Anxiety is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterised by excessive worry, fear, and unease that can interfere with daily life. The symptoms can vary from person to person, but some common symptoms include restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, and muscle tension. Without proper management, anxiety can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorder is a broad term that encompasses several specific conditions, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias. Each of these disorders has its own unique set of symptoms and treatment approaches. However, there are some common symptoms that can help identify if someone is experiencing an anxiety disorder. These symptoms include excessive worry or fear, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.

Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include:

Anxiety attacks are intense periods of fear and panic that can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, and sweating. These attacks can be triggered by specific situations or can occur unexpectedly. Anxiety attacks can be very distressing and may lead to a fear of future attacks, which can further exacerbate anxiety symptoms.

Coping

Managing anxiety requires the implementation of effective strategies to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. There are several immediate skills that individuals can use to cope with anxiety:

5 immediate skills for coping with anxiety:

  1. Question your thought pattern: Challenging negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive and realistic ones can help lessen anxiety.
  2. Practice focused, deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises can help calm the body and mind and reduce feelings of anxiety.
  3. Create Healthy Lifetstyle Habits: Examples of healthy lifestyle habits include ensuring that you have adequate sleep each night, having a healthy and well-balanced nutrition and limiting your alcohol intake.
  4. Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help manage anxiety and improve overall mental well-being.
  5. Grounding techniques: Grounding techniques involve focusing on the present moment by using your five senses to bring awareness to your surroundings. This can help redirect your attention away from anxious thoughts.

8 long-term strategies for coping with anxiety:

  1. Identify and learn to manage your triggers: Understanding what triggers your anxiety can help you develop strategies to cope with these triggers effectively.
  2. Try therapy: Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and other forms of therapy can help people with suffering from anxiety learn new coping mechanisms and reduce symptoms.
  3. Start Regular Relaxation Practices: Incorporate regular relaxation practices, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, into your routine. You would need to create a designated time for relaxation each day.
  4. Do a daily or routine meditation: Meditation can help calm the mind and help with anxiety. Incorporating a daily practice into your routine can have long-term benefits.
  5. Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you gain clarity and perspective on your anxiety. It can also serve as a tool for tracking patterns and progress in managing symptoms.
  6. Socialise: Connecting with others who understand your experience can provide support and validation. Engaging in social activities can also help reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety.
  7. Staying active: Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease anxiety and improve overall mental health. Find an exercise routine that you enjoy and make it a priority.
  8. Diet and supplements: Eating a balanced diet and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol can help support overall well-being. Some supplements, such as magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, may also have a positive impact on symptoms.

Manage Anxiety

Managing your anxiety requires a multi-faceted approach that may include psychological treatments, physical treatments (medication), and self-help or alternative therapies. It’s important to work with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

Psychological treatments:

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms. Antidepressants and benzodiazepines are commonly used medications for anxiety, but they should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Self-help and alternative therapies:

There are various self-help techniques and alternative therapies that can aid in the management of anxiety. These include relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation. Additionally, engaging in activities that promote overall well-being, such as regular exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, can also help reduce anxiety.

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety can manifest in different ways for different individuals. Some common symptoms of anxiety include:

Anxiety attacks:

Anxiety attacks are intense periods of fear and panic that can cause physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, chest pain, dizziness, and sweating.

Anxiety Management

Managing anxiety involves implementing various strategies to reduce symptoms and improve overall well-being. There are several anxiety management strategies that can be effective:

Slow breathing:

Slow breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help activate the body’s relaxation response and reduce anxiety.

Progressive muscle relaxation:

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in the body. This technique can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.

Stay in the present moment:

Practising mindfulness and staying present can help redirect your focus away from anxious thoughts and promote a sense of calmness.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce anxiety:

Eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress can all contribute to ease anxiety.

Small acts of bravery:

Engaging in small, anxiety-provoking activities and gradually increasing exposure can help build resilience and reduce anxiety in the long run.

Challenge your self-talk:

Identify and challenge negative self-talk and replace it with more positive and realistic thoughts and beliefs.

Be kind to yourself:

Practice self-compassion and self-care. Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during periods of heightened anxiety.

Get to know your anxiety:

Understanding your anxiety triggers and patterns can help you develop effective strategies and better manage your symptoms.

Connect with our online peer support community:

Joining an online support community can provide a space to connect with others who are going through similar experiences and gain support and encouragement.

Journey to recovery – personal stories:

Reading personal stories of individuals who have successfully navigated their journey to recovery can provide hope and inspiration.

Anxiety Treatment

There are various treatment options available for individuals with anxiety. These include psychological treatments, physical treatments (medication), and self-help or alternative therapies. It’s important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

Psychological treatments:

Psychological treatments, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), are often recommended for individuals with anxiety disorders. CBT focuses on identifying and challenging negative thought patterns and developing coping strategies to manage anxiety.

Physical treatments (medication):

In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage symptoms. Antidepressants and benzodiazepines are commonly used medications for mood and anxiety issues, but they should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Self-help and alternative therapies:

Self-help techniques and alternative therapies can also be effective in managing anxiety. These may include relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. Additionally, lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and practising good sleep hygiene, can support overall well-being and help reduce symptoms.

Help & Support:

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, it’s crucial to seek help and support. There are various resources available for people with anxiety and depression, including helplines, support groups, and online communities, where individuals can find support and connect with others who understand their experience. It’s essential to reach out to a mental health professional for a thorough assessment and guidance on the most appropriate treatment options.

General information

As mentioned earlier, anxiety disorder is a broad term that encompasses several specific conditions, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and phobias. Each of these disorders has its own unique set of symptoms and treatment approaches.

These can cause a wide range of symptoms, including excessive worry or fear, restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Living with anxiety requires implementing effective ways to manage symptoms and improve overall well-being. In addition to the immediate skills mentioned earlier, there are several other strategies that can be beneficial:

Question your thought pattern:

By challenging negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive and realistic ones, it is possible to reduce anxiety and improve mental well-being.

Practice focused, deep breathing:

Deep breathing exercises can help activate the body’s relaxation response and lower anxiety levels.

Exercise:

Engaging in regular physical activity helps release endorphins, which can reduce anxiety and improve overall mood.

Grounding techniques:

Grounding techniques involve focusing on the present moment by using your senses to bring awareness to your surroundings. This can help redirect your attention away from anxious thoughts and promote a sense of calmness.

Identify and learn to manage your triggers:

Understanding what triggers your anxiety can help you develop strategies and avoid situations that may exacerbate your symptoms.

Try therapy:

Therapy, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help people with anxiety disorders learn new coping mechanisms and ways to manage their symptoms.

Ask your doctor about medications:

In some cases, medication may be prescribed toblackdoginstitute.org.au help manage anxiety symptoms. It’s important to work closely with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate medication and dosage for your specific needs.

Resources for Anxiety Disorder

blackdoginstitute.org.au: A non-for-profit organisation and a world leader in research, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression and bipolar disorder.

BeyondBlue.org.au  A national-wide organisation, working towards an increased awareness and understanding of Anxiety and Depression. 

Lifeline.org.au: Provides online support for people in crisis. Online chat available 8pm-12am 7 days a week. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 after these hour