Anxiety is a natural feeling. It is our body’s response to stress and can even benefit us in certain situations. It warns us of dangerous situations to help us prepare and pay attention. It is also normal to feel a bit fearful and nervous in some situations like a job interview and when you’re doing something outside of your comfort zone.
However, if you’re experiencing extreme anxiety or one that lasts longer than six months and is getting in the way of your life, you may have an anxiety disorder. It’s different from normal feelings of anxiousness or nervousness since it involves excessive fear. Anxiety disorders are more common than most people think. In fact, they’re one of the most common mental health issues nowadays.
There are a number of effective treatments for anxiety disorders that help most people regain control of their lives.
Types of Anxiety
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If you have a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), you usually feel excessive worry or anxiety on most days for at least half of the year over a number of everyday things such as work, social interactions, personal health, etc. This anxiety interferes with your daily life, causing problems at work. Here are symptoms you may have a GAD:
- Mind going blank or difficulty in concentrating
- Feeling restless or on-edge
- Hard time controlling feelings of worry
- Easily irritated
- Sleeping problems (insomnia, difficulty staying asleep, or restlessness)
- Muscle tension
- Getting tired easily
People with this type of anxiety disorder experience sudden panic attacks. These attacks are unexpected periods of excessive fear that come on fast and reach their peak within minutes. The attack can be triggered by something such as a feared object or can happen unexpectedly. When someone has a panic attack, they may experience:
- Heart palpitations or increased heart rate
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of being out of control
People with panic disorder usually worry about when the next attack will occur so they avoid situations or places that can be associated with these attacks which can get in the way of living their lives fully.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is another type of anxiety disorder. People with this disorder have recurrent uncontrollable thoughts (also known as obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (known as compulsions) such as counting, handwashing, cleaning, checking, arranging, or organizing things in a particular, precise way. People with OCD do these things hoping that these will make obsessive thoughts go away. But performing these repetitive behaviors only provides temporary relief and not being able to do them significantly heightens anxiety levels.
Just like people with panic disorder, people with OCD may try to avoid situations that may trigger their obsessions. Or worse, they may turn to alcohol or drugs to calm themselves.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that usually develops after someone experiences a terrifying ordeal in which severe physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events such as military combat, accidents, violent personal assaults, or natural disasters can cause PTSD. But not everyone with PTSD experienced a dangerous event. Some experiences such as the sudden death of a loved one can also trigger PTSD.
People with PTSD may have re-experiencing symptoms such as flashbacks (reliving the trauma that comes with physical symptoms such as sweating and heart palpitation, nightmares, and frightening thoughts. They may also show avoidance symptoms such as staying away from objects, places, or events that can remind them of the traumatic experience and avoiding feelings or thoughts associated with the traumatic event.
PTSD also causes arousal and reactivity symptoms such as feeling tense, being easily startled, sleeping problems, and angry outbursts. People with PTSD can also display cognition and mood symptoms such as distorted feelings of guilt or blame, loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed, and negative thoughts about oneself or the world.
As the term implies, people with this anxiety disorder experience intense anxiety or fear toward social situations. When you have a social anxiety disorder you worry that how you act or behave associated with your anxiety will be criticised by others, making you feel embarrassed. This is why you avoid social situations. You have an intense fear of being judged or humiliated even in everyday situations such as eating in public or engaging in small talk.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, it is normal for us to be extra concerned about our health. But those who are suffering from health anxiety tend to feel excessive distress about their health even if they are healthy. They might constantly feel that they have a symptom or symptoms of a severe illness. Their extreme concern about their health consumes them to a point that it interferes with several areas in their life, at school or at work, relationships, or prevents them from doing their daily routines.
Effective Treatments To Overcome Anxiety:
For some people with anxiety disorder, lifestyle changes may be enough to cope with the symptoms. These include eating healthy, exercising regularly, working out, getting enough proper sleep, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, quitting smoking, and meditating.
However, in moderate or severe cases, psychotherapy and medication may be necessary to help you overcome symptoms and lead a more manageable daily life. You may be prescribed medications such as sedatives and antidepressants to balance brain chemistry, prevent episodes of anxiety, and get rid of the most severe anxiety disorder symptoms.
Studies have shown that Reiki offers several potential benefits for people with generalised anxiety disorder. It is an excellent way to complement other treatment forms. Some of these benefits include:
Lower stress levels
People with generalised anxiety disorder have higher stress levels than the normal population. Both research studies and anecdotal reports indicate that Reiki may assist to alleviate some of this stress.
Having generalized anxiety disorder makes it difficult to relax even when no significant stressor is present. Many people who participate in Reiki sessions report feeling relaxed both during the session and after it is complete, which may be beneficial to someone who struggles with anxiety.
Not every person who has been diagnosed with a generalised anxiety disorder will experience depression. However, for many people, these two issues go hand-in-hand. Research indicates that people who participate in Reiki sessions on a regular basis feel less depressed than they did prior to therapy.
People with a generalised anxiety disorder may find that they have trouble falling asleep, are unable to stay asleep, or don’t feel rested even after sleeping all night. Reiki sessions may alleviate some of these issues and improve the quality of sleep.