Sunday, February 23, 2014

How to Cope With Generalized #Anxiety Disorder

In my last post I discussed what Generalized Anxiety Disorder is, and what some of the common symptoms can be, and how it manifests in my life. In this post I would like to discuss some of the solutions to the issues caused by GAD. I have been doing lots of researching to come up with what I think is a good, basic starting place to address general anxiety worries. I will be trying all of these myself.



Relaxation

If you have an anxiety, or panic disorder relaxing is hard to do sometimes. It certainly doesn't come easily to most of us, and when we try to relax we often feel even more panicky, and a viscous cycle is born.

One thing that I have found helpful is going to Youtube, and searching for relaxation videos. We all have different tastes in what we might find the most relaxing, but for relief of general panic, and anxiety I would recommend guided meditations, and progressive relaxation exercises. They're different, and the latter is one you can learn to do on your own so that you have access to it anytime, and anywhere. Many CBT programs use progressive relaxation to teach body awareness, so that we know what tense, and relaxed feels like in order to know when we are getting keyed up before we are at a high level of anxiety. These relaxation techniques need to be practiced daily, and not used for only when you're in a panic ridden state already. Of course, one can utilize them as needed when in a state of high anxiety, but for it to be effective it needs to be practiced when we're not already anxious. Much like exercise, we have to put in the effort routinely, or the results won't be very impressive.

A couple of videos that I like for this is these:

















Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy is a big part of restructuring how we see the world, and respond. Some do okay with self-help, and others may need the extra guidance, and structure of a therapist.  If you choose self-help below is one of the best guides I found. It is the one I am going to use.

CBT- Self Help

Other treatments and helpful links:

GAD-Helpguide.com - Lots of helpful info.
CBT- Self-help resources

One final note.

Many of you might have noticed that I left medication off of the list of tools. It certainly can be a useful tool for some to calm anxiety. I have not found it useful long term, but some do. That is something I feel best left to talk to your doctor about, and feel I cannot advise on such matters from a blog post perspective.

8 comments:

  1. Youtube doesn't always work on my computer so that can add to my anxiety sometimes... but I like to listen to music with binaural rhythms. I listen on my headphones and it calms me down. I don't know if it is the binaural beats, or just the fact that I am forcing myself to focus on the music.

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    1. If you tube doesn't work you can look up Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and do it on your own. There might be other sites that will work, or you could burn a CD of yourself reading the instructions to use any time you'd like. If you find that a certain kind works better than others you might be able to buy a CD to use of that type, too. When I was diagnosed with AS the clinician gave me a CD that she burned in one of our sessions of PMR. I didn't stick with it after ending therapy, though. :(

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  2. I love music and have some good ways to focus on serenity around me. My main issue is when I get so wound up that I can't wind down into the right state to relax. Thanks for the youtube idea. I have a feeling the physical input of the video would overwhelm me, but I'm going to try just listening :)

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    1. These might help get you relaxed sooner, but I don't think anything can stop us once we get to a certain point of anxiety. I see lots of videos claiming to be able to, but I am skeptical. I think the idea behind it is to be used in combination with the CBT to be able to identify the sensations we feel when we're getting worked up, the thoughts that follow, and how that feels, looks, and sounds for us so that we can change how we deal with it, and think about it. It's something that has to be practiced, which seems silly to think we have to practice relaxing, but some of us really do! We get into such a state so quickly that we literally forget. I hope the videos help!

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  3. These are great and thank you. I was prescribed meds to deal with anxiety attacks but haven't used them yet. I feel like they are a form of insurance for me if nothing else works but I understand why people need them. For me, I'm anxious about taking them so I've been trying to use techniques like this. And you are right that they need to be practised so that they become a habit. I will try then to head off the anxiety before it becomes too severe.

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    1. Good luck! I hope you find some things to help, whether it be with, or without meds!

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  4. This is great! I will definitely use those videos you posted. :) I wanted to add something. I was just diagnosed 2 weeks ago after a couple visits to therapists and a psychiatrist. She told me that I should quit all caffeine. Now I was already almost drinking none as I told her that it makes me jittery...even a half cup of coffee. She told me that it makes anxiety so much worse...especially if you have panic attacks because the symptoms of too much caffeine mimic panic. She also said that exercise is medicine and exercising 6 days a week will work just as well as a low dose SSRI. Her tips really helped me. I have had no caffeine and started regular exercise that day and have had no symptoms since. I realize that everyone suffers from different levels of anxiety and one thing doesn't work for everyone. However I wanted to share what has helped me.

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    1. It's great that you are feeling so much better! I'm happy for you!

      I did forget to talk about caffeine. I can have some, but not as much as I want. I will drink coffee all day if I let myself. It doesn't help my anxiety, but does help me focus, and feel a bit better IF I keep it to a few cups a day.

      I plan on doing a follow up with some of the things that I have done, and what has worked, Exercise has definitely helped me. Combined with better diet, and less caffeine I do feel better, but still not great, especially during the winter. I need sun, and outdoors, and I can't get that as much right now. One of the links mentions exercise, and a few mental exercises that might help some people. I don't find much relief in those sorts of 'stop and be aware' sort of techniques, but some do.

      Thanks for your comments! I hope to hear from you again in the follow post here in a few weeks!

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