DEALING WITH ANXIETY

Anxiety is a mixture of:
– bodily symptoms related to fear
– mental symptoms related to worry and rumination

FACTORS THAT CAUSE OR CONTRIBUTE TO ANXIETY
– physical threats
– emotional threats – fear of losing relationships or social standing
– early deprivation or trauma
– stimulants – caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, cocaine
– drug and alcohol withdrawal
– some physical illnesses and medication

WHAT TO DO WHEN FEELING ANXIOUS
– understand that anxiety is often a false alarm based on misinterpretation of danger
– deep breathing (slow exhalation) will usually reduce or stop physical symptoms of anxiety

WHAT TO DO IN THE LONGER TERM
– identify sources of stress and how to problem-solve them
– challenge your negative thoughts
– take action to overcome avoidance
– practice mindfulness and attention-shifting techniques
– pay attention to sleep, diet and exercise
– have a check-up to rule out physical causes of anxiety
– expect to have some degree of anxiety rather than trying to entirely eliminate it

DRUGS FOR ANXIETY
– other methods of dealing with anxiety should be tried before using medication
– benzodiazepines relieve anxiety quickly, but can cause physical dependence if used daily for more than a few weeks
anti-depressants are not habit-forming, but take 2 weeks to start reducing levels of anxiety
– when coming off anti-depressants, taper down over 2-3 months to avoid withdrawal symptoms

SEE ALSO
– Why It Is So Hard to Live in the Present
– Why We’re All So Anxious
– The Impostor Syndrome
– How to Deal With a Panic Attack