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Quick relief from anxiety: 9 Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety in 5 Minutes or Less

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9 Ways to Get Rid of Anxiety in 5 Minutes or Less

Around 40 million people in the U.S. have an  anxiety disorder, which can range from a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), defined as “intense worrying you can’t control” to panic attacks, complete with heart palpitations, trembling, shaking, and/or sweating.

Whether you experience is of mild or extreme anxiety, there are steps you can take immediately to calm down and self-soothe. Here are a few of the best:

1. Stand up straight

According to Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, “When we are anxious, we protect our upper body — where our heart and lungs are located — by hunching over.”

For immediate relief from anxiety, stand up, pull your shoulders back, plant your feet evenly and widely apart, and open your chest. Then breathe deeply. This posture, combined with deep breathing, helps your body remember that it’s not in danger right now, and that it is in control (not helpless). If you can’t stand up (i.e. you’re in your car), just pull your shoulders back and open up your chest. The most important thing is to stop hunching and breathe deeply.

2. Play the 5-5-5 game

When you’re anxious, you’re often caught in a (negative) thought loop. Play this to get back into your body and stop anxiety fast:

  1. Look around and name 5 things you can see.

  2. List 5 sounds you can hear.

  3. Move 5 parts of your body you can feel (i.e. rotate your ankle, wiggle your ears, nod your head up and down).

It might sound silly, but this works.

3. Sniff lavender oil

Lavender oil has a lot of healing properties. It promotes a feeling of calm and supports deep, restful sleep. It can even help with headaches.

To help reduce anxiety, keep a bottle of lavender oil at your desk (or in purse if you have one). Breathe it in and/or massage it into your temples when you need a boost of peace. Bonus points for combining the sniffing with deep, even breaths.

4. Watch a funny video

Yes, really. Watching a clip of your favorite comedian or blooper reel will help you stop feeling anxious fast. Why? Because you can’t laugh and stay anxious at the same time, physiologically. Your body relaxes after a bout of laughter in a way that gets rid of anxiety. Plus, according to the Mayo Clinic, laughter brings in oxygen-rich air, which stimulates your heart and lungs, and spikes your endorphins.

5. Go for a brisk walk

Exercise is a long-proven way to lower anxiety. In addition to boosting your level of feel-good neurotransmitters, a brisk walk clears your mind and gets you breathing more deeply again–and anxiety is intimately linked to shallow breathing.

Studies also show that people who exercise vigorously on a regular basis are 25 percent less likely to develop an anxiety disorder.

6. Accept your anxiety

This may sound counterintuitive, but Chansky says accepting your anxiety (instead of feeling ashamed or frustrated by it) will actually help you feel less anxious.

It doesn’t matter whether you inherited your anxiety from your family or your lifestyle, or both. It’s here now, and acknowledging that instead of fighting it frees you up to learn how to manage it. Accepting it doesn’t mean giving up, either. It means you stop spending energy berating yourself for being anxious and instead learn what works for you when it comes to self-soothing.

7. Listen to the most relaxing song in the world

This song was engineered specifically to calm your nervous system. It was found to reduce anxiety by up to 65 percent. Here is a loop of it playing on repeat.

8. Re-label what’s happening.

If you’re having a panic attack and your heart is racing, it’s easy to believe something like, “I’m going to die.” Instead of buying into this inaccurate thought, re-label it. Remind yourself: “This is a panic attack. I’ve had them before and they don’t actually kill me; they pass. This will also pass, and there’s nothing I need to do.”

In actuality, panic attacks are an activation of the body’s fight-or-flight response, which doesn’t kill you–it keeps you alive.

9. Do something

Do anything. Clear a few things off your desk. Walk over to the kitchenette and get yourself a glass of water. Walk outside and find a flower to smell–it doesn’t matter. Doing an action interrupts your thought pattern, which is often where anxiety starts.

When it comes to stopping anxiety, self-soothing is actually a profound act of self-love. 

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

6 Cheap, Natural, and Quick Anxiety Remedies

2. Schedule relaxation. “Sit down and look at your schedule,” says Katherine Raymer, MD, ND, associate clinical professor of naturopathic medicine at Bastyr University, Seattle.

“Is there a time to put in a half hour to do whatever you do that is relaxing?” Dr. Raymer asks. That can be a walk, meditation, yoga, tai chi or anything you find relaxing.

Researchers trying to help shy men with social anxiety found that a period of relaxation helped them, lowering their heart rates after they interacted with people.

3. Take GABA. The supplement GABA, sold online and in health food stores, may help calm anxious people, Raymer says.

Short for gamma-aminobutyic acid, GABA is a brain transmitter that counteracts the action of another neurotransmitter, glutamate that increases your excitability.

Researchers found that individuals who ate chocolate enriched with GABA before tackling an arithmetic task were less stressed after completing it than those who didn’t have the GABA-infused chocolate.

It is important to remember that supplements such as GABA can interact with medications, so it’s crucial to check in with your doctor before taking them on your own, she says. “Get your doctor’s permission, even if you are not taking other medication.”

4. Try lavender. Try lavender essential oil to calm yourself, Raymer says. “We have people put a drop of it on their collarbone,” she says. “The smell wafts up. The odor is very relaxing.” Or, you can rub it gently into your temple, she says.

RELATED: What It’s Like to Have an Anxiety Attack

In a 2012 study of women anxious about having a medical procedure, researchers found that those who inhaled lavender a half hour before the procedure were calmer than those who did not.

Again, don’t forget to check first with your doctor before using the essential oil lavender, Raymer says.

5. Ground yourself. When anxiety hits, ”do something tangible,” says John Tsilimparis, MFT, a marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Pepperdine University.

“Take your house keys out, run your fingers along the keys,” says Tsilimparis. “That sensation will give you ‘grounding.’ Pick up a paperweight, hold it in your hand. Or, get an ice cube. Hold it as long as you can do it.”

Why does this work? “Your brain can’t be in two places at once,” he says. The activity distracts you from the anxious feelings. “Your mind will shift from racing, catastrophic thoughts [that accompany anxiety] to the cold ice cube in your hand,” he says.

According to some research, using a virtual reality distraction system can reduce anxiety during dental procedures. Patients immersed in VR — a computer-generated realistic environment — reported less pain and anxiety than when they didn’t use it.

6. Face the fear. “If something makes you scared, face it,” says Cassiday. If you feel shy, go out to social functions, she says. Scared of clowns? Go to the circus.

It can help, too, to understand that when you worry about what might happen — such as no one will talk to you at the party — your anxiety just rises. Your anxious worry is about the uncertainty, she says. “What a worrier really wants is a promise that everything is going to be OK.”

But uncertainty is part of life, she says. Exposure therapy, or facing the fear, helps you learn to live with risk and uncertainty.

How to reduce anxiety – Headspace

7 ways to help lower anxiety naturally

  1. Get a good night’s sleep.

Research shows that after a full night of sleep — 7-9 hours is ideal — we’re likely to feel less anxious and more confident. Physical activity during the day will help us sleep better, too. And remember: if winding down for the night inclues reading before bed, don’t make these mistakes.

  1. Fill the plate with anti-anxiety foods.

Science is discovering more about the “gut-brain connection.” Researchers often refer to the belly as the second brain, since about 95% of serotonin receptors are found in the lining of the gut. (It’s why we get butterflies in our stomach when we’re anxious.) Science shows that foods containing certain vitamins and minerals may help reduce anxiety, so when we’re thinking about natural ways to help anxiety, consider filling up on these:

  • Leafy greens, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, which are rich in magnesium. Evidence suggests that magnesium may have a beneficial effect on anxiety.

  • Oysters, liver, and egg yolks contain the mineral zinc, which has been linked to lower anxiety.

  • Wild Alaskan salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce anxiety.

  • Turkey contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin that helps regulate sleep and mood.

  • Berries, apples, prunes, cherries, plums, broccoli, beets, and spices like ginger and turmeric are all high in antioxidants. Anxiety is thought to be correlated with lower levels. Artichokes and asparagus, which is widely used in Chinese medicine, are known for their anti-anxiety properties.

It might also be a good idea to limit caffeine and alcohol — both of which can aggravate symptoms of anxiety.

  1. Take a vitamin B-complex or a probiotic supplement.

Research shows that B vitamins have many health and quality of life benefits, and supplementing with B vitamins is gaining scientific traction. This 2018 study found that people who ate food high in B vitamins showed significant improvements in their anxiety and stress scores than those who did not. Taking a high-quality B-complex supplement is generally very safe, since B vitamins are water-soluble, meaning the body excretes what it doesn’t use. But always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements since they can interact with medications or have side effects.

  1. Warm up in a steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, or hot bath.

Most of us associate feelings of warmth with a sense of calm and well-being — much the same way we would relaxing in the sun on a sandy beach. Research shows that heating up the body, whether in a bath, steam room, or sauna, reduces muscle tension and anxiety. Sensations of warmth may alter neural circuits that control mood, including those that affect the neurotransmitter serotonin. Try cozying upby a fire with a cup of tea or hot cocoa, too.

  1. Spend time in nature.

Most of us intuitively feel relaxed and less anxious when we’re outdoors, but in fact there’s science to back that up. Spending time in any natural setting lowers our blood pressure, heart rate, and the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol. Research analyzing data from 10,000 people found that those living near more green space reported less mental distress.

When it comes to the healing power of nature, Japan is clearly at the forefront with their practice of shinrin-yoku, roughly translated as “forest bathing,” or “taking in the forest atmosphere.” It’s about experiencing nature through all 5 senses, being mindful and present, absorbing the beauty, sounds, scents, and light in your surroundings. It’s a cornerstone of preventive healthcare in Japan, with officially designated trails, organized walks, and guided meditations.

  1. Consider complementary treatments like acupuncture, aromatherapy, and massage.

Of course a massage feels fantastic, but it’s also recognized as an integrative medicine technique, and often recommended to treat anxiety and insomnia caused by stress. Therapeutic massage relieves muscle tension, improves circulation, and helps lower the fight-or-flight response that’s typically overactive in people with anxiety disorders.

Acupuncture has become an accepted treatment for both medical and mental-health conditions, and it’s also more widely available, including through many hospitals. (Some insurance policies will cover a set number of treatments.) Acupuncturists and medical professionals are unclear exactly why it helps with anxiety, but research notes that acupuncture appears to have a calming effect. If you’re considering treatment, speak with your doctor first. To find a licensed practitioner, check the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture websites.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils derived from various plants to promote well-being. They can be diffused throughout a room, added to bath water or massage oil, and are an ingredient in body lotions, candles, and incense.

