Study by UMN researcher finds discrimination can lead to anxiety disorders – Minnesota Daily

The research shows that discrimination, regardless of genetic factors, can contribute to anxiety.

New research published last month by a University of Minnesota professor shows that discrimination can lead to the development of anxiety and and other mental health disorders.

The new research was published in a paper coauthored by University professor of psychology Dr. Robert Krueger and researchers from other universities, and builds on previous research into anxiety and discrimination. The findings show that anxiety can occur as a result of discrimination, regardless of an individual’s genetic predisposition to anxiety.

In the study, researchers controlled the genetic factors known to contribute to anxiety as they studied the effects of discrimination.

Discrimination refers to unfair treatment in everyday social contexts, Krueger said. This can be related to an individual’s race, gender or sexual orientation among other personal traits.

“Taking into account what we know at this point about genetic risk factors for anxiety, and controlling that or holding that constant, we found that discrimination still has an impact on anxiety,” Krueger said.

Though this area has been studied for more than two decades, researchers had not yet explored the direct links between discrimination and anxiety, while accounting for genetic predispositions.

“This is actually real and it really affects people’s mental health,” said Dr. Adolfo Cuevas, an assistant professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts and co-author on the paper.

Anxiety, which includes generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and phobias, is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting over 40 million adults every year.

“Over time, unresolved anxiety can lead to other negative effects, emotions, in which the whole system just gives up and becomes highly defensive, frustrated and angry,” said Dr. Matt Kushner, a professor of psychiatry at the University in an email to the Minnesota Daily.

In addition to these new developments, the paper also reflects the importance of understanding social context when studying mental health, Krueger said.

“As we try to pursue the underlying neuroscience and genetics, we can’t forget that human beings are embedded in a society and the changes in that society can have a big impact on mental health,” he said.

Although data for this study was collected several years ago, factoring in racial and other injustices in recent months and years, as well as current societal changes, will be an important facet of future research, Krueger said.

“As these kinds of studies go forward, things that happened in 2020, including the pandemic and all of these experiences, are definitely things we’re going to want to get a handle on,” he said.

Researchers also said they hope studies like these can eventually translate into changing larger policies and frameworks, such as mental health treatments by clinicians, around anxiety and discrimination.

“We’re hoping this paper helps us have a dialogue, a much more public dialogue, not just based on race, but also about other forms of stigma, like gender oppression, gender discrimination, wage discrimination,” Cuevas said. “This has real public health relevance and if we cannot heal as a group, we’re going to continue seeing disparities for the rest of our lives.”

How to cope with health anxiety during the pandemic – Washington Post

We’re living in a time when every little cough, sniffle, olfactory or circulatory problem can elicit a knee-jerk bout of worry: Is this the beginning of covid-19? For some people, however, it’s more than a fleeting concern: Experts say and research shows that the pandemic has triggered a surge in health anxiety. In fact, health anxiety related to the coronavirus has been given its own name: coronaphobia.

“People are very concerned and anxious about getting covid,” says Lynn Bufka, a senior director at the American Psychological Association and a practicing licensed clinical psychologist in Maryland. “We should all have some kind of heightened vigilance about protecting ourselves, but for some people, [the anxiety] is out of proportion to the actual risk and generally disrupts life.”

Health anxiety is defined as worries and anxiety that relate to a perceived threat to your health. It exists on a continuum and can be a facet of several psychiatric illnesses, including hypochondriasis (now called illness anxiety disorder).

“Health anxiety relates to the belief that bodily sensations or changes are due to some disease process,” says Gordon Asmundson, a professor of psychology at the University of Regina in Canada and co-author with Steven Taylor of “It’s Not All in Your Head: How Worrying about Your Health Could Be Making You Sick — and What You Can Do About It.” During such viral outbreaks as the coronavirus, for example, people with high health anxiety may misinterpret post-exercise muscle aches or a bout of coughing as telltale signs that they’re infected, which in turn increases anxiety and can bring on stress-related symptoms.

Although having some anxiety about your health is beneficial, because it can motivate you to take smart steps to protect it — such as wearing a mask, maintaining social distance and frequently washing your hands — too much can tilt the balance into troublesome territory. “People with excessive levels of health anxiety engage in lots of checking behaviors, such as taking their pulse or temperature, or they engage in reassurance-seeking and often go from doctor to doctor seeking reassurance,” explains Taylor, a professor and clinical psychologist at the University of British Columbia. “Reassurance can be like a drug of addiction. It can perpetuate the problem.”

Health anxiety also can lead people to frequently search the Internet to see if their symptoms match whatever illness they’re afraid they might have. “That’s a real problem, because Dr. Google will pop up with scary diagnoses or things that could be wrong,” Taylor says. “It’s going down a rabbit hole: You check one thing, and that can lead you to another, and you can end up scaring yourself even more.” Research has found that people have a tendency to engage in disease-related “query escalation” during Internet searches, which can cause health anxiety to build.

