Shining a Light on Anxiety Disorders

The outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is stressful for many  people but for 40 million Americans living with fear and anxiety, stress is a normal part of life. For some individuals, it can interfere with or limit their ability to carry out major life activities.

The term “anxiety” pertains to feelings of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as palpitations, sweating, and excessive stress. Anxiety can also lead to other physical issues  including fatigue, insomnia, trouble concentrating, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

While there are various types of anxiety disorders, research indicates that most are driven by a person’s negative response to unpleasant feelings and situations. The five major types are: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety Disorders Treatment.

When a person’s primary symptom is anxiety, it may be referred to as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) which is different from normal feelings of anxiousness. 
Individuals with GAD often worry uncontrollably about one thing several times per day for months on end. This can happen even when there isn’t a reason to worry. While the person is aware they are worrying unnecessarily, they are unable to explain the cause of their anxiety.

According to Medical News Today, GAD affects around 6.8 million people in the U.S. — or more than 3 percent of the country’s adults. Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO), reports 1 in 13 globally suffers from some form of anxiety.

What can you do if you feel anxious?

If you are dealing with anxiety on a regular basis, try one or all of the following non-pharmaceutical solutions. 

  1. Get Moving. Many people with anxiety have reported that exercise helps them feel better and manage their symptoms. Be sure to choose exercises you enjoy so you look forward to them.
  2. Cut Caffeine and Alcohol. Both caffeine and alcohol can accelerate anxiety. If you can avoid them, do so. If not, cutting back should help. Remember, caffeine is not just in coffee. It can also be found in chocolate, diet pills, headache medication, and tea.
  3. Avoid triggers. Think of times and places where you notice yourself feeling most anxious. Write them down as a reminder to yourself. If you know the causes of your anxiety, you can work to avoid them.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. Studies show that not getting enough sleep can contribute to stress levels. Additionally, feeling tired or a lack of  energy can be one reason for stress.
  5. Ask for help. When you are feeling low, reach out to someone close to you. Remember, it is not a weakness to admit that you need help. Don’t try to handle your anxiety alone. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member, get professional help.

For many people, a combination of anxiety management techniques work best in combination with traditional methods, like medication and talk therapy. If you are struggling with anxiety, remember there is no “one size fits all” treatment, and it may take time to find the best treatment that works for you.