Anxiety affects up to 20% of the older adult population, and is rising – Florida Today

Feeling anxious or nervous is a common emotion for people of all ages.

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Q: My Mom worries about everything. How can I help with her anxiety?

A: Feeling anxious or nervous is a common emotion for people of all ages.

It is a normal reaction to stress and can even be helpful in certain situations — like avoiding danger.

We all may feel anxious over a new illness, important social interactions and frightening events.

Problems arise when stress becomes overwhelming and affects everyday life and relationships. 

Previous three One Senior Place columns:

Barbara Fradkin is the Director and a Social Worker at One Senior Place

Anxiety affects up to 20% of the older adult population.

It is the No. 1 mental health problem for women, and the second most common problem for men, after substance abuse.

Often, these disorders go undiagnosed because seniors may not recognize or acknowledge their symptoms.

A senior’s reluctance to discuss mental health issues with their doctor is when adult children need to step in.

Being their advocate is very important, helping them to see certain symptoms and talking with them about it.

Seniors who deal with anxiety for prolonged periods may think it is a normal part of aging. But it is not.

Left untreated, anxiety can lead to cognitive impairment, disability, poor physical health and reduced quality of life. This is particularly true of bereaved spouses.

The pathway through grief can go awry, if accompanied by persistent anxiety and constant thought of the deceased.

There are several types of anxiety disorders. 

• Phobias, An intense, irrational fear of a place, thing or event that actually poses little or no threat. These include agoraphobia (fear of the outside world), social phobia, fear of certain animals, driving a car, heights, tunnels or bridges, thunderstorms and flying.

• Panic disorder. This is characterized by panic attacks, or sudden feeling of terror that strike repeatedly and without warning. Physical symptoms include: chest pains, heart palpations, shortness of breath, dizziness, fear of dying.

• Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Recurrent unwanted thoughts or rituals, seemingly beyond one’s control. Rituals, such as hand washing, counting, checking or cleaning, are often performed in hope of preventing or alleviating obsessive thoughts.

• Post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Persistent symptoms that occur after experiencing traumatic events. Common symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, depression, irritability and distraction.

• Generalized Anxiety disorder. Chronic, exaggerated worry about everyday routine life events and activities, lasting longer than six months.  Accompanied by fatigue, trembling, muscle tension headache and nausea.

Fortunately, anxiety is treatable. Talk to your primary care doctor if you experience symptoms to rule out other medical conditions. They may suggest resources for you.

Alternately, you can use the treatment services locator on MentalHealth.gov.

Bottling it up is not the answer. Get help.

One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to askOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit The Experts in Aging at OneSeniorPlace.com.

Barbara Fradkin is a Social Worker, Certified Care Manager and the Director of One Senior Place, Viera.

6 Best Fidget Toys for Anxiety – CNET

Fidget toys have exploded in popularity and are no longer limited to being toys for kids only. Thankfully, we’re long past the days of just flashing fidget spinners. Now, there’s a wide array of gadgets specifically designed to alleviate stress and anxiety

There are no peer-reviewed studies that support the effectiveness of fidget toys for anxiety. However, anecdotally, people state that those afflicted with anxiety, OCD or ADHD may benefit from fidget toys by helping them concentrate and channel nervous energy. If you’re someone who bites their nails or bounces their knee in stressful situations, a fidget toy for anxiety can normalize fidgeting and help ease stress. 

Read more: Best Mental Health Apps

Amazon

Before fidget toys, we used to click our pens in the office when we were anxious. Enter the Fidgi Things Pen — a fidget toy made to be discreet. In addition to being a working pen, Fidgi has several fidget features, including a spin disk, a rolling ball, a click switch and a textured grip. With so many features, it earns our spot as the best fidget toy for the workplace. 

I know what you’re thinking — I’ll spend $15 bucks on a fidget pen, but what happens when it runs out of ink? Thankfully, Fidgi Pens use the universal ink pen refill sticks. You can get a 30-pack on Amazon for under $10. It comes in various colors like slate, rose gold and blue. 

Fidgi pen’s best features:

  • There are seven special features: a pen click, side click switch, bouncy clip, spin disk, rolling ball, smooth dip and textured grip.
  • The Fidgi Pen uses universal ink pen refills, so you’ll never need to buy another pen. 

Things to consider:

  • Since it has so many extra features, it’s a little chunkier than a normal pen. Writing with it may take some getting used to. 
  • Some reviews found that some parts broke after frequent use. 

Amazon

While they aren’t limited to only children, the Pop Fidget Toy relieves anxiety with rows of poppable bubbles. Think of it as reusable bubble wrap that never loses the coveted “pop.” The Pop Fidget Toys come in all shapes, sizes and colors, making them the best fidget toy for kids with anxiety. Popular shapes include ice cream cones, fruit and dinosaurs. They also come in small, travel-size fidget toys that can clip to backpacks or belts. 

This sensory toy promotes relaxation and concentration as you push the bubbles until they pop. Then you flip it over and repeat. They offer the repetition that some with anxiety, ADHD and OCD benefit from.

Pop Fidget Toy’s best features:

  • This product is made from high-quality silicone that’s easy to clean. 
  • They are great for kids and adults who need to relieve stress or focus. 

