Hello and welcome to my blog! Hope you are having good week. It’s Wednesday and as you can tell, I couldn’t keep up the motivational Monday and Wednesday wisdom posts. Anyway, I’m blogging as much as I can, in addition to my other responsibilities.
I am currently taking a course in Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health on Coursera. In Module 4, I learned more about anxiety, depression, and trauma. I wanted to share what I learned, but since I can’t share the videos on the course over here, I researched using the reading lists they provided for me, in addition to doing my own research, and after going through about 35 resources, I collected this post. This isn’t a copy-paste post. I paraphrased each paragraph for copyright purposes, in case I ever put this in a book.
Disclaimer: This is a long post so read when you have time or skim to the subtitle you’re interested in. I explain what anxiety is, when it becomes a disorder, the different types of anxiety, and how to cope with each one. I hope you find this helpful. I’m not a mental health professional but I have been reading about this topic for years. I won’t go into the medication aspect of treating anxiety because I’m not a doctor (a pharmacist isn’t qualified to prescribe anti-anxiety medications). In the end, I’m going to do a professional quiz to find out what type of anxiety I have. I think it’s social anxiety but it could have developed into agoraphobia during covid. So let’s see what I get in the end (you can skip to the end if that’s the only thing you’re interested in).
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of tenseness, nervousness, or inability to relax. a feeling of dread or fear of the worst having the sensation that the world is speeding up or slowing down. feeling as if others can see your anxiety and are staring at you.
When anxiety becomes excessive or uncontrolled and manifests itself unexpectedly, it becomes a problem. Anxiety disorders are serious mental conditions that can significantly affect your life. To escape worry, people may avoid going about their normal life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, afflicting about one-third of all adults at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are curable, and there are various effective treatments available. Treatment allows the majority of people to live normal, productive lives.
Common anxiety signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense.
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom.
- Having an increased heart rate.
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired.
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry.
You could also be at risk for high blood pressure and heart disease. Anxiety disorders may increase the risk of coronary events if you already have heart disease.
Types of anxiety
Panic disorder is a type of anxiety illness marked by sudden and recurring bouts of acute terror followed by bodily symptoms. A person suffering from panic disorder experiences brief bouts of acute anxiety and apprehension, which are often accompanied by shivering, shaking, and bewilderment. You have panic disorder if you have regular panic attacks that have no obvious cause. They can happen out of nowhere and can be extremely intense and frightening.
Generalized anxiety disorder
The most frequent type of anxiety illness is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The most common symptom of GAD is excessive concern about various activities and events for no apparent cause.
Social anxiety disorder
Anxiety about social situations. This disorder was previously referred to as social phobia by medical professionals. You may have daily anxiety and self-consciousness. People with social anxiety disorder are terrified of being judged by others in social or performance circumstances. People with social phobia are uneasy in social situations. You can go to great measures to avoid the object of your fear if you have a strong phobia. Unfortunately, avoiding the phobia simply makes it worse.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder marked by unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive activities. Anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are intimately linked, and some people may have both. Obsessions with OCD are intrusive, recurring, and unwelcome thoughts, urges, or visions that create anguish or worry. You could try ignoring them or executing a compulsive habit or ritual to get rid of them. Obsessions usually appear when you’re trying to think of or accomplish something else.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health illness brought on by watching or experiencing a horrific incident. Flashbacks, nightmares, and acute anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event, are all possible symptoms. Some people recover in six months, while others experience symptoms for much longer, and PTSD can develop into a chronic condition. PTSD, like other mental diseases, is highly individualized, and no two instances are alike. According to Dr. Kriegeskotten, “the amount of time a person can endure post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) varies.”
The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include:
- Combat exposure.
- Childhood physical abuse.
- Sexual violence.
- Physical assault.
- Being threatened with a weapon.
- An accident.
If you frequently feel as if your life has become unmanageable, you may be suffering from unresolved emotional trauma. A typical indicator of trauma is emotional reactivity. A trauma victim’s overpowering emotions may be directed towards others, such as family and friends.
