There is hardly a person on Earth whose life flows absolutely smoothly and serenely. We are all in one way or another prone to experiences – not always justified. But if for most people experiences have a reason and end after its disappearance (exam, quarrel, conflict at work, etc.), then some people are immersed in them headlong and are unable to return to a normal lifestyle even after the situation stabilizes, then are in a state of anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Constantly experiencing problems for no apparent reason is called anxiety. It is based not only on actual emotional experiences, but also on the peculiarities of upbringing, the situation in the family, the presence of internal conflicts (most often these are problems with self-esteem), as well as post-traumatic stress, which developed against the background of some difficult life situation. According to scientists, 31% of people in the world are faced with the problem of anxiety.
Anxiety itself is a normal feeling. It was formed in representatives of our species to keep the body in a state of readiness in a stressful situation. Anxiety is normal in situations such as an exam, competition, travel to a foreign country, public speaking, etc.
It can be manifested by muscle tension in different parts of the body, a tingling sensation in the abdomen and mild disturbance of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), nausea, increased heart rate, obsessive thoughts, fear of loss of control, etc. Usually all these symptoms disappear after either the stress factor disappears, or the person enters the period of realization of the disturbing situation, his attention and other resources are switched to solving the problem – and the anxiety disappears. It remains only to continue doing what the situation requires.
But if anxiety persists day after day, for weeks or even months, regardless of the presence of a trigger situation, then we should talk about an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety disorder
Doctors distinguish between two main groups of symptoms of anxiety disorder:
- Group 1: mental manifestations of anxiety
Attacks of strong, unreasonable fear that develop in various situations, often quite harmless. Loss of a sense of reality, a sense of “bystander”, fear of losing control over the body or over behavior, fear of death. Increased irritability and inability to control their emotions in response to a perceived threat.
- Group 2: physical manifestations of anxiety
Rapid heartbeat and breathing, surges in blood pressure, tremors in the hands and body, anxious jerking at any trigger, increased sweating hot flashes and cold, nausea, dry mouth, feeling short of breath, choking, gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea), acute urge to toilet, dizziness, tingling of the skin and numbness of the limbs, weakness in the legs, sleep disturbances.
You should start worrying if:
- Anxiety symptoms last for months, although stressful situations are in the past.
- Anxiety attacks often develop from scratch.
- At the same time, a person is not able to control his feelings and his behavior.
- Against the background of the above physical symptoms, more serious manifestations develop, for example, pain in the heart.
- Anxiety begins to interfere with daily activities, communication, hobbies, relationships within and outside the family.
Before going to the doctor, the patient can take a number of actions to reduce the risk of developing anxiety attacks. It seems that these are “sticky teeth” principles of a healthy lifestyle (HLS), but do not underestimate their effectiveness:
- Regular balanced nutrition.
- Reducing the intake of caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks), which leads to the development of physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate. And it can trigger the development of other manifestations of anxiety.
- Reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.
- Regular physical activity that relieves stress and muscle tension. Doctors recommend at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity per week.
- Regular hobby activities.
How is medication treated?
If you are anxious, you should see a doctor. Today, there are many effective medicines that can restore a person’s joy in life and reduce the manifestations of anxiety that destroys his psyche.
In no case should you prescribe medicines yourself. The selection procedure for an effective medication can take a lot of time and should be carried out only under the supervision of a doctor.
Usually , antidepressants are prescribed to treat anxiety disorders , sometimes hypnotics and / or sedatives are added to them.
An important point: all side effects that occur when taking medications should be reported to your doctor, but do not stop treatment yourself. The doctor will either adjust the dose or prescribe a different drug.
Also, you can not stop treatment if there are visible improvements. Premature interruption of the course of treatment often leads to relapses and the return of the painful state. Therefore, even with a clear improvement, medication should be continued for at least six months or a year. Only a doctor can complete the course of therapy.
Medication for anxiety disorders must be taken according to certain rules:
- You need to take the medicine every day, at the same time, in the same dosage.
- If you miss a dose, you do not need to take a double dose, just take the pill as soon as you remember it.
- For the duration of the course of treatment, alcohol should be abandoned, otherwise negative side effects may develop.
How to be treated by a psychotherapist?
As practice shows, the best effect of therapy for anxiety disorders is achieved by combining self-help techniques, drug therapy, and regular visits to a psychotherapist.
One of the most effective methods is cognitive behavioral therapy. Hypnotherapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy have also been successfully used to treat anxiety disorders.
Effective treatment is based on collaboration between patient and doctor. This, first of all, means that you should not be afraid to tell the therapist about all the manifestations of your disorder, as well as about possible problems in life that could become his triggers.
It is important that the patient strictly adheres to all the recommendations of the attending physician.
You should initially tune in to long periods of treatment – this is normal for mental disorders. The intervals between consultations can be from 1 to 4 weeks. Positive changes most often become noticeable only after a month or two of regular therapy.