Treating Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Many people get feelings of anxiety but, an anxiety disorder is more than a passing feeling and can prevent one from being able to complete everyday tasks, due to the intense fear and distress they may feel. Treatment, however, can help and is available for those struggling with an anxiety disorder. 

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, which is also referred to as talk therapy or counseling, involves working with a therapist or mental health professional to help reduce anxiety symptoms.

One of the most effective forms of treating anxiety using psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of therapy focuses on teaching an individual the skills needed to help complete everyday tasks and feel their best while doing so. 

Medications

Various different types of medication are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, all with the goal of relieving the anxiety symptoms of the user. 

Types of medication used to treat anxiety disorders include:

    • Certain antidepressants
    • Anti-anxiety medications, such as buspirone
    • In some cases, benzodiazepines

More information and RESOURCES

  • We recommend talking to your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have.
  • To learn more about anxiety disorders and the treatment used, we suggest the following links:
    • NAMI: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders
    • NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders

ANXIETY DISORDERS: Signs and Symptoms

Many people often experience anxiety, whether the source is stress from work, the weight of making an important decision, or anything else. Anxiety disorders, however, are more than temporary worries. For those with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can even get worse over time. The symptoms of these disorders can interfere and create challenges within daily life and responsibilities. 

SYMPTOMS

Although there are multiple types of anxiety disorders with their own unique symptoms, they all have the feature of “persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.” (NAMI) The following are commonly experienced symptoms in those who have an anxiety disorder:

  • Emotional Symptoms
    • Feelings of dread
    • Feeling tense
    • Irritability 
    • Restlessness
    • Anticipating the worst
  • Physical Symptoms
    • Pounding or fast beating heart
    • Sweating or tremors
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue or insomnia
    • Upset stomach

COMMON TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias

TREATMENT AND RESOURCES

  • To learn more about anxiety disorders, or find out if you may be affected by one, we recommend contacting your health care provider.
  • To read more about anxiety disorders, the following resources are suggested:
    • NAMI: https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Anxiety-Disorders
    • NIMH: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/

 

PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

PHYSICAL WELL-BEING

“Recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and proper sleep.”

EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING

“Coping effectively with life and creating satisfying relationships.”

Use the following link or watch below, for a video featuring Dr. Richard Davidson and Dr. Bruce McEwen, brought to you by the NCCIH, to learn more about emotional well-being:

Creating a balanced life that supports physical and emotional well-being will help contribute to one’s overall wellness. To learn more, visit the following link to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/wellness-and-well-being

5 ways to protect mental health

  “Breathe, Take 5, Focus, Disconnect and Reflect.”

5 Ways to Protect Mental Health Amid Chaos

Who knew the year 2020 would bring so many changes to our lives! This year has brought COVID, quarantines, social injustices, mass protests, and political upheavals. Many of us have also been faced with job losses, childcare disruption, and loss of loved ones. It is no wonder we are all struggling with maintaining some sort of balance in the “new normal” we all live in. How is it even possible to maintain any sense of normalcy, let alone protect our mental health? Consider these five easy steps toward finding your balance:

1

Breathe

  • Take time every day to simply stop and breathe. When we are constantly moving and going all day, we fail to realize how much our bodies bear the stress. Subconsciously we are holding our breath, gritting our teeth, and tensing muscles. Our stomachs are upset, our head hurts, and our body generally ache. Why? We forget that sometimes the most important thing we can do for ourselves and those around us is to simply stop… and breathe.

2

Take 5 Minutes

  • Take 5 minutes at the beginning of every day to remind yourself of what you are thankful for. Doing so, sets our mind in motion on a positive path that will filter light into all aspects of our lives. Too often we become consumed by how bad things may feel or seem in the moment and find ourselves down a rabbit hole of despair. In doing so, we fail to realize how good the reality of our situation or circumstances truly are.

3

Focus on What You can Personally Control

  • Focus on what you can personally control and let go of the rest. Anytime you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or stressed, focus on the aspects of the situation that you can control or change. You cannot control the actions, words, or thoughts of other people. You can however control how you choose to respond to a situation or a person. Never give up this control or power to anyone… it belongs to you and no one else.

4

Disconnect

  • Disconnect from social media. Yes, I know this is hard, but doing so has exponential benefit! I have recently adopted the phrase “doom scrolling” … How often do find yourself scrolling through social media and physically feel yourself becoming more stressed, sad, or anxious? I dare say, we have all been there at least once or twice. Know when to say when. Set a daily time limit for yourself. Take social media holidays. Embrace the disconnect!

5

Reflect

Reflect at the end of every day on the positive. What went well? What did you achieve? What made you smile? How did you make a change to better yourself today? How did you demonstrate joy or love to another person today? Reflection is a simple practice that if done consistently will reduce insomnia, limit rumination, and overall improve your quality of sleep. In the same light that starting your day with gratitude sets you on a brighter path, finishing your day reflecting on the good provides balance to our otherwise chaotic world.

For more ways to find your balance in the chaos, check out https://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-ways-to-remain-centered-amid-all-of-the-chaos/.

 

My Meds Aren’t Working

If you are currently on medication, DON’T stop or change your medications on your own  Making an appointment with a certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is a safe place to begin any lifestyle changes.

 Every med has side effects and withdrawal symptoms.  They range from uncomfortable to dangerous.  If you are feeling that  your medication is not working or making you feel worse, you need to see your provider. 

 

Nurse Practitioners have been trained to help you manage medications and explore other areas of your life that may be making your medications less effective.  Talking to an NP may reveal causes of your anxiety or depression that have not yet been discovered. 

Find a provider who is ready to listen and help with your circumstances.

 

My Anxiety is Getting Worse

Another reason to see a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner is related to life stressors.  There are many factors that make life difficult in normal circumstances.  With all of the challenges of living in the world of COVID 19, things can seem overwhelming.  Focusing on the problems may come naturally.  Anxiety and fear can begin to affect or moods and even physical health.  A Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner can help you develop coping skills and lifestyle changes that may help you through these times.  Learning that you can develop skills within yourself to do more than just make it is empowering.  An NP or qualified therapist can work with you to find and use new ways to cope. 

Find a provider to help you build tools to navigate life.

 

I’m Not Sleeping

Medication problems, fears, anxiety and other related issues can rob us of our sleep.  As mentioned in our previous article, Sleep is Vital, physical and mental health requires restful sleep.  Because Nurse Practitioners understand the mind-body connection to wellness, they can help you explore ways to help get better sleep. 

 

Don’t wait until you are miserable from lack of sleep before contacting  a Nurse Practitioner or Therapist.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a therapist or NP at

NW Mind-Body Wellness,

Click here.