Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million adults between the ages of 18-54, or over 18% of adults in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The actual numbers may be much higher, as many people are misdiagnosed, don’t reach out for help, or don’t realize they have anxiety issues. Anxiety has become the number one mental health issue in North America, resulting in lower job performance and lower academic achievement among American workers and college students, respectively.
“The signs and symptoms of anxiety include feelings of worry and panic, racing thoughts, increased heart rate, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath,” explained Amanda Johnson, PhD, Clinical Director of Capstone Behavioral Heath Care in Newton. “Additional symptoms include sweating, feeling lightheaded, tingling in feet and hands, difficulty sleeping, and nausea.”
If you think you may have anxiety, there are several tips to follow to reduce your symptoms until you can seek help from a professional.
1. “Learn to pay attention to your breathing,” explained Johnson. “This helps slow down your thoughts, and helps your body relax.”
2. Fact-checking your thoughts can also help with anxiety symptoms. “It’s important to realize that ‘always’ and ‘never’ are often not true,” said Johnson. “Trying to think in a more balanced way can reduce anxiety.”
3. Limiting caffeine and sugar is another way to deal with feeling anxious. “Caffeine and sugar are strong stimulants, which can affect your heart rate, adding to feelings of nervousness and panic,” added Johnson. “Getting regular exercise, and trying relaxing activities like meditation or yoga, have proved helpful for many patients.”
Anxiety isn’t difficult to diagnose or treat, but it’s important to have a consultation with a mental health professional. “If anxiety is impacting your ability to live your day-to-day life in a happy and healthy way, you should definitely reach out for help,” said Johnson. For more information about anxiety disorder, please contact:
1123 1st Avenue E, Suite 200
Newton, Iowa. 50208