  • Lavender oil is known for its soothing effects and promoting restful sleep.

  • Lemon essential oil may help lift your mood, calm fearful thoughts, and relieve stress.

  • Bergamot oil is said to ease anxiety and encourage deep relaxation.

  • Ylang-ylang, derived from the flowers of the ylang-ylang tree, may help with self-esteem perception.

  1. Start a meditation practice with Headspace.

While there’s no getting rid of anxiety, meditation can have a benefit after only one session. But with a regular meditation practice, we increase our ability to manage anxiety. Studies show when it becomes a habit, meditation helps us develop the skills to better manage anxiety and stress, and cultivate peace of mind.

“Meditation isn’t about resisting anxiety or pushing it away,” says Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. “It’s about changing our relationship to it, being at ease with it, and being okay with it when it arises, without buying into it. When we’re able to watch the anxiety come and go, then that’s a really comfortable, healthy place to be.”

Try 6 meditations to help reduce anxiety

Looking for more meditations to help you feel calm? The Headspace app offers subscribers several courses and single meditations on topics related to anxiety, including:

  • Managing Anxiety 10-day course. Cultivate a new perspective on fear and anxiety.

  • Unemployment Anxiety single meditation. Recognize and release stress about job loss and the future.

  • Letting Go of Stress 10-day course. Enjoy a healthier mind by developing your awareness of stress and learning how to reframe negative emotions.

  • Stressed single meditation. Notice what you’re holding onto and how to drop the preoccupying storyline.

  • Why can’t I sleep? single meditation. This exercise will help you practice calming the mind and body during the day, so you feel more ready for sleep when bedtime comes.

  • Difficult Conversations single meditation. The prospect of a difficult conversation can drive feelings of anxiety and fear, but by lesseing habits of reactivity and developing a calmer, more patient mindset, you can both listen and express yourself more clearly.

Anxiety Medication – HelpGuide.org

anxiety

Are anti-anxiety drugs right for you? Learn about common side effects, risks, and how to take them responsibly.

The role of medication in anxiety treatment

When you’re overwhelmed by heart-pounding panic, paralyzed by fear, or exhausted from yet another sleepless night spent worrying, you’ll do just about anything to get relief. And there’s no question that when anxiety is disabling, medication may help. But are drugs always the best answer?

Many different types of medications are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines (typically prescribed for short-term use) and newer options like SSRI antidepressants (often recommended as a long-term anxiety solution). These drugs can provide temporary relief, but they also come with side effects and safety concerns—some significant.

They are also not a cure. In fact, there are many questions about their long-term effectiveness. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines lose their therapeutic anti-anxiety effect after 4 to 6 months of regular use. And a recent analysis reported in JAMA Psychiatry found that the effectiveness of SSRIs in treating anxiety has been overestimated, and in some cases is no better than placebo.

What’s more, it can be very difficult to get off anxiety medications without difficult withdrawals, including rebound anxiety that can be worse than your original problem.

I need relief, and I need it now!

So where does that leave you if you’re suffering? Even when anxiety relief comes with side effects and dangers, that can still sound like a fair trade when panic and fear are ruling your life.

The bottom line is that there’s a time and place for anxiety medication. If you have severe anxiety that’s interfering with your ability to function, medication may be helpful—especially as a short-term treatment. However, many people use anti-anxiety medication when therapy, exercise, or other self-help strategies would work just as well or better, minus the drawbacks.

Anxiety medications can ease symptoms, but they’re not right for everyone and they’re not the only answer. It’s up to you to evaluate your options and decide what’s best for you.

Benzodiazepines for anxiety

Benzodiazepines (also known as tranquilizers) are the most widely prescribed type of medication for anxiety. Drugs such as Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Ativan (lorazepam) work quickly, typically bringing relief within 30 minutes to an hour. That makes them very effective when taken during a panic attack or another overwhelming anxiety episode. However, they are physically addictive and not recommended for long-term treatment.

Benzodiazepines work by slowing down the nervous system, helping you relax both physically and mentally. But it can also lead to unwanted side effects. The higher the dose, the more intense these side effects typically are—although some people feel sleepy, foggy, and uncoordinated even on low doses. This can cause problems with work, school, or everyday activities such as driving. The medication hangover can last into the next day.

Common side effects of benzodiazepines include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Confusion
  • Stomach upset
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
Benzodiazepines can make depression worse

According to the FDA, benzodiazepines can worsen cases of pre-existing depression, and more recent studies suggest that they may potentially lead to treatment-resistant depression. Furthermore, benzodiazepines can cause emotional blunting or numbness and increase suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Benzodiazepine safety concerns

Benzodiazepines are generally not recommended for long-term use since the safety concerns and risk of abuse increase as you build up a tolerance to the medication.

Drug dependence and withdrawal

When taken regularly, benzodiazepines lead to physical dependence and tolerance, with increasingly larger doses needed to get the same anxiety relief as before. This happens quickly—usually within a couple of months, but sometimes in as little as a few weeks.

If you abruptly stop taking your medication, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Increased anxiety, restlessness, shaking.
  • Insomnia, confusion, stomach pain.
  • Depression, confusion, panic attacks.
  • Pounding heart, sweating, and in severe cases, seizure.

Many people mistake withdrawal symptoms for a return of their original anxiety condition, making them think they need to restart the medication. Gradually tapering off the drug will help minimize the withdrawal reaction.

Drug interactions and overdose

While benzodiazepines are relatively safe when taken only occasionally and in small doses, they can be dangerous and even deadly when combined with other central nervous system depressants. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before combining medications.

Don’t drink on benzodiazepines. When mixed with alcohol, benzodiazepines can lead to fatal overdose.

Don’t mix with painkillers or sleeping pills. Taking benzodiazepines with prescription pain or sleeping pills can also lead to fatal overdose.

Antihistamines amplify their effects. Antihistamines—found in many over-the-counter sleep, cold, and allergy medicines—are sedating on their own. Be cautious when mixing with benzodiazepines to avoid over-sedation.

Be cautious when combining with antidepressants. SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft can heighten benzodiazepine toxicity. You may need to adjust your dose accordingly.

Paradoxical effects of benzodiazepines

The benzodiazepines work because they slow down the nervous system. But sometimes, for reasons that aren’t well understood, they have the opposite effect. Paradoxical reactions are most common in children, the elderly, and people with developmental disabilities. They include:

  • Increased anxiety, irritability, agitation, aggression, and rage
  • Mania, impulsive behavior, and hallucinations

Special benzodiazepine risk factors

Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:

People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

People with a history of substance abuse. Because they’re physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.

The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents

Benzodiazepines cause drowsiness and poor coordination, which increases your risk for accidents at home, at work, and on the road. When on benzodiazepines, be very careful when driving, operating machinery, or doing anything else that requires physical coordination.

SSRI antidepressants for anxiety

Many medications originally approved for the treatment of depression are also prescribed for anxiety. In comparison to benzodiazepines, the risk for dependency and abuse is smaller. However, antidepressants take up to 4 to 6 weeks to begin relieving anxiety symptoms, so they can’t be taken “as needed.” Their use is limited to chronic anxiety problems that require ongoing treatment.

The antidepressants most widely prescribed for anxiety are SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. SSRIs have been used to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Common side effects of SSRIs include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nervousness
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating

SSRI withdrawal

Although physical dependence is not as quick to develop with antidepressants, withdrawal can still be an issue. If discontinued too quickly, antidepressant withdrawal can trigger symptoms such as extreme depression and fatigue, irritability, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, and insomnia.

Antidepressant medication and suicide risk

Antidepressants can make depression worse rather than better for some people, leading to an increased risk of suicide, hostility, and even homicidal behavior. While this is particularly true of children and young adults, anyone taking antidepressants should be closely watched. Monitoring is especially important if this is the person’s first time on depression medication or if the dose has recently been changed.

Signs that medication is making things worse include anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, hostility, restlessness, and extreme agitation—particularly if the symptoms appear suddenly or rapidly deteriorate. If you spot the warning signs in yourself or a loved one, contact a doctor or therapist immediately.

If you are concerned that a friend or family member is contemplating suicide, see Suicide Prevention. The suicide risk is greatest during the first two months of antidepressant treatment.

Other types of medication for anxiety

Drugs such as Buspirone and beta blockers may also be used in the treatment of anxiety.

Buspirone (BuSpar)

Buspirone, also known by the brand name BuSpar, is a newer anti-anxiety drug that acts as a mild tranquilizer. Buspirone relieves anxiety by increasing serotonin in the brain—as the SSRIs do—and decreasing dopamine. Compared to benzodiazepines, buspirone is slow acting—taking about two weeks to start working. However, it’s not as sedating, it doesn’t impair memory and coordination, and the withdrawal effects are minimal.

Since the risk of dependence is low and it has no serious drug interactions, buspirone is a better option for older individuals and people with a history of substance abuse. However, its effectiveness is limited. It works for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but doesn’t seem to help other types of anxiety disorders.

Common side effects of buspirone include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Upset stomach
  • Constipation
  • Nervousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth

Beta blockers

Beta blockers—including drugs such as propranolol (Inderal) and atenolol (Tenormin)—are a type of medication used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems. However, they are also prescribed off-label for anxiety. Beta blockers work by blocking the effects of norepinephrine, a stress hormone involved in the fight-or-flight response. This helps control the physical symptoms of anxiety such as rapid heart rate, a trembling voice, sweating, dizziness, and shaky hands.

Because beta blockers don’t affect the emotional symptoms of anxiety such as worry, they’re most helpful for phobias, particularly social phobia and performance anxiety. If you’re anticipating a specific anxiety-producing situation (such as giving a speech), taking a beta blocker in advance can help reduce your “nerves.”

Common side effects of beta blockers include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Medication isn’t your only option for anxiety relief

Anxiety medication won’t solve your problems if you’re anxious because of mounting bills, a tendency to jump to “worst-case scenarios”, or an unhealthy relationship. That’s where self-help, therapy, and other lifestyle changes come in. These non-drug treatments can produce lasting changes and long-term relief.

Exercise – Exercise is a powerful anxiety treatment. Studies show that regular workouts can ease symptoms just as effectively as medication.

Worry busting strategies – You can train your brain to stop worrying and look at life from a more calm and balanced perspective.

Therapy – Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach you how to control your anxiety levels, stop worrisome thoughts, and conquer your fears.

Yoga and tai chi – Yoga and tai chi are mind-body interventions that engage you emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Data has shown their efficacy for many different medical conditions, including anxiety.