In addition, health anxiety can interfere with sleep, especially if an endless loop of what-if scenarios plays in your mind. It can trigger physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, headaches and stomach distress. And it can interfere with your daytime quality of life, impairing your mood, concentration and ability to enjoy normally pleasant activities. “It becomes a concern when the worry and preoccupation are out of proportion to the actual risk, or if it interferes with your ability to do other things — such as work, school or being a parent — in life,” Bufka says. At this point, you should definitely take steps to quell your health anxiety.

People who are susceptible to health anxiety may have grown up with general feelings of anxiety or vulnerability, relatives with the condition, or exposure to certain behaviors, Asmundson says. If your parents constantly fretted about their digestion or excessively fussed over you when you had a cold, for example, you may be more likely to perceive yourself as fragile or to closely monitor your body for changes and develop health anxiety.

Research has found that adults who have a greater intolerance for uncertainty tend to have higher health anxiety during a pandemic (such as the 2009 H1N1 pandemic). And a December study found that people prone to feeling pre-pandemic disgust and those who have high perceived stress levels are especially susceptible to coronavirus anxiety.

Although you might think that the availability of coronavirus vaccines would ease health anxiety, that’s not necessarily true. People with health anxiety may worry about the vaccines’ safety, Taylor says, or about the possibility of having an adverse reaction to being vaccinated. Those eager to get a vaccine may experience anxiety as they wait until they become eligible or can secure an appointment for it. Adding to these worries, Bufka says, is the fact that questions about the vaccines remain unanswered, such as “how soon people will need to be vaccinated again, and how much the vaccines will lead to immunity in the community.”

The good news is that you can get a grip on health anxiety on your own or with professional help. Here’s how:

Stick with a healthy lifestyle

Consume a healthy diet, get enough sleep, stay connected to others (even if it’s from afar) and exercise regularly. Although people with severe levels of health anxiety may avoid exercise because it makes them physically uncomfortable, Taylor says, that only compounds the problem. “Physical deconditioning kicks in very quickly,” he says, which can bring on other worrisome symptoms, such as an elevated heart rate or shortness of breath after climbing stairs. By contrast, research shows that aerobic exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, such as jogging, can have a significant and rapid effect in lowering anxiety.

Practice mindful acceptance

When you feel worry flaring up, “sit with your health anxiety, accept that it’s there and put it in a mental box, so you can proceed with your life,” Bufka says. Or, try writing your health worries in a notebook, then closing the notebook and consciously switching your attention to something else. With practice, you can train yourself to set aside your concerns.

Calm your nervous system

“If you learn how to control your autonomic nervous system activation — the flight-or-flight response — it puts you in more of a business-as-usual mode, rather than a danger mode, which can help with health anxiety,” Asmundson says. You can do this with paced diaphragmatic breathing (slowly inhaling through your nose for two counts, pausing for one or two counts, then exhaling for two counts; your belly should rise and fall with each breath), progressive muscle relaxation (systematically tensing then relaxing specific muscle groups) or meditation.

Refrain from excessive checking behaviors

Repeatedly monitoring your temperature or sense of smell for covid-19, or searching your skin for signs of cancer, isn’t going to do you any favors. If you become so vigilant about checking a raised mole or a swollen lymph node, for instance, you could irritate it with all your poking and prodding — and become more convinced that it’s a sign of a serious illness, warns Jonathan Abramowitz, a professor of psychology and director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you have truly worrisome symptoms, such as dizziness, fainting or a persistent lump in your breast or groin, by all means, see a trusted doctor and follow their advice. But don’t hop from one doctor to another seeking reassurance, and don’t spend hours searching health information online. To avoid these checking behaviors, stay off the Internet when you’re not working and/or keep your hands and mind busy with activities such as coloring, knitting or reading in your free time.

Change your mind-set

The way you think about bodily sensations and your overall health can provoke anxiety or dial it down, experts say. For example, focusing on negative symptoms or jumping to catastrophic conclusions can increase health anxiety. You can break these patterns with cognitive reframing: questioning your anxious thoughts and trying to create a more realistic assessment of your health, Bufka says. To do this, take a particular thought (I’ve been exhausted this week, so I must be getting sick) and consider other ways of looking at the situation (I’ve been working hard and skimping on sleep, so that’s why I’m wiped out).

Seek professional help

If you can’t reframe anxious thoughts on your own, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help, Abramowitz says. And don’t fret about having to physically meet with a practitioner: A September study that compared online with face-to-face CBT treatment for health anxiety found that the Internet version was as effective as in-person sessions, and cost less. (To find a reputable CBT professional, Abramowitz suggests turning to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.) If a therapist can’t help, consult a psychiatrist; experts say that some people with intense health anxiety can benefit from taking an SSRI antidepressant.