Things to consider:

  • They are not as discreet as other fidget toys for anxiety. However, there are simple keychain options. 
  • In my experience, the Pop Fidget Toys don’t pop like bubble wrap. While some favor that, those who want the auditory distraction may expect more. 

Amazon

For those who always want their fidget toy to be close at hand, consider an Alextina Anxiety Ring. What I like about this anxiety ring is how sleek it is; you really can’t tell it’s anything other than a ring, and it isn’t chunky on your finger. You have many design options — some have cutouts or embossed patterns, while others are classic gold or silver bands. 

The concept of this anxiety ring is simple. You slip it on your finger like a normal ring, and when you feel anxious or stressed, you spin the outer band. It can help relieve stress or tension and help you focus anywhere — social situations, in the office or at home. 

Alextina Anxiety Ring’s best features:

  • This anxiety ring is made from stainless steel and is anti-allergy. 
  • Has a lifetime 100% money-back guarantee on Amazon. 

Things to consider:

Amazon

The Appash Fidget Cube is one of my favorite fidget toys for anxiety. With six different sides equipped with unique fidget features, it’s got a lot of variety. The sides include click, glide, flip, breathe, roll and spin features. Three of the buttons on the Appash Fidget Cube make noise, while two are silent. 

Like other fidget toys, it’s designed to give you something to do when you’re anxious or stressed. And I think it does that really well. The variety of mechanisms gives you the option to find your go-to anxiety reliever — mine is the switch. And if personalization is your thing, you can opt for a fidget cube in all types of colors and patterns. 

Appash Fidget Cube’s best features:

  • It’s made from soft, textured rubber and is small enough to take on the go.
  • The Appash Fidget Cube is a budget-friendly option at only $7 on Amazon. 

Things to consider:

  • It’s a cube, making slipping into your pocket awkward. It would likely need to be kept in a bag when away from the home or office.

Amazon

The Fidgetland Nolah toy is a discreet fidget gadget that’s easy to slip into your pocket. It looks like a bike chain with two interlocking rings that glide over each other when moved. The links that hold it together feature silicone bands that move, which creates a mini treadmill for your fingers. This fidget toy is small, so you can use it anywhere, even while your hand is in your pocket. 

Fidgetland Noah’s best features:

  • Many reviews praise this fidget toy for its durability and quality construction. 
  • The Fidgetland Noah toy is small enough to slip into your pocket for discreet use. 

Things to consider:

  • It’s a little more expensive than most of the other options on the list at $15. 

Amazon

The Tangle Therapy Relax Toy is a long, interconnected loop fidget toy. It’s designed to be twisted, reshaped and taken apart. It’s also available in ridged textures, which is great for people who prefer tactile sensations to help them relax. It’s a great option for adults and kids, and it is often recommended for classrooms because it doesn’t make any noise. 

Tangle Therapy Relax Toy’s best features:

Things to consider:

  • This fidget toy comes apart, which could introduce a choking hazard for smaller children. 

How we chose the best fidget toys

The jury is still out on scientific support for fidget toys reducing anxiety. When choosing the best fidget toys, we considered a few key factors, including the price, construction, durability, and user reviews. Only fidget toys with generally positive reviews were included. 

Things to consider when buying a fidget toy:

  1. How often you’ll use it: If you plan to use your fidget toy a lot, you need one that is durable and will stand up to significant use. When shopping, make sure you assess what it’s made from and read reviews on the quality of construction.
  2. Where you’ll use it: Depending on where you will use it to help relieve anxiety, you may want your fidget toy to be discreet. For instance, if you’re planning to use it at work, you may opt for a ring or necklace that passes for normal jewelry.
  3. How it feels: The material of your fidget toy is important if you plan to use it to help ease stress. Some options are made from metal, silicone or plastic and offer different textures.

Frequently asked questions

What are fidget toys?

The name is deceiving, but fidget toys aren’t toys in the traditional sense. Fidget toys or gadgets help you focus and relieve stress and anxiety by way of repetitive action. They are typically small, handheld and easily transportable. Oftentimes, they have buttons or clickers that help you dispel nervous energy. 

Can fidget toys help anxiety?

There is little scientific evidence outside of anecdotal support that fidget toys help with anxiety. Still, it can help some people focus on breathing and lessen anxiety symptoms. Fidget toys can alleviate anxiety by distracting you from negative thoughts and giving you an outlet for nervous energy. Those with OCD are often comforted by repetitive actions to offset obsessive thoughts and anxieties. Fidget toys can provide immediate relief to these symptoms. 

Fidgeting is a natural and beneficial short-term stress reliever. These gadgets give you something to do when you’re feeling stressed. They won’t help you get to the bottom of your anxiety, but they can help you manage symptoms throughout the day. 

Read more: Best Online Therapy Services for Anxiety 

What is the best type of fidget toy?

There is a lot of variety in the fidget toy market — from squishy stress balls to stylish necklaces. With such a wide range of options, it’s difficult to crown a specific type of fidget toy as being the best. It will depend on preferences and fidgeting habits. The various types of fidget toys include but are not limited to fidget cubes and puzzles, wearable options like rings and necklaces, silicone poppers and stress balls.

What is the best fidget toy for kids?

