This is the third blog in a series I’ve put together on anxiety, you can read part 1, A brief history of anxiety here, and part 2, The causes and signs here. Today we are going to take a look at some of the treatments that exist to help support you if you are experiencing anxiety.
Lets recap what we covered in part 1 and part 2:
Anxiety is, at its core, a malfunction of the ‘fight or flight’ reaction.
The term ‘anxiety disorder,’ was coined in the 1980s which is a relatively short time ago when you consider the suffering of anxiety is as old as humans.
What causes anxious feelings is different for everyone. Anxiety can seem to come out of nowhere or there may be a traumatic life event that triggers it. Triggers such as:
Adverse childhood experiences
History within your immediate family
Anxiety presents with both physical and emotional symptoms. Understanding your symptoms can help you anticipate when you are entering an anxious state; knowing the signs will allow you to better seek help.
Now we have an idea of what our anxiety looks like, we can spend some time understanding how you can best support yourself. There are three key areas which support can be found, these are:
The best way to find what works for you is trial and error. Allow yourself to be curious about trying new ways of being. Sometimes even the simplest changes can seem intimidating when you are in an anxious state but remember nothing gets better by ignoring the problem.
There are several ways we can support ourselves when it comes to emotional wellness, specifically with anxiety:
Get outside, take a walk, run, cycle, even if it's only for a brief period. Getting away from where you are can help reframe feelings. Plus physical movement can be a way for your body to release anxious energy that builds up as part of the fight-or-flight response.
SIT WITH IT
Take 10 minutes away from everyone to be with yourself. Breathe slowly and deeply and let whatever it is you are feeling just be. Acknowledge it's there. Think about where in your body you feel the emotion. What is that sensation like? Now, breathe into that space...slowly......now, breathe out...slowly...and repeat this process five times.
TALK / JOURNAL
I'm a firm believer in the power of emotions leaving our bodies through words, either written or spoken. Talk to someone you trust or write about how you are feeling.
KNOW YOUR BOUNDARIES
A personal boundary is how you allow others to behave towards you. Make sure you are aware of how you allow others to treat you. If your boundaries aren’t being respected it may be time to affirm what they are and how you hold them. You can read more about boundaries here.
As a therapist I am of course biased and believe it’s great. I say that not only as a therapist but someone who has been to therapy. Therapy can be a wonderful space to deep dive into your thoughts and feelings to get the root of your anxiety. In therapy you explore the ‘whys’ behind how you feel and your behaviours, you may find some unresolved issues holding you back. You can explore how to change habits, how to change thinking patterns to cope with your anxiety.
There are medications out there that can help support both the physical and emotional symptoms of anxiety. A few different types of medications that can be used.
Antidepressants have been found to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders when it comes to the emotional symptoms of anxiety.
Beta-Blockers are used to combat some of the more physical symptoms, such as heart palpitations, and the more serious symptoms of panic attacks.
Sedatives are occasionally prescribed for those who suffer from insomnia or troubled sleep as a result of anxiety.
Any medical options should be discussed with your GP in full before you begin taking them. Just because someone is a Doctor does not mean they know everything. Be empowered to explore a full treatment plan with your Doctor before you begin any medication.
Over the last three weeks we’ve looked at anxiety from different angles, a holistic approach to see just how prevalent it is for us. Knowing more about anxiety and how it affects us as a society as well as on an individual level can only strengthen our ability to tackle it, understand it and offer compassion for those who suffer from it.
Remember, whatever you are going through you aren’t alone.