Mindfulness and meditation – Mindfulness is a state of mind where you learn to observe your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a present, compassionate, and non-judgmental way. It often brings a sense of calm and relaxation.

Deciding if anxiety medication is right for you

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to treat your anxiety with medication, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons in conjunction with your doctor. It’s also important to learn about the common side effects of the anxiety medication you are considering. Side effects of anxiety medication range from mild nuisances such as dry mouth to more severe problems such as acute nausea or pronounced weight gain. For any anxiety medication, you will have to balance the side effects against the benefits.

Questions to ask yourself and a mental health professional

  • Is medication the best option for my anxiety problem?
  • Am I willing to put up with unpleasant side effects in return for anxiety relief?
  • What non-drug treatments for anxiety might help?
  • Do I have the time and am I willing to pursue non-drug treatments such as cognitive-behavioral therapy?
  • What self-help strategies might help me get my anxiety under control?
  • If I decide to take anxiety medication, should I pursue other therapy as well?
  • Is anxiety really my problem? Or is something else going on, such as an underlying health condition or pain, for example?

Questions to ask your doctor

  • How will the medication help my anxiety?
  • What are the drug’s common side effects?
  • Are there any food and drinks I will need to avoid?
  • How will this drug interact with my other prescriptions?
  • How long will I have to take the anxiety medication?
  • Will withdrawing from the medication be difficult?
  • Will my anxiety return when I stop taking the medication?

 

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Reviewed by Anna Glezer, M.D.

Anna Glezer, M.D. is a Harvard-trained clinician with joint appointments in the reproductive psychiatry and OB/GYN departments at UCSF Medical Center. She is the founder of Mind Body Pregnancy.

10 Ways To Reduce Your Anxiety And Relax

We all feel anxious from time to time. When faced with an important test, or a major life change, anxiety may be a perfectly normal response. For a person suffering from an anxiety disorder, however, anxiety is more than an occasional worry. Severe or chronic anxiety may affect your relationships, school performance, or job. Generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder are among the most common anxiety disorders.

Approximately 40 million adults in the U.S. (18%) are affected by an anxiety disorder. In fact, it is the most common mental health problem in the U.S. Children and teens are also affected and most people begin experiencing symptoms before age 21.

While each form of anxiety disorder has distinct symptoms, they also may share common symptoms.

Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms may include:

  • Excessive or uncontrolled worry
  • Feeling edgy or restless
  • Problems focusing or concentrating on a task
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension or headaches
  • Frequent sleep problems

Treatment for anxiety disorders may involve a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. But there are many simple techniques that have proven effective for those in the midst of an anxiety attack.

Here are ten ways to quickly reduce your anxiety and relax:

1. Remember to breathe

Stop for a moment and focus on breathing deeply. Sit up straight, then take a long breath through your nose, hold it for the count of three, then exhale slowly, while relaxing the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders and abdominal area. This will help slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure. Practice your deep breathing from time to time so that it becomes second nature to do it when under stress.

2. Take a mental step back

Anxiety tends to be focused on the future, so instead, try to focus on the present.  Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety, suggests that you ask yourself what is happening and what, if anything, needs to be done right now. If nothing needs to be done now, make a conscious decision to revisit the situation later in the day, when you are calmer.

3. Follow the 3-3-3 rule

This is a simple way to change your focus. Start by looking around you and naming three things you can see. Then listen. What three sounds do you hear? Next, move three parts of your body, such as your fingers, toes, or clench and release your shoulders.

4. Meditate

Research shows that practicing mindful meditation can reduce anxiety and other psychological stresses. We are all capable of mindfulness, but it is easier to do when we have practiced and made it a habit. If you are new to the practice, you may wish to try guided meditation with the assistance of audiotapes or a phone app. It is not difficult or exotic, but just learning to pay attention to the present. Just sit up straight with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and recite, either out loud or to yourself, a mantra. The mantra can be any positive statement or sound you choose. Try to sync the mantra with your breaths. If your mind drifts to distracting thoughts, don’t get frustrated. Just refocus and continue. Try to practice a few minutes each day and it will be an easy and accessible tool for your anti-anxiety toolkit.

 

5. Reach out

Telling a trusted friend or family member how you are feeling is a very personal decision, but those who are close to you can be a tremendous resource for handling anxiety. Talking to someone else, preferably in person, or by phone can offer a new perspective on your situation. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need. If you need someone to go with you to a movie, or for a walk, or just to sit with you for a time, speak up. No matter what, it is always comforting to talk to someone who cares about you.

6. Physical activity

Not a long distance runner or athlete? This is probably not the moment to start extreme training. Remember though, that all forms of exercise are good for you and help ease the symptoms of anxiety. Even gentle forms of exercise, such as walking, yoga, or tai chi, release those feel-good chemicals. If you are not able to do those immediately, do some stretching exercises at your desk, or take a short walk outside during lunch.

7. Music

According to a 2015 study, people with mild or severe anxiety benefit from listening to soothing music. Music has been proven to lower the heart rate and blood pressure. Keep music available so that you can easily listen to your favorite songs or even nature sounds. Create playlists so that you can listen and get quick relief from symptoms. Research also shows that singing releases endorphins and oxytocin, which alleviates anxiety. Apparently, you don’t even have to be good. Just sing.

8. Be kind to yourself

Sometimes you just need to do something to help you feel better. That may mean getting a massage, or a soothing facial. To relax quickly, put a warmed heat wrap around your neck and shoulders. Close your eyes and relax the muscles in your face and neck. Sometimes it helps to simply disconnect from the noise of the world. Even if you only have five minutes, turn off your phone, computer, television and let the world turn without you for a little while. Silent time is soothing.

9. Laughter

Anxiety is certainly no joke, but laughter has some surprising benefits. Similar to deep breathing, the act of laughing increases oxygen levels and helps with muscle relaxation. Laughter just feels good and lightens and shifts our focus. Watch a comedy or call that friend who always makes you laugh. You’ll be glad you did.

10. Creativity

If you have a creative streak, use it. The arts offer an outlook for all of those anxious feelings. If you are artistic, take a few minutes to draw or paint how you are feeling. Keep a soothing picture of a beach or your “happy place” where you can look at it and take a mental vacation. Expressive writing has been shown to help with anxiety and depression. Keeping a gratitude journal reduces negative thoughts and helps you remember all the good things in your life. Try writing in your gratitude journal at bedtime. It may help you sleep better.

You may wish to make a short list of helpful tips which have worked for you so that you can refer to it when you are overwhelmed by anxiety symptoms. Remember, we are here to help you understand and deal with your anxiety. For further information or to make an appointment with a counselor, contact us.

7 steps for getting through a panic attack

“It feels like I’m dying.” Those are the words people use to describe what a panic attack feels like. The process of addressing and managing them is a journey — there’s no immediate cure or course of action that will stop a panic attack in its tracks.

It takes time, patience and dedication to identify your unique triggers. However, there are steps that serve as preemptive measures to help shorten the duration of a panic attack when it is occurring, and reduce the frequency and severity of your anxiety in the long term.

Related

Step 1: Ground Yourself and Then Write a Quick Note

This takes practice, but when your anxiety begins taking over, experts say being present and reasonable can help shorten the duration.

“When I get in the middle of my ‘what-if snowball,’ at some point I’m able to back off,” says Elaine, a 32-year-old mother in Indiana, who has been diagnosed with panic disorder. “I sometimes have to actually tell myself to stop out loud. I’ve said, ‘Stop, Elaine. That’s ridiculous.’ When I take a second to really evaluate whether or not what I’m thinking is reasonable, I am able to recognize it’s not and just move on.”

In cases where she cannot recognize whether her thoughts or anxiety is normal, she physically writes down a note and discusses it with her therapist.

Studies show that people who wrote about emotionally charged episodes were happier, less depressed and less anxious.

Which science says is a smart move. Writing down your fears can actually help reduce them, and ease the anxiety that accompanies them. One study published in the journal Psychological Science found that writing thoughts down and physically throwing them in the garbage can be an effective way to clear your mind.

Other research has shown that writing about a traumatic or emotional experiences over several weeks or months is an effective technique for decreasing worries in depressed individuals. Research conducted by James Pennebaker, a professor at the University of Texas, found that the people who wrote about emotionally charged episodes were happier, less depressed and less anxious, and reported better relationships, improved memory and more success at work.

So keep a notebook and pen in your car, by your bedside, and in your purse for when anxious thoughts begin to creep up.

Step 2: Focus on Your Breath

If you’re experiencing a full-blown panic attack, consciously make an effort to breathe slowly and deeply. Your breathing should be methodical and controlled completely by you — which is often easier said than done, as panic attacks are often accompanied by hyperventilation.

Dr. Andrew Weil calls breathing the most effective relaxation technique. “Practicing regular, mindful breathing exercise can be calming and energizing and can even help with stress-related health problems ranging from panic attacks to digestive disorders,” he says. And there is clinical evidence to support the use of yoga (deep) breathing in the treatment of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and for victims of mass disasters. Research conducted by Southern Methodist University actually found that a treatment program that teaches people who suffer from panic disorder how to normalize their breathing was actually more effective than cognitive therapy at reducing both symptoms of panic and hyperventilation.

“Most panic-disorder patients report they are terrified of physical symptoms such as shortness of breath or dizziness,” says Alicia E. Meuret, psychologist and panic disorder expert at Southern Methodist University. “In our study, [the breathing training] was proved an effective and powerful treatment that reduces the panic by means of normalizing respiratory physiology.”

Have a few breathing exercise on deck to use to slow your breathing during an attack. A simple one to try is: breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, and release for four counts. While breathing, actively remind yourself that the panic attack will pass, and that you are going to be okay.

Step 3: Identify a Point Person

Annette said that one of the things that has helped her through attacks is having what she calls “a panic attack point person.” This may be your therapist, a family member or spouse, or a good friend. Whoever it is, this person should be familiar with your anxiety history, and should be someone you feel you can rely on.

“It’s important to have people in your life who don’t judge you and know what works for you when you are having an episode,” says Annette, a 43-year-old woman in Oregon who has been diagnosed with panic disorder. “I’m so lucky to have a couple people who are always there for me and treat me with respect and dignity when I need it most.”

Step 4: Be Kind to Yourself

It’s the default to feel down when struggling, but do your best to be kind to yourself. Understand that anxiety and panic management is a journey, and look for the positives in your experience with managing anxiety in your day to day life.

