Does Anxiety Go Away? How To Manage Living With Anxiety
Are you experiencing sleepless nights, digestive problems, and uncontrollable worry? These are all common symptoms of anxiety, and many other symptoms can come along with it. Anxiety can be challenging to live with, particularly when it begins to impact your day-to-day life. Learning how to manage, cope with, and treat the symptoms of anxiety is possible when you have the appropriate tools and support. In this article, we’ll be giving an overview of anxiety and then exploring the different treatment options available to help you overcome it.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is something that many people experience from time to time. It's the feeling you get when you don't know the outcome of a potential situation, you believe that you could be in danger, or you think there's something to worry about. At healthy levels, experiencing anxiety is normal and even expected. However, when anxiety becomes a major part of your life, stopping you from accomplishing the things that you want and need to do, it can become a problem. Some people develop anxiety disorders, which can make it difficult to function on a daily basis.
The US Department of Health and Human Services states that the five major types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorder
However, there are other types beyond these five alone.
Who Experiences Anxiety?
Anyone can experience anxiety. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health challenges in the world. In fact, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that "according to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in thirteen globally experiences anxiety." This equates to around 40 million Americans every year.
Anxiety doesn't only affect adults; the percentage of children diagnosed with anxiety has been increasing over the years.
There are many different reasons why people experience anxiety. For example, if someone is diagnosed with PTSD, this means they have been through a traumatic experience in their life. There are many soldiers that experience PTSD after returning from war, but this disorder can impact anyone who has been through trauma. When it comes to other anxiety disorders, there can be other risk factors, including:
- Having a family history of anxiety
- Drug or alcohol use
- Having another mental health diagnosis
The symptoms that you experience can differ based on your specific situation and which type of anxiety disorder you're living with. For example, someone diagnosed with OCD will have different symptoms than someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD. Those diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may not have as specific symptoms as some of the others. It all depends on your personal experience. However, some of the general symptoms that may come along with anxiety can include:
- Nervousness, restlessness, and worry
- Irritability and anger
- Digestive issues and nausea
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid breathing
- Changes in appetite
- Body aches and pain
These are some of the symptoms that you may experience if you have anxiety, but it is not by any means an all-inclusive list.
Does Anxiety Go Away?
For most people, anxiety doesn’t just go away on its own. If you're predisposed to struggling with it, then it may be something that you have to be more aware of than other people. However, with the right treatment and proper coping techniques and strategies, anxiety doesn't have to be something that controls your life forever. Rather, you can learn how to manage and overcome your symptoms and live a healthy, productive life.
Multiple forms of treatment can help, but not everyone responds to different types of treatment in the same way. It can be vital to find the treatment that you respond most effectively to. Often, combining several different types of treatment can be the most powerful way to find relief from your symptoms. Consider the following popular treatment options:
Some people find that prescription medication can help them gain control of their anxiety, and there are many options to choose from. If you are leery about being on medication, it can be important to understand that it doesn't have to be something that you take for the rest of your life. It could be that you're going through something that's difficult and could use help getting through it. Or it could also be that you use medication to help gain some control over your symptoms while you learn other strategies to cope with anxiety long-term. While medication can come with side effects, its benefits may outweigh the risks, particularly if your anxiety is causing physical symptoms and putting stress on your body. If you think that medication could help you with your symptoms, talk to your doctor or a psychiatrist about your options.
There are several different kinds of therapy available to help you learn to overcome your anxiety. One of the most successful forms of therapy used for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which works by addressing unhelpful thinking patterns that may lead to unwanted behaviors. When you learn how to recognize the thoughts that are leading to your troubles, then you can start to work on replacing them with more positive ways of thinking. Since your thoughts impact your behavior, CBT can be an effective way to reduce your anxiety.
Exposure therapy is another form of therapy for those that struggle with anxiety and fear. With this type of treatment, a therapist works with you to expose you to the things or ideas that you are scared of. They use a systematic approach and create a safe environment to keep the process moving forward while ensuring that you feel comfortable at all times.
Another therapy that works for anxiety is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This works by teaching you how to accept things as they happen instead of trying to avoid negative situations. You learn how not to allow negative thoughts and situations to control you.
These are just a few of the forms of therapy that can be helpful for anxiety. An experienced therapist can help determine what the right form of therapy could be for your specific situation, diagnosis, and goals.
Apart from traditional forms of therapy, there are other things that you can do to work toward overcoming your anxiety. Some of these you can do on your own at home, and they include:
Meditation: Spending time meditating can help you to gain control over your mind and learn how to not be so reactive to situations that would normally cause you anxiety. While practicing meditation, you'll also learn how to practice techniques such as deep breathing. This can help you gain control of your body and reduce physical symptoms of anxiety like rapid breathing, which can lead to an increased heart rate.
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