How to manage anxiety
What is anxiety?
When our body is confronted with stress, its natural response is anxiety, a growing feeling of nervousness and fear that is usually provoked by a new context. Whether that is a job interview, the first day in a new school, or the announcement of an event… this feeling is normal. However, if it interferes with your daily life or if it leads to extreme anxiety over several months, this may be a reason to seek medical support as it is defined as an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are defined as a constant state of anxiety and/or anxiety that increases with time. The various symptoms of anxiety can become disabling in private and professional life; both in relationships and personally.
Are there different types of anxiety?
Yes, these disorders can be divided into different groups, and although the feeling is similar, the reasons and intensity differ.
GAD, generalised anxiety disorder
This disorder is difficult to control and corresponds to a constant worry about everyday issues such as family, work or money. These worries are accompanied by several physical symptoms that last for at least 6 months.
Also known as panic disorder, these periods are sudden and occur without obvious reason and are accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath and palpitations. The onset of panic disorder is unpredictable, the diagnosis is confirmed if the patient suffers 4 panic attacks in one month.
Phobias come in many different forms, such as social phobia, agoraphobia and various specific phobias.
Social phobia is concerned with social relationships and performance situations and leads people to avoidance and consequent isolation. Agoraphobia is characterised by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives his or her environment as dangerous and has no means of escape. Finally, specific phobias are triggered by a situation; an object or an animal in an intense and irrational way.
OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder
OCD is represented by obsessive thoughts, these thoughts can be impulses; ideas or images that force the person irrepressibly to perform an act. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a strong source of anxiety forcing sufferers to develop unreasonable and repetitive behaviours.
PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder
When a person has experienced a traumatic event that causes sudden and significant distress, they may develop several symptoms such as emotional anaesthesia, sleep disorders, lack of concentration, flashbacks, distress... PTSD is a severe disorder.
What are the solutions for anxiety disorders?
Anxiety, contrary to popular belief, can affect anyone and can appear in a sudden way. Fortunately, there are solutions for understanding, calming and alleviating anxiety disorders.
Appropriate treatment is the most effective way to improve the effects of anxiety disorders. It is important to consult a healthcare professional to develop a personalised treatment plan, which can include talk therapy (psychotherapy), medication, or both.
Talk therapy involves meeting with a psychotherapist. Regular meetings are necessary for realised improvements in the patient’s condition, and they can be provided in groups or individually.
The techniques used are adapted to the needs of each patient, the approach can be interpersonal, systematic or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT can teach the patient to recognise their thoughts, to understand and control distorted views of external stressors and to manage stress when the first symptoms appear. Psychotherapy has proven to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Your healthcare professional may recommend medication to help with depression and anxiety, which may include antidepressants or other psychotropic drugs. Regular monitoring is important to assess its beneficial and/or adverse effects in order to adjust the treatment. The patient must take the treatment at regular times and without any divergence from the prescribed dose.
Personal resources that can help
When faced with an anxiety disorder, there are several factors that play an important role in improving your wellbeing.
In particular, the use of relaxation and meditation. These practices are intended to be beneficial in combating feelings like anxiety and stress. We refer to them as practices because the different exercises must be done regularly in order to see results. Breathing exercises have very positive effects on the parasympathetic nervous system for example, helping to decrease the anxiety signals sent by our body. The benefits observed are on the psychological as well as physical well-being.
In addition, it is important to practice regular sports, to pay attention to one's diet, and for people with anxiety, a healthy lifestyle is strongly recommended. Your sleep rhythm must be respected, to do so it is essential to avoid drinking alcohol and consuming stimulants.
Book a consultation with our mental health specialists for further help:
They offer a range of services and treatments to help you tackle anxiety, in your own language.