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Mental Health Problems and Mind-Body Wellness

Anxiety

Home Treatment - When to Call a Health Professional

Feeling worried, anxious, and nervous is a normal part of everyday life. Everyone frets or feels anxious from time to time. However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming and interferes with your daily life, it is not normal.

Anxiety can cause both physical and emotional symptoms. A specific situation or fear can cause some or all of these symptoms for a short time. When the situation passes, the symptoms go away.

Physical Symptoms

Emotional Symptoms

Many people, including children and teens, develop anxiety disorders in which many of these symptoms occur when there is no identifiable cause.

Phobias and panic disorder are two common anxiety-related disorders. Phobias are irrational, involuntary fears of common places, objects, or situations. Panic disorders occur when a person has periods of intense fear and anxiety when there is no clear cause or danger. Physical symptoms that may occur during a panic attack include chest pain, feelings of choking or suffocation, nausea, shaking, sweating, pounding heart, and dizziness or faintness.

Self-care, often combined with professional treatment, can be effective in managing anxiety.

Home Treatment

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The following Home Treatment tips can relieve simple anxiety and also help in combination with medical care.

  • Recognize and accept your anxiety about specific fears or situations. Then say to yourself, "Okay, I see the problem. Now I'll start to deal with it."

  • Be kind to your body:

    • Relieve tension with vigorous exercise or massage.

    • Practise relaxation techniques. See Relaxation Skills.

    • Get enough rest. If you have trouble sleeping, see Sleep Problems on See Sleep Problems.

    • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, chocolate, and nicotine. They increase your anxiety level.

  • Engage your mind:

    • Get out and do something you enjoy, such as going to a funny movie or taking a walk or a hike.

    • Plan your day. Having too much or too little to do can make you more anxious.

  • Keep a record of your symptoms. Discuss your fears with a good friend. Confiding with others sometimes relieves stress.

  • Get involved in social groups or volunteer to help others. Being alone sometimes makes things seem worse than they are.

When to Call a Health Professional

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  • If you are seriously considering harming yourself or someone else.

  • If anxiety interferes with your daily activities.

  • If you have sudden, severe attacks of fear or anxiety with intense physical symptoms (shaking, sweating) when there is no apparent reason to be afraid.

  • If intense, irrational fears of common places, objects, or situations interfere with your daily life.

  • If symptoms of anxiety are still severe after 1 week of Home Treatment.

  • If you suffer from nightmares or flashbacks to traumatic events.

  • If you are unable to feel certain about things (e.g., whether you unplugged the iron) no matter how many times you check, or if repetitive actions that you cannot control interfere with your daily activities.

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