If you’ve recently been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what to do next. It’s important to remember that knowledge is power, and understanding your anxiety diagnosis can help you take control of the condition. Read on to learn how your diagnosis can help you, the practical methods you can employ to manage your anxiety and the treatment options available.
How Your Anxiety Diagnosis Can Help
Anxiety is among the most prevalent mental health concerns affecting people worldwide. Common anxiety disorder symptoms include continual fear, dread, panic and sometimes even physical sensations like chest tightness or heart palpitations. Those afflicted with an anxiety disorder may also experience difficulty sleeping and reduced concentration levels. While everyone feels some anxiety at certain times, individuals with an anxiety disorder experience increased intensity, duration and frequency compared to the general population.
At first, being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder may seem like a burden — a problem you need to solve, but you have no idea how. On the other hand, your anxiety diagnosis can also give you a sense of relief, as it can explain many of the difficulties you may have been facing in your daily life. It can give you insight into why trying to attend events, sleeping through the night or taking on everyday tasks can feel like a monumental challenge.
Anxiety can manifest itself in different ways, and having an official diagnosis can encourage you to implement the steps necessary to manage it proactively. With awareness and self-care strategies, managing anxiety is an achievable goal that can help create greater ease and calm in your life.
Practical Ways to Manage Anxiety
There are many ways to manage your anxiety and improve your daily life. Here are some simple and practical steps you can take today to start taking control of your anxiety.
- Learn what triggers your anxiety, as understanding the root of the problem can make it easier to tackle. Once identified, consider using stress management and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and mindful meditation as coping mechanisms when feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Keep a journal to identify patterns related to your anxiety triggers and the relaxation techniques that work for you.
- Eating nutritious and balanced meals can be a great way to reduce anxiety levels. Studies have shown that consuming foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals can help improve mood and general well-being. Eating healthy regularly also helps provide the body with the necessary nutrients to function optimally and cope with stress. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, like fish, walnuts and chia seeds, has been found to keep stress levels low. Incorporating these foods into your daily diet can help you stay relaxed and balanced.
- Physical activity is another excellent way of managing anxiety because it helps reduce stress hormones while increasing endorphins (feel-good hormones). These endorphins activate positive feelings in the brain, decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety when you exercise. It doesn’t have to be intense exercise, either — any form of physical activity, such as walking, jogging, dancing and swimming, will help you feel mentally and physically better.
How to Treat Anxiety
After your anxiety diagnosis, you may be wondering about how to fix anxiety. Here are several available treatments that can help treat this condition.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is one of the most common forms of therapy used to treat anxiety. This type of therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns that contribute to anxious feelings or behaviors. During CBT sessions, a therapist will work with you to identify your thoughts and beliefs about anxiety and then challenge those thoughts. This process helps you learn new ways of thinking and behaving that are better suited to managing your anxiety in healthy ways.
2. Exposure Therapy
Another type of therapy used for treating anxiety is exposure therapy. This treatment involves exposing someone with an anxiety disorder to what they fear in a safe environment so they can learn to cope with their fear without becoming overwhelmed by it. For example, suppose you’re afraid of public speaking. In that case, your therapist might have you speak in front of a small group or even just talk out loud in front of a mirror until the fear response becomes less intense. By gradually exposing yourself to what you fear, you can learn more adaptive ways to cope with your anxieties that don’t involve avoidance or panic attacks.
In some cases, medication may be prescribed alongside therapeutic interventions for anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Medications such as antianxiety drugs and antidepressants are often used to reduce the intensity of anxious feelings. This can help people better engage in therapeutic activities like CBT or exposure therapy without feeling overwhelmed by their symptoms. Medications should always be taken under the supervision of a doctor who knows your medical history and your specific needs for managing your anxiety disorder.
Medication Management for Anxiety
Anxiety can be overwhelming to manage, and medication is often necessary for many living with it. However, like any condition, proper medication management is essential to ensure the medication works correctly and effectively. This could involve regularly checking in with your doctor or psychiatrist to monitor its effects, adjusting dosages as needed, keeping up with refills and being mindful of potential side effects. A plan of action for managing your anxiety symptoms that includes responsibly taking medication can help you get the best out of it and ultimately give you the relief you deserve.
It’s Okay to Seek a Higher Level of Care
If you feel anxiety is taking over your life, don’t hesitate to reach out to a health care professional for help. They can work with you to determine the best way to manage your condition and create a treatment plan designed for your needs and goals. Contact us at Restore to learn how we can help you take control of your anxiety and improve your life.