“Living with an anxiety disorder doesn’t have to lessen your quality of life. You can get back all of the things you feel like you have lost. I can drive wherever I want. I travel on my own and have gone climbing and zip lining. My life is usually exhilarating instead of terrifying,” says Annette. “In ways, anxiety offers its own gifts. It makes you vigilant about self-care, and demands that you pay attention to signs and symptoms. I’m more in tune with myself both emotionally and physically because of my anxiety and that has made me more conscious about how I treat others.”

Step 5: Regain Control with Meditation

Meditation is another common intervention that can be helpful not only as a preventative measure to reduce anxiety on an ongoing basis, but also as a tool to re-establish your relationship with your thoughts, which becomes important during an attack.

“It can help clients become an observing witness to the fluctuations of thought, realize they are not controlled by them, and consequently reduce symptoms,” says Meredith Strauss, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker who specializes in treating anxiety and depression. “By focusing on the breath, or the mantra, clients are distracted from disturbing thoughts dictated by the mind. They also learn to become non-judgmental of negative and distracting thoughts as they become a witness to their own thinking.”

She also notes there are meditation apps available that help calm an anxious and overactive mind. Also, writing thoughts in a journal can also help the client vent and understand the origin of their feelings.”

Step 6: Find Activities That Reduce Stress

It’s important to incorporate activities into your routine that help reduce stress, and its effects on the body.

Exercise releases endorphins, a natural chemical that makes you feel happy, into the body. Consistent exercise has been linked to a reduction in stress and tension, an improvement in sleep, and a more stabilized mood. In conjunction with therapy and prescribed medication, exercise can provide you with additional control over your anxiety and panic disorder.

Combinations of hand movements and mantras can help the patient immediately reduce anxiety.

Strauss recommends yoga, specifically, for its ability to calm and ground a person who’s been triggered or may feel a panic attack coming on.

“Yoga is an excellent tool that often helps people understand how the mind and body are linked. Body awareness helps us understand the body’s response to anxiety and how to ease those symptoms,” she says. “Certain combinations of hand movements, called mudras in yoga, combined with a mantra can help the patient almost immediately reduce anxiety.”

Hand movement examples include putting your palms together in a prayer-like motion, and touching your thumb to your pinky and ring fingers. “If people have trouble with the Sanskrit syllables, I redirect them to simply chant, ‘I am O-K,’ and this seems to work just as well,” says Strauss.

Step 7: Find a Therapist to Help You Cope

If anxiety impedes your ability to live a healthy, productive life, it’s essential to seek professional help to curtail the progressive nature of anxiety and panic disorders. There, you can help determine the root causes and take effective steps toward management. Psychotherapy — which address mental disorders via psychological instead of medical means — is a common treatment, notes Strauss.

“There are often limiting negative beliefs that contribute to the genesis of anxiety, and psychotherapy can help the client track and challenge the automatic thoughts that accompany the emotions of anxiety and fear,” she explains. “It’s important that one tries to learn the skills to cope with anxiety in addition to consider the use of medication. Treatment modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Internal Family Systems, EMDR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and Interpersonal Therapy can all be used to help the client become increasingly more aware of what triggers anxiety.”

Over time, you will be better equipped to identify these negative thought patterns as they arise, and be able to nip them in the bud, instead of having them spiral out of control.

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Get help with anxiety, fear or panic

Most people feel anxious or scared sometimes, but if it’s affecting your life there are things you can try that may help.

Support is also available if you’re finding it hard to cope with anxiety, fear or panic.

Information:

Coronavirus advice

Get advice about coronavirus and looking after your mental wellbeing:

Symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally and how you behave.

It’s not always easy to recognise when anxiety is the reason you’re feeling or acting differently.

Physical symptoms

  • faster, irregular or more noticeable heartbeat
  • feeling lightheaded and dizzy
  • headaches
  • chest pains
  • loss of appetite
  • sweating
  • breathlessness
  • feeling hot
  • shaking

Mental symptoms

  • feeling tense or nervous
  • being unable to relax
  • worrying about the past or future
  • feeling tearful
  • not being able to sleep
  • difficulty concentrating
  • fear of the worst happening
  • intrusive traumatic memories
  • obsessive thoughts

Changes in behaviour

  • not being able to enjoy your leisure time
  • difficulty looking after yourself
  • struggling to form or maintain relationships
  • worried about trying new things
  • avoiding places and situations that create anxiety
  • compulsive behaviour, such as constantly checking things

Symptoms of a panic attack

If you experience sudden, intense anxiety and fear, it might be the symptoms of a panic attack. Other symptoms may include:

  • a racing heartbeat
  • feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling that you’re losing control
  • sweating, trembling or shaking
  • shortness of breath or breathing very quickly
  • a tingling in your fingers or lips
  • feeling sick (nausea)

A panic attack usually lasts 5 to 30 minutes. They can be very frightening, but they’re not dangerous and should not harm you.

Information:

If you’re not sure how you feel, try our mood self-assessment.

Things you can try to help with anxiety, fear and panic

Don’t

  • do not try to do everything at once – set small targets that you can easily achieve

  • do not focus on the things you cannot change – focus your time and energy into helping yourself feel better

  • do not avoid situations that make you anxious – try slowly building up time spent in worrying situations to gradually reduce anxiety

  • try not to tell yourself that you’re alone; most people experience anxiety or fear at some point in their life

  • try not to use alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs to relieve anxiety as these can all contribute to poor mental health

Audio: Anxiety control training

In this audio guide, a doctor explains how you can take control of anxiety.

Media last reviewed: 2 March 2021
Media review due: 2 March 2024

Information:

Further information and support

The mental health charity Mind offer more information on:

Your Mind Plan on the Every Mind Matters website sends personalised tips and advice to your email inbox.

Where to get NHS help for anxiety, fear and panic

Referring yourself for therapy

If you need more support, you can get free psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the NHS.

You can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service (IAPT) without a referral from a GP.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • you’re struggling to cope with anxiety, fear or panic
  • things you’re trying yourself are not helping
  • you would prefer to get a referral from a GP

Information:

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: how to contact a GP

It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

  • visit their website
  • use the NHS App
  • call them

Find out about using the NHS during COVID-19

Urgent advice: Ask for an urgent GP appointment or call 111 if:

  • you need help urgently, but it’s not an emergency

111 can tell you the right place to get help if you need to see someone. Go to 111.nhs.uk or call: 111.

Causes of anxiety, fear and panic

There are many different causes of anxiety, fear or panic and it’s different for everyone.

When you’re feeling anxious or scared, your body releases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol.

This can be helpful in some situations, but it might also cause physical symptoms such as an increased heart rate and increased sweating. In some people, it might cause a panic attack.

Regular anxiety, fear or panic can also be the main symptom of several health conditions. Do not self-diagnose – speak to a GP if you’re worried about how you’re feeling.

Identifying the cause

If you know what’s causing anxiety, fear or panic, it might be easier to find ways to manage it.

Some examples of possible causes include:

  • work – feeling pressure at work, unemployment or retirement
  • family – relationship difficulties, divorce or caring for someone
  • financial problems – unexpected bills or borrowing money
  • health – illness, injury or losing someone (bereavement)
  • difficult past experiences – bullying, abuse or neglect

Even significant life events such as buying a house, having a baby or planning a wedding could lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.

You might find it hard to explain to people why you feel this way, but talking to someone could help you find a solution.

Find out more about the 5 steps to mental wellbeing.

Conditions related to anxiety, fear and panic

A table showing some of the conditions related to anxiety, fear and panic
Symptoms Possible cause
feelings of anxiety that will not go away, anxiety is affecting your life generalised anxiety disorder
overwhelming fear of something specific like an object, place or animal phobias
regularly experiencing panic attacks panic disorder
often reliving traumatic past experiences, nightmares and flashbacks post-traumatic stress disorder

Page last reviewed: 15 October 2019

Next review due: 15 October 2022

How anxiety distorts the perception of reality

  • Bobby Azarian
  • BBC Future

Photo Credit, Thinkstock

Anxiety can have a profound effect on how we perceive the world. BBC Future columnist wondered if the new treatment would help alleviate persistent anxiety.

You have all sorts of disturbing thoughts rushing about in your head, your pulse quickens and your breathing stops.Worry gives way to fear, and then you suddenly panic.

You feel confused and overexcited. If these symptoms are familiar to you, then know that you are not alone.

Actresses Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone, musician Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys and singer Taylor Swift, artist Vincent van Gogh and poet Emily Dickinson suffered from paralyzing anxiety attacks.

Everyone knows that anxiety affects the emotional state of a person and prevents him from interacting with the world around him.

However, few people know how anxiety affects our attention in everyday life. Because of it, the priorities of attention are shifted, which entails a change in the information entering the brain and, consequently, in our perception of reality.

This can have far-reaching consequences. By influencing attention, anxiety can shape a person’s worldview and value system in a certain and predictable way. It can also influence our beliefs without our knowledge.

To avoid distortion of reality caused by anxiety, you first need to understand the mechanisms that regulate attention and how to manage them.

According to a metaphor inspired by the work of the talented and progressive 19th century American psychologist William James, our visual attention system is in many ways like a searchlight that “scans” the world around us.

This spotlight is a limited area of ​​space that is in the spotlight at a given moment.What gets into it, the brain consciously processes, but what remains outside it – no.

Looking at the world around, a person focuses attention on the subject that he would like to see better. Our brains cannot process an object, text, or environment in detail if they are not in the spotlight.

Photo author, iStock

Photo caption,

Our mind works like a spotlight, helping us to notice important details

To understand how this works, you can use the example of a person reading a book in a crowded train car.His gaze moves across the page from left to right, line by line. In this case, the “spotlight of attention” moves from word to word.

The word on which a person focuses his attention is clearly perceived by his consciousness, while the words lying outside the “spotlight of attention” seem blurred and mostly illegible.

Such localization is necessary because the simultaneous perception of all visual information about the environment would lead to an “overload” of the brain, which is a system with limited resources, like a computer.

“Spotlight” allows the brain to focus only on the important, ignoring all unnecessary information. Thanks to this, we are able to perceive the reality around us.

In most cases, we consciously choose where to focus our attention, but this process is not always under our voluntary control.

At the same time, not all objects and phenomena around us are perceived by us in the same way. So, for example, a bright flash of light or a sharp movement where it should not be, automatically attracts our attention, and it moves to the point where they arose.

Few people like it when something drastically distracts their attention, but this does not happen by chance. An involuntary shift in attention is needed in order to immediately alert a person of what is vital to his survival.

