Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A is for Anxiety

April A to Z Challenge - Day 1

By definition anxiety refers to the feeling of worry, unease, or nervousness, usually about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. In our society today, "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older" this is about 18% of our population (ADAA, 2010-2014). I am the 18%, I have been hospitalized for anxiety before. These were brought on by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and exhaustion. I was exhausted because I was the primary care giver to my son who was severely handicapped. Sleep is important for our brain to recharge, when we do not get adequate sleep our brain is deprived and it can affect how we think and process, so it is important to get your beauty sleep. There are many factors of anxiety, including but not limited to genetics and even something that's happened (past or future). Click on the link below to learn more about anxiety and depression disorders.

Tips on dealing with anxiety:

If you go to a doctor for your anxiety, more likely they will want to prescribe medication. I have been on medication before for my anxiety and it did help. Make sure to read your prescribed medication side effects before taking medication and make sure to tell your doctor all other medications that you take. I would even make sure your doctor knows what you are doing over-the-counter (OTC). There are so many options on the homeopathic spectrum. When researching effective treatment for anxiety and stress, usually the first suggestion is meditation. Read these 5 Meditation Tips for Beginners by Alice Boyes, Ph.D here.

Something I learned while I was in a treatment program, and I would suggest to anyone dealing with any form of anxiety, stress, and depression would be to make a sensory box. I had first learned of sensory boxes working with special needs children. Typically they are filled with tactile items for stimulation (sand, water, beans, etc.). These can be soothing for adults as well. However, another box for help would be filled with positive items. Such as a favorite picture, a favorite saying written down that you can read. When considering items to put into your box think of size, depending on your box, and then think of your five senses: touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Some suggestions that were given, and that I use are putting a Hershey kiss in, for taste (if you like chocolate - I would say who doesn't - but I know a couple people that actually do not like chocolate). There are specific smells that will trigger certain effects as well, if you want to be rejuvenated go for citrus, and if you want to relax try lilac (there are small sprays that will fit into boxes). Click here if you would like to learn more about adult sensory stimulation.
Just remember you are not alone!

Links

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Website, Facts & Statistics