How To Handle Anxiety Pt2

anxiety and its relationship with other conditions

Understanding Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety is different for everyone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, some symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge

  • Hyperactivity

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Irritability

  • Muscle tension

  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry

Types of Anxiety

People are all different—and so is anxiety. There are many different types of anxiety disorders that each have their own symptoms. According to the American Psychiatric Association, the most common anxiety disorders are:

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: excessive anxiety and worry that is disproportionate to normal anxiousness around upcoming life events (such as work or school)

Social Anxiety Disorder: intense fear of social interactions, making it hard to go out, make friends, or interact with others

Panic Disorder: recurrent panic attacks that cause someone to change their behavior in order to avoid having them. Panic attacks are not your regular grade freak out; they’re an intense physical reaction to fear often causing an accelerated heart rate, sweating, and difficulty breathing.

Separation Anxiety Disorder: fear of being separated from someone usually because of worry that something may happen to them while they’re away

Specific Phobias: intense fear or anxiety about a specific thing or situation (ex. spiders, heights, flying)

Anxiety and its relationship with other conditions

Anxiety and Depression

Sometimes people experience anxiety along with other mental health disorders. Many people diagnosed with anxiety also experience depression. And, while people may experience both disorders, it’s important to note that they have different symptoms and causes.

Anxiety and Panic

Think of anxiety and panic as cousins: they’re linked, though not always one and the same. It’s common to have panic attacks as a fear response with anxiety disorders. It’s also possible to have an occasional panic attack without having a disorder. Panic attacks can be scary—they often feel like a heart attack. The good news? They don’t do any long-term damage to your body. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a big deal. (Repeat, they actually feel like you are having a heart attack.)

Anxiety and Stress

Stress is a totally normal and expected response to situations and changes in our lives. Anxiety can also manifest as a response to stress. The trick is identifying when healthy levels of anxiety around particular stressors transition to disproportionate levels of anxiety around particular situations or events.

Anxiety and Depression

Sometimes people experience anxiety along with other mental health disorders. Many people diagnosed with anxiety also experience depression. And, while people may experience both disorders, it’s important to note that they have different symptoms and causes.

Anxiety and Panic

Think of anxiety and panic as cousins: they’re linked, though not always one and the same. It’s common to have panic attacks as a fear response with anxiety disorders. It’s also possible to have an occasional panic attack without having a disorder. Panic attacks can be scary—they often feel like a heart attack. The good news? They don’t do any long-term damage to your body. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a big deal. (Repeat, they actually feel like you are having a heart attack.)

Stress and Coping

The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.

People who may respond more strongly to the stress of a crisis include

Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19

Children and teens

People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders

People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use

Stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include

Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones

Changes in sleep or eating patterns

Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

Worsening of chronic health problems

Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Taking care of yourself, your friends, and your family can help you cope with stress. Helping others cope with their stress can also make your community stronger.

Things you can do to support yourself include :

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.

  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs

  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.

  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.

For parents

Children and teens react, in part, on what they see from the adults around them. When parents and caregivers deal with the COVID-19 calmly and confidently, they can provide the best support for their children. Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children if they are better prepared.

Not all children and teens respond to stress in the same way. Some common changes to watch for include:

  • Excessive crying or irritation in younger children

  • Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)

  • Excessive worry or sadness

  • Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits

  • Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens

  • Poor school performance or avoiding school

  • Difficulty with attention and concentration

  • Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past

  • Unexplained headaches or body pain

  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

  • There are many things you can do to support your child

  • Take time to talk with your child or teen about the COVID-19 outbreak. Answer questions and share facts about COVID-19 in a way that your child or teen can understand.

  • Reassure your child or teen that they are safe. Let them know it is ok if they feel upset.

  • Share with them how you deal with your own stress so that they can learn from you.

  • Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage of the event, including social media.

  • Children may misinterpret what they hear and can be frightened about something they do not understand.

  • Try to keep up with regular routines. If schools are closed, create a schedule for learning activities and relaxing or fun activities.

  • Be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Connect with your friends and family members.

For responders

Responding to COVID-19 can take an emotional toll on you. There are things you can do to reduce secondary traumatic stress (STS) reactions:

  • Acknowledge that STS can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.

  • Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).

  • Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.

  • Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.

  • Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.

  • Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.

For people who have been released from quarantine

Being separated from others if a healthcare provider thinks you may have been exposed to COVID-19 can be stressful, even if you do not get sick. Everyone feels differently after coming out of quarantine. Some feelings include :

Mixed emotions, including relief after quarantine

Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones

Stress from the experience of monitoring yourself or being monitored by others for signs and symptoms of COVID-19

Sadness, anger, or frustration because friends or loved ones have unfounded fears of contracting the disease from contact with you, even though you have been determined not to be contagious

Guilt about not being able to perform normal work or parenting duties during the quarantine

Other emotional or mental health changes

Children may also feel upset or have other strong emotions if they, or someone they know, has been released from quarantine