For an ancient man, the reason for automatic switching of attention could be a prey running by or, if less fortunate, an approaching danger – a predator or a dangerous enemy, for example.

Photo creditor, iStock

Photo caption,

Without the spotlight, we could not read, because it allows us to concentrate on a few words, ignoring the rest

Thanks to evolution, our visual attention system automatically responds to various types of hazards.

Snakes, spiders, angry or frightening faces, threatening poses and weapons-like objects – all of these objects can grab our attention. It can be said that visual attention prioritizes threats in the interest of self-defense.

Undoubtedly, this function helps a person to survive, but anxiety can make the system of rapid and effective threat detection hypersensitive, as a result of which the “attention spotlight” begins to work to the detriment of the person.

So, for example, you can partially lose control over your own attention, because it focuses too quickly on what the brain perceives as danger, regardless of whether it really is so or not.

And when a person focuses only on danger, negative information takes over his consciousness.

To understand how anxiety can completely change a person’s perception of the world by shifting attention priorities, think about what it would be like for a person with high levels of anxiety to travel by train through a densely populated metropolitan area.

Imagine standing on a crowded subway platform, looking out into the crowd around you. Your attention is automatically drawn to people with a malevolent expression, while cheerful faces are simply ignored.

As a result, it seems to you that everyone around you is a little upset, and your mood is spoiled.

While returning home by train, you are waiting for your stop when you suddenly notice that a large man in a sweatshirt with a hood, sitting next to you, sharply puts his hand in his pocket, as if trying to get a weapon.

Luckily, he pulls a cell phone out of his pocket, but this whole situation makes you wonder what would happen if it were a gun.

As a result, you become even more convinced that the subway is a dangerous place full of questionable characters and irritated people.

Photo author, iStock

Photo caption,

In the course of evolution, we have developed the ability to notice potentially dangerous objects in the environment – for example, spiders, which can be poisonous

Now imagine that this happens all the time. Due to the fact that the threat is a priority, we filter out all the good and only perceive the bad. The cognitive system is overwhelmed with excitement and fear.

This causes anxiety to have an overly strong influence on how we evaluate our environment.In fact, to anxious people, the world literally feels like a frightening and dysfunctional place.

These radical changes in perception can shape a person’s worldview, including their political and ideological convictions.

For example, a 2009 study showed that anxiety can affect a person’s attention in such a way that all people from the Middle East begin to seem dangerous to him. This undoubtedly influences his political views on immigration.

As part of the experiment, scientists asked participants from Western countries with different levels of anxiety to take a computer test. It consisted of pressing a key in response to visual stimuli that appeared on the screen.

First, the subjects saw a word flashing on the screen, and then two faces – an Arab and a European, on each of which a dot from the sight could appear.

Results showed that people with increased anxiety responded more quickly to dots appearing on the faces of people with an Arabian appearance when they were shown a terrorism-related word, such as “bomb”.

This means that when an anxious person is forced to think about terrorism, the focus of his visual attention is on the faces of immigrants from the Middle East, which indicates an expectation of danger.

Scientists’ findings explain why people with high levels of anxiety often side with politicians who promise to protect the country by banning immigration and introducing tough national security measures.

This is confirmed by the results of another study conducted in 2012 by a group of scientists from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

They found that people who pay more attention to negative images tend to gravitate towards the right politically.

In one experiment, researchers showed participants with liberal and conservative views computer collages, consisting of pictures with positive and negative connotations.

At the same time, they tracked the subjects’ eye movements in order to understand what they were paying attention to.

Photo author, iStock

Photo caption,

If a person is prone to anxiety, the whole world may seem dangerous to him

They found that those whose attention was immediately and permanently attracted by unpleasant and repulsive images – for example, traffic accidents, the dead bodies and open wounds – more often referred to themselves as conservatives.

The study’s authors find it logical that people who are more attentive and susceptible to threats often support center-right politicians who promise to protect society from external threats, strengthening military power and national security, imposing harsher penalties for criminals and discouraging immigration.

When extreme, anxiety can have a serious negative impact on human health, but you can change the situation by training your attention.

Moreover, today it can be done with the help of convenient computer programs and even applications for smartphones.

The most popular training method is Attention Bias Modification Training (ABMT), also commonly known as Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM).

It can include different tasks, united by one goal. In standard training, patients see pictures with positive and negative images on a computer screen.As a rule, these are happy and gloomy faces, replacing each other hundreds of times.

Since anxiety is associated with focusing on negative stimuli, patients are asked to select positive images by pressing a key or screen.

By doing this over and over, ideally for days or weeks in a row, they get into the habit of not paying attention to the threat and negative information, but to what is positive.

Photo Credit, iStock

Photo Caption,

Can we find a way to correct this distorted threat perception and get rid of anxiety?

Dozens of studies have confirmed the effectiveness of this method.Of particular interest is one published in the journal of the Association for Psychological Sciences Clinical Psychological Science.

It has shown that a 25-45 minute session of ABMT therapy in the form of a game on a mobile phone can reduce the level of attention to threats, subjective anxiety and observed sensitivity to stress.

Patients suffering from anxiety disorders but unable to receive treatment at the clinic can now also receive psychological assistance, spending just a few minutes of exciting mobile games on the way to work.

However, some scientists are skeptical about ABMT. Some recent studies have questioned the effectiveness of this therapy.

Scientists have shown that single sessions of ABMT are no more beneficial than other cognitive-based treatments for anxiety disorders, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and in some cases even a placebo.

Scientist, professor and licensed psychologist Per Karlbring of Stockholm University admits that this criticism is valid, but notes that attention training should not be completely abandoned.

He explains that, according to meta-analysis data, attention priority adjustment is very effective in treating patients under 37, especially if it is done in a clinic or laboratory rather than remotely.

Carlbring noted that anxiety levels did not decrease with ABMT only if they were unable to adjust the hazard-related attention priorities.

Therefore, to improve the effectiveness of this method of treatment, he suggested using more dynamic tasks with realistic stimuli.

Carlbring set out to improve the reliability of this treatment and received a grant to develop and test a new method of attention training using virtual reality. This method works in a more natural and immersive way.

“I feel like putting our workout in a more realistic setting can take us to a whole new level,” says Carlbring. “I wouldn’t be surprised if attention training becomes commonplace by 2020.”

By doing exercises that help us get rid of the constant search for threats and being aware of the impact of anxiety on our attention, we can avoid the consequences of anxiety, such as distortion of reality, constant feelings of fear and changes in belief systems.

Enteritis in dogs – symptoms and treatment, forms of the disease, tests, vaccinations, nutrition and prevention

Enteritis is an inflammation of the small intestine. The cause of the inflammatory process can be viruses, bacteria, protozoa, helminths, poisoning, foreign bodies, and even a number of medications.This is a very dangerous disease, as it leads to severe pain, loss of appetite or complete refusal of food, diarrhea, vomiting. The disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract.

How does the disease manifest in dogs?

Enteritis in dogs has a clear symptomatic picture. Without special laboratory tests, this disease can be confused with ordinary poisoning. Among the common symptoms, it is worth noting:

  • lethargy, weakness, indifference to games,
  • soreness in the abdomen,
  • vomiting of foamy masses,
  • loose stools with an unpleasant odor and admixture of blood,
  • lack of appetite,
  • exhaustion.

How is the disease in dogs?

There are two types of enteritis in the canine family: infectious and non-infectious.

The non-infectious form of the disease occurs when poisoning, burns of the mucous membrane, eating inedible things, which leads to injury. Sometimes pathogenic bacteria can also act as causes of enetritis. Such cases are treated without complications, with timely access to a veterinarian.

The causative agents of viral enteritis are parvovirus, coronavirus and plague of carnivores.

The most dangerous is parvovirus enteritis in dogs – it is fatal in 80% of cases. When the virus enters the dog’s body, intestinal damage occurs quickly. The intestinal mucosa is destroyed, erosion appears, tissue necrosis begins. Parvovirosis does not stop there and proceeds to damage to the heart muscle. The myocardium, vascular walls are affected and the composition of the blood changes – complications lead to a cardiac form of enteritis. The virus causes severe intoxication of the body.There is a direct threat to the life of the dog, hours are counting and urgent professional help is required.

Coronavirus enteritis in adult dogs has a weaker effect on the body and does not affect the pet’s heart. It can manifest itself in an acute form with all the accompanying symptoms, or it can pass without a trace. The danger is for puppies whose immune system has not yet matured. Adults almost never die from the coronavirus.

Plague of carnivores, namely the intestinal form, as well as parvovirus, is a very dangerous disease and can be fatal, even taking into account a visit to a doctor.

What are the complications of enteritis in dogs?

Not all tetrapods easily overcome this disease, especially with severe forms and with untimely veterinary care. In this case, complications occur in the form:

  • myocarditis,
  • damage to the wall of the small intestine,
  • peritonitis,
  • inflammatory process in the liver and pancreas,
  • intestinal obstruction.

How is the disease diagnosed in dogs?

If you find any symptoms of enteritis in a dog, you should immediately contact a veterinary clinic.Parvovirosis and plague of carnivores are very dangerous, and in most cases every minute is precious to avoid a fatal outcome.

Diagnostics is carried out on the basis of research: ultrasound and blood tests. For a more accurate determination of the type of pathogen, ELISA and PCR studies are performed.

Analyzes for enteritis in dogs will help a specialist determine the etiology of the origin of the disease, distinguish it from other intestinal disorders and prescribe timely treatment.

Do not try to diagnose a dog on your own and start treating it.

Treatment of enteritis in dogs

Therapeutic actions can be carried out both in a hospital and at home. Everything will depend on the degree of neglect of the disease. Taken laboratory tests for enteritis will show the full picture for prescribing the necessary medications for the dog. Complex therapy is prescribed for:

  • virus extermination,
  • cleansing the body of toxins,
  • boosting immunity,
  • restoration of the digestive tract,
  • restoration of water-salt balance,
  • relief of vomiting and diarrhea.

The disease is treated with an individually selected set of drugs that will be effective in each case. Depending on the severity and type of pathogen, the following types of medicines are used:

  • Immunoglobulin and anti-enterovirus serum. They stop the multiplication of viruses, help to strengthen immune cells.
  • Rehydration solutions. Restore water-salt balance and eliminate dehydration
  • Painkillers and antispasmodics.Ease pain syndrome.
  • Antiemetic. To become dehydrated.
  • Sorbents. To remove harmful toxic substances.
  • Heart preparations. Used if the virus has affected the heart muscle.
  • Antibiotics. They help to exclude the addition of a secondary infection.
  • Hemostatic. Stop blood when it appears in feces and vomit.
  • Probiotics, vitamins, glucose.For the early recovery of the body.
  • Anthelmintic drugs. They are used when enteritis is complicated by worms.