Meditation, deep breathing, massage, and yoga are all relaxation techniques that can help to activate the body’s relaxation response and alleviate PTSD and anxiety symptoms. Alcohol and narcotics should be avoided. You may be tempted to self-medicate with drink or drugs while dealing with challenging emotions or terrible experiences.
Lifestyle and home remedies
- Keep physically active. Develop a routine so that you’re physically active most days of the week.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Quit smoking and cut back or quit drinking caffeinated beverages.
- Use stress management and relaxation techniques.
- Make sleep a priority.
- Eat healthily.
A specific phobia, also known as a simple phobia, is a dread of a specific object or scenario. It might make you avoid common situations. The most frequent anxiety disorder in children and teenagers is a particular phobia.
Examples of specific phobias are:
Agoraphobia is a common reaction to panic attacks. If you have agoraphobia, you are terrified of having a panic attack or of anything horrible happening in a certain location – usually outside your house.
A person with agoraphobia, for example, may hate driving a car, leaving the comfort of their home, going shopping in a mall, flying, or simply being in a crowded environment.
What causes agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is most commonly a consequence of panic disorder, an anxiety condition characterized by panic attacks and acute terror. It can develop as a result of associating panic episodes with the places or situations in which they occur and subsequently avoiding them.
Coping and support
- Stick to your treatment plan. Take medications as directed.
- Try not to avoid feared situations.
- Learn calming techniques.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Take care of yourself.
- Join a support group.
Separation anxiety is defined as a fear of being separated from or losing an attachment figure. While many people connect separation anxiety with children, it can affect adults as well.
Symptoms of separation anxiety disorder
- Clinging to parents.
- Extreme and severe crying.
- Refusal to do things that require separation.
- Physical illness, such as headaches or vomiting.
- Violent, emotional temper tantrums.
- Refusal to go to school.
- Poor school performance.
- Failure to interact in a healthy manner with other children.
Risk factors may include:
Stresses or losses in life that cause separation, such as the illness or death of a loved one, the death of a cherished pet, parent divorce, or moving or going away to school. There are certain temperaments that are more susceptible to anxiety problems than others.
How to ease “normal” separation anxiety
- Practice separation.
- Schedule separations after naps or feedings.
- Develop a quick “goodbye” ritual.
- Leave without fanfare.
- Follow through on promises.
- Keep familiar surroundings when possible and make new surroundings familiar.
- Have a consistent primary caregiver.
Selective mutism is a severe anxiety disease in which a person is unable to communicate in particular social contexts, such as with classmates at school or distant relatives. It usually begins in childhood and can last until adulthood if left untreated. Selective mutism is caused by a variety of factors. Researchers are constantly discovering more about the variables that can cause selective mutism, such as anxiety illness. Family interactions are strained. Untreated mental illnesses. Selective mutism is misdiagnosed by some specialists as a kind of autism or a learning problem. Although children with learning impairments or autism may exhibit symptoms of the disease, selective mutism is not a symptom of autism or a learning disability.
Selective mutism seldom goes away on its own, and if left untreated, it can lead to increased anxiety and social difficulties. To achieve long-term results, treatment must be coordinated between family and school. CBT is one of the most effective treatments for selective mutism symptoms. Highly experienced therapists deliver this action-based and problem-solving talking therapy, which can help you or your older child gain a better understanding of the disease and anxiety in general.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques:
- Cognitive restructuring or reframing.
- Guided discovery.
- Exposure therapy.
- Journaling and thought records.
- Activity scheduling and behavior activation.
- Behavioral experiments.
- Relaxation and stress reduction techniques, like grounding.
- Role playing.
*Name three sounds you hear. *Move three parts of your body — your fingers, shoulders, and then feet. *And point out three things you see.
What type of anxiety do I have?
Try the anxiety test on Psycom here:
Update on the to-do list (I accidentally published this at 7 pm instead of 10 pm):