Living with Anxiety

The American Psychological Association surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults about their sources and levels of anxiety, and found that 39% reported being more anxious than they were at this time last year. Another 39% said they were equally anxious, while only 19% said they were less anxious than last year.

 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

 

Anxiety can produce both physical and emotional symptoms. People with anxiety disorder experience restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and worsening worry or fear over extended periods of time.

 

So what is it like to live with anxiety? One of my clients explained that sometimes she is not aware of what is causing her anxiety. Recently she noticed that she gets anxious when she is going to go grocery shopping because she is fearful it will trigger her anxiety. When she gets triggered, she starts to tremble and feels embarrassed. Another client described a time she went to a store and had sensory overload due to sounds, activity and being in a crowd. It became too much for her, so she abandoned her cart and left the store. She said when she got home she was emotionally drained and went to sleep.

 

Things to do to lessen anxiety symptoms:

  • Avoid alcohol - Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety. 

  • Reduce caffeine intake - Cut down the amount of caffeine you are drinking each day.

  • Physical exercise - Distracts from thoughts of worry, and moving your body decreases tension.

  • Relaxation exercises - Helps calm the mind and body. These type of exercises include; yoga, breathing, mindfulness walks, and taking a long hot bath.

  • Healthy diet - Decrease sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates.

  • Therapy - Seek a professional if you feel your symptoms of anxiety are unmanageable.

 

What to do when living with someone who has anxiety: 

  • Listen without judgement.

  • Give them quality time.

  • Avoid talking about anxiety symptoms - this can trigger someone living with anxiety by bringing attention to it!

  • Do activities with them outdoors. 

  • Be understanding - healing from anxiety takes time.

     

     

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