If the situation is not critical, then the veterinarian prescribes home treatment. For the effectiveness of the therapy, you need to carry out a complete sanitization of the room, as well as purchase all new things for the dog. Not all disinfectants are able to cope with viruses that cause enteritis, so it is better to quartz the room.

How can a dog get infected?

Viral enteritis is very tenacious and can persist for a long time in any conditions.He is not afraid of temperature drops or environmental influences. The causes of enteritis in dogs are hidden in viral microorganisms that live in the feces, vomit and saliva of a sick animal. Sometimes, in order to become infected, it is enough just to smell the infected individual. But for your pet to become infected, it is not at all necessary to have contact with animal products. In some cases, the virus can be brought by the owner on shoes, and its action will begin in the body already during the incubation period, when there are no obvious clinical manifestations.

Viruses that cause enteritis are resistant to disinfectants and can persist in a residential area for a long time. This can cause the re-illness of an already ill pet after a while.

Prospects for the course of enteritis in a dog

Viral enteritis is developing rapidly. Therefore, the life of the pet is in the hands of the owner. Timely medical assistance in the first two days reduces the risks of death. Otherwise, the statistics are sad: puppies die in 90% of cases, adult dogs in 50% of cases.These indicators are related to parvovirosis. In the case of the coronavirus, the situation is slightly better, but even here deaths occur.

How can I protect my pet from illness?

The most effective way to protect a four-legged friend from a viral disease is vaccination with mono- and polyvaccines. Puppies are vaccinated for up to 8 months according to a special scheme, and then annually to maintain protection. This reduces the risk of disease by 95%. But if the pet suddenly falls ill, then the disease passes in a milder form.

In the case of non-infectious enteritis, it is necessary to carefully monitor the diet of the pet, and protect it from the use of household items that are unsuitable for eating.

How to feed a dog with enteritis?

During illness, the pet must be fed food for sensitive digestion (similar medicated foods are available from many manufacturers and are usually labeled gastrointestinal or I / D). Such food is easier for the pet to digest and improves the condition of the animal.

Such a diet should remove all questions about what to feed the pet after recovery. It is necessary to switch to the usual diet very carefully, not earlier than a month after the onset of the disease.

Is dog enteritis dangerous for humans?

Owners who often bring their pets are interested in: can enteritis be transmitted to humans? Experts say that viruses that cause enteritis in dogs are specific only to the canine family. They are not capable of infecting their hosts.People also have frequent cases of enteritis, in various forms of manifestation, but it has its own pathogens.

Can enteritis be transmitted to dogs and cats?

Pathogens that cause enteritis in dogs are not specific for cats, as they belong to different families. But if several canids live nearby, then they all automatically fall into a risk group, and it is important to take preventive measures in a timely manner.

What vaccinations are given for prevention?

There are currently a huge number of registered enteritis vaccines.These are foreign and domestic vaccines, single-component and complex. It is more effective to vaccinate with complex drugs. Vaccines Nobivac and Eurican are often used.

Vaccination should be carried out annually, before the procedure it is recommended to drive away helminths to increase immunity.

If your four-legged friend is experiencing symptoms that cause concern and resemble signs of enteritis in dogs, you should immediately show him to the doctor. The AMVet veterinary clinic accepts even the most difficult patients and is ready to provide ambulance, the necessary therapy and give recommendations on how to treat a pet at home.If you are at a loss about the health of your pet, you can ask a question to a specialist in the chat or call +7 (495) 106-02-03

90,000 Psychiatrists told how to cope with panic when infected with covid

The report of infection with coronavirus causes anxiety in patients, which can aggravate the course of the disease, scientists from Italy have found. Panic impairs the functioning of the immune system, lowers resistance to infection, and causes false symptoms that interfere with therapy.Psychiatrists told Gazeta.Ru how the mechanism of anxiety works and how to maintain mental balance during illness.

Patients with COVID-19, succumbing to panic, only aggravate the course of the disease, psychiatrist Konstantin Kovalev told Gazeta.Ru.

Pavel Bolshanin, anesthesiologist-resuscitator of the Kemerovo clinical hospital, agreed with his words. According to him, the most terrible moment for patients with coronavirus is the message about the diagnosis. “Patients become emotionally unstable and begin to destroy their health themselves,” the doctor said.

As Kovalev explained, anxiety strongly affects the human body – the functioning of the immune system deteriorates, and the resistance to infection decreases. “Therefore, people who have contracted coronavirus should follow the recommendations of their doctors and maintain peace of mind, as this is one of the most important factors in recovery,” the expert noted.

Earlier, a group of scientists from Italy analyzed the mental and psychological state of 402 adults who have had coronavirus and found that approximately 56% of patients have at least one mental disorder that appeared after reporting the diagnosis of COVID-19.

Most often, those who had recovered complained of constant anxiety – 42% of the respondents. Insomnia affects 40% of patients, depression – 31%. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were found in 28% of the respondents, obsessive-compulsive disorder – in 20%.

In addition, against the background of anxiety, the body produces substances that support inflammation, says the candidate of medical sciences, psychiatrist Anna Pavlova. “Anxiety, especially reaching the level of panic, disturbs critical understanding of what is happening, intensifies the current symptoms of the disease, causes imaginary, false sensations that interfere with proper treatment and assessment of the condition,” she added in an interview with Gazeta.Ru “.

At the same time, according to her, anxiety interferes with contact with a doctor, trust in the therapy process, disrupts human behavior and compliance with prescriptions, which also not only does not contribute to a faster and better cure, but also often leads to complications.

Psychiatrist Grigory Nenashev agreed with his colleague. “Anxiety can lead to self-medication, repeated examinations, which in turn will aggravate the course of the disease,” he told Gazeta.Ru. Nevertheless, the specialist believes that the emotional state in itself does not affect the state of health.

Often, patients are afraid not so much of the infection itself as of the treatment. “I have been observing these people for several months now, and many of them are worried that they will be stuffed with chemistry that could harm them,” psychiatrist Christina Savitskaya told Gazeta.Ru.

She explains to such patients – there is no point in being afraid of the coronavirus, because most likely everyone will get sick. “The situation is now such that it is almost impossible to protect yourself. Death cannot be influenced in any way, just like birth, you need to approach all this philosophically, ”the doctor is sure.

Psychotherapist Elena Antonova, in turn, believes that the best solution for COVID-19 disease will be to return from your thoughts to reality. “Anxiety arises at the moment when a person runs away in his thoughts and draws scary pictures for himself. Therefore, if you have a covid, you need to understand and accept for yourself that you are already sick, and you will not be able to go back, ”she explained to Gazeta.Ru.

If the feeling of anxiety begins to prevail, it is worth asking yourself a few questions, the doctor recommended.

“How do I feel? What is happening to me (here and now)? What do I want to happen? What will I do for this? (it is better to take the action in the next hours, minutes, not to push it too far) Have I done everything possible to make what I want to happen? Is this exactly what I want? These questions will help you feel a sense of control. ”

– specified Antonova.

If you feel that it is too difficult to cope with anxiety on your own, then you need to seek help from a psychologist or a psychotherapist, Anna Pavlova is convinced.“Fortunately, all forms of online consultation are now available. Sometimes one or two conversations with a specialist are enough to completely recover and tune in the right mood, ”the psychiatrist emphasized.

“Try to remember that calmness and optimism not only improve the quality of life, but sometimes help to overcome the most hopeless and difficult situations at first glance,” the expert concluded.

90,000 How to beat anxiety when you can’t “just calm down”

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What Anxiety Can Be Associated With

Anxiety is ‘s natural response to stress. The body senses danger, triggers the fight-or-flight response, releases adrenaline and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, and the heart begins to beat faster.

But in some cases, anxiety attacks arise and quickly end. And in others, they become long and destructive. The scenario depends on why the alarm occurred.

Events that happen to you

Perhaps this is the most common cause of unrest.We are worried about the future. We are concerned about the health and well-being of loved ones. We are considering whether there will be enough money before the paycheck.

This everyday anxiety is not dangerous. It passes when the stressful situation ends. And it decreases when you switch to some kind of routine calming activity, get support from friends, or just say to yourself: “Get it together, rag!”

Hormonal changes

A striking example is premenstrual syndrome in women. Hormonal surges affect the work of the brain, which is why even a girl who is always balanced and generally satisfied with life can feel unhappy, offended, deeply worried about innocent reasons.

There are also more serious hormonal disorders. For example, hyperthyroidism (increased production of thyroid hormones) increases nervousness. This means that a person with such a disease reacts sharper and brighter to the slightest stress.

Chronic stress

It develops if you find yourself in a stressful situation day after day. The fight-or-flight response becomes permanent, and the endless burst of hormones eventually depletes the body’s reserves.

Fear and anxiety remain, because the stressful situation has not gone anywhere.But in addition to them, new symptoms appear: weakness, rapid fatigability, a feeling of a lump in the throat, an acute desire to wrap up in a blanket and hide from the world.

As a result, the matter may reach the development of psychosomatic diseases and mental disorders.

Depression

The word depression is often used synonymously with bad mood or loss of energy. But this is incorrect. Depression is a full-fledged mental disorder caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.This is a serious illness, one of the symptoms of which is anxiety.

If left untreated, depression can trigger other problems, such as heart and blood vessel problems, and other mental health problems.

Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorder is said to be when anxiety – persistent or in the form of acute attacks – lasts more than six months and manifests itself with physical symptoms: heart palpitations, sweating, weakness, inability to concentrate on anything other than fear.

But it is possible to assume this mental disorder earlier – by a number of characteristic symptoms inherent in different types of anxiety disorders. The most common are listed below.

1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This definition conceals regular and excessive anxiety on the smallest grounds, which is almost uncontrollable and affects physical well-being. For example, you sincerely, to trembling knees and pain in the area of ​​your heart, worry if a family member is delayed for five minutes.Or you break out in a cold sweat every time you take on a new project, because you are always afraid to make a mistake. It happens that even the phone ringing leads to panic.

Generalized anxiety disorder is often accompanied by other types of anxiety disorders or depression.

2. Social phobia

It is also a social anxiety disorder. A person is very sensitive to the attitude of others. He is terribly afraid of being ridiculed, rejected, unnoticed.

This fear is so great and uncontrollable that if it is necessary to “go out into the world”, the social phobia’s legs literally give way.Therefore, he avoids social contacts by all means.

