It is becoming more and more common in todays society for people to experience a high level of Anxiety in their day to day lives. In particular the pressures placed on New mothers these days has resulted in a dramatic spike in new mums experiencing Anxiety and Post Natal Depression. So heres some facts and what you can do about:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
It’s natural to worry during stressful times. But some people feel tense and anxious day after day, even when there is little to worry about. When this lasts for six months or longer, it may be generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they have it. So they can miss out on treatments that lead to a better, happier life.
Anxiety: Emotional Symptoms
The main symptom of GAD is a constant and exaggerated sense of tension and anxiety. You may not be able to pinpoint a reason why you feel tense. Or you may worry too much about ordinary matters, such as bills, relationships, or your health. All this worrying can interfere with your sleep and your ability to think straight. You may also feel irritable due to poor sleep or the illness itself.
Anxiety: Physical Symptoms
Body problems usually come along with the excess worry. They can include:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Nausea or diarrhea
- Trembling or twitching
Anxiety vs. Everyday Worries
Most people spend some time worrying about their troubles, whether money, job demands, or changing relationships. What sets GAD apart is the feeling that you can’t stop worrying. You may find it impossible to relax, even when you’re doing something you enjoy. In severe cases, GAD can interfere with work, relationships, and daily activities
Who Gets Anxiety?
People of any age can develop GAD, even children. The disorder tends to appear gradually, with the first symptoms most likely to occur between childhood and middle age. GAD affects twice as many women as men.
What Causes Anxiety?
The genes passed down through a family may put some people at a higher risk for anxiety, but that’s not the whole picture. Scientists think that a mix of DNA, environment, and psychological factors are to blame. Researchers are looking at brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, as well as a pair of structures inside the brain called the amygdalae.
There’s no lab test for GAD, so the diagnosis is made based on your description of your symptoms. It’s important to be specific when telling your doctor about your anxiety. What do you worry about? How often? Does your anxiety interfere with any activities? You may have GAD if you have been feeling anxious or worrying too much for at least six months.
Treating Anxiety: Psychotherapy
One kind of talk therapy is very effective in treating anxiety. It’s called cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. A counselor helps you identify your negative thoughts and actions. CBT may include homework, such as writing down the thoughts that lead to excess worry. You will also learn calming strategies. People can feel better in three to four months. A combination of medicine and CBT often works best. There is a great service offered here in Australia called “New Beginnings Program”, look it up its free and great from what I hear.
Treating Anxiety: Medicine
Some antidepressant drugs work well to lower anxiety. Brand names include Cymbalta, Effexor XR, Lexapro, and Paxil. It may take four to six weeks to feel better. Your doctor might prescribe a benzodiazepine for a short while. Brand names include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, and Xanax. These drugs carry a risk of dependence. A newer drug called Buspar can also treat GAD. Be sure to discuss the pros and cons of medications with your doctor, its not always the only answer or option and in fact should be the last option.
Self-Care for Anxiety
You can support your treatment for GAD by making a few simple changes in your habits. Avoid caffeine, street drugs, and even some cold medicines, which can boost anxiety symptoms. Try to get enough rest and eat healthy foods. Try relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation. And be sure to exercise; there’s evidence that moderate physical activity can have a calming effect as well as many other health benefits.
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Among herbal remedies, there is some evidence that kava may help ease mild to moderate anxiety. There’s not enough evidence yet to say whether valerian or St. John’s wort can help ease the symptoms of GAD. Be sure to talk with your doctor before starting any herbal remedy. Some have harmful side effects or interact with medications
Anxiety and Other Disorders
People who have GAD may also develop depression, alcoholism, or drug addiction. If one of these illnesses occurs, a second treatment plan may be needed. It’s also common for people with GAD to have another anxiety disorder. These can include panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobia
People with panic disorder have sudden attacks of terror. Symptoms can include a pounding heart, sweating, dizziness, nausea, or chest pain. You may think you’re having a heart attack, dying, or losing your mind. Panic disorder affects about six million American adults, and it’s one of the most treatable of all anxiety disorders
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Some people develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after living through a terrifying ordeal. Rape, abuse, war, or a natural disaster can lead to this type of anxiety. The symptoms include vivid flashbacks and a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. People may also have trouble being affectionate. They may feel irritable or even become violent. It’s treated with medicine and counseling
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have troubling thoughts they can’t control. Some people feel that they must perform senseless rituals. Common compulsions include excessive hand-washing and locking the door repeatedly. They may get dressed in a certain order or count objects for no good reason. Many people with OCD know their rituals don’t make sense but can’t stop doing them. OCD affects about two million Americans and is often treated with medication and psychotherapy
Social Anxiety Disorder
People with social phobia feel overly panicky and self-conscious in ordinary social situations. Symptoms include a sense of dread before social events and sweating, blushing, nausea, or difficulty talking during the events. In severe cases, people with social phobia may avoid school or work.
Where to Get Help for Anxiety
Start by discussing your anxiety with your family doctor. He or she can rule out other illnesses that can mimic GAD. If an anxiety disorder seems likely, you’ll probably be sent to a mental health professional. This specialist should have training in psychotherapy. It’s important to choose someone you’re comfortable with to guide your progress as you work to feel better
Info taken from WebMD