Many of the fidget toys on the market are small and, as such, are unsuitable for children. When choosing the best fidget toy for kids, you want to avoid options with small parts they can put in their mouths. Many fidget toys — like pop-its — are soft and easy to clean, making them perfect for kids. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Best Cheap Fidget Toys for Anxiety for 2022 – CNET

Whether you’re a teacher preparing your classroom for the new school year, a parent of an anxious child or an anxious person, yourself, you might be considering fidget toys to occupy busy hands. The popularity of fidget toys has risen exponentially in recent years, as well as the discourse surrounding them. Many groups of teachers, parents, professionals and students swear by them

We searched the internet for the best cheap fidget toys and chose the ones with the best price, appearance, durability and customer reviews. 

Here are our top picks for the best fidget toys for $10 and under.

Amazon

A fidget that interests people of all ages with anxiety needs to be fun and easy to use, all without making adults feel childish. WTYCD’s retro fidget toy does just that. The small game controller fidget is discrete and has eight different functions to play with and touch — including four colored buttons, a joystick, a textured roller, a gear scroll, a switch, a dial, a keyhole and a pick. This fidget could be used at home, work, school or during travel, but be aware that two of the colored buttons do make a little noise (similar to a pen clicking). 

Use the keyhole to add a wristband or add to a keyring. 

Best features:

  • Pocket-size and lightweight; fits in an adult’s and a child’s hand 
  • Comes in eight different colors and designs, as well as a two-pack option for $10

Amazon

One of the more popular fidget toys for anxious adults is a fidget cube, and Appash offers an excellent affordable and sturdy option. The six-sided fidget has seven features — a joystick, a cluster of five buttons, a switch, a dial, gears, a silver rollerball and a large smooth button. In addition, the cube is made of soft textured rubber so each side is smooth and sleek. It is easy to rotate from one textured side to another and designed to keep your hands busy during long meetings, classes or anxious periods. It comes in six different colors. 

Be aware that the switch, buttons and gears make a small clicking sound. 

Best features:

  • Portable, fits in a pocket
  • Seven features in one small fidget

Amazon

Pop It balls combine two popular fidgets — a pop it and a stress ball. This set of four balls is covered in plenty of raised bumps that can be pushed and squeezed. Made of non-toxic silicone, the rainbow colored balls are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and are very lightweight. As a sensory toy, the fidgets offer texture, noise and stress relief to anxious hands. They’re also easy to clean.   

If you decide to use these in a classroom, be aware that they do make noise.  

Best features:

  • Makes popping sounds
  • All the benefits of a stress ball

Amazon

Fidgets for children need to be entertaining enough to occupy their busy hands. These brightly colored, textured and plastic pop tubes are guaranteed to grab their attention. Each set comes with four pop tubes for one low price. Similar to Lego and other building blocks, you can even connect a few pop tubes together to make larger tubes. The rigid tubes can be pulled and bent to make shapes, letters or words. Every time a tube is pulled or pushed together, it makes a sound, similar to a bendy straw. Let your young kids play with these fidgets on their own or join in on the fun. 

However, be aware that the tubes can dented during rough play. If you use these in the classroom, be aware that they make noise. 

Best features:

  • Fun texture and sounds 
  • Can connect the tubes together for more play

Amazon

These non-toxic, non-latex and hypoallergenic stress balls are great for students in the classroom. Each ball comes filled with jelly water beads, making them fun to squish and squeeze. One set comes with three water bead stress balls, and there are a few colors and sizes available. The best thing about these fidget balls is that they make virtually no noise, and therefore won’t disrupt class. At home, students can also toss, bounce and play catch with these fidgets. 

Note that these fidgets might not be as durable as their more expensive counterparts.

Best features:

  • Quiet, discreet stress ball
  • Customer service will offer a refund or replacement within 90 days

Cheap Fidget Toys FAQs

How do fidget toys help with anxiety?

When the body is under stress and anxiety, it often responds in a physical way known as fidgeting. This fidgeting is due to discomfort and can look like a tapping foot or having trouble sitting still. Fidget toys are a way to soothe this anxiety and keep the mind focused and calm at the task ahead. They can direct the anxious energy somewhere else, so your mind is clear enough to continue through a work meeting or an important lecture. 

The research on the effectiveness of fidget toys is still new, and has had mixed results. Some children and adults seem to benefit from fidgets, while others find them distracting. Many of the studies on fidget toys are about other uses, like improving attention and focus, rather than anxiety specifically. More studies need to be done. However, based on many first-hand accounts of those who use fidgets, they often can help calm the mind.   

Where can I get cheap fidget toys?

Fidget toys are accessible and already fairly affordable. You can find cheap fidget toys on Amazon or in department stores like Walmart or Target. Your local grocery store might even carry a few fidgets.

However, Amazon usually has the best prices for fidget toys. They even offer variety packs of 50 small fidgets or less for about $20. Here’s one variety pack for $17

What is the most stress relieving fidget?

The most stress-relieving fidget for you is a personal choice. While research on the effectiveness of fidget toys on anxiety is slim, there are many groups of people who swear by them. There are so many different kinds to choose and try — from stress balls to Pop Its, fidget rings and cubes to fidget spinners. If one doesn’t work for you, try another. 

What is the best homemade fidget toy?