3. Anxiety Disorder Related to Health Conditions

It usually manifests itself in those who have a serious physical illness. For example, diabetes .

Diabetics may worry about the need to constantly monitor their weight, diet, and blood sugar levels. They are worried about the high risk of complications: from hypoglycemia to heart or kidney disease, stroke.

Fears persecute those diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases, asthma and other respiratory disorders, cancer, skin diseases and so on.

4. Phobias and irrational fears

They are caused by specific objects or situations. For example, it may be a fear of spiders – so exaggerated that a person cannot enter the room if he notices a piece of cobweb. Or the claustrophobia that prevents a person from using elevators or the subway. Or the terror of flying.

5. Panic disorder

It is manifested by repeated attacks of severe panic. They do not last long, most often a matter of minutes, but they have extremely unpleasant symptoms: shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, fear of impending death.

During panic attacks, a person does not control his behavior: he may fall or scream. Due to the fear that the attack may recur at any time, new disorders appear – the same social phobia or anxiety associated with a health condition.

Other mental disorders

Excessive and persistent anxiety is a common symptom of other mental disorders. For example, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (obsessive-compulsive disorder), manic-depressive psychosis, alcohol and drug use disorders.

How to understand what exactly you have

In essence, the question should sound differently: “I have anxiety that I can handle, or is the situation getting out of control?”

In fact, the border between these states is rather arbitrary. To find it, experts suggest to answer seven questions:

  1. Do you regularly find yourself worrying, annoyed, tense, and this becomes your habitual state?
  2. Does anxiety prevent you from working, studying, communicating with people, building relationships?
  3. Do you have an irrational fear (for example, you are afraid to go down the subway), but you cannot overcome it?
  4. Do you believe that if some things are not done correctly (for example, not to arrange shoes on the shelves or to perform a small ritual before the start of the work day), something catastrophic can happen?
  5. Are there situations or activities that you regularly avoid because you are afraid?
  6. Do you have sudden attacks of extreme panic during which you cannot control yourself?
  7. Do you feel that the world is an unsafe place, where it is enough to make a mistake to become a victim of scammers, get sick, lose money or lose close friends?

In principle, a single “yes” is enough to suspect an anxiety or other mental disorder.If there is more than one such answer, you need help.

How to get rid of anxiety if it is not associated with a mental disorder

Conventional stress management techniques can help. There are dozens of them. Here are the most popular and effective ones.

Take a few deep breaths and long exhalations

Scientists at Stanford University have discovered a region in the brain that links the frequency and depth of breathing and emotional state. As it turned out, the more actively and shallower we breathe, the more nervousness and excitement we experience.

Play soothing music or listen to the sounds of nature

In 2017, researchers proved that when people listen to the sounds of nature, their stress levels are noticeably reduced. The same goes for calm muted music.

By the way, here is the most soothing track recorded by the British Academy of Sound Therapy:

Switch from the topic of your concern

For example, if you are nervous about the news, turn off the TV and log out of social networks.Instead, watch a comedy or melodrama, read a book, play with a cat, call a friend. Your task is to keep your head occupied with something else, to distract yourself from the stressful situation.

Get your hands on

There are many options. Start knitting. Plant flowers under your windows. Read a book to your child or do a couple of physical experiments with him. Do the dishes or clean the apartment. These activities will help you switch.

Learn to say stop to yourself

Watch your thoughts and stop in time.If you find yourself thinking about something disturbing, be aware of that fact. Imagine taking the worrying thought into your fist and putting it aside. And then consciously start thinking about something else — a situation that you can control.

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How to get rid of anxiety if it is caused by a mental disorder

In this case, deep breathing, unfortunately, is almost useless.If your anxiety has reached the level of a mental disorder, you will need help.

Talk to your doctor

To get started, you can visit your therapist, tell him about your symptoms and ask for recommendations.

The sooner you ask for help, the easier it will be to regain your cheerfulness and positive attitude towards the world.

Another option is to go straight to a psychotherapist. The specialist will be able to establish exactly what is happening to you and what kind of violation prevents you from living.

Change your lifestyle

Most likely, your doctor will advise to reconsider your habits first.

  • Avoid alcohol, coffee, high sugar drinks and energy drinks. They excite the nervous system and can increase anxiety.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise increases levels of endorphins, hormones associated with good mood.
  • Eat well. This will increase your body’s reserves and reduce the negative effects of the fight-or-flight response.
  • Sleep at least 8 hours.
  • Try relaxation techniques. This can be regular meditation or yoga.

Get psychotherapy

This is the most effective way to deal with anxiety and other disorders. There are various types of psychotherapy, but the most popular are cognitive-behavioral and exposure.

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Its idea is that how you feel does not depend on a stressful situation, but on how you feel about it.Therefore, the therapist will teach you

  • Identifying negative thoughts is exactly what you are thinking about when you start to worry. Example: “They will laugh at me.”
  • Evaluate and challenge the negative. It means asking questions: “Will the bad thing that scares me really happen? And if so, would it really be disastrous? Maybe it’s not so scary? ”
  • Replace negative thoughts with realistic ones.
2. Exposure therapy

It is based on the assumption that trying to avoid stressful situations only makes fear stronger.To learn how to control him, you need to meet him face to face. Of course, this will not happen immediately.

First, you and your doctor will write down steps to help you relieve your anxiety. For example, if your goal is to cope with the fear of flying, the list might include the following steps:

  • Look at pictures of planes, cabin and passengers;
  • reread good flight reviews;
  • describe what reward awaits you after landing;
  • buy a plane ticket;
  • check in for the flight;
  • drink tea at the window.

Then, under the guidance of your therapist, you will start working with the list. The goal is to dwell on every frightening point until the fear diminishes. Most of the time will be spent working out the first steps.

As you progress, you will put a bold checkmark in front of each item. This will help keep you confident that you are in control of the situation and make it easier to move towards your goal.

Take medication as needed

In some cases, psychotherapy alone is not enough.To relieve anxiety, your doctor may prescribe medications for you. For example, sedatives or antidepressants.

This article was originally published November 2015. In April 2020, we updated the material.

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Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Anxiety disorder is a type of neurotic condition in which a person experiences continuous anxiety about life circumstances, their appearance and relationships with those around them.Staying in such a state for a long time creates a person uncomfortable living conditions, which become a reason for him to withdraw into himself, not to develop his own abilities and to limit his social circle.

Symptoms and signs

It is believed that when an anxiety disorder occurs, the symptoms are as follows:

  • pronounced form of anxiety and emotional stress before the onset of panic attacks;
  • Frequent mood swings;
  • persistent sleep disturbance;
  • constant conflicts with others;
  • decreased severity of reactions and inhibited thinking;
  • increased sweating, rapid pulse;
  • rapid fatigability and weakness, leading to decreased performance;
  • complaints of pain in different parts of the body.

These symptoms of anxiety disorder are signs of autonomic and mental disorders.

The hallmarks of the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder are:

  • total manifestation of anxiety in front of any life circumstances;
  • inability to concentrate on everyday activities or work;
  • constant motor voltage;
  • impossibility of relaxation;
  • indigestion and stomach pain;
  • heart disease.

Symptoms of anxiety-depressive disorder occur against a background of persistent depression:

  • lack of interest in manifestations of life and loved ones;
  • lack of positive emotions;
  • sudden sensation of fear;
  • vegetative disorders – rapid pulse, shortness of breath, lack of air, increased sweating, nearness of fainting, etc.

Do you have symptoms of anxiety disorder?

Only a doctor can accurately diagnose the disease.Do not delay the consultation – call

+7 (495) 775-73-60

Causes of the onset and development of the disease

Experts believe that the following factors contribute to the appearance of the disease:

  • the presence of persistent circulatory disorders, hormonal disruptions or chronic heart disease;
  • chronic form of dependence on alcohol, drugs, psychoactive substances, as well as abrupt cessation of their use;
  • head injuries and their consequences;
  • being in a situation of prolonged stress;
  • character traits – melancholic temperament, alarming accents in the character warehouse;
  • tendency to exaggerate hazards due to their high susceptibility;
  • neurotic and mental disorders: depression, neurasthenia, hysteria, schizophrenia, paranoia, various manias;
  • mental trauma in children at an early age and in adults in extreme situations – war, earthquake, being in a state close to death, loss of a loved one or his support, and others.

Psychologists consider the process of anxiety in different ways:

  • adherents of psychoanalysis believe that the reason is the regular suppression of their own desires;
  • the latter believe that the reason is in the rupture of the connection between the stimulus and the response of the psyche to the stimulus;
  • Still others believe that the reason is the reaction of the psyche to distorted mental images of a person.

Disease classification

Anxiety disorder according to ICD is a neurotic disorder along with fears, suspiciousness and post-traumatic disorders.One of the main signs of anxiety personality disorder is the pathology of the origin of anxiety, the disproportionate degree of protection to the irritant factor.

Pathological anxiety:

  • is not caused by a real hazard;
  • is not proportionate to the significance of the situation;
  • is not associated with a lack of time and knowledge;
  • is actively being preempted;
  • brings significant discomfort to a person’s life;
  • is much stronger than normal;
  • is long in time;
  • has companions in the form of tension and expectation of consequences, concerns and doubts, feelings of helplessness.

Types of Anxiety Disorder:

  • anxiety-depressive disorder is caused by the constant presence of anxiety without sources of danger, it has pathological changes in the patient’s personality;
  • Anxiety-phobic disorder is based on an obsession with past unpleasant consequences;
  • social anxiety disorder is characterized by the patient’s avoidance of contact with people around him;
  • Mixed anxiety disorder causes a simultaneous feeling of pathological anxiety and depressed mood;
  • Anxiety-panic disorder is characterized by the presence of panic attacks;
  • Anxiety-neurotic disorder is associated with anxiety before any diseases, severe shyness and anxiety;
  • Generalized anxiety disorder is accompanied by excessive fussiness, anxiety without certain dangers and threats.

Factors and risk groups

Risk factors include child abuse, hereditary mental disorders, historical family poverty, or other antisocial manifestations.

The risk group includes people prone to neurotic diseases – depression, hysteria; people taking alcohol, drugs, psychotropic drugs; women between the ages of 20 and 30.

Complications

In the absence of adequate treatment, anxiety disorder leads to the following socio-psychological complications:

  • low self-esteem;
  • self-isolation from society;
  • insomnia;
  • the appearance of a feeling of hopelessness;
  • depletion of the body.