If you think you might have coronaphobia, and one of your worries is that this problem is destined to be with you for life, keep this in mind: “Health anxiety can be transient,” Taylor says. “Just because you’re experiencing health anxiety during the pandemic doesn’t mean it’s going to become a long-term problem.” The key is to take steps now to manage it and prevent it from becoming entrenched.

Stacey Colino is a writer in Chevy Chase, Md., specializing in health and psychology and is the co-author of “Emotional Inflammation: Discover Your Triggers and Reclaim Your Equilibrium During Anxious Times.”

Illustrations by Asia Pietrzyk. Edited by Elizabeth Chang. Copy edited by Rachael Bolek. Designed by Victoria Adams Fogg.

The Pandemic Brought Depression and Anxiety. Reaching Out Helped. – The New York Times

Friends posted about insomnia, nausea, lack of focus, eye tics, agita, anxiety, relationship issues and being “angry, cranky and crazy.” Almost as quickly as one friend would acknowledge a condition, someone else would volunteer: “me too.”

My admission had the intended consequence: It created an opening for others. “You’ve put words to what I think is a collective sentiment,” posted a neighbor whom I see often, but who had never before discussed any of these feelings with me. “Everyone seems to feel disconnected from others, irritable and frightened,” a colleague wrote, helping to make universal our ongoing challenges.

Since then I’ve posted regularly: “It’s Friday check-in time. How are you all doing this week?” Friends and followers have continued to acknowledge their trials and tribulations as well as their successes and triumphs.

I also scheduled a virtual appointment with my primary care physician, who told me to take an antacid for my stomach upset, which has helped.

Now, in the depths of winter, more people I know are acknowledging their mental health issues in public. “I must admit I am feeling a little despairing this morning,” wrote one woman I know, adding, “I am sure I am not the only one. If you are, too, you are not alone.” Her friends quickly followed up. “The weight is heavy today. Thanks for connecting.” And another: “I see you. Sitting silently beside you.”

So many of us think we are the “only one.” That we’re by ourselves, invisible. I find it comforting that many of my friends are finding connection with each other through social media. “I feel terrible and feel terrible for everyone posting here, but there is some consolation in seeing that we’re not alone,” posted a friend.

To see each other, we need to make ourselves visible. To help each other, we need to acknowledge we need a hand, too. I’m trying.

Remote school is stressing parents out. Here’s how to tame the anxiety. – The Washington Post

Witnessing and reliving

The tone or style of a teacher’s approach to correcting students can be stressful for parents to overhear, says Regine Galanti, a psychologist and the author of “Anxiety Relief for Teens.” One of her children’s teachers “would randomly call on someone in Zoom and expect them to know the answer, and if they didn’t know the answer, she wouldn’t repeat the question,” says Galanti, who overheard this as she was working nearby. “As a therapist, my response was, don’t you realize this was not an appropriate way to talk to children?”

Galanti says that “thankfully,” most of what she has overheard in remote school has been “supportive, encouraging teaching. … But that one experience was eye-opening.”

Witnessing our kids’ experiences can be jarring for a parent, and that can make it more difficult to be patient and supportive with our children.

“We’re a fly on the wall in a room we were never meant to be in,” said Robyn Silverman, a child-development specialist and the host of the “How to Talk to Kids About Anything Parenting Podcast.” When parents overhear a teacher calling on their child when they are unprepared, or when we overhear a negative social interaction with a classmate, “you can’t help but put yourself right back there” to your own school days, said Silverman, who has a son in fifth grade and a daughter in sixth grade who are learning at home.

Hearing a teacher call your child out for not paying attention might make you feel doubly shamed — on behalf of your kid and yourself. When your child isn’t prepared, you may feel like you are in trouble. That is true even if the teacher is trying to be helpful.

Being the grown-up our kids need

“As much as possible we need to separate our kid’s experience from our own,” says Tina Payne Bryson, a psychotherapist and co-author of “The Power of Showing Up.” If you find yourself flooded with emotion, or your heart races when you see emails from their teacher, you can try to center yourself and separate your experience from your child’s, says Bryson.

But parents need to be aware when their own school experiences taint how they react to their children’s.

“With an explicit memory, we know consciously that there is an association,” Bryson explains. So a mother who was shy as a child might be especially frustrated listening to her daughter quietly raise her hand on Zoom and repeatedly not get called on. A parent might make the connection, and then understand that her own experience is contributing to her frustration. Implicit memory, Bryson says, is trickier. That’s where “we get triggered, but we’re not aware that’s what’s happening.”

According to Bryson, expressing curiosity about your child’s experiences can foster a strong connection with them, while keeping your memories and emotions from taking over. Then, we can ask “Do you have any ideas about how to make that not feel so bad to you?” This helps them to be more resilient and empowered.

