For most people, some combination of lifestyle changes, therapy, medication, and support are helpful for treating anxiety disorders. Some of these are more effective than others for specific conditions and certain people. It may take some time to discover what works for you, but it is worth it.
Anxiety is about worry and fear. Your muscles tense up, your breathing shortens, and it becomes hard to sit still or sleep. Relaxation is pretty much the opposite of anxiety. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help clear your mind. These can be especially helpful for panic attacks.
Many habits can impact your mental health. Making sure you get regular sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly can help a lot. Some people benefit from reducing or eliminating the use of caffeine, alcohol, or drugs. Pay attention to simple things, like taking time to take care of yourself, trying activities you enjoy, and spending time with people or environments where you feel supported.
Therapy can be a great way to change behaviors, gain confidence, learn new skills, and talk with someone openly and honestly. There are many different types of therapy; most therapists use multiple techniques, depending on the needs of the person they’re working with. The most common type of therapy currently is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In CBT, a therapist helps you examine your thoughts and beliefs and how these influence your behavior.
Another option is to take medications. There are many different medications that help with a variety of symptoms. Medications affect everyone differently, so not every medication will work well for you, and many of them will have side-effects. You’ll need to work with your doctor to find a medication that works for you. It’s also common to take multiple medications, to target different symptoms or to counteract side-effects.
It’s important to find support from others. This can come through family, friends, professionals, or support groups. Support groups are made up of individuals with similar experiences, who meet regularly to discuss their experiences. Talking to people who are going through the same things can make you feel less alone and more connected. It also creates a space where people can share what has worked for them and talk through their struggles with people who understand.