What Is Anxiety? An Overview & Treatment Options

Anxiety is something almost everyone will struggle with on occasion, even if only in times of high stress or life change. The condition can leave you feeling nervous, on edge and unable to concentrate. Globally over 260 million people suffer from anxiety making it a very common condition.

Unfortunately, only one in three people explore treatment. This isn’t just because they are uncomfortable asking for help but often because they accept anxiety as a logical symptom of stress.

Here is everything you need to know about the condition and along with treatment options.

Anxiety Symptoms

anxiety symptoms
Anxiety manifests in three primary categories which can be either short-term or chronic. Physical symptoms could include panic attacks, feeling constantly on edge, restlessness, hot or cold flashes, butterflies in your stomach, trembling, tics, nausea, diarrhea, fatigue after a good night’s sleep, inability to sleep, excessive scratching, nail biting, or picking at hair or skin, and more.

Psychological anxiety could be mistaken as being a worry wart, excessive fear, constantly mapping out everything that could go wrong, an overall negative mindset, or obsessive thinking about things you cannot control—such as money, health, work, and family.

Behavioral anxiety could include physically avoiding people, places, or situations, phobias, excessive sleeping, participating in high-risk behaviors, becoming overly attached to a friend, family member or love interest, or refusal to leave a place of comfort—like never wanting to leave your house.

Depression Vs Anxiety

Without a doubt, depression and anxiety can go hand in hand with about 50 percent of those with depression also struggling with anxiety. However, anxiety and depression are not the same mental health condition. This is why it is important to identify the root cause of your stress so that you can seek out the proper treatment options.

It’s Not Always An Ongoing Disorder

what is anxiety

Just because you are feeling anxious does not mean that you have an anxiety disorder, but circumstantial anxiety instead. For example, if you are uncomfortable speaking in public you may be anxious the week or two before your presentation—but your symptoms will disappear once you’ve delivered your speech. Or maybe you are comfortable in small group settings but get stressed during parties, festivals, concerts, sporting events, at the airport, or when in other large crowds.

Caffeine can trigger anxiety, as well as dieting, skipping meals, not getting a good night’s sleep, financial stress, prescription medications, being diagnosed with a health condition, and other stressors can trigger short-term anxiety. For the condition to be classified as a disorder it would need to have an ongoing and daily negative impact on your life. This could include frequent panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorders, PTSD, phobias, social anxiety that impacts daily life, and obsessive worry.

Treatment For Anxiety

Whether short-term or chronic it may feel like your anxiety is insurmountable. Easing your symptoms will take a large and long investment in time and energy. If your symptoms are chronic you may need to adopt an ongoing treatment plan, but easing your symptoms isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.

The key is in learning the tools that work for you, and no—prescription medications aren’t your only option—but may be part of your treatment plan. Anxiety can be triggered by a variety of causes, including genetics, brain chemistry, and traumatic life events.

How To Reduce Anxiety

Regardless of the trigger you can ease your stress with natural treatment options such as:

  • Meditation—click here for your free guided meditation
  • Regular exercise
  • Aromatherapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Journaling
  • Talk therapy
  • Pet therapy
  • Time spent in nature
  • Dietary changes
  • And more

Untreated Mental Health Disorders Can Escalate

mental health cbt
Circumstantial anxiety may continue to flare up in times of stress or when you are presented with your specific trigger. It is important to turn to the tools that work for you to ease these symptoms. Although, circumstantial anxiety is not likely to escalate.

If you suffer from an anxiety disorder your symptoms may feel like a daily norm, something you have learned to live with. However, if your disorder goes untreated it is likely to grow more severe with time. This escalation will not only impact you—but have a negative impact on your friends, family, and often your career.

The sooner you learn the tools that work for you the lesser your odds of your disorder escalating into something more disruptive.

Find Out More

Paula Meir is an experienced therapist based in Norwich, London and online helping her clients change the way they think and deal with many issues they may face. To arrange a consultation either in person (Norwich or London) or virtually, please get in touch.

If you want to find out more or need a little more guidance on how to manage your mental health, why not check out my book –  Your Life Your Way.  It’s packed with practical advice, ideas, and exercises to help you live the life you deserve!

Paula Meir's new book Your Life Your Way

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