Anxiety, it’s Symptoms, and How to Treat it
Stress is a natural human emotion – a survival mechanism that enables us to cope with threatening situations. Sometimes, however, our brains overreact to a non-threatening stimulus, causing us to respond to ordinary stimuli with panic attacks or anxiety.
Many situations can trigger our fight-or-flight response, from stressful events (an interview or speaking in public), physical trauma (an accident) or dietary causes (too much caffeine, alcohol or sugar). Every individual responds to these triggers differently.
Anxiety’s Toll On The Body
- Irrational fear
- Pounding heart
- Shortness of breath
- Shaking and trembling
The heart pounds faster as the body pulls blood away from the extremities in order to direct it towards the heart, lungs, and other vital organs. The lungs must now work harder in order to oxygenate this extra blood. This causes our breathing to become labored. Anxiety can also impact the gastrointestinal organs. Many people, when under stress for a long time, suffer from stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Even our skin can react to anxiety and stressful situations. You may find yourself sweating excessively, or having clammy palms or even hives. Hives frequently appear as red blotches on the face, back neck or arms.
Anxiety attacks can take a toll on our body. Those under a great deal of stress may spend their nights lying awake for hours worrying – making it hard to sleep. Too many restless nights can cause fatigue and drowsiness during the day, which may result in a decline in performance at work or school. This also impacts the sufferers mood, making it more short-tempered and irritable. Severe anxiety and stress can also cause headaches and muscle tension in the neck, back and shoulders.
Doctors who treat anxiety will commonly prescribe medication. While these medications can help with the physical symptoms of anxiety, they don’t address the underlying issues that may be causing the symptoms.
In addition, these drugs often come with harmful, even dangerous side effects. Because of this, we recommend drug-free, alternative therapies and treatments. For most people, the most effective method of combating anxiety attacks is to combine a regimen of medication and some of the following behavioral therapies:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) involves transforming negative thought processes into positive ones. CBT helps the patient work out the underlying issues causing the anxiety. It is often a lengthy process, but if combined with medication to control the immediate symptoms, such therapy can be an effective long-term treatment option.
Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and yoga, relax the mind and the body as well as help to lessen the physical tension that accompanies anxiety attacks. Hypnosis and acupuncture are also popular, whether as an alternative remedy or as a complement to conventional treatment.
Stress and anxiety manifests themselves in all kinds of ways, and can put quite a toll on our bodies and our minds. By taking a multi-pronged approach, we can alleviate some of the physical and emotional damage that anxiety can inflict.
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