Everyday life can be very stressful.
Work, personal relationships, and even simple things can introduce stressors into our lives. Teens are subjected to stress as well – in some cases more than adults. They are constantly exposed to hormonal changes that can cause changes to their mood and emotions. These changes, coupled with stress from peers, academics, family and relationships, can all contribute to stress. All these things can cause anxiety if left unmanaged.
It is normal to have bouts of anxiety every now and then. Some people, however, suffer from anxiety disorders. This is a condition wherein someone subjected to frequent spells of fear and worry. The subject of these worries can be anything from mundane occurrences to more serious problems. Anxiety has many consequences on quality of life. One of the most notable is that it inhibits people from functioning properly.
What are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are believed to be some of the most common mental disorders in Canada. In fact, a 2013 survey showed that approximately 11.6% of Canadians admitted to having anxiety. This is also true for other parts of the world. Anxiety disorders are also common in the USA, with about 18.1% of the population being affected. With these statistics, there is a large chance that you may know someone with anxiety disorders.
There is no single anxiety disorder that afflicts people. There is, in fact, a wide variety of anxiety disorders that people can experience. Some people are even diagnosed with multiple conditions, with each of these aggravating the other anxiety disorders. Some of these conditions include the following:
- Phobias: Irrational fears characterize phobias. These fears can range from animals to darkness, to open spaces, and many more. Phobias can cause excessive anxiety in people that have them.
- Panic disorder: Panic disorder subjects a person to frequent bouts of panic attacks.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: This condition is characterized by regular and excessive anxiety about everyday things. These are often highly exaggerated even if there is no cause for worry.
- Social anxiety: Social anxiety involves a fear of interacting with other people. It also includes a fear of general social situations.
- Substance use-related anxiety: Some people that use substances can also exhibit anxieties, especially when they miss a dose. Prolonged missing can lead to more serious attacks.
Other disorders can also cause excessive anxiety in a person. Some of these include post-traumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, and many more.
Symptoms of Anxiety
People with anxiety disorder commonly experience several different symptoms. Some of the most common systems include:
- Nervousness: People with anxiety often feel fearful or nervous.
- Panic: Panic attacks are also common, especially when the anxieties get exaggerated.
- Heart rate and breathing: A person with anxiety will often have increased breathing and heart rate. It can be detrimental to health in the long run.
- Weakness: People with anxiety sometimes report feelings of weakness or being excessively tired for no reason. These people may also have trouble sleeping.
- Trouble concentrating: A person with anxiety tends to focus on fears and what could possibly go wrong. It can keep your thoughts away from more important things and lead to trouble concentrating. People with anxiety also report trouble in managing their thoughts.
Different people experience different symptoms. The severity of the symptoms of attack may also vary from person to person.
Consequences of Anxiety and How it Holds You Back
Anxiety disorders can prevent a person from functioning properly. All anxiety sufferers go through some degree of negative consequences, with others experiencing severe effects. It is common for someone with anxiety to experience setbacks in their personal or professional lives because of symptoms. These consequences can either be physical, mental, emotional and others. Some of the consequences and effects include the following:
- Effects on physical health: The long-term effects of stress on a person can be detrimental to physical health. Many diseases, in fact, are directly linked to stress levels. These include cardiovascular and gastrointestinal problems.
- Effects on mental and emotional health: Anxiety can, directly and indirectly, affect mental and emotional health. The disorder can lead to other conditions. The many consequences of the disorder, on the other hand, can also cause further complications.
- Personal consequences: Anxiety disorder can strain personal relationships.
- Academic and professional consequences: Anxiety disorder’s symptoms can also keep a person from performing properly. It is most notable in a teenager’s academic and professional life.
- Potential substance use: Some people choose to deal with anxiety the improper way, such as through the use of different substances.
It is best to deal with anxiety sooner rather than later. Addressing anxiety early on can help equip you with skills that can help alleviate the symptoms of the problem.
The Healthy Ways of Dealing with Anxiety
There are several ways of dealing with anxiety. Some people choose to deal with it the unhealthy way. However, for long-term sustainability, proper methods of dealing with anxiety disorder are highly recommended. These methods can be used over and over without posing further risk. Some of the best ways of dealing with anxiety are the following:
- See a therapist
Seeing a therapist is the first step in dealing with anxiety. Therapists are specially trained to help you deal with the symptoms of anxiety disorders. They are also capable of helping you identify the causes and effects of the conditions and how to manage them.
- Meditate and relax
Many people with anxiety disorders get benefits from activities such as meditation and relaxation. These activities can help soothe the mind and provide relief from anxiety, fear, and stress. Other activities that may have the same effect include:
- Breathing exercises
Some people report short-term benefits, whereas others reap more long term ones from these activities. Some even do a combination of these activities to great effect.
- Get proper sleep
Sleep is one of the most crucial steps to busting stress, and anxiety is no exception. Improper sleeping patterns can have negative effects on the brain. These can further cause problems to escalate. Proper rest and sleep can help you manage the symptoms of anxiety. It can even prevent attacks from happening in the first place. If you have trouble sleeping because of anxiety, consult with your therapist about using sleeping aids. Other methods, like yoga and meditation, can also help with sleep.
- Develop stress-management skills
Stress can be problematic since it causes adverse effects on a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Stress also causes anxiety attacks to occur. The best way of preventing these is by managing stressors. Some of the best ways of doing so include:
- Avoiding stressors
- Managing expectations
- Peer support
- Proper rest and exercise
Proper stress-management skills are not just for people with anxiety disorders. Anyone can benefit from being equipped with stress-management skills.
- Identify triggers
The identification of triggers that lead to anxiety is also very important. These triggers are the ones that directly cause burdening thoughts. Naturally, avoiding or managing these triggers can stop the anxiety attacks from occurring. Some of the most common triggers include the following:
- Academics or professional responsibilities
- Other responsibilities
- Social situations
Some triggers cannot be entirely avoided. In these cases, proper management of these factors can help you deal with anxiety.
- Try out medications
Some medications can help prevent anxiety attacks from occurring. Other forms of medication can help people manage the symptoms of anxiety. These medications often have some effect on the brain and may cause side effects to occur. Regardless of the side-effects, these medications are proven to help people deal with anxiety the proper way.
No matter what medication is recommended, take these only with the permission of a doctor or therapist. Self-medication can further aggravate the problems faced by anxiety sufferers. Incorrect dosage of the medication should also be prevented at all costs.
Finally, preventing any further anxiety attacks can help you manage the condition. The best way of preventing the attacks include rest, a proper diet, exercise, and stress management.
Deal with Anxiety Disorders the Right Way
If you or your teen is suffering from an anxiety disorder, then several aspects of your life may be negatively affected. Consult with a therapist to properly deal with your condition. Doing so can help you get back to your best self and keep your life in proper working order. You and the people around you will greatly benefit from this.
Capitol Choice Counseling has trained therapists who are highly experienced in dealing with anxiety disorders, particularly with youth and teens. We have been serving the Ottawa area since 2006. We have a large range of services that you can make use of. Contact us today or give us a call at 1-613-425-4257.