Anxiety/Panic: Help, Support and Overcome
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear and can differ in severity. Each person experiences a feeling of anxiety at some point of time. You may feel worried about sitting for an exam or facing an interview panel. If you feel anxious about something then be assured that it is an absolutely normal feeling. But people who have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, may find it hard to control their worries and fears. These feelings of anxiety can seriously affect their daily life.
A number of conditions have been identified where anxiety is the main symptom. Panic disorders and phobias can all cause anxiety. This condition can be accompanied with many physical symptoms. These symptoms are usually related to heart, lungs, and the nervous system. You can experience an upset stomach, diarrhea and breathing trouble. GAD is the more serious form of anxiety disorder. It can cause both mental and physical symptoms. The symptoms definitely vary from one person to another but a person can face problems in concentration and sleeping too. Almost 5% of adults in Britain suffer from GAD. Though, women are more affected than men by this disorder, anxiety usually affects a person when he/she is in their 20s.
Help and Support for Anxiety/Panic
Anxiety, in general, can be caused due to a mental condition, physical condition or due to effects of drugs. The doctor will first check whether the anxiety is caused by a medical condition. There are a number of medical problems, like anemia, asthma attack, infection and drug intoxication, which are associated with anxiety. There are some external factors, too, which can cause anxiety such as stress at work, stress from school, stress in a personal relationship and financial stress. The doctor can have a difficult time in determining the causes and differentiating between the symptoms.
A person who is suffering from a chest pain may not necessarily suffer from any heart disease; the underlying cause can be panic disorder which is yet another variation of anxiety. Panic attacks usually last for 10 minutes and involve symptoms like palpitations, sweating, trembling and shortness of breath. GAD, on the other hand, is very difficult to control and can last for a period of six months. It is associated with restlessness, trouble concentrating, irritability and muscle tension. You must consult your GP if anxiety is interfering with your daily life or if it causes too much distress. GAD is very difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to differentiate from other health conditions such as depression. Anxiety can be prevented if you are aware of the causes of stress in your life and your ability to cope with it. You must avoid the consumption of caffeine and illicit drugs. You can also practice meditation and relaxation exercises.
The two main forms of treatment are psychological therapy and medication. The correct mode of treatment for the patient will be prescribed by the doctor. The GP will discuss the treatment options with you including the pros and cons of each. Patients who have been diagnosed with GAD will be advised to incorporate psychological treatment along with medicines. The medicines are usually prescribed on a short term basis.The GP may also prescribe some long term medications depending on the severity of the condition. Antihistamines are the main short term medications prescribed by the GP in case of an anxiety disorder. At home, the patient should participate in deep breathing exercises, take warm baths and watch TV to rest the mind. Family members should be supportive and speak with the person to help him/her overcome the anxiety.