When Someone You Know...
…Might Be Suffering From Anxiety
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a state of being incredibly uneasy, apprehensive, worried, filled with dread, about what might happen. In cases of clinical anxiety, the feared event or circumstance rarely happens.
What is the Difference Between Fear and Anxiety?
If you were walking down the street and saw a lion chasing you, your reaction would, sensibly, be tremendous fear. If you felt the same intense fear when you saw a lion at the zoo, safely in a cage where it can’t possibly get to you; your reaction would be called anxiety.
What are the kinds of Anxiety Disorders and signs to look for?
Someone who suffers from panic disorder experiences intense anxiety that seems to
hit without cause.
Signs (symptoms) include:
- Racing, irregular, or pounding heartbeat, chest pain
- Fear of dying of symptoms above, of losing control, or of "going crazy"
- "Chills," "hot flashes," sweating
- Trembling or shaking
- Feeling short of breath, or as though smothering or choking
- Nausea or stomach discomfort
- "Numbness" or tingling
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
- Having a feeling of unreality, of being "detached" and "observing" the event
Panic disorder can occur along with agoraphobia ("fear of open places"), in which the person is anxious about being in places or situations where escape might be difficult or embarrassing, or where help might not be available if panic occurs.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The person experiences a great deal of anxiety about a number of events or activities
(such as school or work performance).
Other signs include these:
- feeling "keyed up" or "on edge"
- being tired easily
- difficulty concentrating or mind "goes blank"
- irritability, anger
- muscle tension, pain
- problems sleeping (trouble falling or staying asleep, restless sleep)
Can involve obsessions only, compulsions only, or both.
- Obsessions: unwanted, intrusive recurring thoughts, mental pictures, or impulses that cause strong anxiety. The person recognizes that he/she is generating these thoughts, but has difficulty controlling them
- Compulsions: repetitive behaviors (for example, excessive hand-washing, putting things in perfect order, checking and re-checking) or mental acts (counting, repeating words silently) in an attempt to reduce anxiety or prevent some dreaded event
Often, the person recognizes that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable. They cause great discomfort and interfere with the person's academic, work, or social life and relationships.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This is a delayed reaction to a traumatic event, such as a war experience, car crash,
or violent attack or abuse.
Signs of PTSD might include the following:
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- "Reliving" the event through
- Flashbacks: intense feelings, or memories of the event that can be "triggered" by sights, sounds, smells, certain people, or situations
- Recollection or nightmares about event
- “Reliving” event causes psychological and physical distress
- Anniversaries of the event can trigger anxiety
- “Startling” easily, “jumpy”
- Angry outbursts
- Losing concentration quickly
- Avoiding reminders of the event
- Becoming emotionally "numb," especially toward people/the person sufferer was once close to
- Feeling a loss of hope for the future
Anxieties specific to college environment
- Test anxiety
- Math anxiety
- Computer fears (technophobia)
- Speech or other performance anxiety
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Culture shock
What can help someone with anxiety?
Clinical anxiety is very treatable! Here are resources that you or someone you know can use to cope with excessive anxiety:
- Medical doctor/psychiatrist: Check out possible physical causes (overactive thyroid, perimenopause, PMS, etc.) Short-term anti-anxiety medications (along with relaxation and other "behavioral" techniques) are usually very helpful
- Visit the Edmonds CC Counseling Center. Qualified counselors there can help by listening, offering feedback, suggesting techniques, and providing referrals.
- Holistic medicine: Naturopathic, Homeopathic doctors, or nutritionists who work with natural herbs and treatments
- Sign up for workshops or low-pressure classes that focus on reducing math anxiety or technophobia
- Talk things over with an understanding friend who is compassionate, as well as sensible , positive, and "down to earth."
- Have achievable, realistic expectations of yourself. Give up perfection! :
- Take a break, exercise, walk, deep breathing
- Avoid adding non-essential tasks that create extra stress
- Eat healthy foods for stamina
- Listen to music that is calming and relaxing (Although very popular, rap is not particularly calming and relaxing!)
- Purchase inexpensive (or check your library for) tapes or CDs that feature calming ocean sounds, forest sounds, etc.
- Make up affirmations: short, upbeat messages that remind you how you want to feel (EX: "I am calm and relaxed" )
- Use relaxation techniques such as creative visualization and/or systematic muscle relaxation
- Meditation, yoga, prayer, massage, hot baths-whatever works for you!
|Learn More Here|
|Overcoming Math Anxiety by Sheila Tobias|
|Succeed with Math by Sheila Tobias|
|Becoming a Master Student by Dean Mancina|
|Time Management (video) by David Ellis|
|Anxiety Disorders Education Program|
|The Anxiety Panic Internet Resource|
|Anxiety-Mental Help Net|
|Math Anxiety and Test Anxiety|
|Anxiety Disorders Association of America|
|Care Crisis Line|
|Snohomish County Care Crisis Line:||425.258.HELP (4357) or 1.800.584.3578|
|(24-hour telephone crisis counseling; interpreters available)|
|King County Crisis Line:||206.461.3222 or 1.800.244.5767|