If you aren’t satisfied with the prices of cheap fidget toys online, you can always make your own at home. They are fairly simple and many require only a few materials. You can make a bead fidget toy with jumbo paper clips and any colorful beads (although, perler beads might work best). The possibilities are endless, and making these fidgets are a great arts and crafts project for young children. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

Parents’ roles in battling the back-to-school blues and separation anxiety | News – Loma Linda University

The stress of going back to school can affect parents and children equally. Persistent anxiety symptoms in children may require professional help, according to Jennifer Minami, MD, child psychiatrist for the Loma Linda Behavioral Health Tranquility program.

Separation anxiety is common and developmentally appropriate for very young child, and it may be increasing in school-age children, Minami says. Two years of school closures, in-home isolation, and work-from-home scenarios have increased the level of attention children receive from parents and have impacted some parents’ anxieties as well.

She suggests that parents need to manage their child’s as well as their own behavior and feelings about the return to school.

Whether this is your first time sending a child to school, or anxieties grew after a long summer break, Minami provides these tips for anxious parents and children.

Tips for managing a child’s behavior and feelings:

  • Normalize your child’s back-to-school anxieties.
  • Coach and encourage them by jointly recalling when they successfully faced similar fears.
  • Jointly select a small way you will “celebrate” their getting through the first day and week of school.

Tips for managing parents’ own behavior and feelings:

While many parents may look forward to the start of the new school year, others may have concerns about this transition. “If parents have their own anxieties about sending their children to school, it can become difficult for them to support their children when they are in distress about this,” Minami says.

  • Check-in with yourself to identify your own anxieties about sending your child to school.
  • Do what you can to relieve your own anxiety about back-to-school. Talk to your partner, family, friends, or other parents.

“Separation anxiety can be hard for parents to see in their children. To diminish their child’s distress, many parents engage in ‘rescue behavior’.  For example, parents might allow their child to sleep close to them or stay home from school if it seems too overwhelming. In the long run, this approach typically worsens the child’s anxieties” Minami says. 

In the Tranquility program, Minami and her team approach the treatment of pediatric anxiety with components that work with children and their parents. The program provides mental health treatment for children with anxiety ages 8 to 11 years old. The short-term intensive program provides more than six hours of clinical contact per week for up to eight weeks. Children referred to the Tranquility program have anxiety that impacts their daily lives in the home and in school settings.

Children in the program learn how to identify when they are feeling anxious, use skills to face their anxieties, and reward themselves for progress made.

Parents learn how to support their children to use skills at home and manage their anxieties that may come up as they encourage their children to progress through the exercises in the program.

“Fear and anxiety are natural responses to scary things,” Minami says. “Parents are in the position to set the tone for how their children navigate the world and respond to the environment around them.”

Loma Linda Behavioral Health is here to help you restore hope and harmony in your child’s life. Learn more about the Youth Mental Health programs or request more information here.

Separation Anxiety: Everything You Need To Know – Forbes

“Separation anxiety is a mental health condition that manifests in early childhood and is characterized by persistent and developmentally inappropriate fear during separation,” says Veronica Raggi, Ph.D, a licensed psychologist in Washington, D.C. and the author of Exposure Therapy for Treating Anxiety in Children and Adolescents.

She explains that for children younger than 3 years old, it’s natural to not want to be away from their guardians—especially around 18 months, when this type of anxiety peaks. But if the child is still expressing distress after this period, it could be a sign they may have SAD (not be confused with social anxiety disorder, which shares the same acronym).

In terms of who is most likely to feel separation anxiety, Dr. Raggi says children who are biologically predisposed to anxiety are at a higher risk. In other words, if their biological parents have an anxiety disorder, they are more likely to experience SAD. Indeed, scientific studies have shown that anxiety does have a hereditary component.

However, Dr. Raggi also notes a child’s environment might be a factor, too. “Anxious parents have a greater tendency to overprotect and exert more control over the environment as an effort to prevent bad outcomes,” she says. A child may pick up on these behaviors and become apprehensive, which can lead to SAD.

What Are the Causes of Separation Anxiety?

Dina Scolan, a licensed clinical professional counselor in Oak Brook, Illinois, who specializes in anxiety disorders, says like the vast majority of mental health disorders, nature and nurture play a role in SAD “As with any anxiety disorder, there is likely a biological component and likely environmental components,” she says.

If something traumatic happens in a child’s life—like the death of a loved one—this could potentially spark SAD symptoms. “Anything that shakes their sense of safety and security could trigger it,” she says. Scolan also points out that the COVID-19 pandemic may be a contributing factor as well. “For so long, children didn’t venture out into the world and gain the independence that would [otherwise] be normal. As a result, some kids may be lacking the independence skills they would have developed.”

Another way caregivers may inadvertently put their child at high risk is by being overcritical. “We also know that parenting styles that are low in warmth and high in criticism are associated with higher levels of separation anxiety disorder,” adds Dr. Raggi.

Safe Drug Use Sites: Anxiety Grows as Bill Sits on Gavin Newsom’s Desk – The San Francisco Standard

High-profile politicians and health leaders gathered at the Ellis Street headquarters of Glide Foundation on Wednesday to demand Gov. Gavin Newsom sign legislation that would sanction sites for supervised drug use in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland.

