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Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 07:39 AM IST

Anxiety isn’t just sadness: Here are the causes, signs and symptoms, treatments

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 “He will not leave me.”

“She promised to be with me forever. She needs time.”

“Dad will be alright and I will meet him soon.”

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“The plane is not going to crash.”

“Boss will not be mad at me. I hope I will not get fired.”

You are having a conversation with your colleague or friend happily and the next moment you feel unpleasant. Your whole body goes numb and you feel a strange coldness that makes you uneasy. You feel like crying your heart out. The next moment you are blackout. There are hours of the day when you have a heavy heart and a stressful mind.

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This is exactly how a person living with anxiety feels like. Many times the discomfort isn’t visible but they are the only ones who understand the pain they are going through.

Anxiety is like a dreaded guest.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is not a condition but a way of life for most of us. In simple terms, anxiety is a feeling of nervousness or uneasiness about anything with an uncertain outcome. The worry can be regarding anything and everything under the sun – be it about family, jobs, friends or even the next election. “A little bit of anxiety is normal and needed for us to function. It works as a motivator and a drive to achieve our goals in life. When the level of anxiety increases it hinders our day to day life. When we start to feel overwhelmed and stressed it’s important that we see a professional therapist. If a person is unsure if they should seek professional assistance or not for their anxiety, I would suggest that they do see someone. It can only help and prevent further complications,” says Dr Vihan Sanyal, Psychotherapist, and Founder of Mind Factory.

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Everyone gets anxious from time to time – may be while speaking in front of a crowd or a job interview or going through a financial crisis. In some cases, anxiety becomes so frequent that it begins to take over lives. How can you identify if your everyday nervousness has reached into an anxiety disorder? Well, that’s not easy. “Anxiety is an irrational fear. For instance, if there is a tiger in front of you and you are afraid then that is a rational fear or if you don’t do well in exams or you found cheating in the exam, these are worrying and are all rational fears. Anxiety disorders are primary disorder signs when people start fearing or worrying situations in a very irrational way. What will happen if I missed the oxygen and die, what will happen if I do not do my homework today the teacher will scold me and then I will be thrown out of the class and my career will be ruined? These extra thinking or things which do not deserve that much attention and when you start giving these things extra attention and start worrying then we can call it anxiety disorders. A little bit of anxiety everybody gets,” says Dr Sagar Mundada, Consultant Psychiatrist at Healthspring Mumbai.

Signs and symptoms
Your chest may feel tight, a lot of sweating, choking sensation and restlessness. If you often feel this, that’s because there’s a biological chain reaction that occurs when we begin to worry about potential stressors or dangers in the future. Other symptoms include headaches, feeling tense and insomnia. Anxiety starts in the mind but has an impact on the body too. It often manifests itself through physical symptoms like chronic digestive problems, which includes symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, gas, stomach pain, and stomach cramps.

Women more at risk?
Women are more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than men. Researchers claim the combination of social and biological factors the reason behind it. “Generally women have a tendency to worry. For any given situation women are supposed to be more caring, more nurturing therefore even if something goes wrong then the tendency of a woman to panic over it is higher than that of a man. That is basically how human evolution has been there. It is a very complicated concept but yes women do suffer from anxiety more compared to men”, says Dr Sagar Mundada.

How is anxiety treated?
There is a range of health professionals and services that helps to control your anxiety so that it doesn’t control you. The important thing is to understand the need and approach the right health professionals. “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness Neuro-Linguistic Programming (MNLP), Hypnotherapy are all effective in dealing with Anxiety Disorders. My choice of therapy is MNLP because it is quick and effective. CBT focuses on the quality of our thoughts. It works on changing automatic negative thoughts into positive and supportive thoughts. Anxiety derives from irrational thoughts. Mindfulness of NLP helps the client to live in the head and now. Anxiety is future paced. Once a client learns to live in the present, it drastically reduces the levels of anxiety and removes all of the discomfort associated with it,” says Psychotherapist Dr Vihan Sanyal.

Spa treatments also help with anxiety. “Being stressed during a difficult situation is absolutely normal. However, some people worry too much, and this causes them to develop anxiety. This is when spa treatments are recommended. Spa treatments help relax the mind and body. In today’s world of stress and work overload, spa therapies help us spend quality time for ourselves and serve as a much-needed retreat,” says Gautam Singh, Sr. Spa Manager, Escenza Spa, Radisson Blu Resort & Spa Alibaug. When asked about the effective spa treatments for stress and anxiety symptoms, Gautam says, “Swedish Massage is one treatment that’s pure, simple and relaxing. Other treatments such as Hot Stone Massage and Wraps also prove to be stress busters and are widely sought after today.”

It is possible to get rid of anxiety with therapy or medication or through a combination of therapy and medication. It may also take changing your mind a bit about the power your mind has over you. “There are lots of simple things that we can do to lessen anxiety in our daily routine like meditation, deep breathing, a walk in the park- you name it! But if you fail to reserve time for yourself daily, it’s important to indulge in a spa on a weekly basis to keep your wellness and health at an optimum level. Spas nowadays are not a luxury anymore but it’s becoming a necessity to overcome our health-related issues and deal with the anxiety, and the spa treatments are the best way to Relax, Revive and Rejuvenate,” says Gautam Singh.

Anxiety relates to depression?
Sometimes, anxiety helps to react to potential threats and focus our attention and it usually settles once the phase has passed.  But anxiety is when those feelings don’t go away and you are unable to control them. “If you are anxious for the long term it results in certain chemical changes in your brain which can lead to depression. Being anxious for a day or two is alright. But if it continues throughout the year then certain chemical changes will happen in your brain resulting in you suffering from clinical depression which means certain chemicals in your brain reduce, therefore, you cannot feel happy. But that happens only in long-term anxiety. But if you are suffering from a short period of anxiety that doesn’t lead to depression,” says Dr Sagar Mundada.

“Anxiety related stress, if left untreated for a long duration, can lead to extreme fear, uneasiness and panic attacks which can halter sleeping patterns and also greatly hampers one’s daily activities and interests at work and distorts relationships as well,” Ashna Ddhannak – Holistic Life Coach, Founder of Enlightening Lifestyle.

A holistic approach to life
A Holistic approach with various alternative healing modalities that can be adopted as a long-term lifestyle change that keeps one’s entire alignment of mind, body, and soulfully integrated, helping them to lead a significantly wholesome and blooming life ahead. “As much as one relies on the modern medicine for treating their ailments, on a long run they may realize, that it has not cured it of the roots and has just given a temporary relief through the medications bringing the symptoms back time and again when dealing with high levels of stress,” says Ashna Ddhannak.

Leaning on to the Holistic side of Life can not only bring an abundance of peace, tranquillity, and stillness from within but at the same time helps to ground an individual bringing him back to a stable and consistent state of mind. Ashna highly recommends implementing a holistic path with various options of remedies and solutions that will help to curtail and scale down panic attacks, anxiety nervousness other negative emotions. A small lifestyle shift can take one a long way. Breathing Techniques, Crystal Therapy, Aromatic Incenses, Flower Remedies, Intense Space Clearing, Journaling, and Music therapy are a few approaches that one can easily adopt as a part of one’s daily holistic ritual to work towards attaining a blissful and happy attitude in life.

What we say: If you are battling with anxiety or feel related to the article, we feel you are strong enough to fight the battle of depression. Just remember – It is okay to fall, standing back every time is important. If you ever once felt that you have nothing to be grateful for – check your pulse.

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Published on: Monday, July 23, 2018, 01:50 PM IST
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