Mental distress, unless it reaches severe levels, is considered trivial and ignored. Anxiety is often confused as the body’s natural response to daily stress. As a result, our focus is never on discovering the trigger points unless it reaches excessive and persistent levels.
Depending on the situation, everyone experiences anxiety in life at varying levels. For some, it may be short-lived, while for others, it becomes a permanent disorder.
Ever wondered what a sudden rush of emotions, heavy breathing, sweaty palms, and trembling feet indicate? Yes, in most cases, these signs of anxiety could spark because of a stressful workday or through a passing worry. But if left neglected, it can worsen only to become a severe threat to your daily life. Moreover, the symptoms of anxiety can disrupt your daily activities and, most importantly, your relationships.
So understanding anxiety, its causes, and remedies are of utmost importance.
Symptoms of anxiety
The classic symptoms of anxiety you need to watch out for are;
- Feeling restless and edgy
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing and excessive sweating
- Feeling weak and trembling
- Having trouble sleeping
- Trouble thinking or concentrating on anything
- Inability to control worry
- Having a sense of doom or panic
- Avoiding situations that trigger anxiety
- Feeling of catastrophizing
Types of anxiety
Let us look at the various anxiety disorders in depth;
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is categorized by chronic anxiety caused by tension or worry. It is marked by exaggerated anxiety where you worry a lot about everyday events. For example, people with symptoms of GAD always expect disaster and can’t stop worrying about family, money, health, or work.
- Panic disorder is categorized by different repeated episodes of intense fear often accompanied by physical symptoms. With panic disorders – you may experience recurrent panic attacks. You may experience intense fear that comes quickly and may reach the peak within minutes. Panic attacks can trigger unexpectedly or due to a situation.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is repeated behavior patterns and unwanted thoughts. OCD can be triggered by a personal crisis or any negative situation that affects your mind.
- Social phobia is categorized by self-consciousness and fear of speaking in formal or informal situations. With social phobia, you may fear a social or performance-related situation. Therefore, you may avoid social situations to avert them.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a harsh exposure to a terrifying event and a painful ordeal. This may result in you experiencing nightmares, flashbacks, and severe anxiety attacks.
Do I have an anxiety disorder?
A combination of a psychometric assessment and clinical interview by a trained therapist is the best way to answer that question. Let us look at the few assessment tools psychologists use to assess anxiety,
Most common assessments for anxiety
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 – The GAD-7 is a brief scale for anxiety. It scores 7 common anxiety symptoms. Though originally developed to diagnose generalized anxiety disorder, the GAD-7 also proved to have good sensitivity and specificity as a screener for panic, social anxiety, and post- traumatic stress disorder.
- Kessler Psychological Distress Scale 10 – The K10 is a 10-question screening scale of psychological distress. This is intended to yield a global measure of distress based on questions about anxiety and depressive symptoms that a person has experienced in the most recent 4 week period.
- Coronavirus anxiety scale – The CAS is a self-report mental health screener of dysfunctional anxiety associated with the coronavirus crisis. Because a significant number of people experience clinically significant fear and anxiety during an infectious disease outbreak, the CAS was developed to help clinicians and researchers efficiently identify cases of individuals functionally impaired by coronavirus-related anxiety.
Other assessments for anxiety
- Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A)
- Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI)
- Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN)
- Penn State Worry Questionnaire
- Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS)
The above assessments must be conducted along with a clinical interview with a therapist or psychologist.
If you want to assess yourself for anxiety, you could easily access these assessments on the TickTalkTo app. In addition, you could avail consultation with a therapist as well.
Treatments for anxiety
Psychotherapy is known as talk therapy, or it involves psychological counseling where the therapist helps reduce your anxiety symptoms. Therapy is usually long term and involves dedicated sessions with a psychologists every few days. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective therapy technique for treating anxiety-related disorders.
For best results, one must commit to the therapeutic process. The recovery usually starts within first few weeks and the process could continue for several months. Since it is a long term relation with the therapist, be sure to select the right therapist. A happiness coach on the TickTalkTo app can help you find the right therapist for you.
Medications can help to relieve symptoms depending on the type of anxiety disorder you are suffering from. Antidepressants work at reducing the signs of anxiety disorders. Buspirone is a commonly used drug to treat the disorder. Please note, do not self-medicate. Please use medicines only on prescription by a qualified psychiatrist.
There are simple and powerful techniques which can help you win over anxiety;
- Exercise – Exercise acts as a powerful stress reducer for the body. It improves your mood and keeps you active. Daily exercise can help to reduce the signs of anxiety.
- Diet – Your health and anxiety are co-related. Include a good portion of green veggies and fruits in your diet plan. A balanced diet can reduce anxiety symptoms.
- Stress management – Practice stress management in yoga, meditation, and various visualization techniques. Stress management is an effective way to reduce anxiety.
- Break the cycle – When you feel anxious, go for a walk or listen to music. The idea is to divert your mind so that you don’t feel nervous or restless.
- Indulge in hobbies – Indulging in a hobby also reduces the anxiety signs. For example, if you love painting or cooking – indulge in it to feel better.
- Stay positive – A positive frame of mind will make you feel lighter. It may be tough to stay positive in the given life conditions – but it is not impossible. It is a matter of effort, which you need to take.
- Learn about the disorder – Talk to your doctor to find out what is causing your specific condition. Your doctor might suggest what treatments might be the best one for you.
- Stick to a treatment plan – You must take all the medications prescribed by the doctor and try completing all the assignments your therapist suggests you. Consistent efforts may make a big difference.
- Keep a journal and take action – Keep a journal and write down things that are causing distress. A journal may help the mental health provider understand what the cause of your stress is.
- Join an anxiety support group – Join a support group that offers compassion and shared experiences. You aren’t alone in this – you can talk to other people suffering from similar anxiety issues.
Does online counselling help?
Yes, and absolutely yes, but only when done right.
Self-directed online counseling is a new way to cure anxiety. With everything going online, it has become massively convenient to avail help from the comfort from your home.
You can access hundreds of verified counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists who understand your needs and can communicate with you in your language. This helps you chose the best therapist for you.
In addition you can access the support in a safe space where no one apart from you or your therapist needs to know about the issues you are facing. The flexibility also ensures that you do not miss your therapy sessions.
Make sure you access a trusted app which gives you the right therapist and ensures outcomes.
At TickTalkTo, our verified psychologists and psychiatrist have supported thousands of people, just like you, who struggle with anxiety. There is no shame in seeking help. It is a sign of strength to seek help and make mental health a priority.