We all feel anxious at times. For most people this is usually temporary and usually brought on by specific life events like a job interview, a move, a sudden illness etc. If this anxiousness lasts for a long time then you need to see your primary health provider to talk about what you are feeling.
Millions of people suffer from anxiety disorders. The most common are phobias, social anxiety, panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). These disorders cross all racial lines and occur slightly more often in women than in men. Phobias are fear based, social anxiety arises across all social situations, panic disorders create sudden and repeated feelings of terror while GAD is characterized by constant worry and tension.
The cause of anxiety disorders is unknown. It is known that anxiety is not a result of personal weakness, a poor upbringing or a character flaw. Current research indicates that anxiety is likely caused by a combination of factors, including environmental stress and changes within the brain. Studies show that these disorders tend to run in families so a genetic predisposition is indicated.
People with anxiety disorders worry excessively without any real danger being present. A feeling of impending doom is common. Trembling, tiredness, restlessness, muscle tension, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dry mouth, cold hands, dizziness and sleeping problems are all common symptoms.
This disease can impair quality of life, job performance, social relationships and physical health.
Prescription medication along with counselling and a healthy diet are effective in reducing anxiety disorders.
Prescription medications may take several weeks to ‘kick in’ so be patient and give the medication a chance. Counselling will focus on assisting people to replace negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones.
A healthy diet that avoids alcohol, chocolate and caffeine will be recommended. Meditation and yoga may be beneficial. Daily exercise will also help to reduce anxiety. Two twenty minute walks daily around your neighborhood will make a huge difference in how you feel.
Some herbal remedies have also proven effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. St. John’s Wort, kava, valerian and passionflower are particularly useful. Talk to your primary health care provider before starting these.
If you’d like to talk to our pharmacists about the medication you are taking, a medication that has been recommended for you or any side effects from medication that you may be experiencing, come on in and have a chat with us at one of our Heart Pharmacy locations. We would be happy to review all the medications you are taking. Some drug interactions can actually cause anxiety. We’d also be happy to share support resources available if you or a family member has an anxiety disorder.