Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Mental Health

The Anxiety/Panic Cycle: Fight or Flight

I have received so many emails lately regarding this subject. Everyone wants to know the answer to “Why is this happening to me?” There are many reasons and no one answer that applies universally. Everyone is different. I can try and help you understand what is happening to your body, however, during a panic attack. I will try and answer as best I can, with a little help from Dr. Reneau Z. Peurifoy, author of Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic

 The Fight or Flight Response

Your sympathetic nervous system is what controls the fight or flight response. This is also something considered in a benzo rehab. When it is triggered, it shuts down all “nonessential activity” and prepares the body to either flee or fight the perceived threat.

What happens to your body when the fight or flight response kicks in?

  1. Accelerated heartbeat
  2. Deeper and more rapid breathing
  3. Increased muscle tension
  4. Cold sweat
  5. Blood vessels constrict
  6. Shivering
  7. Hairs on the body stand up
  8. Pupils dilate
  9. Digesive system shuts down
  10. Decreased flow of saliva (dry mouth)
  11. Voiding of the bowels and bladder
  12. Adrenaline (eninephrine) is released into the bloodstream.

 Many people, like myself, have an overactive sympathetic nervous system – meaning, quite simply that the slightest thing will set off the fight or flight response in our bodies.

This is usually caused by several different factors:

Genetic factors that result in a highly reactive body.

Physical exhaustion due to stressful events.

A medical condition.

A drug reaction (yes, caffeine is a drug!),

How to Stop Anxiety Attacks: The Causes and Treatment of Excessive Worrying

Anxiety could be described as worrying excessively. Most people worry and this is normal, indeed sensible at times. It’s natural to worry about the safety of young children for example or our own when driving. Worry is an aspect of fear and there are some things it’s good to be frightened of.

But like most things that are good, too much is bad and this applies to worrying. If you worry so much that your every day life is affected, perhaps you’re not sleeping well, not concentrating on your work or you’re getting irritable with those around you, then you may have what is termed an anxiety state. But try not to worry about it! There’s much you can do to help yourself.

Who gets Anxiety?

Almost anyone can. Anxiety states are very common in our society and some have suggested that our western lifestyles are responsible – who knows? What is known for sure is that some people are more susceptible to anxiety than others, everyone knows people who appear to be able to ride out life’s troubles with ease, never kept awake at night by a churning mind. But even these seemingly laid-back individuals can develop anxiety states if the circumstances are right. A number of factors are thought to increase the risk of developing anxiety.

Adverse life events: such as divorce, death of a loved one or loss of job. This is especially so if several of these events occur in a short space of time.

A traumatic childhood.

Drug misuse: for example caffeine, alcohol, amphetamines.

Genetic makeup

Lack of social support

Symptoms of Anxiety

These are quite variable and it’s unusual for one person to get them all.

Not sleeping, mind constantly thinking, worry about the future, feeling that you can’t get your breath, palpitations, digestive upsets, thirst, muscle tension and headache.

One of the difficulties with anxiety is that it’s easy to fall into a downward spiral. What happens is that you develop one or more of the above symptoms. You then think that you might have a serious illness; this racks up your anxiety level which in turn provokes more symptoms and then more anxiety. It’s thought that one of the major reasons for the formation of this spiral is the development of abnormal breathing patterns that can occur in some sufferers. This then alters the levels of various chemicals in the blood which give rise to more anxiety symptoms.

What to Do if you Experience Some of the Above symptoms?

Any of the symptoms of anxiety can be due to underlying illness. They probably aren’t, but it’s as well to check with your doctor first. At the very least the reassurance that it’s nothing serious will help lower your anxiety level. Remedies for anxiety fall into three categories: self-help, complementary therapies and medical help.

Self-help

The main methods are: relaxation techniques, meditation and breathing techniques. These three are inter-related in that one often incorporates something of the other. Many people find yoga and tai chi useful. Physical exercise is good for relieving muscle tension.

