Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Factbox- anxiety

I've been putting this off, largely cos my anxiety has been quite high writing anything significant has been a bit overwhelming..... I'm sure there's some irony in there somewhere? Lol.
Anyway there are a lot of conditions that include symptoms of anxiety (see related conditions at the end) but this focuses solely on generalised anxiety disorder.

Name
generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)

Symptoms
Feelings of tension and unease
Fear and dread
Expecting the worst
Intrusive thoughts
Mind racing
Irritability and impatience
Inability to relax or 'switch off'
Loss of concentration
Disturbed sleep
Nervous habits such as nail biting or skin picking
Physical tension and aches
'Butterflies'
Shaking
Dry mouth
Excessive urination
Nausea
Breathlessness

The key factor in GAD compared to other anxiety disorders is that feelings are enduring/chronic and not triggered by one specific thing.

Diagnosis
As with depression the first port of call is usually your GP. If you describe symptoms of anxiety they will probably ask you to fill in a questionnaire called the GAD-7 screening your anxiety symptoms over the last few months. They may also wish to investigate any physical symptoms to rule out any underlying physical conditions.

Treatment
Medications
If your doctor decides to put you on medication the first line of treatment is usually the same SSRIs described in the depression Factbox as these also have a positive effect on symptoms of anxiety. Other anti depressants such as SNRIs may also be considered or an anticonvulsant such as pregabalin. For short term treatment of acute anxiety benzodiazepines (eg. Diazepam) may be considered but are generally avoided due to issues of dependence and addiction. Newer dis such as buspirone may be used to the same effect.
Therapies
Particularly CBT, cognitive behavioural therapy, which looks at exploring the type of thinking that leads to anxiety. It hopes to identify negative cycles in thoughts and work on breaking them.
Other therapeutic techniques such as mindfulness and breathing exercises may be used to promote calm and relaxation. Many of these techniques are available online (see links for examples).

Statistics
An estimated 1 in 20 Britts suffer GAD
Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health issue for which people seek help

Related conditions
Panic disorder/panic attacks
Phobias
Post traumatic stress disorder
Social anxiety
Mixed anxiety and depression
Hypochondria

Links
Anxiety UK
Anxiety alliance
Anxiety and depression association of America
Mindfulness
More mindfulness

I haven't actually tried the specific mindfulness sites so can't swear by them but they contain exercises im familiar with. There are also apps available if you have a smart phone.

Phew. Off to do some breathing exercises :p. X