As summer rolls on, many of us are getting out of quarantine and wanting to hit the road to go camping, traveling to see family, or just driving to get out!
Panic attacks are a very debilitating experience. But, they can be especially overwhelming when you happen to be behind the wheel.
It’s normal to feel some anxiety while driving. In fact, many drivers wind up having a panic attack at some point during their driving career. Unfortunately, the symptoms of the condition can make driving even more difficult and potentially dangerous. That being said, please follow these steps to manage anxiety and keep your cool while driving.
Turn Up the Radio
Give yourself something to focus on other than the stresses of maneuvering your vehicle. The easiest way to do this is to listen to the radio or a music streaming service. You might even want to try an audio book. But, whatever you choose to listen to, make sure it isn’t too loud or distracting. You don’t want to take too much of your attention off of the road. Doing so can lead to a whole new set of difficulties.
Driving safely is a sure way to reduce driving stress. When you drive aggressively or break the rules of the road, you have to worry about causing an accident or being arrested, in addition to the other complications of driving.
Also, if you’re not great with directions, make sure you have a GPS at your disposal. That way, you won’t have to worry about navigational abilities. If you currently don’t use a GPS device, you really don’t know what you’re missing!
Keep Breathing Under Control
During a panic attack, people often take quick, shallow breaths because they feel like they aren’t getting enough air. But, hyperventilating like this can actually make anxiety symptoms worse.
The best thing to do is to focus on slowing down your breathing. Breathing deep from your diaphragm helps as well. Count to five as you breathe in, hold your breath for three seconds, then breathe out as you count to five. Typically, the sooner you get your breathing under control, the sooner the attack will begin to dissipate.
Pull Over (If Necessary)
While panic attacks can be scary, the feeling should pass within five minutes or so. (Remember, these attacks generally don’t last longer than ten minutes tops.) But, if you feel too anxious to drive, you should pull over to the side of the road. An even better option might be stopping at a rest area or fast food restaurant. Grabbing a bite to eat or a cold drink might help to calm you down a little.
The more often you drive, the more comfortable you will feel behind the wheel. Try to drive a little bit every day. Stick to roads and areas you’re familiar with while you practice. If you drive often enough, many of the things you have to do will become second nature, which will probably reduce the driving-related anxiety you may feel.
Although you can’t completely eliminate the possibility of having a panic attack when you’re on the road, these things are sure to aid you in reducing the chance. Remember, you only live once. You need to explore the world, while you can.
No time is ever a good time to experience a panic attack. The physical symptoms can be very debilitating, and the anxiety that accompanies an attack can make it difficult to make any decisions at all. Because of this, the fear of having a panic attack in the workplace can be particularly troublesome to someone with panic disorder. Here are a few tips that may help you to manage this issue while you’re working.
Trust In a Co-Worker
Panic attacks can be difficult to go through alone, especially if you’ve only recently started suffering from this particular disorder. If you feel you know any of your co-workers enough to trust them, confide in someone about your condition. Not only does it feel good to be accepted, but your friend may also be willing to help calm you down when you need it.
Always Have a Plan
Being unorganized and unprepared at work will set you up for a stressful day. Come up with a plan for yourself at the beginning of the week. Make sure to manage your time wisely, and leave yourself a bit of time to take a break between each commitment.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
The food that you eat can have a profound impact on your mood. Try to eat a balanced diet and keep alcohol and caffeine consumption to a minimum. Getting enough sleep is another important (and also overlooked) factor. For most people, this means shooting for roughly eight hours of sleep per night.
Know When to Take a Break
If a particularly difficult project is getting to you, don’t be afraid to step away so you can clear your head. Take a trip to the break room, take a walk around the park, or simply meditate or do some breathing exercises. You’ll come back refreshed and with a clear perspective.
Reward Your Successes
If you’re successful at work, take a moment to celebrate your achievement. Acknowledging your accomplishments helps you to keep a positive frame of mind throughout the day.
Set Realistic Goals
Achieving your goals makes you feel good. Failing to reach your goals, on the other hand, can be frustrating and stressful. When you plan out your work day, set goals for yourself that are meaningful but still achievable.
Look Into Employer Resources
If you’re having a hard time at work, communicate with your employer or supervisor so that you can get the help you need. You may be able to sign up for skill-building classes or an Employee Assistance Program. Even if no formal assistance is available, your supervisor may be able to offer guidance or assistance so you can get a handle on things more easily.