Complementary Therapies

Those most commonly used are: acupuncture, hypnotherapy and massage.

Medical Help

Medical help falls into two major categories: medication with drugs like the benzodiazepines or psychotherapy – the most effective of which seems to be cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Here the patient is taught how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

So if you have anxiety symptoms, don’t put up with them, get checked out by your doctor and discuss with him or her what you can do to help yourself.

The Symptoms of Anxiety: Dealing With Serious Stress

Healthy anxiety should not interfere with relationships, careers and family settings. Anxiety should not prevent one from living one’s life in a way that is meaningful for that person. The feelings of anxiety can be very disruptive and confusing leading to even more serious problems. It is very important to remember that the symptoms and manifestations are very individual depending on the person.

Emotional Symptoms

The emotional symptoms are very intense and can become overwhelming if ignored. These symptoms include feelings of apprehension or dread, difficulty concentrating, feeling tense and jumpy, always anticipating the worst scenario in a situation, irritability due to tension, restlessness, a constant alertness for signs of danger, exaggerated startle response, and a feeling that one’s mind goes blank under pressure.

Physical Symptoms

As with all emotional disorders there are physical manifestations that make the sense of anxiety even worse. The physical symptoms can include sweating, stomach upset, dizziness, shortness of breath, tremors or twitches, muscle tension, intense headaches, insomnia and fatigue. Often time’s people suffering with severe anxiety report a sense that they are having a heart attack. These physical symptoms can be debilitating, as well as frightening. The symptoms can also interfere with work and/or family life.

If left untreated these expressions of intense anxiety can become a full blown anxiety disorder. A person with such a disorder will avoid everyday situations, may be afraid to leave their home and may find their life seriously disrupted. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to chronic anxiety or panic attacks in which a person deals with a sense of terror. During a panic attack, people report being unable to breathe or even to request help. Panic attacks help to heighten anxiety because many people report becoming anxious about having another attack because the attacks themselves are so unpleasant.

Treatment

Anxiety can be treated in couple of ways. Make time for oneself, being aware that the self is important in our hurried way of living too. Many people report daily meditation as being very helpful as it helps to relax a person and clear the mind. Exercise can also do a lot to relive tension and should become part of everyone’s daily routine. In addition, it is clearly important to develop a support group of friends and family that can listen to the parts of one’s life that are truly anxiety provoking.

If the practices listed above do not improve the situation then professional help can be very healing. Talk therapy, anti-anxiety medication and behavior therapy designed to change thinking and behavior can be very helpful. It is important to remember that these symptoms are very real and very overwhelming and if left untreated can lead to a serious anxiety disorder or suicide.

A Positive Attitude

Be aware that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Our society is one which places a lot of emphasis on success and achievement. In some high powered careers, leisure time is in fact looked down upon and the associated stress can easily get out of control. Get the help needed; take the time to care for the stress that is felt. In the long term, one will live a better more comfortable life.

The Facts About Child and Adolescent Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar is one of the main mental illnesses that I treated as a psychiatric nurse. It is largely characterised by swings in mood from mania to depression. In relatively recent years it has been discovered that it is not only adults who can suffer from it. Adolescents, and even children, can also suffer from this serious illness. Bipolar in children and adolescents is known as early onset bipolar and presents its own challenges. It has to be handled differently from the form of bipolar that adults suffer from, both in the way it is diagnosed, treated and managed.

The Difference Between Adult, and Adolescent and Child Bipolar Disorder

According to WebMD.com in their article ‘Bipolar in Teens’ bipolar can be diagnosed in children as young as 6 but is most commonly diagnosed between 14 and 16 years old. Adolescence is a time of raging hormones and mood swings, but bipolar is more than this. ‘About.com.bipolar disorder’ characterises this difference as the fact that the presence of the illness significantly impairs people’s functioning at school, home and with their peers. NIH.gov states in ‘Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens’ that early onset bipolar is more severe and the symptoms occur more often than in the adult form of the illness. It is also harder to diagnose as it is often mistaken for attention deficit disorder.

