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Going through the blogs written by the team at Willingness, one can come across a number of articles focusing on anxiety. The reason for this topic to be so popular, is that it is affecting a large number of people, especially since there was an increase in stressors, due to the current global pandemic.

According to the research by Czeisler et al. the prevalence of anxiety disorders in 2020 was three times as much when compared to the same period in 2019 (25.5% vs 8.1%). Also, according to the ADAA, ‘Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year’. These rates may not mean much as percentages, however when you realise that this rate means that 40 million adults in the US are affected by anxiety disorders, one can realise how common it is and how important it is to treat this.

How can Anxiety Disorders be treated?

There are three categories to treating Anxiety Disorders which offer a holistic and more effective results when incorporated together.

  1. Therapy

During therapy you will have the opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings. You will be able to identify patterns of relating to others and experiences in your life. By exploring these you will be able to check where certain feelings are coming from- why are they being elicited and why they are being aroused to such an extent- and in turn how you can change them. Thoughts and emotions are closely linked together, and by becoming aware of them you can change one in order to change the other. Our life script can be changed by assessing what is contributing to some unhealthy patterns, and also by identifying what else can be changed in order to achieve a better balance in life.

  1. Medication

A psychiatrist can prescribe anti-anxiety medication, known as benzodiazepines, or anti-depressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These work by reducing the symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks, and extreme fear or worry. They help by improving your brain’s effectiveness in using certain chemicals which control mood and stress. Family history is important in identifying the type of medication that may be the most effective for you and you will also need to monitor how it is affecting you, even in terms of side effects, and relaying these back to your health practitioner.

  1. Coping strategies

Another way of treating anxiety is by taking care of your external and internal environment. This means finding support by joining a support group or being able to talk to a friend or a relative. When you talk to someone different, they may offer a different perspective and even challenge your view of reality, making it more contained and controllable. Physical health and exercise is an important factor which may help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and help improve one’s lifestyle, limiting smoking and substance intake which may worsen the anxiety.

Mindfulness and meditation are also techniques that help you regain better control of your over-thinking and help you to tap into more positive emotions which in the long run can be more accessible in stressful situations and help you manage your anxiety better.

Whatever your choice of treatment, it is always best to incorporate all three and to talk to a health practitioner or therapist of your confidence. By seeking help and support, you are giving yourself the tools you deserve in order to feel better and live a more balanced life.

Abigail Church is a Humanistic Integrative Counsellor who works with adults and children through counselling with Willingness. She can be contacted on abigail@willingness.com.mt or call us on 79291817. 

References

  1. Czeisler MÉ , Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6932a1

  1. https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics
  2. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml#part_145338
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/treatment/