The main reason for any type of anxiety disorder is the FEAR.
Fear of losing your job, your loved one, your social situation, phobia and lose of your life.
When fear occurs the it creates some brain chemistry that causes the anxiety.
1- Seeking Help for Anxiety or Panic Attacks
Anxiety disorders are treatable. Once you have been diagnosed as suffering from an anxiety or panic disorder you must take the help of a physician in treating it. Do not self-medicate yourself or resort to alcohol or drug abuse as a way of dealing with the symptoms.
Physicians will deal with the disorder depending on the patient’s profile and medical history. The treatment should be acceptable to the patient and should be targeted as a long-term course.
Doctor may prescribe antidepressants as these are most effective in reducing the panic symptoms. If your normal life is being affected by the panic attacks the doctor may take quick action to help you function in your job and other activities. If this shows effect then you may well be on the road to recovery.
However, if there is no change and the panic attacks are recurring events the antidepressants may be combined with other therapy. The panic attacks may even be a result of a chemical imbalance in the body or brain.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are often used in these cases once the side effects are considered. These should help reduce the severity of the anxiety attacks.
Benzodiazepines are also considered to be effective and help decrease anxiety.
Doctors often resort to cognitive behavioral therapy to treat patients with anxiety disorders. Patients may work with a trained behavioral therapist in a number of ways to get control over their anxieties and fears.
This therapy involves anticipating and preparing for situations that cause the panic attacks.
The therapist will walk the patient through the thought patterns that lead to panic sensations and then teach you breathing and other techniques to help calm you down and change the mode of thinking.
The eventual effect is one of control for the patient and you can test yourself by allowing the occurrence of situations that earlier triggered panic attacks. You must give yourself time to adjust and allow the techniques to work.
If you are an alcoholic you must take treatment for this side by side with the treatment for panic attacks.
You may have a relapse after a course of treatment. This should not worry you. Take the medication as prescribed on a regular basis and practice the techniques of relaxation that you have been taught.
Make sure that you are comfortable with the physician or therapist who is treating you. It may take you some time to find a doctor you can relate to. Put in the effort it requires because the condition is treatable and you should not have to suffer through the symptoms that disrupt your normal life.
You must also be honest with your physician. If a particular treatment is not giving you the results you need then discuss it with him and ensure that you are speedily put on a course that does offer you relief.
3- At the Receiving End of an Anxiety Disorder
It’s always been the person afflicted with the panic disorder who is talked about. But now I want to talk to you the person at the receiving end, the caregiver perhaps.
- How do you cope with someone you care for living every day in fear and anxiety?
- How do you refrain from being affected by their mood swings and depression, with their inability to socialize or step out for a simple walk in a park?
First try to understand their situation.
Don’t analyze it just listen when they tell you how they feel.
You can tell if they need your help, support, and understanding.
But you can’t fix their disorder.
They should go to a professional for therapy and guidance.
What they need you for, is the simple thingsâ€”someone who will listen, someone who will get them their groceries on the day they can’t venture out, someone who will see to it that they take their medications on time.
It can be frustrating to see someone in the throes of a panic attack and be unable to help them.
No matter how hard you tell them to concentrate on breathing or urge them to take a walk in the fresh air, nothing seems to work.
This will make you feel helpless.
I want to tell you to let it go!
Sometimes there is nothing you can do to make the sufferer feel better except to be there. Your presence may be enough to calm them down so that they then can put the therapist’s solutions into practice and reduce the intensity of the panic attack.
Be cheerful around the patient; offer suggestions but don’t be upset if they are unable to take you up on them.
Attend their sessions with the therapist or a support group so you have a deeper understanding of what they are going through. And then ask the doctor what you should be doing either to help them or not to hinder them, and how to maintain your own normal lifestyle.
To protect yourself from falling a prey to depression you must have your own routine and follow your own goals.
Go about doing your everyday things. Keep yourself active and spend time away from home doing the shopping or exercising in the gym. Don’t tie yourself to the sufferer physically or emotionally.
Try and be detached with regard to the panic disorder that will be of more help than trying to empathize every time they have an attack.
This doesn’t make you hardhearted it’s just being sensible in the face of an ailment that you can’t possibly wholly comprehend.
If they fling accusations about your non-understanding take it calmly they are suffering tremendously and are looking for a solution. You just happen to be there for them to take it out on.
It’s a tremendous strain being the caregiver or partner of a person suffering from a panic disorder. You must not allow it to affect your own life.
The healthier you are in mind and spirit the more help you are to the patient as they will get better and will be grateful to you for your support, normalcy, and cheerfulness.
4- Anxiety What Else Can I Do?
Youâ€™ve reached out to a therapist and are undergoing treatment for your panic attacks.
The medication and the behavioral therapy help. And perhaps you’re following an exercise regimen to tone up and yet relax your body.
