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Complementary Therapists > Medical Conditions > Anxiety

Anxiety Disorders

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a state of apprehension or fear, either real or imagined, resulting from anticipation of a threatening event or situation. Anxiety attacks - also known as panic attacks - are periods when the individual feels intense bouts of fear or panic.

Attacks usually arrive unannounced and may, or may not, have an obvious cause. Anxiety attacks reach a climax after about ten minutes and usually subside within thirty minutes. During these panic attacks the sense of terror can be so severe that anxiety sufferers may feel that they are about to die.

What Causes Anxiety ?

Research suggests that imbalances in the chemical make-up of the brain may have a role to play in people that suffer from anxiety or panic attacks. It is not known if the chemical imbalance is the cause, or is a result of, this medical condition. There may be hereditary factors involved also which may be genetic or may simply be a learned behaviour.

Anxiety or panic attacks may be caused by a single stressful event or may be due to a gradual build up of stress over time. Stress can be positive for the mind and body if managed appropriately however if it is not regularly relived via healthy means, such as regular vigorous exercise, then adverse symptoms may emerge. Anxiety attacks are a frequent manifestation of unreleased stress. If a panic attack is caused by this in the first instance the person experiencing the attack may not recognise any particular trigger. This can add further to the stress as the sufferer becomes concerned that an anxiety attack may occur at any time regardless of the circumstances or the surroundings.

Some panic attacks are as a consequence of an underlying illness or other condition. An example would be a claustrophobic person feeling anxiety and reacting severely and in panic to finding himself / herself in a tight space such as an elevator. The sense of breathlessness that asthma sufferers feel may induce an attack. In these cases if the underlying conditions are managed then the panic attacks and feelings of anxiety should subside.

What is a Panic Attack?

A panic or anxiety attack is a bout of acute and deep foreboding and fear. The attacks are normally sudden and with little or no warning. Some anxiety sufferers have little problem recognising the cause of their attack but for others the cause can remain a mystery.

Most panic attacks are accompanied by some or all of the following symptoms; nausea, hyperventilation, sense of loss of control, racing or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, choking feeling, trembling, hot flushes, and a sense of detachment from the surroundings.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

If you feel that you are suffering from an anxiety disorder there are a number of symptoms or signs that you should watch out for:

  • Routine daily situations cause you to feel anxious and uneasy
  • Always feeling edgy, concerned or full of tension
  • Have a sense of impending doom or disaster
  • Anxiety interferes with work, studies, and / or personal relationships
  • Sudden and unexplained racing of your heart
  • Anxious worrying about things that you know should be a cause for concern
  • Inability to concentrate because your mind is worrying about relatively trivial matters
  • Everyone feels anxious from time to time and this is quite normal. It is not normal to be consumed or overwhelmed by anxiety though and if you recognise one or more of the above symptoms in yourself then it is time to so something about it. When your anxiety is ever-present or is overwhelming you must act to address your disorder.

    How to Prevent Anxiety and Panic Attacks

    There are effective ways of avoiding anxiety and preventing panic attacks.

  • Use relaxing techniques such as yoga, pilates, and meditation
  • Try to adopt a calm daily routine and always make sure that you have comfortable amount of time to perform key tasks and duties
  • Practise deep breathing throughout the day. Breathe deeply so that your stomach expands rather than your ribcage.
  • Try some positive-thinking techniques to take your mind off negative sentiments and emotions
  • Anxiety Treatment

    If your anxiety disorder is so bad the you regularly have panic attacks then you will need to seek treatment for your anxiety. The good news is that anxiety disorders respond well to treatment.

    Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

    Cognitive behaviour therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment that helps you to consciously recognise and confront the negative thoughts and emotions, and the irrational beliefs that are causing your anxiety.

    Exposure Therapy

    Exposure therapy is a mechanism whereby you are gradually exposed to the circumstances or events that trigger your panic attacks. This is done in a controlled way so the sufferer never feels out of control of the situation. Through the process of frequent and regular exposures to the negative stimuli sufferers are gradually desensitised to their panic attack triggers.

    Medication to Treat Anxiety Disorder

    There are drugs that can be used to treat people that suffer from acute anxiety. They include antidepressants and benzodiazepines which can be used in isolation but for most people they work best in parallel with behavioural therapy. The period of use will depend upon the severity of the condition, the nature of the panic attacks, and whether other non-drug therapies are also employed. Some anxiety sufferers only require medication when they have to confront specific situations e.g. flying.

    Complementary Therapies to Help Cure Acne

    If you wish to avoid taking drugs to treat your anxiety there are a number of complementary and alternative treatments that have proven to be paticularly helpful in relieveing and dispelling anxiety. Such therapies include Reiki, Kinesiology, CranioSacral, and Homeopathy. If you have tried conventional methods without finding a cure for your anxiety or panic attacks there are a number of complementary therapists listed on this site that may have the solution to your difficulties.

    Disclaimer

    The material and information contained on this site is for educational purposes only. This information should not be interpreted as any form of medical advice. If you are experiencing any medical or health difficulties please consult with your doctor.

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