Thoughtful Thursday – Anxiety/Panic Disorders

lonely_road_by_habbrockWe hope that the 10 Signs of Depression were helpful last week. This week we are going to focus on Anxiety/Panic Disorders. Here are the signs:

  1. Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness.
  2. Trouble sleeping
  3. Cold or sweaty hands and feet
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Heart palpitations
  6. Not being able to be still and calm
  7. Dry mouth
  8. Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  9. Nausea
  10. Muscle tension
  11. Dizziness

The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, but anxiety disorders–like other forms of mental illness are not the result of personal weakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing. As scientist continue their research on mental illness, it is becoming clear that many of these disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress. Like other brain illnesses, anxiety disorders may be caused by functioning of brain circuits that regulate fear and other emotions. They can also run in families, like certain heart problems and cancers, and certain traumatic events can trigger an anxiety disorder in people who have an inherited susceptibility to developing the disorder.

If you need help your doctor will ask you some questions, perform a physical exam and may perform some tests to rule out other physical problems. If no other problems are found you may be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist or other trained mental health professional who is trained to diagnose and treat mental illness. Fortunately a lot of progress has been made in the last two decades in the treatment of people with mental illness. Although the treatment depends on the type of disorder, one or a combination of Medication, Psychotherapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Dietary & lifestyle changes and Relaxation Therapy may be used.

Anxiety disorders cannot be prevented, but there are some things you can do to control or lessen the symptoms:

  1. Stop or reduce consumption products that contain caffeine, such as coffee, tea, cola, energy drinks, and chocolate.
  2. Ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter medicines or herbal remedies. Many contain ingredients that can increase anxiety symptoms.
  3. Seek counseling and support if you start to regularly feel anxious with no apparent cause.
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