The Symptoms and Behaviours That Manifest in Early Onset Bipolar Disorder

WebMD.com: ‘Bipolar in Teens’ points out that sufferers experience very rapid changes in mood during one single day. Their feelings manifest themselves when ‘manic’ as excitability, very rapid speech, an over developed sense of self importance and a problem sleeping. Teenagers with bipolar will often wander around the house, looking for things to do during the night because of this. Both children and teenagers have a tendency to appear obsessed with talking about or exploring sex during their manic phase. During a sufferer’s low period he may present as moody, very down, move very slowly and may also complain of pains in the head, stomach and muscles. An obsession with death, including suicide is also not uncommon. According to ‘Rpsych.com:Bipolar(Manic Depression)’ these symptoms can manifest themselves as behaviours such as avoiding school, drug and alcohol abuse and self harming and, in some cases, running away from home.

Early Intervention and Treatment of Adolescent Bipolar

Kidshealth.org tells us that early intervention and treatment is vital as, left untreated, high risk behaviours such as promiscuity, drug taking and even attempted suicide may occur. If the child is suicidal or totally out of control a stay in hospital may be necessary for the safety of the child. If the patient is manageable at home then the treatment options for bipolar are similar as for adults and include mood stabilisers such as Lithium and Lamictal. Antipsychotics such as olanzapine or risperidone and anti depressants are also used, but the dosages and combinations are different than those used for adult bipolar due to the growth and development of the child being treated. Talking treatments are vital in the treatment of early onset bipolar. ‘Rpsych.comBipolar(Manic Depression)’ tells us that these treatments include family therapy and interpersonal therapy. The therapies are all aimed at helping the child to cope with the mood swings and the problems that bipolar brings.

Helping Your Child Cope With Bipolar Disorder and how He can Help Himself

The teenage years are hard enough without having a serious mental illness to deal with as well. Kidshealth.com suggests that you let the school know so that they can be a little more understanding of possibly disruptive behaviour. The most important thing a parent can do is be open and understanding, as a strong supportive network is vital for anyone with bipolar. Parents can also help by ensuring that their child takes their medication. One of the unfortunate side effects of a lot of psychiatric medications is that they cause weight gain. This is something that teenage girls, especially, will have a big problem with. Ensuring regular exercise and a healthy diet will help this. One of the best things anyone with bipolar can do is join a support group; it can really help to talk to people who are going through the same thing. Taking away the feeling of isolation that a lot of adolescents feel, who are suffering, can prevent behaviours such as running away from home or turning to drugs.

Living with any mental illness is hard, but you don’t have to go it alone. sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger. Here are some numbers in the UK for when it all gets too much.

Thinking Through Anxiety & Global Conditions: Fears About the Economy, Terrorism, and the Future

At any given time wars are being waged somewhere on the planet. Yet, the majority of the earth’s people prefer peace. The fact that humans are still here—particularly in this thermonuclear age—demonstrates that history is on the side of those who spend their time and resources perpetuating kindness and optimism. With so many countries involved in the “war on terror” and witnessing regressing economies, it’s easy to see why families are anxious.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are strengthening again

Radical groups that foster hate and depend on fear to achieve objectives often strengthen and weaken in a cyclical fashion. When confronted and consistently opposed, they lose momentum and ultimately rot on the vine. Don’t underestimate the power of human conviction—especially for good. Being guided by goodness and principle and acting in the best interest of the group (in this case the earth and its inhabitants) is the broader view that has historically been the path of wisdom and will no doubt be so in the future.

The Economy Will Collapse

Probably not. But even if it does, that takes one back to the resiliency of human beings. How do you think the economy became strong in the first place? Granted, there are spending habits and political matters to be addressed, but those are not the concern of this article. Amidst the news reports of financial doom and gloom is another story to tell. It is an epic. It is the saga of human beings finding a way to make great things happen. It is the testament to human creativity and ingenuity within the multigenerational transmission process.

