Anxiety is a part of our everyday lives, but when it becomes over-whelming, constant, or interferes with everyday activities you may have an anxiety disorder. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety and depression are closely linked and it can sometimes be difficult to identify between the two.
Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions – just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States.
Types of Anxiety
Panic Disorder: Sudden feelings of terror when there is no real danger. Feelings of losing control or having physical symptoms, such as fast heartbeat are common.
Social Anxiety Disorder: Also called social phobia, this is when there are feelings of overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. People tend to fixate about others judging you, embarrassing you, or ridiculing you.
Specific phobias: Feelings of intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights or flying. The fear goes beyond what's appropriate and may cause you to avoid ordinary situations.
General Anxiety Disorder: Feelings of excessive, unrealistic worry, and tension with little or no reason.
Symptoms tend to cross between the different disorders, but a few common ones are:
- Panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Sleep problems
- Not being able to stay call and still
- Cold, sweaty, numb or tingling hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Dry mouth
- Tense muscles
These tips may help you control or lessen your symptoms:
- Cut down on foods and drinks that have caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate. Caffeine is a mood-altering drug, and it may make symptoms of anxiety disorders worse.
- Eat right, exercise, and get better sleep. Brisk aerobic exercises like jogging and biking help release brain chemicals that cut stress and improve your mood.
- Sleep problems and anxiety disorder often go hand in hand. Make getting good rest a priority. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine.
For more information or to make an appointment to see a counselor, contact The Village Family Service Center.