Severe Anxiety: How to Cope with It
At some point in our lives, we all experience anxiety. It is a normal human reaction to certain situations. However, once it starts to disrupt and affect your daily routine and life, in general, seeking treatment is the best way to manage it. Severe anxiety causes individuals to experience excessive and persistent anxiety that extends beyond typical concerns related to daily stressors, such as work or personal life challenges. The fear associated with these disorders can be all-encompassing and uncontrollable, which significantly impacts the affected person’s ability to function.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most widespread mental illnesses in the United States. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that approximately 40 million American adults suffer from it.
Common symptoms of severe anxiety include:
- experiencing nervousness,
- feeling of helplessness,
- feeling of imminent danger or doom
- accelerated heart rate
- trembling, and
- obsessively fixating on the trigger for panic.
In cases where anxiety is disrupting your daily life and relationships, it is recommended that you seek medical attention from a healthcare professional. The healthcare provider can help exclude any underlying physical health problems before referring you to a mental health professional.
Although psychotherapy or oral treatments are often necessary for people with anxiety disorders to manage their anxiety, incorporating lifestyle changes and coping mechanisms can also be helpful.
Coping Tips for Dealing with Severe Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is a persistent mental illness. It does not have a cure; however, there are measures you can take to manage it. Although anxiety symptoms may never fully disappear, significant progress can still be made to minimize anxiety and improve overall functioning.
Effective treatment is fundamental to managing anxiety and can provide you with the necessary tools to alleviate symptoms and enhance your quality of life. One-time treatment cannot completely cure you from it, this is why you need to continually learn and implement coping strategies.
Identify what triggers your severe anxiety.
Learning what triggers your severe anxiety is possible either independently or with the aid of a therapist. Some triggers may be evident, such as caffeine, alcohol, or tobacco, while others may not be as noticeable. Identifying more long-term issues like financial or work-related stressors may require additional support, such as therapy or help from friends, to determine the root cause of the anxiety. Once the trigger has been recognized, it is advisable to minimize exposure whenever feasible. However, in circumstances where the trigger cannot be avoided, like a stressful work environment, employing coping strategies may be beneficial.
Practice daily meditation.
Engaging in regular meditation is just as beneficial for minimizing anxiety as physical exercise. A comprehensive review of 47 studies on meditation indicates that the practice is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders, depression, stress, and pain. Moreover, meditation can enhance an individual’s overall quality of life. You should not be intimidated by the prospect of starting a meditation practice. It is a simple activity that anyone can learn. Starting with a few minutes a day is a good way to begin and see how it progresses.
Connect with people.
You may experience social anxiety differently, but spending time with loved ones on a regular basis can help manage symptoms. Socializing can alleviate stress, promote a sense of togetherness and joy, and alleviate feelings of isolation. According to research, maintaining social connections can increase one’s resilience to stress in the long run. Talk to a friend or invite your family over for a meal. You may also consider joining a support group to learn from people with similar conditions as you on how they deal with severe anxiety.
Change your diet.
Choosing to change your diet is an effective long-term coping strategy. Studies suggest that certain nutrients can help reduce severe anxiety. Seeking the assistance of a nutritionist or dietician in creating a healthy meal plan may be helpful. They can also recommend foods and supplements that can naturally aid in reducing anxiety. For instance, some research has linked low magnesium levels to anxiety, and foods high in zinc or omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce anxiety symptoms. It is important to consult with your doctor before trying any supplements.
Get regular exercise.
One of the most effective ways to manage severe anxiety is exercise. Numerous studies demonstrate that exercise is a potent approach to alleviating anxiety, worry, and stress. Aerobic exercise, in particular, can be highly beneficial. Exercise can be a valuable tool in managing anxiety by reducing physical tension, diverting attention from negative thoughts, and inducing changes in brain chemicals that enhance mood and reduce anxiety.
Improve sleep hygiene.
Severe anxiety is frequently accompanied by severe sleep disturbances, such as insomnia. Those who experience persistent anxiety often engage in excessive thinking about their worries while in bed, which can result in difficulty falling asleep. Getting enough sleep can be a way to alleviate feelings of anxiety. Developing healthy sleep habits can make going to bed more enjoyable. Learn to establish a consistent routine to promote better sleep. Techniques for enhanced sleep hygiene include creating a more comfortable bed and avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the afternoon and evening. Practicing relaxation techniques can also assist in identifying ways to manage anxiety and improve the ability to fall asleep calmly and quickly.
When should you ask for professional help for severe anxiety?
If you find that these suggested coping skills are not effective, seeking assistance from a professional may be beneficial. Be alarmed when your anxiety is affecting your everyday routine and causing physical symptoms. A mental health professional can help in identifying triggers, implementing long-term strategies, such as behavioral therapy, oral treatments, and other approaches.
While anxiety may be a persistent aspect of your life, it should not dominate your daily activities. Even severe anxiety disorders can be treated effectively. Once you have discovered a treatment that is effective for you, life should become more enjoyable and less overwhelming.
If you are looking for someone to help you manage your severe anxiety, visit Mindshift Psychological Services. Check out their website to learn more about their treatment programs for anxiety and depression. You may also contact them at (714) 584-9700 to schedule an appointment.