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UNDERSTANDING ANXIETY

By Dr. Mary Killmeyer, LMFT

Anxiety is a term used to describe a spectrum of feelings from stress or uneasiness to intense and persistent fear about everyday situations. Experiencing some anxiety is a normal part of day-to-day life and can even be a positive motivational factor to help us achieve our goals. However, those who suffer from anxiety may experience sudden and unexpected fear that is often unexplained and can feel paralyzing. These feelings of panic can interfere with daily life, are often difficult to control, and seem out of proportion to the relative danger.

There are many types of anxiety disorders that are classified by the triggers or situations that bring it on. For example, individuals may be diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and/or specific phobias. Some of the common anxiety symptoms include feeling nervous or restless, having a sense of impending danger, increased heart rate, breathing rapidly, shaking, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, digestive disturbances, and difficulty controlling worry. Anxiety disorders should only be diagnosed and treated by licensed professionals trained in mental health. It is not always clear what causes anxiety, but it may be attributed to life experiences, medical causes, personality, inherited traits, and stress. Possible treatments can include talk therapy, behavioral therapy, and medications.

There is no guaranteed way to predict or prevent the development of anxiety, but these tips may help manage the impact of symptoms:

  • Work on managing your stress.
  • Stay connected with friends and family.
  • Stay active.
  • Practice the “box breathing technique”.
  • Eat a balanced diet rich in nutrients, proteins, and healthy fats.
  • Make sure that you are getting enough sleep at night.
  • Use relaxation techniques such as visualization, meditation, and yoga.
  • Ask for help or support when you need it.

The information contained herein is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide a diagnosis or prescribe treatment. Always check with your health care provider for personalized advice.

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