For those backing the legislation, each day that goes by without it being passed means more lives unnecessarily lost to overdoses.  

The bill was passed by the unlikely to move forward with opening a site until granted the approval of the federal government. 

“We are eagerly awaiting anticipated guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice on appropriate guardrails,” city attorney spokesperson Jen Kwart said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice indicated in a letter seen by The Standard to Mayor London Breed on Feb. 15 that they are evaluating a path forward for safe consumption sites, but the department has continually delayed its own deadlines and is currently expecting a decision by Sept. 22.

The uncertainty surrounding the federal ruling forces a tough decision upon city leaders, who could face legal liability if they move forward before being granted the go-ahead. 

The Philadelphia-based nonprofit Safehouse announced plans to open a site in Feb. 2019 but faced a lawsuit from Trump appointed attorney William McSwain, who alleged the nonprofit was in violation of the “crack house” statute. 

A district judge ultimately ruled in favor of Safehouse and President Biden’s Department of Justice is now using the Safehouse litigation to explore creating new “guardrails” for safe consumption sites. 

See Also


“It would be such a deep tragedy if the president of the United States were to move toward allowing safe consumption sites, with California vetoing a safe consumption site bill,” Wiener said. 

The city has already purchased two connecting buildings in the Tenderloin that would serve as a safe consumption site. 

New York City opened two safe consumption sites in November, becoming the first city in the nation to do so. The city also became the first to go against federal law in doing so, while Rhode Island has also passed legislation that authorizes safe use sites.

The idea to open safe consumption sites in San Francisco has been debated for many years but so far it hasn’t materialized.

The it morphed into a de facto overdose prevention site after it opened in January. But the site is scheduled to shutter by the year’s end. 

For now, supporters of safe use sites in San Francisco will be paying close attention to murmurings from Newsom’s office ahead of his final decision.

David Sjostedt can be reached at [email protected].

CBD reduces anxiety symptoms by up to 50% in young people – Medical News Today

A woman standing in front of two fluorescent lights in a dark room Share on Pinterest
Researchers believe cannabidiol (CBD) could be an effective treatment for anxiety in some people. Merve Betül Karakus/EyeEm/Getty Images
  • Many young people have anxiety, which interferes with their ability to go about their daily lives.
  • Treatment for anxiety includes a variety of approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy and sometimes medication use.
  • A recent pilot study found that cannabidiol (CBD)—the non-mind-altering part of cannabis— almost halved chronic anxiety symptoms in young people.
  • The study adds to existing research suggesting that CBD could be a successful treatment option for young people with treatment-resistant anxiety.

Everyone experiences some level of anxiety. However, experiencing too much anxiety can impair people’s ability to cope and work through challenges in day-to-day life. Treatment for anxiety can include the use of certain medications and counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy.

A recent study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that cannabidiol might be a safe anxiety treatment for young people who have not responded well to other types of therapy.

Anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses.

The National Institute of Mental Health notes, “For people with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships.”

Dr. Lewis Jassey, medical director at Leafwell, who was not involved in the study, elaborated on the impact of anxiety.

“Anxiety can lead to both mental and physical problems. Anxiety is often comorbid with depression, with more than 70% of patients with lifetime generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) also having major depressive disorder (MDD). [F]urthermore, being under constant stress and anxiety can lead to a dampened immune system, which can increase the likelihood of suffering from an infection,” he told Medical News Today.

“Panic attacks, irritability, headaches, muscle aches, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, breathing problems, upset stomach, insomnia, and chronic fatigue are all common effects of anxiety.”
— Dr. Lewis Jassey

Treatment for anxiety will often involve approaching the problem from multiple angles.

For example, a doctor might prescribe certain medications to help improve symptoms. Treatment may also involve psychotherapy, which involves evaluating and changing thinking patterns to help reduce anxiety. People with anxiety may also benefit from support groups or stress management techniques.

Sometimes, people do not respond well to these treatments and still experience high anxiety levels. Hence, experts are examining additional and alternative treatment methods that may be effective.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the portion of cannabis that doesn’t have mind-altering effects. The study was an open-label trial that included 31 people between the ages of 12 and 25. All participants met the criteria for a DSM-5 anxiety disorder and had not experienced an improvement in anxiety from previous interventions.

For twelve weeks, participants received the add-on treatment of CBD, with doses increased up to 800 mg/d as needed.

Overall, participants experienced over 40% reduction in anxiety severity based on the Overall Anxiety Severity and Impairment Scale (OASIS). Participants also experienced an improvement in social and occupational functioning and a decrease in depressive symptoms.

The study’s results indicate a potential treatment option for anxiety in people who have not responded well to other treatment types.

While discussing the study’s findings, study author Professor Paul Amminger explained:

“There’s a lot of hope that a novel compound which is benign, like cannabidiol, could ease mental health problems. I think that the most exciting finding of the study was that the anxiety severity, which was on average severe to very severe, dropped by 50% at the end of the trial.”

Study author Emily Li further noted:

“A lot of people reported [a] decrease in tension. They have reported just feeling generally more relaxed. They reported[ fewer] panic symptoms. They also reported a feeling of calmness.”