Bryson has other methods for parents who feel anxiety when overhearing classroom interactions. One centering technique she really likes is “Name it to tame it.” Try to accurately name what your child is experiencing, and that can soothe the anxiety. For instance, she says a parent can say to his child, “I noticed today that you were wanting to be called on, and you weren’t. What’s that like for you?”

Once that is in the open, a child and parent can discuss (even if it’s just for a quick moment), and that can help tame the concern.

She also suggests that parents work in another room or get headphones for the child: “Ideally, if a parent is getting activated, it may be better for that parent to not be so intimately involved.”

And, she cautions, don’t email the teacher or talk to your child while you are feeling reactive or stirred up.

Resist identifying with failure

While witnessing children flounder, parents may bristle at any sound of frustration in a teacher’s voice and wonder, “Is my child in the hot seat?” Intellectually, we know the teacher may just be exhausted from the overwhelming demands of remote school, but we still may have a powerful response.

Galanti described seeing parents identify with the difficulties so many students are experiencing right now. Some parents have taken the remote-school situation head on and act as an assistant to the teacher, setting up schedules and goals, and feel good about being on top of it all, Galanti says.

But other parents “may feel defeated by remote school and think ‘I’m not going to do well at this. Now, I’m on my child’s team of not doing well at high school. Again,’ ” says Galanti. This cycle of defensiveness and shame can make it harder to parent in that moment.

Galanti suggests that we all recognize that remote school is putting an “impossible burden” on parents and that self-compassion is needed.

Navigating the barrage of email and updates

Feeling chided by all the communications coming from schools can increase caregivers’ stress. School leaders and teachers are trying to keep parents in the loop. But when we see a note from school in our inbox, many parents tense up.

Leigh Honeywell, chief executive of Tall Poppy, which helps companies protect their staff members from online harassment, offers a few tips on navigating all the updates amid the intensity of working and pandemic parenting.

Honeywell says if the barrage of texts or email is upsetting or undermining your focus, “you can make a special account for school communication and send it all there.”

“Alternatively,” Honeywell says, “can you segment your current inbox to send those notifications to a specific folder?”

Finally, Honeywell suggests outsourcing the first read to a trusted co-parent or friend and having them share with you only on a need-to-know basis. “Even trading off each week with a co-parent could reduce stress,” Honeywell says.

Just acknowledging the emotional labor and time that goes into navigating remote school is an important step. In my community, sharing the ups and downs of remote school with friends who are also living the experience has been a validating and crucial reinforcement for getting through this time.

Bryson reminds parents that kids are not supposed to be so constantly “under a parental microscope” and ultimately, “we shouldn’t be watching it all.”

For better or worse, remote school is bringing our children’s classroom experience home. We want to use this window to inform us and support our kids, but we also need compassion for ourselves and support from others to stay grounded — so we can be the supportive adult our kids need right now.

More reading:

Coping with anxiety | Community | – Bowling Green Daily News

Anxiety is generally described as our body’s natural response to stress. It is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what’s to come. It is considered to be a normal part of the human experience and, BC (Before COVID), it was most commonly linked to occasional events like the first day of school, going to a job interview or giving a speech.

“In today’s world, most of us are living in a heightened state of anxiety. Endless worries, lingering uncertainty, the upheaval of everyday life, coupled with reduced social interactions, countless unknowns, difficult decisions and so much more, combine to elevate the level of anxiety we bear on any given day,” LifeSkills Child and Family Therapist Londa Stockton said.

Although a small amount of anxiety can serve to be motivating, chronic anxiety can interfere with our quality of life. While mostly recognized for emotional and behavioral changes, anxiety can also impact our physical health.

Some symptoms adults might experience include difficulty concentrating, panic attacks (with possible heart palpitations, chest pain and lightheadedness), increased blood pressure, depression, headaches, irritability, pounding heart, breathing difficulties, upset stomach and extreme fatigue.

Stockton said children tend to pick up on parental anxiety, which may cause them to be anxious as well.

“In children, anxiety can also take many forms,” Stockton said. “Some things to look for are complaints of headaches, stomach aches, being extra jumpy or on edge, difficulties sleeping, experiencing nightmares, not eating properly, quick to anger, extra irritable, increased crying and emotional (sometimes uncontrollable) outbursts.”

Stockton described a grounding technique that often works to calm children.

“Adults can do this as well,” Stockton said. “It can help to reconnect with the present, calm the distress of an emotional state or situation and encourage rational, instead of emotional, thought.”

Known as Five-Four-Three-Two-One, this exercise is easy. Simply guide your child (or yourself) to look around and find:

Five things you can see.

Four things you can touch.

Three things you can hear.

Two things you can smell.

And one thing you can taste.

