You Can Beat Anxiety
You Can Conquer Anxiety
Do you ever get anxious at times? Is anxiety really something that only people with mental illness suffer from? Judging by the amount of people with physical complaints who have some type of fear or anxiety I have seen over the years, I’m sure that many people can relate to some form or another of anxiety. Anxiety is one of the most common emotionally based health problems, and about 2 out of every hundred of us will experience an anxiety disorder as described below. This month, let’s take a closer look at this common complaint, how it affects your body and what steps you can do to identify and control your bodily responses to anxiety.
Anxiety is Both A Physical and Emotional Experience
Physical sensations can occur such as heart palpitations or heart skipping a beat, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach aches, or headache, shaky hands, sweating excessively, trembling, feeling like you cannot breath or you may be choking, tense muscles and dizziness. I am sure that many of you have felt some of these symptoms at one point in your life.
Emotional symptoms such as worrying what others may think about you and even thoughts about the anxiety never stopping. You may have fears about losing control or feeling like things are not real or that you are going to end up crazy. Sometimes being anxious can make a person so edgy and wound up that they might even get quite aggressive. Emotionally, anxiety causes a sense of dread or panic and along with this comes the nausea, and even chills. Behaviors may arise directed at escaping or trying to avoid the source of anxiety. I have a dentist friend who once told me that she has had the odd patient over the years who has literally take off in the middle of their appointment, particularly if they need an injection or a tooth extraction.
Types of Anxiety
There are different types of anxiety that you may hear people talk about. The type you have really depends on the collective group of symptoms which you have. Here are some simple explanations:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
This is when you get lots of worries about trivial things which other people aren’t generally worried about. You worry about what others may think of you, you worry about paying the bills on time, about getting to the shops or bank before it closes, about the health and/or safety of family and/or friends.
These are when someone has a specific worry about one particular thing or one situation, for example a fear of being in a crowd of people, fear of heights or fear of spiders. Try hypnotism – it has worked really well for several of our patients. A young man of about 20yrs of age came to our clinic, who couldn’t drive his car for more than a few kilometers without becoming physically sick and throwing up. It turned out that when he was a young lad, he was driving with his father in their car, when it was surrounded by a bunch of angry motor bikers who literally trashed the car at the lights. This young man had since developed a phobia of driving, for in his mind he was still trapped in that same vehicle, and was constantly anxious each time he heard any loud noises around his car, which triggered an almost immediate response – a feeling of dread and being sick. One session with a friend who is an excellent hypnotherapist got him right. I was truly amazed, and am now a convert!
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Many people suffer from some form of panic disorder. Intense periods of anxiety coupled with physical sensations such as sweaty hands, palpitations, feeling sick which occur seemingly “out of the blue” without an obvious cause. This can range from mild to the extreme. You may want to escape, and a common scenario is “anticipatory anxiety”, which is a form of panic disorder. It may happen just before a performance is given or the build up to an event, for example before your wedding, a test or exam, going to the dentist, or it could even happen before boarding an airplane. I’ll bet many people can identify at some point in their life a time when they panicked. What do you do with panic disorder? You take a few nice deep and slow breaths and try not to focus on the physical sensations you are experiencing. They will only exacerbate if you do, increasing the level of panic and anxiety.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD)
This is when you get thoughts which sort of jump into your head that you cannot control and you start doing things to try and control or reduce these thoughts. For example someone may get thoughts in their head that they may get disease from germs off door handles, so start not touching door handles, or open them whilst holding a handkerchief, they may have rituals like washing their hands very frequently to keep them clean. I had a patient who could not relax and watch TV unless he found the remote control first. He felt compelled to find the remote, regardless of what was on TV, or how much he wanted to see his favourite TV show – he was absolutely compelled to find that remote.
Another man who saw me years ago, felt compelled to keep checking to see if the doors on his car were locked after he parked his car somewhere. Nail biting can also be a compulsion for some. What about the perfectionist people who want everything so clean and tidy all the time. You may well know one of these people, they vacuum twice a day, the house has to be spotless or they can’t seem to relax. They find it hard to relax, never feel quite at ease and may even find it hard to get to sleep because they are thinking of all the things they have to do tomorrow. They may be “list” people, who write everything down, they may be very (too much) organized and plan things meticulously down to the last detail. These people can be hyper critical and fussy and besides being a pain to be around, are very prone to anxiety. In my experience, they eventually develop adrenal fatigue and can be prone to an overactive thyroid complaints. Herbal or homeopathic treatments work very well here over time – but they do take time and are not instant in their effects, so be patient.