Social complications are job loss, financial problems, breakdown of relationships, alcoholism, drug addiction, substance abuse and others. Physical complications – intestinal irritation, heartburn, lack of interest in sex, weight loss or excess weight gain, headaches and muscle strain, decreased immunity, the development of allergies, accelerated aging, cancer, heart disease, and many others.

Diagnostics

The accumulated information about this disease made it possible to test reliable methods of treatment of a medicinal and psychotherapeutic nature.This disease belongs to the areas of professional interest of a psychiatrist and medical psychologist.

Experts use the following methods for diagnosing a neurotic disease:

  • initial individual consultation involves a survey in order to identify emotional reactions, obtain information about the patient’s lifestyle, motives and interests;
  • psychodiagnostic examination and projective testing aimed at identifying pathological anxiety and associated disorders;
  • observation of the patient and his life, relationships with the outside world and with people.

Preparing to see a doctor

Before entering the psychotherapist’s office, the patient is advised to formulate all his problems, report the intake of all psychoactive substances, including the start / end dates and the total duration of admission. In addition, the patient’s positive attitude towards the treatment and the effect that it will bring is extremely important.

Treatment

Anxiety disorders are treated with a complex of methods based on changes in the patient’s lifestyle, psychotherapy and medication.The treatment of generalized anxiety disorder is based on the use of psychoactive medications, such as antidepressants. In no case should you arbitrarily stop taking medications. Psychotherapy for anxiety disorder is carried out by various methods – individual, group, family. The main direction of the effect of therapy is an increased impact on the attitude towards the emerging fears and anxieties.

Among traditional medicine, it is possible to use medicinal herbs, infusions and decoctions from them, for example, lemon balm, chamomile.These herbs act on the human body, bringing a relaxing effect, due to this effect, anxiety disorders and their cause temporarily decrease their degree of activity.

Self-medication of anxiety disorder threatens with pains and neuroses of various kinds, which need to be treated more deeply.

Prevention

Experts argue that there are no effective means of preventing anxiety disorders, while attentiveness to one’s fears and the reasons for their appearance in the early stages is subject to a simpler cure, giving positive predictions for the absence of relapses.

Need to seek help

A very thin, barely distinguishable line has been drawn between the feeling of anxiety in norm and pathology, due to the fact that the feeling of anxiety is a natural protective reaction of the body to external stimuli. At the same time, it is not permissible to independently diagnose and treat the disease, since this entails the complication and aggravation of an already existing condition.

In the center of Moscow, in JSC “Medicine” (the clinic of Academician Roitberg), specialists provide the necessary assistance in the fight against anxiety disorders of any type and etiology.You can make an appointment by calling +7 (495) 775-73-60 or in person at the address: Moscow 2nd Tverskoy-Yamskaya lane 10, Mayakovskaya metro station.

Urolithiasis: symptoms, diagnosis, surgery, prevention and physiotherapy

Urolithiasis, or urolithiasis, is one of the pathologies of the kidneys associated with a violation of the metabolic process (metabolism) in the body. The disease has no age restrictions; it can be found in both newborns and adults.First, microliths (“sand”) are formed, from which stones are later formed. By themselves, kidney stones rarely cause concern to the patient. Severe clinical manifestations occur when stones migrate into the ureter, causing blockage. As a result, the outflow of urine from the kidney is disturbed, and severe pain occurs (renal colic).

This situation can cause acute, life-threatening kidney inflammation or renal dysfunction. In such cases, the patient requires urgent surgery.It is very important to treat the disease at the onset stage: this will avoid complications and bring the body back to normal in a short time.

Types of stones:

  1. Calcium oxalate – dense, grayish-black in color, with thorny outgrowths.
  2. Calcium phosphate – rather soft, rough, light gray in color.
  3. Uric acid – hard, smooth and yellow (due to uric acid).

All these types of stones can be localized in the kidneys, bladder or ureters.

Features of the course of urolithiasis in women and men

The risk group includes people aged 20 to 55 years. The largest percentage of the incidence is observed in the countries of Asia Minor. Urolithiasis in men is diagnosed three times more often than in women. Nevertheless, it is women who tend to form coral-shaped spiked stones, which cause many painful symptoms.

Symptoms in both sexes are almost the same.The main difference: in men, renal colic pain radiates to the penis, and in women – to the labia. Quite rarely (only 17% of cases) there are bilateral diseases, that is, the formation of stones in both kidneys.

Symptoms of urolithiasis

  1. Pain in the lumbar region (this can be persistent or intermittent dull or sharp pain).
  2. Renal colic (spontaneous severe pain, which indicates a blockage of the ureter).
  3. Pain during urination and discoloration of urine (frequent need to relieve urine, impurities of blood or pus in the urine).
  4. Nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure and temperature, bloating.

In children, the symptoms of urolithiasis often do not coincide with those indicated. In any case, only a qualified specialist can diagnose and prescribe treatment.

What are the causes of urolithiasis?

The causes of urolithiasis are more often associated with heredity, namely metabolic disorders.As a result, changes occur in the chemical and water-salt structure of urine, in particular, an excess of the content norm:

  • uric acid;
  • oxalate salt;
  • calcium salts;
  • phosphate salt.

Internal causes include diseases of the digestive system, dehydration, infections, vitamin D deficiency and poor diet.

There are also external factors:

  • water that we use, or rather its chemical composition;
  • climate, the number of ultraviolet rays;
  • conditions at work and at home (sedentary lifestyle or, conversely, heavy physical activity).

Diagnosis of urolithiasis

As soon as the first signs of urolithiasis appear, you should immediately consult a doctor. In order to correctly determine how to treat urolithiasis, it is necessary first of all to identify the causes of this disease.

What diagnostics can modern medicine offer?

The main diagnostic methods that make it possible to determine all the features of the course of the disease include the following:

  1. Complete blood count and biochemistry – mandatory procedures to identify inflammatory processes (leukocyte levels) and pathological changes in the structure of organs.
  2. General urine analysis – allows you to determine the chemical composition of impurities contained in urine.
  3. Ultrasound examination is the most common method, which has a minimal negative effect, therefore it is not contraindicated even for pregnant women. This method allows you to detect even small formations.
  4. Excretory urography – X-ray of the urinary system. In the human body, specific stones can form, which are not an obstacle to X-rays and therefore cannot be diagnosed by this method.
  5. Computed tomography is a volumetric image that allows you to get the most complete information about the presence of foreign bodies. It is one of the most advanced diagnostic methods.

Treatment of urolithiasis

There are several basic treatments that can complement each other:

  1. Drug treatment of urolithiasis. Special preparations dissolve stones and promote their excretion from the body.This type of treatment is more effective together with herbal medicine, but, unfortunately, in most cases it is not effective.
  2. Shock wave lithotripsy. The crushing of the stone occurs due to the fast impulse of the shock wave. This method is the most painless, but not always effective.
  3. Ureteroscopy. Crushing through a thin instrument inserted into the ureter.

Prevention is the guarantee of your health!

If a person has had urolithiasis, treatment does not guarantee that it will not return.Therefore, prevention of urolithiasis is necessary, which includes:

  • getting rid of bad habits;
  • proper nutrition and limiting salt intake;
  • establishing the correct drinking regime;
  • avoidance of hypothermia, especially in the lumbar region;
  • no stress;
  • sports activities without excessive power loads;
  • 90,175 trips to specialized sanatoriums.

All this will avoid the need for surgical treatment of urolithiasis.

In the urology clinic of the Moscow State University of Medicine and Dentistry, you will be provided with any type of assistance, they will carry out a full diagnosis and prescribe the most effective method of treatment. The availability of modern equipment, as well as many years of experience of specialists, makes it possible to identify the disease even at the earliest stages.

How to get rid of worry and anxiety

Anxiety is the elder brother of guilt. Anxiety is a much larger source of stress and much more difficult to remove from our list of bad habits.It is in your best interest to live a carefree life.

1. Admit that you are worried. Sometimes this is obvious because anxiety occupies our thoughts, and sometimes it manifests itself in the form of stress. Make sure you are experiencing anxiety, not guilt. When we feel guilty, we focus our attention on events that have already happened. When we worry and worry, we are talking about events that are happening in the present moment or may happen in the future.

2. Answer the question: “What worries me?” Write down your answer if it helps. Here are some examples:

“I’m worried that my boss will fire me.”

“I’m worried about marrying Dasha.”

“I’m worried about global warming.”

“I’m worried because I cheated on Bora and he might find out.”

3. Answer the question: “Why am I worried about this possible future event?” Here are some examples:

“If my boss fires me, I won’t have my paycheck, and I won’t be able to pay bills and support my family.”

” If I marry Dasha, I may not be happy, and I do not want to be unhappy. ”

“Global warming will have a number of negative consequences for the environment and in a short period of time could end life on Earth as we know it.”

“If Borya finds out that I cheated on him, he will be hurt, and perhaps he will even break up with me.”

4. Take a look at what you wrote. Is it obvious that you are not thinking rationally? Here are some examples:

“Not being able to pay your bills will undoubtedly be bad.”

” Marriage is a big commitment and obviously I’m not ready for it. Why am I planning to go all the way? ”

“While the threat of global warming is real and we must act, we don’t have much to worry about in the near future. Why am I so worried about what will happen after I die? ”

“Now I understand that I am more worried about the absence of a boyfriend than about Bori’s feelings. Combined with the original act of deception, I did not act or act in Bori’s interests at all.”

5. Answer the question:” Is there anything I can do to prevent what I fear? ” Consider all possible circumstances. For example:

“I could give my best at work. If I do this and see that this job is not for me, I will start looking for another job that will satisfy all my needs. ”

“I can think long and hard about whether I am ready for a long-term relationship. If it turns out that I will not be happy with Dasha, I will break up with her.If it turns out that this is just an instinctive reaction, and I really want to spend the rest of my life with her, I will marry her. ”

“There is very little I can do to prevent global warming. This is a politically sensitive issue, so I have to be careful when talking to people about it. Maybe I could learn to effectively convince people that this is a real threat to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but if I have neither the time nor the energy for this, I should probably keep my mouth shut and take it for granted.At the same time, I can do everything in my power to reduce my own contribution to global warming. ”

“Maybe Borya will find out about everything and break up with me, and I won’t be with him anymore. Maybe I’ll muster all my courage and tell him the truth, and I won’t be with him anymore. We won’t be together anyway. Keeping it a secret is very difficult, so I could tell him everything and break up with him now to get rid of all this anxiety and move forward. ”

Tips

You can make yourself feel good or bad with your thoughts.
Your life is a gift from nature.