Stockton said another effective calming technique that is often dismissed or overlooked is deep breathing.

“People say they breathe all the time, what’s the difference?” Stockton said. “The difference is that this is a mindful, focused and slow exercise. We can do it pretty much anywhere when we start to feel anxiety building. Close your eyes. Breathe in deeply and slowly through your nose. Breathe out through your mouth. Clear your mind of thought. Concentrate only on your breath, nothing else. After a bit you will literally feel the tension leave your body and your muscles begin to relax.”

Stockton uses a similar exercise with children but asks them to pretend to smell a flower when they deeply inhale and blow out birthday candles or blow up a balloon when they exhale.

Another method Stockton often uses to reduce stress is to verbally guide adults and children alike in taking a mental vacation.

“The goal is to immediately remove them from activities, thoughts or environments they associate with current worries or anxiety. It begins with a visual aid, so I’ll ask them to think of a place they love and picture it in their mind. The beach, as an example,” Stockton said. “I’ll have them close their eyes and imagine the warmth of the sun on their skin. The feel of the gentle ocean breeze blowing through their hair. The cool, moist sand squishing between their toes. The rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the shore. The light of the sun dancing on the water. The cawing of sea gulls. The smell of ocean water in the air and the taste of salt. The sight of boats on the horizon, etc.”

LifeSkills therapist Hillary Bacon works in the outpatient-based opioid treatment program. Most of her clients deal with anxiety and depression on a regular basis. When asked to contribute some stress-reducing exercises, Bacon shared a favorite she likes to call “Inside Out.”

“I ask my clients to get creative and think back to when they were young, maybe 10 or 12 years old,” Bacon said. “What did you love? What did you enjoy doing more than anything? What were you most passionate about? It’s not typically something we ever think about after we are all grown up. If it’s dancing, for instance, I’ll tell them to make an effort to reconnect with it somehow. Watch a movie, a show or a video about dance, listen to dance music or read a book about it. Or, just turn on some music and get up and dance. It sparks joy and brings back good memories. We tend to lose sight of who we were at that age before the world hit us, and it’s fun and a great escape to get reacquainted with our inner child. I find this exercise to be soothing from the inside out.”

Other ideas Bacon shared were to practice “daily affirmations” by writing a list of things you are thankful for and/or positive things you believe to be true about yourself and taping it to the bathroom mirror.

“Read this list aloud to yourself each morning,” Bacon said. “Giving voice to it helps it resonate with you throughout the day.”

Bacon also recommends joining support groups online, journaling and getting outside each day for some fresh air.

“I strongly suggest that people get off social media,” Bacon said. “It can be extremely negative, depressing and anxiety inducing. Instead, why not try just five minutes of meditation a day, if you can’t commit to more. Five minutes a day adds up over the weeks.”

Pooping in Public: How to Manage the Anxiety – Healthline

If you have difficulty forcing yourself to poop in a public bathroom, you may be experiencing a little-studied psychiatric disorder, known as shy bowel (parcopresis).

Parcopresis refers to a difficulty or inability to defecate while around other people.

Parcopresis differs from constipation, which is the inability to poop anywhere, not just in public places.

It also differs from obsessive compulsive disorder, which is sometimes earmarked by cleaning compulsions and fear of bodily waste.

Due to its sensitive nature, there is no reliable data about the number of people who have parcopresis.

Someone living with shy bowel may have more challenging life experiences compared to someone who doesn’t have shy bowel, or who typically dislikes the use of public restrooms.

People with shy bowel often force themselves to “hold it in,” rather than use a public toilet.

You may be unable to use the bathroom at work or in someone else’s home, even if uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms result.

But there are treatments for shy bowel. In this article we’ll go over your options, and provide tips for overcoming your fears.

Shy bowel can present as an overwhelming fear of public scrutiny and judgement about the following experiences caused by defecation:

  • sights
  • sounds
  • smells

This fear can affect your health in many ways and interfere with your daily routines. For example, it may limit your ability to:

  • have a job
  • go to a gym
  • interact socially with friends

It may also cause you to drastically reduce your nutritional intake, so that you need to poop less often. When faced with the need to poop in public, people with shy bowel may experience symptoms such as:

  • increased heart rate
  • sweating
  • breathing quickly
  • muscle tension
  • trembling
  • nausea

People with shy bowel may not always be comfortable seeking treatment for it. For this reason, data about this condition and its underlying roots are lacking.

The symptoms of parcopresis are caused by a variety of social anxiety disorders. They are also caused by phobias. Shy bowel is not classified as an anxiety disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

But a 2016 study showed that parcopresis is recognized as a form of social phobia by the National Phobics Society. More research is needed before it can definitively be determined what type of disorder parcopresis is.

According to one 2011 case report, parcopresis has some of the same underlying causes as an anxiety disorder known as shy bladder (paruesis). Paruesis presents as a fear of public urination.