Keeping these tips in mind throughout the day can help to reduce workplace stress, and avoid the kind of situations that could lead to a panic attack. However, panic disorder is a serious issue, and can be very difficult to treat by yourself. If you experience panic attacks regularly, consider talking to a mental health care professional to see what sort of treatment is best for you.
At first thought, it may not make sense that some foods actually help to reduce anxiety and panic attacks. But, luckily for those who deal with these conditions, it’s really true. Of course, there’s no way to completely eliminate the problem simply by eating and drinking certain things.
However, every little bit helps. Consider adding the following options to your diet, for best results.
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants assist the body in keeping infections at bay. They also have something to do with mood balance and managing blood sugar more efficiently.
If you’re not especially fond of eating fruits and vegetables with your meal, why not try drinking them instead? Smoothies have been popular for years and will no doubt remain a favorite long into the future.
It’s possible to make a smoothie out of almost any kind of fruit and vegetable combination. Get a little bit creative and see what you can come up with. The choice is up to you!
If you aren’t familiar with probiotics, you’re certainly not alone. They are teeny-tiny specks of good bacteria that live in the intestine. One of the most popular, not to mention tasty, sources of probiotics is yogurt.
In 2011, an Irish research study revealed that when mice were fed yogurt-related probiotics, they exhibited fewer behavioral traits associated with depression, stress and anxiety. If it helps mice, think what it will do for humans. However, further research is needed.
Fish and Poultry
Fish and poultry are essential to any well-balanced diet. Each of these choices provides a wide variety of nutrients, including vitamin B, zinc and iron. Fattier fish such as salmon and flounder are rich in omega-3 fatty acids or “healthy fats.” Healthy fats promote positive function of the brain, which is said to alleviate symptoms of depression as well as anxiety.
Avoid Coffee and Caffeinated Drinks
Probably the last piece of advice you want to read is to avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks as much as possible. However, avoiding these is important when it comes to anxiety-related mental health and warding off panic attacks.
While caffeine typically helps to boost energy levels, it also inhibits levels of serotonin in your brain. When serotonin levels are lower than necessary, you start to feel irritable and depressed, even if you don’t realize it. Caffeine also keeps you awake and makes you go to the restroom more frequently. This often leads to dehydration that, in turn, can also cause depression.
If you can’t live without beverages including coffee, tea and soda, try to go the decaffeinated route to see what happens. It may take some time to get used to the switch. But, in the long run, it’s a much healthier option.
Panic attacks are certainly no fun. These episodes of extreme fear can come to life without a moment’s notice. By adapting your menu using the above tips, you’re taking a more active role at lessening the possibility of anxiety and panic attacks ruining your day.
Whether we realize it or not, most people have feeling of depression or anxiety at some point. There are many situations that come up during the course of life that contributes to these feelings: stress at your job, going through a divorce or break up, losing a loved one, financial stress and concerns and many more. These situations, when they occur, lead to feeling lonely, scared, sad, nervous, anxious, and sometimes all of the above all at once. These are perfectly normal reactions to dealing with the stress that we all feel in life.
Some people, however, deal with these types of feelings on a near daily basis for (it seems) little or no apparent reason. This can make it incredibly difficult to carry out normal, everyday tasks and follow normal routines. These feelings are a sign of depression or anxiety disorder or both. It is not uncommon for a person suffering from depression to also have anxiety disorder or vice versa. Almost 50% of those who are diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Even though this can seem insurmountable, the good news is that both are treatable, either separately or together.
The basis for depression is that with this condition a person will feel sad, discouraged, hopeless and unmotivated. A complete disinterest in life in general will many times accompany these feelings. Many people experience these feelings for short periods of time and just feel ‘down’ or have ‘the blues’. For these people, the feelings do not last and come in short burst. The person then moves on and continues living life normally after the symptoms subside.When these types of feelings last for weeks or months or even years, they are then a major depressive episode. When daily activities start to be affected on a continual basis, depression has set in. Things like taking care of your family, spending time with friends, going to work or to school, become unachievable, and this is how you know you are suffering from depression.
Depression is one of the most common disorders in the United States, but yet it is one that we like to talk about the least. Major depression affects the way a person thinks and feels, and behaves and functions, but it is treatable. An estimated 15.7 million adults over the age of 18 have reported experiencing at least one major depressive episode in the last year. That number represents nearly 7% of all adult Americans, both male and female. The lifetime risk for suffering depression is about 17% and at any given time 3%-5% of our population may be suffering from major depressive symptoms. This disease even affects young children and teens, as many as 2% of children and 8% of teens may have serious depression.