Then you could also take up yoga and learn some meditation techniques and deep breathing exercises.
These will help you relax in times of extreme stress. When you feel a panic attack coming on you can sit in a comfortable position, follow a yoga routine, and bring your mind to a calm zone.
If you’re at work you can unobtrusively start your breathing exercises so that the mind concentrates on them and not on the panic attack and you can overcome it. Some people keep a punch bag at home to work out their panic.
Dancing classes are also a good idea as they are aerobic in nature and will get your adrenaline flowing.
Another thing you could do is blog about your panic attacks. It is very easy to get onto blogging and you can do it in the privacy of your home.
All you have to do is start writing. You can be part of a community blog or you could affiliate your blog with an anxiety site so people will come to read your blog and share their thoughts with you.
This helps you write about your condition, which you will be doing for yourself at first.
When you blog you become part of a community so people will reach out to you. You can compare notes, discuss different types of treatment, and learn how people are overcoming the ill effects of their disorder.
Try and become a physical part of a support group as it can be a font of information for you about anxiety disorders. You can meet once a week or so to talk about your experiences, how you are coping with your disorder, and find out about different resources.
Go along with a family member so they also learn more about the disorder and what it takes to manage it. If there is no such group in your area then be a pioneer and start one.
Buy books and read articles on the disorder. Videotapes are also available. You can do this in the comfort of your home.
Some people resort to alternative therapies such as:
- Herbal remedies
- and spiritual treatments
There is no harm in choosing such treatments but you have to see the long-term effect and whether they will help you with your disorder.
If you have a strong belief in such non-drug systems then you can try them.
The main idea is to get you going and involved in something that is different from your therapy and medication something that you do for yourself. When you take this step it’s a step away from the ordeal that is your panic attack.
5- What that Thud of the Heart May Mean? Panic or Anxiety Attack
You may have felt it once or twice in your life when you were stressed a painful thud of your heart and an irregular thrumming that won’t go away, adding to your stress. And then the hyperventilation, as you strive to take in more air to offset the pain in your chest region.
No, you’re not having a heart attack nor are you losing your mind you are experiencing a panic or anxiety attack. This affects a lot of people especially in these stressful life time.
Most people are able to overcome it in a while and go about their daily lives but for a small percentage of the population it’s a daily nightmare.
A classic panic attack involves a dramatic upsurge of emotions that overwhelm and frighten the sufferers.
They may feel suffocated and want to run away from the situation they are in.
There may be no obvious reason, and there may be no warning, and it may die away as swiftly as it came. But having experienced it, the victim feels drained of energy and will wonder what exactly occurred. If it begins to happen frequently then the victim is lured into a vicious cycle, becoming paranoid about situations that may have triggered the chilling symptoms.
This in turn increases stress levels, which may also set off another attack.
Anxiety disorders can also affect a person physically. It may lead to arthritis or migraines and allergies.
Fatigue, blood pressure, and a lowering of overall immunity may also result.
The link between physical conditions and an anxiety disorder is still unclear as each may trigger the other.
Social anxiety can result in a victim cutting himself off from friends and family. This isolates him even more and can lead to a downward spiral in his condition, as he will have no support system in his times of need.
Panic disorders can be accompanied by depression and phobias that go from strength to strength if left untreated. Once a person experiences a panic attack, his life will change radically.
Sufferers must recognize this and seek treatment immediately before their lives are further disrupted by the disorder.
6- Anxiety Disorder Treatments
Youâ€™ve been diagnosed with a anxiety disorder and now you want to choose the right course of treatment for you.
You can ask your family doctor or local GP for a referral or find out about treatment courses available at the community health center. Your goal should be to find a trained and experienced health professional to treat you.
Very often two physicians may treat you one prescribes and oversees your medication while the other works with you on cognitive behavioral therapy. You can also enroll for a research study on panic disorder that is being undertaken by a medical university. Such programs may provide you with care at a lower cost.
Whichever course you pursue, it is imperative to choose someone whom you can relate to and feel comfortable with. Physicians will use courses of treatment that they have had success with. You can decide whether such a course will work for you by asking a lot of questions.
This is your health that is on the line so you have a perfect right to do the research before undergoing treatment. If the referral has come from an impeccable source then half your worries are over. On the other hand, you can find out for yourself all the information you need to come to a decision.
Ask about any specific training the physician or therapist might have undergone to work in this field and the number of patients they have treated.
Find out if you will be undergoing medication, such as antidepressants, with cognitive behavior therapy or individually if the latter then discover how you will find someone to take care of the two different treatments. Determine the length of the treatment course, how long each session will last, and their frequency and cost.
Find out what kind of medication you are likely to be put on, the dosage, and what the potential side effects are and whether you will be able to tolerate these. Also, discover if your insurance covers the treatment.