“Others have reported that because of the effect of the CBD, they no longer needed to, perhaps, use illicit substances to self-medicate,” she added,

This study opens the door for further research into cannabidiol as a treatment option for individuals with severe anxiety.

However, the study had a limited sample size and lasted only twelve weeks. This indicates the need for studies involving more participants and a longer follow-up time.

Participants also reported some side effects from using CBD, including low mood, fatigue, cold chills, and hot flashes, yet, there were no major adverse events. Further long-term research could also monitor participants for any additional side effects of CBD use.

A placebo effect?

The authors also noted that a placebo effect was possible, so further research should include a randomized control trial.

“Our trial was open-label and uncontrolled therefore casual inferences about the efficacy of cannabidiol (CBD) relative to other influences (e.g., placebo effect) cannot be made with certainty,” said Prof. Amminger.

However, he also noted the data that supported it wasn’t a placebo effect:

“However, given that the patients included in this trial were some of the most severe treatment-resistant with significant functional impairment who had multiple failed treatment attempts prior their participation in our trial, the observed reduction in anxiety severity suggests that cannabidiol has clinically meaningful anxiolytic effects. Nevertheless, randomized controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm the efficacy and longer-term safety of CBD.”

As research continues, researchers will hopefully discover more effective anxiety treatments. Dr. Jassey was optimistic about the findings of this current study and believes pursuing cannabidiol as a treatment option holds promise.

“This study shows that young people reduced anxiety by up to 50%, including feeling more relaxed and less consuming illicit substances for self-medication,” he said.

“Cannabidiol (CBD) treatment holds plenty of promise. For 50% of people, antidepressant medications do not work, on top of taking several weeks of regular intake to find out if they actually work or not. Young people, in particular, may benefit, as CBD is far more tolerable and less impactful on the body than antidepressants, especially the harsher ones prescribed for treatment-resistant anxiety.”
— Dr. Lewis Jassey

Climate Anxiety is Real – Chasing Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta – Podcast on CNN Audio – CNN

adrienne maree brown

00:00:02

Oh yeah. I definitely have climate anxiety. Sometimes I might even say I have climate despair, you know?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:00:10

That’s adrienne maree brown, a social and environmental justice activist and author of “Emergent Strategy,” a book about shaping our relationship with the changing earth.

adrienne maree brown

00:00:22

After I had been organizing for like 15 years, I was feeling very hopeless. You know, I was just like, I don’t understand how we get ourselves into a formation that can survive.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:00:34

adrienee has been an activist for decades. It’s a constant uphill battle without a finish line.

adrienne maree brown

00:00:39

I think a lot of what happens with climate anxiety is people are like, we can’t even possibly win. It’s all too big. There’s no chance to engage. So I just have to sit here being anxious with no way out.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:00:52

adrienne says the anxiety has affected their life choices, including their decision not to have children or even live in a place they love.

adrienne maree brown

00:01:00

If it was in my heart that I was the only one making the decision, I’m pretty sure I would live in New Orleans. Right? It calls to me. But climate anxiety, I think, is too overwhelming for me to live in a place where I’m like, Oh, the level of crisis that happens here is so intense. And I think that’s happening for more and more people.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:01:19

And the thing is, adrienne’s anxiety isn’t an overreaction. It is a natural and rational response to what is happening.

adrienne maree brown

00:01:28

You know, we always know that the future is uncertain, but there’s something about having all the data we currently have that it’s like the uncertainty is just how bad it’s going to be and how we’ll survive it because we’re making it more and more certain that it’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be devastating, that we’re going to create unlivable conditions for more and more people.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:01:52

I don’t need to tell you the global climate is in a dire situation at the moment. Even as we’re working on this episode, parts of the world are going through a historic heatwave, and that’s a really scary thought. Many people like adrienne are worried about this all the time, and it’s creating a new mental health crisis, especially among younger folks. In a recent survey of 10,000 young people around the world, more than 50% of them said they believe all the things they value most will be destroyed. So in this episode, we’ll take a look at climate anxiety, what it is, how it’s impacting our mental health, and how we cope with the realities of our changing planet. I’m Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent. It’s time to start chasing life.

Samara

00:02:45

Hi. This is Samara. I’m 14. I’m from California. And just like the thought of, like, the world crumbling on itself, it freaks me out a lot. I’m constantly thinking about it.

Keaton

00:02:57

Hi. My name’s Keaton. I’m 17. I’m from Norman, Oklahoma. So for the past year-ish has had a lot of climate anxiety. What causes so much anxiety for me is just seeing that we’re not doing stuff about it and it kind of makes you think that you’re crazy. And it’s like wait, it’s real and it’s scary. So why aren’t we doing something about it?

Arwyn

00:03:18

Hi, my name is Arwyn Revere. I, I’m a 16 year old high school student from Kailua, Hawaii. And a lot of my friends and I have been experiencing what we’re now calling climate change burnout out. Funnily enough, there’s a lot of people now who are dropping out of climate activism because they don’t know how to keep going like this. It almost feels like it’s one step forward, three steps back.

Maher

00:03:44

Hi, my name is Maher, I’m 19, I’m from Illinois. I am very frightened. I feel between hope and struggle and optimism and pessimism.