There are three main types of depression or depressive disorders: major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Any of these can also occur along with anxiety disorders.
Major depression can encompass some or all of these symptoms:
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed
These symptoms will occur over a two-week period (or longer) and these episodes are disabling. They will interfere with a person’s ability to work, eat, sleep study, or pay attention. Major depressive episodes such as this may happen as little as once or twice in a lifetime or they may occur and reoccur frequently. They can also be brought on spontaneously be an event such as a death of a loved one, a divorce or break-up, a medical illness or another stressful event. Sometimes people with major depression might feel like life is not worth living and will attempt suicide.
Persistent depressive disorder (also known as PDD) is a form of depression that occurs over a much greater length of time. This type of depression continues for at least two years and sometimes well beyond. It is less severe than major depression but it involves at least five of the same symptoms, the most common being poor appetite, low energy level, overeating, insomnia, or over-sleeping. People suffering from PDD also tend to be irritable, feel stressed, and have a hard time deriving pleasure from activities that they would have enjoyed previously.
Bipolar disorder (once known as manic depression) is characterized by extreme shifts in moods. Very severe highs to severe lows are common occurrences.
During the manic phase a person might experience abnormal feelings of elation, a decreased need for sleep, increased talking and racing thoughts, increased sexual appetite, increased energy and inappropriate social behavior.
During the depressive phase, these people suffer the same symptoms as those of major depressions. Mood swings are often gradual, but they can occur abruptly as well.
Anxiety and depression disorders are different but people with depression often experience anxiety as well. Anxiety is one of the most pervasive mental health issues that we are facing today and finding definitive causes can sometimes be difficult. Trauma, fears, and worries can cause anxiety as can other mental health issues, as well as substances. Many factors can lead to a person experiencing anxiety disorder.
The most common symptoms of anxiety disorder are:
A decrease in energy
A weakened immune system resulting in a person getting sick much more often and for longer periods of time.
Digestive issues including indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach cramps.
Tooth aches, jaw aches, and headaches caused by a person clenching their jaws both when sleeping and awake.
Over perspiring and shaking. This is a visible and often time embarrassing symptom of anxiety disorder.
Loss of sex drive and performance
More than 3 million people suffer from anxiety disorder each year in the United States. The good news is that it is often self-diagnosable and treatable by a medical professional. Sometimes counseling is enough to help a person through anxiety disorder, but other times antidepressants are an option.
All age groups are subject to feeling anxiety and there are a number of self-help options for people from stress management systems to meditation. Support groups are often very helpful as well. Family and friends can often help simply by learning more about the specifics of anxiety disorder.
If you feel suicidal or need immediate assistance, call us toll free at 855-627-1162
People in all walks of life suffer from depression. People in any field you can name, be it a police officer, a construction worker, a teacher, a nurse, a bartender, suffer from depression. In the technological day and age we live in, we obsess on the musicians and movie stars and entertainers that suffer from depression and anxiety issues simply because those people are in the news. They are in the public eye all the time, so you hear about them. The truth about depression and anxiety is that it affects people everywhere. Normal people just like you and me. Depression knows no social boundaries and just because you don’t hear about the grocery store clerk who is suffering, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there. Suffering.
The notion that certain people in certain professional fields such as musicians are more predetermined or maybe predisposed to have issues with drugs and alcohol and thereby suffer from depression is not necessarily true. If a person has those tendencies within them, those tendencies are going to come out at some point in life. Whether you sing in a rock band or work on cars for a living, it doesn’t matter. You can still have issues with substance abuse and still suffer from anxiety and depression. As a society, we tend to over publicize the famous people who have these issues and we tend to forget the people who are in our lives every day that may suffer from the same symptoms.
Why does this all matter?
The good news is that because of people like Chris Cornell or Prince there is help available. There are organizations who are working to reach out to help people in everyday walks of life who fight depression issues every day. It is not easy, but you can fight it and you can beat it. You don’t have to be famous to reach out to someone who will understand what you are going through. Nobody is immune. It can affect anybody and everybody and there is help and support available even if you didn’t know it. At the end of the day, you can overcome substance abuse problems. You can overcome crippling depression and anxiety and there is hope.