The treatment will work only if you are honest and upfront with your physician or therapist. Discuss all problems with them and follow the treatment conscientiously.
It may take time to settle into a treatment program as each one has to be tailored to a patient’s own needs. But, if at any time you feel that the treatment is not going as well as you would like or is not of much help to you, then think about getting a second opinion or changing physicians. You are perfectly within your rights to do this.
Take as much time as you can to decide on a course of treatment or a doctor who can help you with it. Your health is in your hands.
7- Alternative Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
Autism can come in at many levels. Having an extremely autistic child can be very wearing on the family as they can be prone to behavioral problems. When my youngest son was in primary school they informed us that he was slightly autistic, although before this we had no such thoughts about him.
As a young baby he was prone to sickness after his feeds, he refused his bottle at the age of nine months but had no trouble reverting to a drinking mug, as a result at the age of twelve months he was out of nappies and clean and dry.
Even at night times he never had accidents so to us he was a model baby. He was fourteen months old when contracted what we call a gastric stomach he had bad diarrhea which persisted for three days, they took him into hospital and put him on a salt water diet for a couple of days which cured him.
The nurses were amazed with him as although he was so bad and they put him in nappies he never soiled one nappy, even at the age of fourteen months he made them aware that he would only use a potty.
He seemed so forward in many ways but he was very late walking, he was seventeen months before he walked but used to get around everywhere before that on his bottom.
He had a bad habit of sitting on the settee and rocking, backwards and forwards and hitting his head on the settee back. That was his only problem, apart from that he played quite happily with his older brother apart from the odd squabble of course.
His toys never lasted long as he used to take them apart, he always seemed curious about what was inside them. He wasn’t a naughty child and was extremely lovable.
As I said the first idea we had that he wasn’t progressing so well was when we called to the school, they said he wrote upside down and back to front which was signs of autism.
They told us that he could understand what he had written but they couldn’t. We were told that he should have tests and an appointment was made. The tests were done in hospital where they did a scan of his brain by placing lots of what looked like round disks attached to wires.
After it was completed they studied it and came back to us. We were told that although he was nine he had the mentality of a five year old, and it was possible that when he grew older he would become violent and very aggressive. This worried us a lot but they had no answers to what we should do.
Life continued and his difficulty at school continued, at the age of twelve he could neither read nor write. It was at this time that he began to have one to one lessons with a lady that was very patient and she taught him three times a week for two hours at a time.
After a few months of this intensive training he could read, write and spell correctly. He is a man now and he has never been violent or aggressive and is in fact the opposite.
As I said at the start autism can be at more than one level. I do not have experience of extreme cases except what I have read in magazines etc, but it just goes to show that many can be taught if they receive the correct tuition and help.
8- Huff and Puff the Anxiety Away
You’ve been diagnosed with a panic/anxiety disorder and you are well into a course of treatment. Do you have the feeling then that there’s more you could be doing to help yourself get better? Apart from following the doctor’s prescription and the therapist’s suggestions perhaps you could be.
This is an all-time favorite exercise. Yes, I know it’s difficult for you to step out the door sometimes because of your agoraphobia and you’d rather not go down to the gym because you’d have to meet people. But if you set yourself some small very small goals then you could pep yourself up and not even notice that you are taking giant strides. Just take it one day at a time.
First start off by walking around the house for just five minutes. Do this for a few days. Then give yourself the gift of time, and walk to the store for just one day and buy something.
Walk back. Don’t think of it as exercise. Think of it as a pocket of time to go somewhere and back to your home.
Then don’t think of it till the next day. If you miss a couple of days in between don’t worry about it.
Nothing earth shattering is going to happen. Give yourself the time off and then resume the very next time you can. Do this for ten days only and there you are you have formed a habit.
This habit might very well take over your thinking and instead of panicking you could be planning the next goal, the subscription to the gym, swimming.
If you are able to make it to the gym but are afraid of panicking, promise yourself that you can go home the minute you feel the attack coming on. Then do what you can.
Trainers at the gym will draw up a regimen for you. Don’t panic. Tell yourself you’ll do what you can and no more. Then do this leisurely for ten days. Go to the gym at a specific time but don’t be bound by it.
Keep it flexible your goal for that day is to step out of the house, that’s all. Do this for ten days and your body will be craving the exercise. After this you won’t have to think about it, it will become something you would like to do and look forward to doing.
In the meanwhile, your body has been benefiting and so has your mind. Exercise releases feel-good hormones and improves blood flow to the brain. Exercise will also relax you or even tire you out pleasantly. All this will improve your mood and help with the therapy you are undergoing.
You can choose any form of exercise even yoga or kickboxing as long as it helps you get going. The trick is to do it without feeling bound to it or allowing yourself to become anxious about it. Start small and take it from there.