Britt Wray

00:03:57

Climate anxiety is alarmingly prevalent, even for those of us who think about it professionally.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:04:06

That’s Britt Wray, a human and planetary health fellow at Stanford University and author of the book “Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis.” Today, she’s a climate activist and an expert in the mental health effects of climate change. But she wasn’t always. In fact, her transition to climate work started out as a personal project.

Britt Wray

00:04:30

I had long been concerned about the climate and biodiversity crisis. Having studied conservation biology in university and been an environmental reporter and science communicator. But a handful of years ago, these feelings became far more intimate and deep and personal and challenging, when I started considering with my partner whether or not we wanted to try and have a baby. And I no longer felt that that was the wisest thing to do or the most compassionate thing to do, given what climate predictions were coming across my desk when I was not seeing rapid, swift action from power holders. So then I realized I had what is called climate anxiety, eco anxiety, eco distress, grief about what’s being lost. And I had never put words to these feelings before, but they became quite overwhelming. And I needed a way to navigate them. And I thought, well, I am surely not the only one feeling this way. Let’s do some research and figure out what the psychological impacts of the climate crisis are for other people. And that’s why the book was written in the first place.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:05:46

What is climate anxiety? How do you describe that to someone?

Britt Wray

00:05:50

Climate anxiety is really an umbrella term for a variety of challenging emotions that a person can experience when confronting the climate crisis. When really taking on the severity of its implications, what it implies about the impaired security and safety of future generations. And the anxiety, of course, is one of these emotions that people often report. But it also includes things like grief about what’s being lost, fear, of course, worry, anger about the costs of historical inaction on the climate. Rage about climate injustice, and how the communities that have long been the most marginalized and oppressed are also those who are paying the costs hardest and first, particularly black and brown communities and those who have been colonized.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:06:53

How prevalent do you think this is?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:06:56

In a study that my colleagues and I did of 10,000 young people in ten countries around the world India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Brazil, UK, U.S., Finland and some others. And what we learned was that 45% of these global respondents told us that their feelings about the climate crisis are disrupting their ability to function. So get through the day with normal tasks, eating and sleeping and going to work and hanging out with friends and enjoying yourself and being able to concentrate. Those types of things are being impaired by the emotional toll that comes with awareness of climate change. Now, 75% of these young people said that the future is frightening. 56% said that they feel that humanity is doomed as a result of this topic. The most prevalent emotions reported were being anxious and sad and angry. And these results were more pronounced in some of the most vulnerable countries. So in Nigeria, in the Philippines, in India, the disruption to daily functioning was much higher, closer to 74% of the populations in those countries. And so what we’re talking about is a very serious issue, which is robbing young people of not only their joy, but their well-being. We found that these emotions, they’re really tightly correlated with a sense of being betrayed by governments and lied to by leaders because they’re not doing all that can be done. They’re knowingly not doing all that can be done. And that sense of moral injury can have a huge impact on one’s sense of hope, on what could emerge in the future. And it can really rip away at resilience because it leaves one feeling isolated and alienated in a damaging status quo. While young people are often being told that they are the hope for the future, young people say, often, how on earth can you put all your hope in us when this is a time bound problem and we are not yet even old enough to take up office or to vote? We don’t have the power. We feel like our hands are tied. So please stop offloading your hope on to us and create the hope yourself by taking action or stand with us and we can do it together.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:09:26

Wow. You know, they have every right to be anxious. Right? I mean, my kids are born into two wars, two recessions, a constant sort of albatross of climate change around their necks. And and then this pandemic, obviously, over the last couple of years. No wonder there’s such existential anxiety. Right? I have three daughters. My middle daughter was this daughter who she would always talk about. This is what I want to do when I grow up. I want to be an architect. I’m going to marry, get married at such and such age. I want to have this number of kids and blah, blah, blah. And one day at dinner, a few years ago, we’re sitting there talking and I said, So Sky, that’s her name. Sky. How are the plans going for, you know, the rest of your life? It’s not happening anymore, she said. So why not? Well, it was not that long after the climate change report had come out, and her interpretation and the interpretation that, you know, she was hearing in school was kind of like, what difference does it make? We’re not really going to be inhabiting a world that is worth that inhabiting. And I tell you, Britt, I was a little bit stymied there. What do I say? She’s not wrong. What would you tell her? I mean, what do you, what do you say? How do you balance that hope and honesty?

Britt Wray

00:10:39

Yes. Yes. Thank you for that poignant picture of how this emerges in our lives and in our relationships and how difficult it is. I think you’re absolutely right to not invalidate the anxiety. It comes from a very rational appraisal of what’s going on. And so, what requires flexible thinking is this ability to balance hope and fear and sit in the gray zone of uncertainty productively so that we can face the future with an openness towards both how daunting and scary what we’re moving towards is, while also knowing that there is so much to be done that can make a difference. We are not in a uni directional losing game. There are small wins along the way that people are already making and that we can all be a part of increasingly making. And so, getting beyond this black and white thinking is really key. So that requires sitting on the fence rather than associating with either side of it, which is not where an anxious brain easily takes you, and which is why emotional processing and coping skills are really important to help people see, all is not lost, even though it’s a bad situation.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:12:09

When we come back, how we can all do our part to combat climate change and take care of our mental health. We’ll be back in a moment.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:12:25

And now back to Chasing Life and my conversation with climate expert Britt Wray.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:12:32

We evolved to be able to deal with threats, but immediate threats. And now if it’s not going to interfere with dinner plans tonight, we don’t seem to pay as much attention to it. And climate change, because I think it feels distant for so many people, they sort of put it off and maybe that’s that’s the human brain.