Men who enroll in the military service are now at risk for developing different mental health disorders, according to the Institute of Medicine. According to them, military service in a war zone increases a service members’ chance of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, and depression. Serving in a war also increases the chances of alcohol abuse, accidental death, and suicide within the first few years after leaving the war zone. War veterans are also prone to marital and family conflict, including domestic violence due to their psychological and emotional distress. These trouble signs have prompted the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the scientific and medical evidence concerning associations between deployment-related stress and long-term adverse effects on health.
Issues with drug abuse, incarceration, unexplained illnesses, chronic fatigue syndrome, gastrointestinal symptoms, skin diseases, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain may also be associated with the stress of being in a war, but the evidence to support these links is weaker. For other health problems and adverse effects that the committee reviewed, the information lacks or is contradictory; the committee could not determine whether links between these ailments and deployment-related stress exist.
Although the report cannot give definite answers regarding the connection between these health problems and the stress of war, it is clear that veterans who were deployed to war zones self-report more medical conditions and poorer health than veterans who were not deployed. The committee found out that those who were deployed and have post-traumatic stress disorder, in particular, tend to report more symptoms and poorer health. Post-traumatic stress disorder often occurs together with other anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. Its prevalence and severity is associated with an increased exposure to combat.
A continuous obstacle in obtaining better evidence that would yield clear answers is the lack of pre- and post-deployment screenings of physical, mental, and emotional status. Conducting comprehensive, standardized evaluations of service member’s medical conditions, psychiatric symptoms, and diagnosis, and psychosocial status and trauma history before and after deployment to war zones is necessary, according to the US Department of Defense. Such screenings would provide baseline information for comparisons and data to determine long-term consequences of deployment-related stress. In addition, they would help identify at-risk personnel who might benefit from targeted intervention programs during deployment, such as marital counseling or therapy for psychiatric or other disorders, and help the necessary organizations choose in which intervention programs to implement for veterans adjusting to post-deployment life.
It is a long battle between countries, and the only thing that could make these people at war happy would be the memories of their family and friends. Such psychological illnesses or disorders can happen almost any time, since these people are vulnerable to their environment. War is such a negative concept to look at, and these people experience war each time they wake up. Such negativity is bound to take its toll to the person, whether they may have good relations back at home. By simply looking back at those happy moments, these people at war would really appreciate life compared to what they see now.
There are services across the country to help our war veterans in the healing process, by offering companion animals. One of our favorites here in Montana is Dog Tag Buddies. Dog Tag Buddies is dedicated to providing veterans with hidden injuries opportunities to lead more fulfilling lives. They provide NO cost services in the adoption and training of rescued dogs to become emotional support animals or service dogs depending on the needs of the individual veteran.
The phrase “healthy stress” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s actually a reality. Stress is inescapable; everyone feels some stress at some points throughout their lives. Our bodies are therefore equipped to handle certain types and amounts of stress. We can even benefit from it.
So what is the difference between healthy and unhealthy stress? What makes stress healthy? Here are some things to think about regarding stress and its role in your health.
-The Great Motivator
Without stress, not very much would get done. Stress is what drives you to teach your kids proper behavior, to earn money, and to pay your bills on time. It is what keeps you on your toes in a football game or when catching your tumbling toddler. A certain amount of stress about traffic accidents motivates you to drive safely.
Did you feel stress when that person cut you off in traffic? The stress response was partially responsible for your quick pressure on the brakes! Stress can motivate us into quick, sometimes life-saving action. In the case of an emergency, one of your stress hormones – adrenaline – kicks in, and prompts you to act quickly and sometimes with remarkable strength.
Endorphins are the “feel good” neurotransmitters. When the body is stressed or in pain, its natural pain relievers are released in the form of endorphins. Exercise is a healthy way to bring this kind of endorphin-releasing stress onto your body. While you should not exercise to the point of unbearable pain, it’s okay to “feel the burn” and push yourself a little. Massage therapy and acupuncture can also stimulate the release of endorphins.
-Other Health Benefits
Experts are finding anti-tumor activity in people who undergo healthy stress, indicating that healthy stress stimulates the immune system.
The unhealthy type of stress is constant. You do not return to a normal energy level after it has passed. Unhealthy stress can take the form of constant worry, depression, and exhaustion. It can cause weight gain as well due to the release of cortisol, the “stress hormone.”
Continual stress weakens the immune system. That can leave you more susceptible to everyday illnesses and more serious problems such as cancer.
-Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
People who are chronically stressed usually worry about common, everyday things over which they have no control. These are the kinds of things that are not going to go away, such as paying bills, keeping the house clean, and so forth. Once one set of worries is tackled, another set comes along. Accepting these annoyances as part of life can go a long way in helping you cope with unhealthy stress.
For getting your body back into natural sleep patterns, we also recommend trying Nature Sleep. We have personally used this as a substitute for PM products.
Just to start off, we are in total agreement with this article and always recommend natural anxiety remedies, like Ayurveda treatments over medication. Of course before starting any type of treatment, consult your doctor.
There are a few experts in the medical community that are starting to recognize the potential use of Ayurveda treatments as alternatives to anxiety medication. The Indian medicinal system has had centuries of experience and results to support it, but there are some doubts on whether or not it has any concrete provisions for mental illnesses. It is true, though, that Ayurveda philosophy can find an explanation for anxiety, as well as some ideas on how it can be treated.
Whenever someone speaks of something like an alternative system of medicine, such as Ayurveda, most people think of the physical aspects of health. Most people don’t associate things like emotional development, psychology, and anxiety medication to a system like Ayurveda. This is a reasonable assumption to make, mainly because systems like Ayurveda have always focused more on a combination of the physical and spiritual. Matters of the mind were viewed as outside the physical realm and, in a Western context, were seen as affairs to be handled by religious authorities. Other problems, such as anxiety and depression, may not have been recognized and, thus, were not studied under the purview of medicinal systems. Some doctors, most notably neurologist Dr. David Simon of the Chopra Center, believes that Ayurveda might be a legitimate alternative to anxiety medication and treatment.
Anxiety, in the context of Ayurveda, is rooted in movements of things within a person’s perception of what he is and what is in his domain. In theory, things that enter into a person’s sphere of influence by force, such as a critical comment or pressures from work, can cause an imbalance in the mind and body. In a similar manner, a person would also need anxiety medication if something that was within their sphere of influence was forcibly taken from it, such as their sense of security or ability to perform certain tasks. These unwanted gains and losses can create imbalances in the harmony of the body that will persist until properly treated. Ultimately, the pain caused by this violation of one’s sphere of influence causes pain that people must deal with. However, by ignoring it, bottling it up inside, denying it, or not dealing with it, that pain can cause further imbalance. Such imbalances, in the context of Ayurveda, can cause problems like depression, mood disorders, and anxiety.
How, then, would Ayurveda propose to fix this problem?
Like Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda is about restoring balance to the body. Problems that create the need for medical intervention, whether it comes in the form of antihistamines or anxiety medication, are caused by imbalances of certain factors in the body. These imbalances can be corrected using a variety of means, which include herbal tinctures, special massage techniques, meditation, and even the appropriate dietary adjustments. However, anxiety is a problem firmly rooted in things like emotions and thoughts, factors that Western medicine views as being controlled by the chemical balance of the brain. To the average patient, who likely does not have too much knowledge of Ayurveda or how it works, there is very little that any alternative medical system can do to alleviate psychological or psychiatric conditions.
Why does this all matter?
Ayurveda’s philosophy with dealing with something like anxiety reflects a staple of psychiatric therapy: release. Practitioners, as stated above, believe that pain caused by violations of a person’s sphere of self can cause anxiety – among other mental and mood conditions. This build-up of pain and emotions causes more than just cognitive effects; it also touches upon a person’s physical well-being. Ayurveda practitioners help their patients locate this physical manifestation and proceed to attempt to correct it. They also promote finding ways to physically release that pain, but are not specific on how. It could be taking a walk or hitting a pillow, so long as it allows the patient to acknowledge, accept, and release the emotional build-up inside them.
We thought this video offered a little assistance with regards to Ayurveda and our helpful friend Hasmi Minth, explains some natural home remedies.
For getting your body back into natural sleep patterns, we also recommend trying Nature Sleep. We have personally used this as a substitute for PM products.
Anxiety disorders are among the top reasons for psychological consultations to doctors and medical experts today. Causes or factors contributing to this condition vary according to the nature or type of anxiety disorder. For one to understand the many causes of anxiety, it is important to know that each type of anxiety disorder differs in noted factors or causes and the causes may also vary in a case to case basis.
There are instances when a person who is suffering from an extreme case of anxiety is not aware of his condition. He tends to have sudden agitation and nervousness attacks. When this happens, he will eventually lose concentration in what he is doing, thus, resulting to less productivity and control of life.