Paruesis is better studied than parcopresis. It is thought to affect between 2.8 and 16.4 percent of the population, according to a 2019 research review. Some people may have both conditions, while others only have one.

Everyone wants to avoid using public restrooms occasionally. They’re not always sanitary or sufficiently private. Concerns about being overheard or leaving a foul smell is natural.

To determine working criteria that would help professionals make a diagnosis of shy bowel, several researchers developed a Shy Bladder and Bowel Scale, according to a 2016 study.

If you’re unsure whether you have this condition, the questionnaire included in their study may help:

  • I can’t have a bowel movement when around others in a bathroom or restroom.
  • I avoid going to the toilet, even if I need to have a bowel movement.
  • I delay going to the toilet, even if I need to have a bowel movement.
  • I worry I cannot empty my bowel when close to others.
  • My bowel habits are the most significant contributor to my anxiety levels in life.

Experiencing parcopresis impacts more than your emotional health. Ignoring the need to poop consistently can also have an impact upon your gastrointestinal health. Holding it in for too long can cause complications, such as:

  • Remember that everyone poops. Try visualizing someone you respect, such as a political figure or actor, pooping.
  • Carry a small bottle of air purifier or sanitizing spray with you to use when you need a public bathroom.
  • Line the inside of the toilet bowl with toilet paper. This will help absorb some of the sound.
  • Flush several times while pooping. This will disguise the sound and reduce the smell.
  • Breathe deeply or do a short mindfulness meditation exercise if you feel the onset of anxiety symptoms.

Talking with a therapist for parcopresis can be highly effective. Your therapist may help you to understand the root of your fear, as well as provide strategies for managing it.

There are several types of therapeutic treatments that may be beneficial. Your therapist my employ one or several. They include:

You may also be prescribed medications for anxiety or depression. Medications used for this condition include gabapentin and SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).

However, medications have not been used in clinical trials due to the low frequency of this condition.

Due to the unavailable data, medications alone may not appear to be effective for treating parcopresis. But medications may help when they’re combined with other treatments.

If you’re unable to use a restroom when other people are around, or concerns about bowel movements are interfering with your daily life, you may want to consider talking with your doctor or therapist.

When the thought of public defecation causes you to have anxiety disorder symptoms such as sweating or an increased heart rate, therapeutic support may help you overcome your fear.

If you currently consult a doctor of any type whom you trust, talk with them about your concerns. They may be able to help or refer you to a specialist.

You can also find a therapist through these organizations:

Fear of pooping in public is referred to as shy bowel or parcopresis. People with this condition have an overwhelming fear of being judged by others because of the sounds or smells associated with defecation.

This condition has not been studied extensively, but it is thought to be a social anxiety disorder or phobia. Its prevalence in the general population is unknown.

Shy bowel can be effectively treated by therapeutic interventions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or graduated exposure therapy.

If shy bowel is interfering with your daily life, talking with a therapist can help.

Got Climate Anxiety? These People Are Doing Something About It – The New York Times

Dr. Atkinson, in hopes of assuaging her feelings and those of her students, designed a seminar on eco-grief and climate anxiety.

Eco-distress can manifest in a range of ways, from anguish over what the future will hold to extreme guilt over individual purchases and behaviors, according to Dr. Van Susteren. Though its symptoms sometimes mirror those of clinical anxiety, she said she saw eco-distress as a reasonable reaction to scientific facts — one that, in mild cases, should be addressed but not pathologized. (In cases of extreme anxiety, Dr. Van Susteren said it was important to seek professional help.)

For many Americans, counseling for climate distress is relatively accessible. In some communities, however, especially in less wealthy countries, it may seem more like a rare privilege.

Kritee, a senior climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, has feet in both worlds. Based in Boulder, Colo., Dr. Kritee (she has a single name) leads workshops and retreats for people experiencing climate grief. She also works with farmers in India whose livelihoods are directly threatened by the extreme droughts and floods that come with climate change.

Dr. Kritee, who has a doctorate in biochemistry and microbiology, said she believed people of all backgrounds should process their feelings about climate change. She makes her services affordable through scholarships, scaled payments and donation-based classes. Some of her sessions are open only to people of color, who are often on the front lines of climate change, and whose ecological grief, she said, is often compounded by racial trauma.

Regarding the white and affluent, who most likely will not feel climate change’s worst effects, Dr. Kritee said it was crucial they confront their grief, too. In doing so, she said, they can begin to contemplate questions like, “If I am hurting so much, what is happening to people who are less privileged?”

Anxiety – The River Reporter


Anxiety is hard-wired into all of us.  Since we are going to be living with this response, understanding anxiety gives us a better chance of managing its effects.

