Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issues in the US, with around 40 million adults affected in the country alone. Even experts are not 100% sure what causes anxiety disorders. However, they believe it includes a complex set of factors, including the patient’s brain chemistry, genetics, life events, and personality. If there is any consolation, anxiety disorders can be treated and you can learn how to overcome anxiety triggers.
Anxiety can be triggered by different things. When someone is triggered, they typically experience anxiety or panic attacks. The aforementioned can be managed, although not usually with ease. Nevertheless, knowing how to overcome anxiety triggers can greatly help in addressing their disorder.
What is Anxiety and When Does it Become a Health Problem?
Anxiety as a whole is a natural human response when we feel threatened or stressed. Anyone can feel anxious about things that are happening or could happen. But, it typically fades away when we no longer feel threatened. Anxiety can be experienced through thoughts, feelings, and/or physical sensations.
Although anyone can experience anxiety, it becomes a huge problem for millions of people.
Anxiety becomes a mental health issue if it impacts the ability of a person to live normally. It is deemed as a problem if it does the following:
- Feelings of anxiety are very strong and last a long time
- Fears and worries are way out of proportion compared to the situation
- You experience panic attacks and symptoms of anxiety regularly
- Anxiety makes it hard to live in everyday life and do things you enjoy
- You avoid anything that might cause anxiety
Symptoms of Anxiety
The common symptoms of anxiety include the following:
- Feeling of extreme nervousness, restlessness, or being tense.
- Increased heart rate
- A sense of impending danger, panic, and/or doom
- Sleeping problems
- Hyperventilation or rapid breathing
- A feeling of tiredness and weakness
- Difficulty controlling worry
- Trouble with concentration
- Gastrointestinal problems
There are different types of anxiety disorders. Most of the time, people who are diagnosed with anxiety also have depression and vice versa. The diagnosis of anxiety disorders is made by a specialist. Knowing what specific anxiety disorder you have can help you manage and treat your problem better.
What Triggers Anxiety?
Anxiety could have different triggers depending on what type of anxiety disorder you are diagnosed with.
For example, anyone with social anxiety disorder would typically be triggered by any social situation, such as parties or public speaking. Even meeting new people could trigger panic and anxiety attacks.
Meanwhile, agoraphobia is often thought of as the fear of open spaces. However, according to the NHS, people with this anxiety disorder actually have a fear of being in situations wherein escape is difficult or impossible when certain situations arise. Anyone with agoraphobia might be triggered by simply leaving home or traveling alone.
People with PTSD are often triggered by some things that remind them of their trauma. For example, soldiers who have been to war and are sent home are often diagnosed with PTSD. Any loud bangs can trigger flashbacks of their time at the front lines.
The same goes for abuse victims with PTSD. Seeing scenes of abuse and attack in movies and shows can trigger their anxiety as they are reminded of their trauma.
How Can Anxiety be Treated?
The first step to getting treated is to admit that you need help. Because of the stigma surrounding mental health problems, many people with anxiety tend to set their issues aside and continue living in worry and fear. The situation could worsen if neglected.
Once anxiety is diagnosed, the therapist will provide treatment for the patient.
Treatments often include regular therapy where the patient will sit down with a therapist to talk about their feelings. This also provides the medical expert with insight on whether to change their treatments.
In addition to therapies, patients with extreme anxiety disorders may have to be given antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help ease the symptoms of worry and depression. In some cases, patients are also given sedatives or beta-blockers.
They will also be given tips to manage their anxiety.
How to Overcome Anxiety Triggers
There are different ways to manage anxiety and overcome anxiety triggers. Here are the most common management tips therapists teach their patients in the event of a panic or anxiety attack.
Mindfulness is becoming a popular way to manage stress and anxiety. It works by pulling ourselves into the present and unhooking your thoughts from things that are causing you extreme worry and fear. Meditation and yoga can help achieve mindfulness.
Sometimes if something causes you pain, instead of avoiding it, the best way to “cure” it is by addressing it. A mature response to feelings of anxiety is to acknowledge them and understand them. While a therapist can provide professional direction, you can help yourself by writing down your thoughts and see what causes these ill feelings. Your therapist can also use your journals to help in your diagnosis and treatment.
Understand your thoughts
It is easy to latch on to negative thoughts and feed them. When a negative thought pops up, try to think about it objectively and ask yourself, “Is this fear founded and real? Is my response proportionate to the situation? Is there something I can do to make this better?” By challenging these thoughts and fears, you gain a better sense of control over the situation.
Breathing exercise helps achieve mindfulness as your mind focuses on your breathing. It will also help you relax. Breathing exercises are often simple and can be done alone.
Exercise could help burn up the chemicals that are released when the body enters the “fight or flight” response. Even simple physical activities throughout the day can help keep your mind calm.
Anxiety is not a good feeling to have. But it is even worse when it impedes your normal day-to-day living. Learning to accept that you have the condition and you need help is a great first step to getting the treatment you need. This will put you on the path of recovery, helping address the root causes and alleviating the symptoms you have to live a better quality of life.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.