Discover all treatments, remedies and tips to fight anxiety. Learn how to relieve physical and mental anxiety disorders symptoms. Fight anxiety.
Better understand your anxiety and fight
What is anxiety?
Like other emotions, fear is a normal part of being human. It's a reaction to danger or something you believe to be threatening. It increases our awareness. It reminds us to protect ourselves. However, it can also move out of balance. Anxiety should be treated if it's: 1. Intense, 2. Chronic, 3. Limiting.
How many people suffer anxiety?
Anxiety is the most common psychiatric problem in the United States. One in every 20 people will experience it at some time in their lives. Treating anxiety can be challenging because fear may affect your ability to trust others and to try new treatments. Living with a constant sense of being in danger is exhausting.
How to fight your anxiety
To fight your anxiety, consider choosing an approach in each of the following four areas. Explore what combination of treatments works for you.
Mind-body issues to fight anxiety
Mind-body approaches are vital for treating anxiety. We highly recommend these be part of every treatment plan. These different approaches are helpful for anxiety. Some of these include:
• Psychotherapy/Counseling. Treatments such as psychotherapy have been well-studied. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral training are known to help anxiety. They can also help medications for anxiety work better. It is extremely helpful for people with anxiety to find a therapist, someone who is not emotionally connected to them.
• Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). MBSR, which is based on various forms of meditation, has been proven to reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Even a full year after taking a mindfulness course, participants reported that their symptoms were decreased.
• Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). In progressive muscle relaxation you will learn how to relax the muscles in your body in order.
• Breathing Exercise. Pick a breathing exercise you can use whenever you need to. A popular one is the 4-7-8 breath. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Practice this a few times to get the feel of it. Then exhale completely to empty your lungs. Inhale to a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale slowly to a count of eight. Repeat this cycle four times. Never do more than eight cycles.
Medication to fight anxiety
Medications for anxiety can be helpful. They are especially worth considering for a short time if you need help settling down enough to be able to explore other treatments. However, it is important to avoid the common trap of “covering up the symptoms” by using medications without ever really going deeper to explore the reasons the anxiety exists. Drugs have a role in anxiety treatment, but should not be the only thing used.
• Propranolol at a dose of 10-40 mg as needed three times daily, can decrease acute anxiety. It is often used for stage fright.
• Benzodiazepines such as clonazepam or lorazepam may be used for rapid improvement of symptoms as well. This class of drugs is best used only for a short time, as you can become addicted to them.
• SSRI’s. Many patients also take SSRI drugs, such as fluoxetine (Prozac) or escitalopram (Lexapro). These drugs can help anxiety, but they have a greater risk of side effects. Again we suggest you explore other options.
• Buspirone. Some practitioners prefer to prescribe buspirone because it doesn't cause severe drowsiness and you won’t become addicted to it.
Past experiences to fight anxiety
How you experience stress is influenced by how you saw your parents and others deal with stress when you were growing up. It was also shaped by traumatic events from the past (including various forms of abuse) and how much control you have had over your life. Many of the items listed in the mind-body section can be useful for exploring these issues. Many modalities help people ‘work through’ difficult past experiences. This can lead to lower anxiety levels. Examples include body work, energy medicine, psychoanalysis, journaling, and many others.
Current environment and lifestyle
• Exercise. There is good research showing that exercise can help with anxiety. While cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise may have the greatest affect, weight lifting and flexibility training also help. One study showed that exercising most days of the week for at least 12 minutes a day for 10 weeks helped anxiety. The benefits were still present one year later, even if people were exercising less. People who exercised in 40-minute sessions had even more benefit.
• Sleep. It can be affected by anxiety, anxiety can lead to poor sleep.
• Media Fasts. Many people fail to notice that the news leads to a lot of anxiety for them. A media fast can help. Spend a certain amount of time (a week is a good start) without watching, reading, or listening to the news. Many people find this extremely helpful.
• Time in Nature. Increasing time in natural settings can be relaxing for many people.
What about other therapies to fight anxiety?
In addition to the suggestions described above, it is reasonable to explore other approaches as well. It would be worth thinking about the following:
• Acupuncture. Several small studies have shown that acupuncture can help with anxiety symptoms. One study indicated that more than 5 sessions are needed to have the most effect. An overall review of the research suggests that acupuncture is promising for anxiety. More research is needed to fully justify the use of acupuncture. Many people find that acupuncture can be extremely relaxing.
• Energy Medicine. Some studies indicate that therapeutic touch helps to lower anxiety. Other therapies, such as reiki and healing touch, may also be helpful. They tend to be quite safe.
• Tai chi was found in one study to lower anxiety in women.
• Yoga was found in a review of eight studies to show some promise, and it was found to be as beneficial as relaxation therapy. It is important to start yoga gently, and classes can be quite helpful.
• Bodywork such as therapeutic massage and myofascial release can also provide relaxation. One study of 39 women being treated for breast cancer found that bodywork reduced both anxiety and nausea.