5 Ways to Handle Anxiety Disorder
by Jamie Spannhake
November 21, 2020
What Is Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder. It involves chronic, long-lasting anxiety and worries about nonspecific life events, objects or situations, such as everyday routine life, work or health. According to the NIH, a person who has excessive anxiety and worries on most days for at least six months has GAD. Many people with GAD are not able to identify the cause of their anxiety, which is the reason it is referred to as “generalized.”
Symptoms of GAD include:
- Feelings of restlessness or being on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or unsatisfying sleep
- Self-treatment. For anxiety as well as anxiety disorders, self-treatment is helpful. Techniques include meditation, yoga, relaxation and breathing techniques, exercise, spending time with loved ones and friends, and mental exercises to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Counseling and therapy. Regular sessions with a trusted psychotherapist give those suffering from anxiety an opportunity to voice concerns and problems, talk through them, and replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts and actions.
- Support groups. Joining a self-help or support group and sharing problems and achievements with others can benefit people who suffer from anxiety disorders. Internet chat rooms can be useful as well, but advice received there should be used with caution and discussed with a medical professional or therapist.
- Medication. There are several categories of medication that a medical doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe to reduce the effects of anxiety disorder. They include benzodiazepines, antidepressants and tricyclics. Each medication can have side effects that may or may not be tolerable to the patient. If you have tried self-treatment and counseling but have not received the relief you need, speak to your doctor about medication options.
- A healthy lifestyle. Whether or not you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, a healthy lifestyle can reduce anxiety. In particular, the following lifestyle choices can have a positive effect:
- Limit caffeine.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet.
- Get sufficient sleep.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.