechanisms as tranquilizers, it might seem like an effective way to relieve tension. However, this is a bad idea.
  • Firstly, alcohol depletes magnesium and B vitamins. Ultimately, this exacerbates anxiety, carries the risk of acquiring other mental disorders, and harms the nervous and cardiovascular systems.
  • Secondly, individuals with anxiety disorders are prone to alcohol or substance abuse, posing a risk of developing dependency. 
People struggling with alcohol or substance dependence should address these issues first for more effective anxiety treatment.

How to alleviate anxiety and fear through nutrition

Standard treatments for unexplained anxiety include medication and talk therapy. Proper sleep and regular physical exercises also help improve the condition. Some studies suggest that nutrition can partially address the issue.

Products that reduce anxiety:
  • salmon
  • chamomile
  • turmeric
  • dark chocolate
  • yogurt
  • green tea

Outlook

Mild anxiety and fears sometimes resolve on their own with lifestyle changes. However, anxiety disorders are treatable even in severe cases. Psychotherapy and medications enable individuals to adapt and live fulfilling lives.

To choose the right therapeutic approach, it's advisable to consult with a professional psychologist.
Experts working with Anxiety and Stress issues:
Юлія
900
48
$
49
/
7
років досвіду
Онлайн
,
/
м.
Юлiя
1700
90
$
92
/
3
років досвіду
Онлайн
,
/
м.
Анжеліна
1500
80
$
81
/
11
років досвіду
Онлайн
,
/
м.
Анастасія
1500
80
$
81
/
6
років досвіду
Онлайн
,
/
м.
Анастасія
700
37
$
38
/
3
років досвіду
Очно
,
Онлайн
,
/
м.
Кривий Ріг
See all professionals

Other topics

Relationships
Read more
Self-esteem
Read more
Sexual sphere
Read more
Depression
Read more
Purpose and Goals
Read more