It is normal to feel anxious from time to time, however when those feelings interfere with normal daily life it is time to seek help.
Anxiety disorders affect about 15% of the population and ‘generalised anxiety disorder’ is the most common. The other types of anxiety disorders include:
- Panic attack
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
People with generalised anxiety disorder get extremely worried about things, and may feel overwhelmed with fear and anxiety even when there is no reason to worry.
Other signs of this anxiety disorder include feelings of restlessness, a sense of dread, feeling irritable, having difficulty concentrating, headaches, irregular heart beat and poor sleep. The signs can come on slowly or quickly and left untreated, the feelings can build up so much that people lose their confidence and avoid socialising out of fear or dread.
The feelings of anxiety may be a sign of some other underlying condition so it is important to talk to your doctor. There are a variety of options for treating the signs of anxiety including:
- Talking therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy by a psychologist or mental health specialist.
- Anxiety management and relaxation techniques such as hypnotherapy, meditation, breathing exercises and counselling.
- Anti-anxiety medication may be required for a short time but they are not recommended for long term use. Depending on any other signs and underlying conditions, other longer term medications may be recommended.
Tips for self-management
- Exercising regularly can improve mood and wellbeing.
- Cut down on caffeine, sugar, and energy drinks. These can speed up the heart and interfere with sleep.
- Cutting out or reducing smoking and alcohol, as these have been shown to make anxiety worse.
- Talk to your friends and family for support, and ask us about support organisations in the area.
- Read books, use online programmes and anxiety apps that help you learn about anxiety and how to overcome it.
Check out www.beatingtheblues.co.nz. It is really good online programme for helping people overcome anxiety and depression.
If you suffer from anxiety talk to a pharmacist. We are here to help.