You receive a memo from your supervisor that you’re to update a group of managers on a project, and you have only a few days to prepare. The thought of standing before the group makes your head spin, your heart beat out a staccato rhythm, and your palms sweat. You want to dive under your desk. Do you find yourself frequently reacting to stressors this way? If it happens often enough, these feelings might indicate an anxiety disorder.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. It’s the feeling you get when you’re faced with a challenge, such as taking an important exam, making a presentation to your boss, or going on a first date.
Anxiety disorders are different. They involve extreme, unrealistic, and often irrational fear about everyday situations. People with anxiety disorders often expect the worst possible outcome in any given situation, no matter how unlikely. This expectation can cause significant distress and even prevent people from carrying out routine activities.
Some signs you may have an anxiety disorder include:
- Muscle tension or chest pain
- Trembling or shaking
- Increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath or feeling suffocated
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Hot flashes or chills
- Fear of losing control or “going crazy.”
- Intense worry about the future
- Trouble sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Avoidance of people, places, or things that trigger anxiety.
Anxiety disorders can make life difficult and prevent you from carrying out routine activities. But there is help available. A residential anxiety treatment center can provide you with the tools you need to manage your anxiety and live a full, productive life.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
Several issues can cause anxiety. The most common culprits are:
- Stressful life events: divorce, death of a loved one, job loss or change
- Certain medical conditions: heart disease, thyroid problems, diabetes
- Substance abuse: alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawal from alcohol or drugs
- Genetics and family history
Ways to Lessen Anxiety
It’s hard to prevent the sensations associated with anxiety, but you can put your body’s response to stimuli into context. Here are a few suggestions for moderating feelings of anxiety:
- Rate it before you can negate it. Evaluate your anxiety levels on a 1-to-10 scale. Notice whether they change depending on circumstances. Be aware of what sets the anxiety wheels in motion, so you can be better prepared to stop their turning.
- Do a head-to-toe body scan. Notice the sensations you’re experiencing, and perhaps even say out loud, “I’m noticing my heart beating more rapidly. I’m aware that my mouth is dry.”
- If a memory triggers anxiety, reassure yourself with the words, “I’m here and now, not there and then.” Look around and find an object that wasn’t present when the original event occurred.
- Take deep breaths. Your automatic reaction is often to hold your breath in an anxiety-provoking situation.
Getting Control Over Your Anxiety
The side effects of an anxiety disorder may be too much to handle on your own. If you are enduring any of the following, you may need professional help:
- You’re using drugs or alcohol to cope
- Your anxiety is affecting your job or school performance
- You’re avoiding people, places, or things that trigger anxiety
- Your anxiety is preventing you from carrying out routine activities
- You’re experiencing panic attacks
Finding Relief at Promises
Promises can help. We offer residential anxiety treatment at our state-of-the-art facilities. Our expert team of doctors, nurses, and therapists will develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of your anxiety and provides you with the skills you need to manage your condition.
If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, call us at 844.875.5609 to speak with an admissions specialist. We can help you take the first step towards an anxiety-free life.