Anxiety is part of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system.  This part of the nervous system prepares our bodies for emergencies.  A signal of danger triggers the sympathetic nervous system, preparing us to fight or flight. This response occurs with or without our conscious mind taking notice.  So sometimes, we do not know why we are anxious.

Anxiety is different from fear.  Fear is right now.  The scary dog is in front of us.  Anxiety is the anticipation of encountering a scary dog.  When experiencing anxiety, there is no dog there. We are fearing what might happen.  Anxiety is always about the future.

Anxiety impacts along four dimensions. 

A slew of emotions flashes through the anxiety experience.  These include anger, guilt, rage, unlovable, unworthy, shame, depression.

Cognitively anxiety interferes with thinking leading to distractedness, confusion, memory impairment.

Physical responses include body tension, sweaty palms, queasy stomach, tightness in the head, bladder and bowel urgency.

Relationships are impacted by difficulties with trust, fears of rejection, clinginess, vacillations between pulling others close and pushing them away.

Non-anxious and anxious persons both experience activation of the sympathetic nervous system.   However, anxious people are genetically more reactive to stress and novel situations.  Non-anxious responders will return to lower activation levels more quickly.  A non-anxious person will also integrate a challenging experience more quickly into their life view. The difference between those that identify as anxious and those who do not can be minimized by techniques that create feelings of well-being in the present moment.

We can learn to reset our nervous system by taming our inner fears.  All techniques rely upon ways to focus on the moment.  In the moment, the anticipated danger is not present.   The more we practice these techniques, the more efficient we will be in managing our anxiety:

  1. Spend time in nature.
  2. Get a massage.
  3. Practice meditation.
  4. Breath making the in-breath equal to the out-breath in duration.
  5. Focus on a word that is soothing such as calm or
  6. Play with animals or children.
  7. Practice yoga, chi kung, or tai chi.

All these activities strengthen our focus on the here and now.

Personally, anxiety increases the closer I get to certain family members who I associate with judging and shaming.  I have personified this anxiety as a demon that lives in my belly. When this demon is activated, I feel angry, rejected, and shamed.  By embracing this demon, I have tamed the beast.  My demon trusts me to be protective and to be calming in the moment.  Now when I encounter my demon, I see him as a child who wants to laugh, have fun, and share love in the moment.

Anxiety will always be with us.  We manage anxiety by creating a sense of safety for ourselves in the present moment.

Anemia and Anxiety: Understanding the Connection – Healthline

If you’ve been diagnosed with anemia, you’ve likely experienced the unpleasant side effects that it can cause. Some of these side effects and symptoms can mirror those of anxiety.

So, is there a connection between anemia and anxiety? The short answer is, maybe.

Anemia is a condition where your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells. The job of red blood cells is to carry oxygen throughout your body, so when you don’t have enough of them, your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs to function properly.

Eating a diet that lacks vitamins and minerals can also be a contributing factor to some types of anemia.

A 2013 study of schoolchildren in China found that of those who didn’t have access to a well-balanced diet, 42.4 percent were anemic. After being given a multivitamin, the rate of anemia in these students went down by 7 percentage points. Interestingly, these students also reported decreased anxiety.

Many of the symptoms of anemia are similar to those of anxiety and some may actually create anxiety if you’re experiencing them.

Symptoms of anemia may include:

Having these symptoms may magnify or increase anxiety. If you’re experiencing uncomfortable digestive symptoms, you may worry about going out in public. If you’re having chest pain or shortness of breath, you may worry that it’s a sign of something more serious.

These symptoms can also indicate other serious health problems. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, see a healthcare provider or go to the nearest emergency room if the symptoms are severe.

If you’re having symptoms of anxiety or anemia, it’s important to be evaluated by a healthcare professional as soon as possible to determine what’s causing your symptoms and begin treating the underlying causes.

Anemia is diagnosed through blood tests, your medical history, and a physical exam.

Blood tests can show whether you’re making enough red blood cells and whether there’s enough iron in your body, while the medical history and physical exam will explore any symptoms you’re having.

Lab tests to diagnose anemia can include:

There are many types of anemia. The type of anemia you have will depend on what’s causing it and what other medical conditions you may have.

The most common types of anemia include:

Is it anxiety?

It can be hard to distinguish between symptoms of anxiety and symptoms of anemia since many of them are the same. Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • fear
  • worry
  • racing thoughts
  • fast heartbeat
  • fast breathing (hyperventilating)
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping

The good news is, anemia is a very treatable condition. The treatment for anemia depends on the underlying cause and may include:

  • modifying your diet to include iron-rich or folate-rich foods
  • injections to stimulate the production of red blood cell-producing hormones in your kidneys
  • in serious cases, blood transfusions

After a mental health professional or doctor has diagnosed you with anxiety, there are different treatment options available to help with symptoms. These options include:

  • Psychotherapy. This is therapy that’s done with a psychotherapist. Talking to a therapist can help identify root causes of anxiety and any triggers that you may have. According to the American Psychiatry Association (APA), nearly 75 percent of people who try talk therapy find it beneficial.
  • Medication. There are several different types of medication that you can take that may help reduce your symptoms of anxiety.

