Understanding Anxiety And Its Management

Written by: Niyati Mahale || Graphics by: Niyati Mahale || SEO by : Aarushi Mahajan 

Remember the time when you had to deliver a speech in school? Or when you had to make a big decision in your life? You might have had a constant feeling of worry, a rapid heartbeat, and a feeling that was making you sick to the stomach. This was anxiety . In this article we will be discussing about the anxiety disorder symptoms and its solution.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at some point in time. It is our body’s way of alerting us of any potential danger. When faced with a stressful or unknown situation, our brain signals our body to release several hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones prepare us for the upcoming ‘danger’. The danger can be as simple as going to school for the first time, or as difficult as losing a loved one. The point is everyone experiences anxiety occasionally.

But people with anxiety disorders experience these feelings much more frequently and for no specific reasons. They have excessive feelings of anxiety, fear, and panic, to a point that it interferes with their day-to-day activities.

According to a 2017 research, 44.9 million people had an anxiety disorder in India. Yet, people rarely talk about it and the ones who do are judged. Living with an anxiety disorder is a struggle, but it can be easier if you understand what causes your anxiety and how you control it. If you or someone you know suffers from an anxiety disorder, read on to know how you can identify triggers and manage anxiety better.

What are the symptoms of anxiety disorder? 

Anxiety can show up as a number of different symptoms. It is important to note that only a medical professional can give an accurate diagnosis. But for the sake of general awarreness. 

These are the anxiety disorder symptoms :

  • Excessive And Intrusive Thoughts

The first signs of anxiety disorder are excessive and uncontrollable thoughts. These can be feelings of worry or fear. Often, the worrying gets so difficult to control that it interferes with their day-to-day activities. The worrying can also be disproportionate to the event and can also occur as a response to normal, everyday activities.

  • Restlessness and irritability

Restlessness occurs in people with anxiety as they are unable to sit still and feel the constant urge to move. Shaking your leg when you are sitting or constantly pacing up and down are all forms of restlessness that can stem from anxiety.

  • Fatigue

A person suffering from anxiety disorder can easily get fatigued. This is because anxiety feels like constantly being on your toes, and it can get your energy draining after a while. And it also comes with a lack of sleep, which brings me to my next point.

  • Difficulty sleeping

Insomnia can cause anxiety as our brain doesn’t get enough rest. Anxiety can also cause insomnia due to the constant worries which can make sleeping difficult. It isn’t clear if anxiety causes insomnia or vice-versa, but it is one of the most common symptoms of anxiety.

  • Unpleasant physical symptoms

Symptoms such as nausea, rapid heartbeat, sweating, and shaking are the result of anxiety. These symptoms can make everyday functioning difficult.

If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms for more than six months, consult a medical practitioner who can diagnose and guide you towards effective treatment.

What to do when you have an anxiety attack?

Often, the thoughts that come with anxiety can take you far from reality. This makes the experience scarier and difficult to manage. To effectively come back to reality, you can use this simple technique called the ‘54321 grounding technique’.

  1. Look around you and name five things you can see. It can be anything from a pencil to your own hands. 
  2. Next, try to name four things that you can feel. The softness of your bed, the coldness of the floor, or how your hair feels against your face. Try to say everything aloud.
  3. Next, name three sounds that you can hear. Can you hear the sound of traffic on the road? Or the water dripping in the sink? Listen carefully and say it aloud.
  4. In the fourth step, name two things you can smell. If there is nothing you can smell, try to recall two of your favorite smells and name them.
  5. For the last step, name one thing you can taste. It does not need to be anything special. It can be the taste of water or even a taste that you can remember from breakfast.

This exercise aims to make you aware of your surroundings and slowly bring you back to the present, reducing feelings of fear and panic often caused by intrusive thoughts and worries.

How to help someone with anxiety?

Anxiety can get a lot easier with the support of loved ones. Here are a few ways you can follow to help someone who struggles with anxiety:

  1. Do not ask them to calm down. Instead, sit with them and reassure them of your support. Hear them out if they are willing to talk.
  2. Make a note of their preferred style of comforting. Often, something that feels comforting to you might just be overwhelming for them. When they are calm, ask them how you can help them with anxiety.
  3. If they haven’t reached out to a medical professional yet, explain to them why they need to do so. Offer to be with them when they make the trip to the psychiatrist or psychologist.
  4. Know when to give solutions and when to just listen. People who struggle with anxiety usually look for someone who can understand them rather than offer a solution to their problems.

Taking care of someone with an anxiety disorder can be an overwhelming experience and can take a mental toll on you too. Make sure you take adequate care of yourself. It is okay to not be able to support them all the time. It is okay to prioritize your own health first. Do not feel guilty if you are unable to help them.

Conclusion:

We have to go a long way in normalizing the talk about mental health in general and anxiety in particular. Instead of asking people to be strong or stop overthinking, let us take a moment to understand what they are going through. With a collective effort, taking one step at a time, we can make everyone’s life a better one.

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