Although cases of anxiety disorders differ from one person to another, the root patterns of each patient are somewhat alike, particularly in anxiety-prone families. Studies show that majority of people with anxiety disorders also have one or two family members who also suffer from anxiety.
Anxiety indeed has numerous causes or roots, and each patient’s condition is notably unique. With this, it is best to know what causes anxiety in order for one to treat it properly. This will ready the sufferers on how to manage anxiety attacks next time they trigger.
Factors and causes of anxiety
Psychological disorders associated to anxiety have a number of factors that are known to contribute to the intensity and degree of these conditions. There are really no single factor that can trigger anxiety. The factors contributing to the development of anxiety cases often impact or complement one another.
The following are the must-know causes or factors of anxiety disorders:
Individuals who are diagnosed to have anxiety disorders always alienate themselves to other people as they regard the society as a threatening place. Majority of those with serious cases of anxiety have low coping skills and poor self-esteem.
Least known to many, the environment also contributes to the development of anxiety conditions. Certain painful and trying events in a person’s life can definitely trigger chronic anxiety. These events can be a separation from loved ones, money problems, and other personal issues involving family life or work.
Studies claim that certain imbalances and abnormalities in a person’s brain chemistry make a person more susceptible to acquire anxiety disorders. With this, majority of prescribed medications for anxiety aim to remedy such chemical imbalances in the brain.
Anxiety is also known to develop due to a person’s traumatic life experiences. Examples of traumatic life events are marital separation, abuse, and death. Traumatic experiences can be very damaging and depressing for an individual, thus, resulting to the development of anxiety disorders.
Studies claim that anxiety disorders are hereditary. Those who are diagnosed with extreme anxiety conditions oftentimes have history cases of mood disorders, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. People who are also innately vulnerable to stress are the ones known to have anxiety disorders.
Here is a helpful video
Anxiety Disorders: Crash Course Psychology
There is absolutely nothing wrong in being anxious. When faced with a problem or a situation, people experience anxiety. Most people have the tendency to worry when trying to finish a deadline that seems impossible to beat like cramming for final exams, or when preparing for a job interview. Just like other emotions, such as fear, anger, sadness or happiness, anxiety is a normal reaction that helps a person cope and deal with the present situation. It is common and plays a significant role in relation to a person’s ability to adapt and survive. It is when anxiety gets out of hand and leads to an unreasonable fear or worry of daily activities that it becomes an anxiety disorder.
There are several types of anxiety disorder: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Recent advances in research have done a great deal in developing new ways to treat anxiety disorder. Improved therapy methods can now help people with anxiety disorders to lead full and productive lives.
Joining support groups help people by encouraging them to share their problems as well as their achievements. Opening up helps a person unload feelings that are bottled up inside. Meditation and relaxation, on the other hand, ease anxiety through its calming effect that enhances the benefits of the therapy.
Two previous studies comparing meditation to other relaxation techniques had been reviewed to reveal that both alternative therapies were equality effective in reducing anxiety. The first study compared meditation with biofeedback, while the second study compared mindfulness meditation to yoga.
Transcendental meditation involves focusing the mind on an object to achieve stillness. EMG (electromyography) biofeedback measures muscle relaxation and teaches people to control their own level of muscle relaxation. Mindfulness meditation teaches awareness of one’s thoughts while maintaining detachment. Kundalini yoga includes a meditative form of breathing known as pranayama.
Both studies proved that meditation was comparable to other forms of relaxation therapy in reducing anxiety. However, while no side effects were associated with meditation, about 33%-44% of the participants involved in the studies dropped out, suggesting that people with an anxiety disorder may have a hard time sticking to a meditation regimen. But the small number of people involved in the studies makes it difficult to draw any firm conclusions about the effectiveness of meditation and relaxation techniques in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Further studies are recommended to determine the roles of alternative therapies in treating anxiety disorders.
Other findings are as follows:
All relaxation and meditation techniques resulted in improved scores on measures of anxiety, current mood, and symptoms of distress, but sleep disturbances did not improve.
Work, social functioning, and family relations also improved among all treatment groups, but marital relations and sex life were not affected.
Kundalini yoga wasn’t as effective in treating obsessive-compulsive disorders as mindful meditation, although participants who practiced this form of yoga had more improvement on scores of perceived stress and purpose in life.
At the first sign of the disorder, consult your family doctor to determine whether the symptoms that alarm you are due to an anxiety disorder, or could be another medical condition, or both.