LIV­ING WITH ANX­I­ETY

Each and ev­ery one of us has a rea­son to feel anx­ious at some point in time, but some­times feel­ings of worry, anx­i­ety or fear are strong enough to in­ter­fere with ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - INSPIRE -

WHAT’S NOR­MAL?

Anx­ious feel­ings are a nor­mal re­ac­tion to a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion, but for some peo­ple this anx­i­ety hap­pens for no ap­par­ent rea­son or con­tin­ues long af­ter the event has passed.

WHAT WORKS FOR ANX­I­ETY?

To pre­vent anx­i­ety or al­le­vi­ate ex­ist­ing symp­toms, there are

some gen­eral prin­ci­ples that most peo­ple find use­ful. Th­ese in­clude:

A healthy life­style. Eat a bal­anced diet, ex­er­cise reg­u­larly, get enough qual­ity sleep, limit al­co­hol and avoid drugs. Re­duc­ing and manag­ing stress lev­els. Make sure to do some­thing en­joy­able and re­lax­ing each day. Sup­port from fam­ily and friends. You may find it helps to ex­er­cise or do an­other en­joy­able ac­tiv­ity with a fam­ily mem­ber of friend. Deal­ing with set­backs.

Ad­dress prob­lems early and keep try­ing. E THER­A­PIES

As with de­pres­sion, ef­fec­tive ther­a­pies for the treat­ment of anx­i­ety are CBT and be­hav­iour ther­apy, to help you cope with fear­ful sit­u­a­tions rather than avoid­ing or es­cap­ing them, as well as putting your wor­ries into per­spec­tive. But for some peo­ple with mild-to­mod­er­ate anx­i­ety, on­line ther­a­pies, also called e-ther­a­pies, have proven to be as ef­fec­tive as face-to­face ser­vices. Th­ese ther­a­pies mostly fol­low the prin­ci­ples of CBT or be­hav­iour ther­apy. You work through the pro­gramme on your own but most in­volve email or phone sup­port from a ther­a­pist.

Lo­cally-based coun­selling psy­chol­o­gist, Ellen Whyte, works on­line via Skype and Mes­sen­ger at lepak.com.

MED­I­CA­TION

An­tide­pres­sants. Even if you’re not ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the

symp­toms of de­pres­sion, in some cases an­tide­pres­sants can be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for anx­i­ety. As with de­pres­sion, changes oc­cur in the brain chem­i­cals that af­fect mood.

Ben­zo­di­azepines. Th­ese in­clude mild tran­quilis­ers and sleep­ing pills pre­scribed for short pe­ri­ods of time, along with other med­i­ca­tions. They pro­mote re­lax­ation and re­duce ten­sion, but are not rec­om­mended for long-term use as they can re­duce alert­ness, af­fect co­or­di­na­tion, and can be ad­dic­tive.

OB­SES­SIVE COM­PUL­SIVE DIS­OR­DER

Some­times anx­ious thoughts can be­come ob­ses­sive and lead to un­healthy pat­terns of be­hav­iour, such as: Clean­li­ness/or­der

Ob­ses­sive hand-wash­ing or house clean­ing be­cause of an ex­ag­ger­ated fear of germs; ob­ses­sion with or­der – an over­whelm­ing need to per­form tasks or place ob­jects, like cut­lery, in a par­tic­u­lar pat­tern. Counting/hoard­ing

Re­peat­edly counting items like clothes; hoard­ing junk.

Safety/Check­ing Ob­ses­sive fears about harm, which can re­sult in com­pul­sive be­hav­iours such as re­peat­edly check­ing the stove or win­dows and door locks. Sex­ual Is­sues

An ir­ra­tional sense of dis­gust about sex­ual ac­tiv­ity. How to Treat It

Psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ments like CBT have proven to be most ef­fec­tive in the treat­ment of Ob­ses­sive-Com­pul­sive Dis­or­der (OCD).

Panic At­tacks

Panic at­tacks are sur­pris­ingly com­mon – up to 40 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion will ex­pe­ri­ence a panic at­tack at some point. Some symp­toms in­clude:

A sense of over­whelm­ing panic or fear

The thought that you are dy­ing, chok­ing, “los­ing con­trol” or “go­ing mad” In­creased heart rate Dif­fi­culty breath­ing Ex­ces­sive per­spi­ra­tion Dizzi­ness or feel­ing faint. Dur­ing a panic at­tack, you may also ex­pe­ri­ence “de­re­al­i­sa­tion” – a sense that you or the world around you is not real. What causes it?

Fam­ily his­tory; cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions (asthma, car­diac ar­rhyth­mias, hy­per­thy­roidism, chronic ob­struc­tive pul­monary dis­ease and ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome); ex­tremely stress­ful ex­pe­ri­ences (such as child­hood sex­ual abuse, re­dun­dancy or be­reave­ment); on­go­ing stress. How to treat it

Treat­ment usu­ally in­volves ther­apy and, in severe cases, med­i­ca­tion may be pre­scribed.

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