Causes: Anxiety is a multi-system response to a perceived threat or danger that can occur from any number of factors. Stress caused by work, school or friends can lead to anxiety. A big test can cause anxiety. Waiting for hospital lab results can cause anxiety. Simple stresses on top of these larger stress factors can also make anxiety worse. It is important to try to limit your stress level at all times. Heavy stress is not good for anybody! In addition to personal issues, there are medical factors that can also be linked to anxiety. Factors such as heart disease, diabetes, substance abuse and asthma have been associated with anxiety.
Signs/Symptoms: Anxiety expresses itself in a variety of different ways. Symptoms range from a racing heart to a dry mouth. Since we all can get a little anxious, it is essential that you are able to distinguish between normal, daily stresses and full‐blown anxiety attacks. Some symptoms of anxiety include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- A sense of danger
- Feeling apprehensive
- Panic Attacks: A panic attack is a manifestation of anxiety. It has been coined as an attack because it feels as if panic and anxiety are literally “attacking” your body. During a panic attack, you may experience a racing heart, dizziness, shortness of breath, weakness, sweating and an overwhelming sense of fear and horror. You may also experience feelings of doom. These symptoms typically develop over a short period of time – up to 10 minutes.
- Medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxieties
- Therapy Staying active
- Avoiding substance abuse
- Getting enough sleep
- Relaxation or mediation
- Maintaining a healthy weight and diet
- Talking about your anxiety with a family member, friend or therapist
- Learning about your disorder and seeing what you can do to improve your situation. Regardless of which treatment method you choose, it is crucial that you follow it consistently. Sticking to your care plan will help you control your anxiety and minimize your stress.
Prevention: Anxiety can be extremely unpredictable. Anxiety attacks can occur at anytime, and sometimes for no apparent reason. Consequently, anxiety is hard to prevent. Below are some preventative measures that can be taken to attempt to avoid anxiety:
- Get help early and fast
- Avoid substance abuse
- Avoid overly stressful situations
- Talk about your stress—do not leave it bottled up
- Learn stress management techniques
This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, consultation, treatment or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of information obtained through informational literature provided by My Senior Nurse Advocates.