Anxiety is your body’s natural response to any kind of stress in your life. It’s a fear about what is going to happen next. It is normal for everyone to experience anxiety in their life at some point. This can be a first day of school or university, a job interview, a big sporting event, a competition or a big social event. It is normal to have these feelings when we are feeling stressed, worried or scared, however these should settle once the situation has passed. If they do not, and we cannot control them, this is anxiety.
When anxiety is severe, it is hard to cope with everyday life and its stresses. If you worry about a certain thing and this worry continues for days after, this is called generalised anxiety disorder. This is when you are worried about many things and you may not get through your day without feeling anxious. This causes a person to feel mentally and physically exhausted constantly.
For more information on anxiety follow this link:
Types of anxiety disorders:
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – is when people worry about many things, for most days for six or more months. It usually affects young adults, affecting women more than men. The anxiety is about a wide range of situations and issues, not just one specific event. It can be hard to control it and affects all parts of your life.
Phobias – these are extreme and irrational fears about a particular thing. They can be so great that the person goes to great lengths to avoid it, even if it’s harmless. To the person, it can be extremely frightening, and can cause people to not want to leave their house.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – is when a person has unwanted, or repetitive thoughts (or obsessions which cause anxiety. They then carry out actions to reduce the anxiety or get rid of those thoughts. They may feel like they have to do a certain thing, a certain number of times for example.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – is a reaction to a highly stressful event that has happened in a person’s life. The person feels scared or threatened and often has flashbacks to this event. This can be an accident, sexual abuse or anything else.
Panic Disorder – is when a person has panic attacks. These are intense feelings of anxiety along with the physical symptoms and overwhelming sensations you would have if you were in great danger. This includes, a pounding heart, feeling faint, sweating, shaky limbs, nausea, chest pains, breathing discomfort and feelings of losing control. The effects can be so severe that people experiencing panic attacks can believe they are dying.
- Racing heart.
- Feeling too hot or too cold.
- Chest tightens.
- Struggling to breathe.
- A mind that won’t stop racing.
- Worrying thoughts.
- Feeling dizzy.
- Numbness or tingling.
- Stomach problems.
- Poor sleep.
Depression or anxiety?
Depression is a persistent feeling of sadness and emptiness rather than constant fear or worrying. A person who has depression may lose interest in everyday activities and hobbies they once enjoyed. They feel deflated all the time along with feeling tired and lacking energy. Simple tasks such as eating or showering will feel like a huge effort.
Depression can occur after a person has been struggling with anxiety for some time. Anxiety may cause a person to isolate themselves from things that make them feel anxious or worried. This isolation may lead to a lack of interest in things that once were enjoyable. Thus leading to depression. For this reason, sometimes anxiety and depression may be linked.
How you can help:
- Exercise – this helps the body to reduce any tension or stress it may have. Exercises encourage a release of the happy hormone, serotonin, this helps the body feel calmer and happier in general.
- Support groups.
- Breathing techniques.
- Education about anxiety.
- Relaxation techniques- try yoga or Pilates. Do things you enjoy as this will help your body and mind to relax. A relaxed mind will help reduce anxiety.
- Adjusting your diet- too much caffeine, sugar and fast food can upset the balance in the body. Caffeine speeds up your heart rate which increases anxiety. It is important to eat a healthy diet.
- Sleep – it is important to get sufficient sleep in order to reduce the effects of anxiety.
- Anxiety helpline- 0800 269 4389
- Are you ok? – 0800 456 450
- Common ground – commonground.org.nz. For family or parents looking to help a young person who is struggling.
How Chiropractic can help?
Chiropractors find areas of misalignments and correct them, allowing the body to function at an optimal level. This allows the body and mind to have a much clearer connection and balance between the two. The body is then able to balance physical and mental health. Chiropractic allows for better sleep as it clears the body of interferences, this in turn helps decrease symptoms of anxiety and stress. It is known that Chiropractic adjustments trigger a release of hormones, especially good hormones. These good hormones can boost your mood and allow a positive effect on your wellbeing. This will improve your mental state in general. Anxiety can often cause muscles to tighten due to the constant stress, chiropractic helps reduce this stress on the body through manual adjustments.
If you, or someone you love is suffering from anxiety, Chiropractic care can help in many ways.