WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety is an unusual feeling which is aroused in the body when there is any unconditional situation in front of you. Anxiety is due to ‘fight or flight’ response which is a defense mechanism of the body to take care of dangerous situation such as in a forest but as human has evolved there are rarely such situations so anxiety can be seen as butterflies in the stomach.
Anxiety would make you feel that things are worse although they are not that much big. Anxiety prevents from taking decision, causes lack of confidence, difficulty in carrying out daily chores.
Minor anxiety is part of everyones life but it is an issue when it starts affecting your life along with people around you. If the stressors continue to build up then anxiety becomes an issue.
TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDER
- GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER: in this disorder there is general anxiety in the patient and there is no specific reason for which the person feels anxious specifically. Thus the person is overall anxious and would get trifled at small situations also.
PHOBIAS:in this disorder the person has fear regarding some specific things and can not even have a thought of the situation. So whenever the person is exposed to that particular thing; anxiety levels shoot up profoundly.
PANIC DISORDER: in this disorder there is unpredictable causeless panic attack of anxiety in the person causing shortness of breath, trembling, sweating and faintness.
OCD: in this disorder there is obsessional thoughts with compulsive urges. These urges would compel the person to perform a task again and again.
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER: in this disorder the person experiences flashback of previous traumas and stay in shade of them.
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
- Panic with fear of something
- Shortness of breath with tight chest
- Nausea/ vomiting
- Low confidence
- Cold, clammy hands and feet
- Disturbed sleep
Exact cause for anxiety is not known but certain triggers can be judged which initiate and aggravate anxiety. Other factors associated with anxiety are:
- Any emotional or physical trauma or illness
- Genetic influence (family history of anxiety disorder)
- Stressful environment
- Certain triggers like unfavorable sudden arise of situations
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Full history and evaluation of symptoms is enough to diagnose any anxiety disorder and tests are performed to rule other other psychiatric disorders/ pathology.
- Counseling: counseling would help in knowing the triggers for anxiety and help in coping the symptoms.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: it is a talk therapy and helps to recognize how thoughts affect feelings and behavior. This therapy has two steps: know the thoughts and know the actions due to the behaviour. Thought pattern is also changed from negative to positive so that the person can handle future situations well.
- Homeopathic medicines
- Regular exercise
- Limit alcohol/ cigarette/ caffeine
- Get enough sleep
- Eat regular healthy meals rich in magnesium, calcium, vitamin B
- Meditation and yoga is mandatory
- Ask the patient to seek help and talk to someone when anxious
- Ask the patient to maintain a diary and note down the triggers which cause anxiety in him and how he reacted to them
- Ask the patient to count from 0 to 10 when anxious to calm himself down
- Advice patient on relaxation technique like abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation
- Acceptance is one of the major factor which help in relieving anxiety as the person becomes anxious when he is not able to accept and adjust to the unfavorable situation.
There are many homeopathic medicines like argentum nitricum, pulsatilla, aconite, belladonna, silicea, cimicifuga etc which can be given but always after thorough case taking.
DO’S AND DON’TS
- Do regular exercise
- Do talk to someone when anxious
- Do get proper sleep
- Do eat regular healthy meals
- Do eat food including fresh fruits and vegetables
- Do take lots of water
- Do take low salt
- Do meditation
- Do avoid triggers that cause anxiety
- No fried food
- No alcohol/ cigarette/ caffeine
- No refined sugar
- No acidic food
- No soda
- No processed food
- Limit dairy products as they cause increased adrenaline which is a stress hormone.