What is anxiety disorder and how to help with anxiety is what I would like to discuss with you here. Anxiety is distress or uneasiness in the mind caused by a fear of danger or misfortune. I believe it is possible to live a life to the fullest even if you suffer from disorders like anxiety and depression.
What is anxiety and depression?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, which is 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, but it has been found that only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. In a year, it is estimated that 17.3 million American adults 18 and over suffer from a major depressive disorder.
Having occasional anxiety can be a normal part of life. People with anxiety disorders differ because they frequently have excessive and intense worry and fear about situations that happen every day. Anxiety disorders involve episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear that reach a peak within minutes. This is often referred to as a panic attack.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. An intense feeling of hopelessness and despair. Sleep changes, loss of energy, preoccupation with death or dying, and irritability are some of the symptoms of depression. If you are feeling any of these symptoms persistently or strongly, please contact someone for help. Research has found that nearly half of Americans diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Many disorders that are related to anxiety disorders are eating disorders, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Even though anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only about 1/3 of those suffering receive or seek out treatment or counseling.
Anxiety is more of intense feelings of fear or worry. They can become so extreme that they interfere with day to day activities. Anxiety disorder symptoms can include
- Difficulty concentrating
- Chronic fatigue
Many anxiety disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including trauma, stress buildup maybe from work or bills, stress due to an illness, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, or even a family history of mental health issues. Research has found an estimated 284 million people worldwide experienced an anxiety disorder in 2017. This made it the most prevalent mental health disorder around the globe.
It is estimated that approximately 8% of children and teenagers will experience an anxiety disorder, with many of their symptoms developing before age 21. Many of the symptoms, just like adults, can affect children every day, but it is when they become more intense and persistent is when a parent might want to seek out help. Symptoms can include
- Inattention, poor focus
- Headaches or stomachaches
- Refusing to go to school
- Meltdowns before school about clothing, hair, shoes, socks
- Meltdowns after school about homework
- Difficulties with transitions within school, and between school and an activity/sport
- Difficulty settling down for bed
- Having high expectations for school work, homework and sports performance (anxiety.org)
Sometimes, it may be hard to figure out if your child is suffering from anxiety or from another condition. The symptoms of mental health disorders like anxiety often coincide with symptoms of other disorders in children, and it can be very easy to mistake anxiety for a learning disability or an attention deficit disorder.
My own daughter was difficult to diagnose. She started with some extreme changes in her moods, behaviors, and interactions with people. We took her to counseling, mental health doctors, and I sought advice from others for her extreme changes. Her biological father was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but they said she was too young for that. It took us almost two years and many tests to get a doctor to tell me she has extreme anxiety, and her IQ actually ranks in the genius levels which was adding to some of the anxiety she experienced at school.
What is anxiety treatment?
Anxiety treatment must be made specially for each individual; what works well for one person may not work for another. There are also many types of anxiety disorders. Professional therapy is one option, and also hypnosis. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) were first prescribed as antidepressants but, more recently, research has found that they might help with anxiety as well. They were named based on how they work in the brain, and I have discussed serotonin here. It is a chemical our body produces that acts as a neurotransmitter sending signals through our nerves. Some of the brand names associated with SSRIs include Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. These are the most widely used, and there are some other medications and even some brain stimulation therapies options.
Natural remedies to anxiety.
There are natural remedies to anxiety. In some of my previous articles I have discussed, and research has found that there are correlations between our nutrients, serotonin levels, and mental disorders like anxiety or depression. Many of the vitamins found to help with anxiety are
- Omega 3s
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B6 and B12
- Vitamin E
Some research has found that avoiding certain foods can also be beneficial. Foods and drinks high in sugars, sodium, and caffeine should be limited from the diet. I’ve even read that CBD oil might be beneficial for stress. Exercise has also been found to release endorphins that can increase your mood.
Activities that require concentration can help keep your brain occupied. Replacing negative thoughts with positive ones can also help with the symptoms of anxiety. Your mind is a very powerful tool and you have the choice on what you think about. Do you want to stress over bills or work? Or would you rather do something fun, meditate, or use relaxation techniques?
Do I have anxiety?
My daughter was diagnosed with extreme anxiety through a mental healthcare doctor. We tried three different medications, but my daughter complained that they upset her stomach really badly. She also expressed anxiety from the counseling because they ask so many questions. What did we do? I decided to change her diet by adding Omega 3s, calcium magnesium, and vitamins B and D. Also, reducing sugars and especially red dyes I have had some wonderful results.
If you think you are experiencing some of the symptoms of anxiety or depression please speak to a healthcare professional. I have also written some articles about how to think positive thoughts and how laughter can be good for you which might help you increase your positive thinking. Do I have anxiety? Yes I have at times. Do you? I have discussed with you how to help with anxiety, but if you have any questions or comments about anxiety please leave them for me below. We all deserve to live a life to the fullest!