Finding help for anxiety

If you’re experiencing symptoms of anxiety that interfere with your daily life, help is available here:

If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself, talk with your doctor, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

In addition to these treatment options, there are many things you can do to help reduce and manage your anxiety. These include:

  • avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • getting enough sleep
  • exercising regularly
  • avoiding or quitting smoking

Risk factors for anemia include:

  • family history of anemia
  • kidney problems
  • heavy periods or abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • diet low in vitamins and minerals

Both anemia and anxiety are serious conditions if left untreated. However, once they’re diagnosed by a medical professional, treatments like diet adjustment, medications, and therapy can be extremely helpful.

How to calm down: 3 ways to reduce anxiety and stress – TODAY – TODAY

You’d think we’d be used to dealing with the pandemic by now — we’ve had close to a year of wearing masks, social distancing and on-and-off business closures. But a lot of us are more stressed and anxious than we were last spring.

“People are feeling like things haven’t changed. They’re supposed to be excited about the vaccine, but the isolation has gotten the worst of them,” Susan Bernstein, a licensed social worker in Connecticut and Massachusetts and an adjunct faculty member at Boston University, told TODAY. Here are some ways you can cope.

Feb. 1, 202104:46

Start with the self-care basics

By now, you’ve probably heard these self-care tips, but here’s a quick refresher:

  • Schedule your day. The structure of a daily routine can soothe anxiety and create a sense of control.
  • Plan your meals. Answer “what’s for dinner?” ahead of time to eliminate that little bit of stress.
  • Move your body. Stretch, take some deep breaths, try a few yoga poses and give your brain a chance to think of other things.
  • Make time for the things you like to do. That could be reading, playing with a pet, cooking or anything that brings pleasure.
  • Connect with your friends and family. “Know who to rely on, who to lean on, who’s going to listen, and who you can listen to as well,” Bernstein said.
Jan. 9, 202103:19

Take your self-care to the next level

Those tips are all worth trying. But with the stress and anxiety of the pandemic, they might not always be enough. Here are some other strategies for how to help anxiety.

Try a technique called behavioral activation. Amanda Medley Raines, PhD, a clinical investigator with the Louisiana State University School of Medicine department of psychiatry and the New Orleans Veterans Affairs office, explained how it works to TODAY.

First, identify areas in your life that you value. That could be relationships, spirituality, education or work. Then, identify achievable activities that correspond to those areas. Finally, schedule time to do them.

For example, if you value being a present parent, your activity could be to read to your children before bed twice a week, or to spend one afternoon a week getting ice cream and talking about their day.

“You start with activities that are easier to accomplish when you’re stressed. If you set lofty goals and don’t accomplish them, that can perpetuate anxiety. Start with things that are easier, so you get a sense of mastery and increase your mood,” Medley Raines said. “It sounds so simple at its core, but when you’re anxious, overwhelmed or depressed, even small behavioral changes can do a lot,” she said.

Look for soothing strategies that include all five senses. Bernstein said she had an aunt who would decompress after work with an hour of needlepoint (touch) and a cup of tea (smell and taste) while watching Law & Order (sight and sound) with her dogs at her feet (more touch). “That was all the therapy she needed,” she said.

Write down what’s on your mind. “Any type of dumping your head of your concerns helps — from previous hurts to your grocery list to whose birthday is coming up,” Bernstein said.

It’s fine to have two journals — a private one you keep tucked away, and a portable one that you fill with coping strategies and reminders of things that soothe you — even pictures of kittens — that you can refer to when you’re feeling anxious.

What to do when anxiety leads to panic attacks

It can be hard to stop panic attacks once you’re in their grip. “You need to ride it out and understand it’s not going to kill you, but it’s going to be very uncomfortable,” Bernstein said.

As best as you can, allow people to help you. People who know you’re prone to anxiety attacks can remind you to try rescue breathing — inhale through your nose, hold your breath and count to five, and exhale through the mouth.

Sept. 3, 202004:00

When you’re not panicking, you can learn how to help anxiety attacks be less frequent and less intense:

  • Practice rescue breathing so you can turn to it more easily when you have an attack
  • Try guided meditation or yoga
  • Work on progressive muscle relaxation, like making a tight fist and opening it slowly

If you’re still struggling with anxiety, talk to a pro

Sometimes you need more than self-help. Medley Raines said, “If you’re not performing at work or school the way you should, if you’re not maintaining relationships or engaging in social activities, your anxiety and stress may be more problematic. I recommend seeking support from a psychologist or social worker.”