[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”ANXIETY DISORDERS” font_container=”tag:h1|text_align:left” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_column_text]Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health illness in the USA, impacting the lives of about 18% of the population. Around the world it is a similar story. Anxiety disorders can be debilitating disorders often comorbid with depression. There are many therapies and treatments shown to be effective for those with anxiety disorders. However, it’s not unusual for people to self-medicate with alcohol.
Symptoms of anxiety can be (but aren’t limited to):
- Feelings of panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Problems sleeping
- Cold or sweaty hands and/or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- An inability to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
For example, social anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety disorder. For a lot of people this can be difficult to talk about and they may feel like they are going through it alone. For people who feel increased levels of anxiety in social situations, alcohol is often used to ‘take the edge off’. Initially it can feel as though alcohol makes unbearable social situations bearable. And it is true that alcohol has shown to, initially, reduce levels of anxiety. However, similar to how alcohol has been seen to initially alleviate feelings of depression, this effect does not last and will soon have the opposite effect.
Drinking excessively has been seen to induce feelings of anxiety and trigger panic attacks, even in those who do not currently suffer from an anxiety disorder. Alcohol disrupts the functions of essential neurotransmitters, which triggers feelings of anxiety. Yes initially alcohol can have a calming effect, but when people abuse it they are likely to find that alcohol becomes the source of their anxiety. And unfortunately this can then become a vicious cycle of drinking to reduce anxiety, but then feeling increased levels of anxiety due to drinking.
So what are other ways in which anxiety can be combatted? A trip to your GP is a good place to start. There are a range of therapies and treatments available, and it will depend on your situation as to what will work best for you. Talking therapies such as seeing a counsellor or psychologist can help a person understand the roots of their feelings of anxiety. Cognitive behavioural therapy has been shown to be incredibly effective at addressing maladaptive thoughts and behaviours and teaching a person to adjust these. Sometimes medication may be prescribed to alleviate the physical symptoms of anxiety.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]