DEALING WITH ANXIETY

Depending on the person, anxiety tends to manifest as either:
– physical sensations based on fear and panic
– mental symptoms based on worry and rumination.

FACTORS THAT CAUSE OR CONTRIBUTE TO ANXIETY
– physical threats
– fear of losing relationships or social standing
– childhood deprivation or trauma
– stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine
– drug and alcohol use
– some physical illnesses and medication

WHAT TO DO WHEN FEELING PHYSICALLY ANXIOUS
– understand that anxiety is usually 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
– have a check-up to rule out physical causes of anxiety
– challenge your negative thoughts
– take action to overcome avoidance
– identify sources of stress and how to problem-solve them
– pay attention to sleep, diet and exercise
– practice mindfulness and attention-shifting techniques
– learn to accept some degree of anxiety rather than trying to avoid or suppress it

DRUGS FOR ANXIETY
– all drugs have side effects, so other methods of dealing with anxiety should be tried first
benzodiazepines relieve anxiety quickly but 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