The End Is Coming in 2020

Feel free to pack your bags and head for the airport, but you’re probably not going anywhere. People worry about the next four years–especially in the United States–but the passing of a month or a year or a century is unremarkable unless some import is imposed upon it. Many point to the Mayan calendar, Bible codes, or psychic readings. Regardless of one’s source of inspiration, it seems arrogant to assess dates for the end of all things. What, exactly, would that look like anyway? Since no one can actually demonstrate what the end will be, people are at a bit of a disadvantage as to the when and the how. Perhaps the best use of the time would be acting in the best interests of the group.

Thinking Through the Anxiety

Thinking is hard work. Thinking through anxiety is even harder. Recognizing the distinction between acute and chronic anxiety can be helpful. Acute anxiety is the by-product of what is: John’s fiancé just broke their engagement and he is distraught. Chronic anxiety is the result of what might be: Sally is preoccupied with the thought that a potential fiancé might break a future engagement; thus, she refuses to date. Chronic anxiety does not appear to be caused by anything in particular. It can usually be traced to a person’s response to disharmony within a given relationship system. What percentage of worldwide anxiety can be attributed to the question, “What if?”

Do global fears suggest a lack of togetherness or do they perhaps indicate an anxious togetherness where individual thinking and direction have been hijacked in favor of the herd mentality and reactionary strife? Think it through.

Treating Bipolar Disorder: How to Lessen the Effects of the Mental Illness

Bipolar disorder can seriously disrupt a person’s life which is why treatment of this illness is vital to maintaining a normal, structured life. Without treatment bipolar disorder can affect every area of a person’s daily life.

Treating Bipolar Disorder I and II with Medication

There are several medications available to help treat bipolar disorder. If one doesn’t seem to help, a patient’s physician may adjust the dose or prescribe a different medication; the success of a particular treatment varies among individuals. There are three main types of medication used to treat bipolar disorder: mood stabilizers, anti-seizure and antidepressants.

Mood stabilizers are the most commonly prescribed medications for this disorder. These medications will help stabilize and regulate moods so a person doesn’t experience bipolar episodes, experiencing powerful bouts of mania and depression.

To prevent mood swings in a bipolar patient, a doctor may prescribe anti-seizure medications. These are prescribed to people with bipolar II disorder who are deemed to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

Antidepressants may not be effective in treating bipolar disorder. It was once common to prescribe these but it is now controversial because some believe they may actually trigger mania in bipolar patients.

Certain anti-psychotic medications may also help in treating this disorder. A certain drug, quetiapine (Seroquel) treats both manic and depressive episodes and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

All medications have side effects so patients should provide the doctor a full list of current medication as well as any preexisting conditions. A woman who wants to get pregnant in the near future should tell her doctor so the medication with the least health risks can be prescribed.

Treating Bipolar Disorder I and II with Therapy

Therapy can be very helpful in treating bipolar disorder; therapy is often used in conjunction with medication. A common form of individual therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy. A person will learn stress management, what may trigger his/her episodes and replace unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors with positive, healthy ones.

Family therapy will help identify and reduce stress triggers within the family and can help improve communication. Group therapy is a forum to speak and listen to others in a similar situation who also have bipolar disorder or another form of mental illness.

ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, involves passing electric currents through the brain to trigger a seizure. The seizure may cause changes in brain chemistry to improve mood. This therapy is mainly for people who suffer from episodes of severe depression with suicidal tendencies or haven’t seen improvement with other treatments.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness and treatment may also need to be lifelong where prescription drug rehab Miami can be of help. There’s no surefire way to prevent bipolar disorder but getting treatment at the earliest sign will help a person. Without treatment a person may be prone to legal, financial and relationship problems, as well as, suicide, substance and drug abuse, isolation and poor work or school performance, so seeking treatment for bipolar disorder is essential.