Anxiety is a part of our human experience. However, it can feel debilitating, like something relentless and out of our control gripping us or bearing down on us.
Anxiety may include body symptoms such as sweating, numbness, headaches, heart palpitations and shortness of breath, restlessness or feeling stressed, keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, having difficulty concentrating or going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances (such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep).
Anxiety occurs across a spectrum of severity including:
- mild feelings of uneasiness and worry
- moderate levels of edginess, rumination and distractability
- severe feelings of dread, paralyzing fear, phobias and panic attacks
Therapy to help relieve the symptoms of anxiety can include any of the following:
- understanding personal history, family and social pressures, thought patterns and emotional reactions
- discovering useful or meaningful aspects of the disturbance
- providing support to increase tolerance and reduce severity of reactions
- learning and applying techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation and visualization
- adjunctive use of medications when indicated
Anxiety can be debilitating and distressing but can also be decreased or alleviated with supportive therapy.