Britt Wray

00:12:52

I do find it odd and strange and inexcusable. For example, across the American public, let’s say right now, for people to still think of it as a distant or far away phenomenon. Considering how many wildfires and floods and hurricanes, drought, American soil experiences. The philosopher Timothy Morton talks about the climate crisis as a hyper object. And hyper objects are things that are so vast and all encompassing that you can’t see their edges. It’s not clear where the borders or boundaries are. Climate change, for example, shows up in what comes out of our tailpipe after burning fossil fuels and having air pollution. It shows up in news reports about declining fisheries, and it shows up in anxious parents’ conversations about what their kids are going to have to deal with on a warming planet and so on and so forth. It just is really difficult to then identify where can I intervene when it touches everything and it is enmeshed in really complex systems. And so that hyper object-ness means that we can’t think about it very clearly. And when you can’t think about it very clearly, it’s easier to really not regard it or think about it at all in many cases.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:14:19

You know, my daughter again, Sky, we took a lot of walks during the pandemic because that’s something we could do pretty easily. And she would ask me, on a particularly nice day when we’re outside and you hear birds chirping and you’re looking at these beautiful green trees and you just smell that aroma of the forest. She would ask me if I thought that her grandkids would get to be able to do the same thing one day or not. And again, you know, I uh, you want to say the thing that’s going to be assuaging of the anxiety. Yes, of course, they’ll be able to do this. You know, they’re going to-, birds and the trees and all that. And it’s hard because at the same time, we hear that emissions have to peak essentially by 2025 if we want to keep global warming to one and a half degrees Celsius. It’s sort of a now or never proposition that people are hearing that she’s hearing, that I’m hearing. That’s three years from now. So the hyper object seems to get more definition around it if you start to put a timeframe on that. Is that a good framing, you know, in this context of climate anxiety?

Britt Wray

00:15:34

In moments of civilizational threat, in world wars, we do not rally and take action by responding to calming messages that try to assuage our fears and tell us that things are relatively fine and that we can just make a few changes here and there in order to not be killed or what have you. The rhetorical power of fear and threat is crucial to mobilizing the masses at the scales required in order to protect one’s society, civilization. When it’s time bound, we require that type of mustering force to get our ducks in a row to organize us. It will raise anxieties naturally, because it’s commensurate with what the science is telling us, that we have these alarming messages about what needs to be done. This requires a lot of courage and coping skills along the way so that the anxiety doesn’t rob you of your functioning. So there’s a lot that people can do to support themselves as they take on this uncomfortable information and use it to muster the will to use that that time frame most effectively.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:17:04

Yeah, you know, I think it’s really interesting to see sometimes what resonates with people and sometimes it’s surprising. It’s interesting. You are a mom now. Congratulations.

Britt Wray

00:17:17

Thank you.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:17:18

I know you, you, you thought a lot about that decision whether or not you wanted to have a child given the climate crisis.

Britt Wray

00:17:26

Yeah.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:17:26

And I’m, I’m just wondering if you’re comfortable telling me a little bit about that decision and how you worked through it?

Britt Wray

00:17:32

Yeah, it was a few years of thinking, reading, talking, interviewing, gathering really diverse perspectives on what it means to live amidst consecutive threat scenarios and what it means to be resilient under existential threat, which many humans have been experiencing for time immemorial. And ultimately, the decision to have a child meant for me that I have to be a climate activist and I have to be professionally focused on this planetary health crisis, so that I can do whatever is possible, whatever is within my power to help support young kids like my own, to have a healthier world in the future.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:18:30

Tell me tell me about your your baby.

Britt Wray

00:18:33

Oh, yeah, sure. He’s ten months old now. His name is Atlas.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:18:37

Atlas?

Britt Wray

00:18:38

Yeah.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:18:38

Is Atlas going to carry the world on his shoulders?

Britt Wray

00:18:41

You know, obviously, this is the the the remark that, I poor kid, I’m just, I’ve given him to have to live down in every conversation for the rest of his life. We were thinking of it as strength, you know, strength to be able to deal with a a heavy world and to weather the storms, rather than the burden that comes with it. But I guess it’s an interesting reflection, of course, on the whole issue of climate change.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:19:07

What do you think, Atlas, what do you think his life will be like? I don’t know, 70 or 80 years from now.

Britt Wray

00:19:16

Really hard one to answer. I see a lot of. A lot of destruction and a lot of difficulty. And parts of the world perhaps being quite uninhabitable, and that will bring about social strife in proportions that I do not wish upon any of these innocent people who are, will be having to deal with it. But I also see there being wonderful pockets of figuring things out and regenerating landscapes and ecosystems. But, of course, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I don’t know what it’s going to look like. And I feel much more comfortable staying in that gray zone and saying, I really don’t know. I really don’t know and I don’t need to know, you know? What I can do is use that uncertainty to fill my imagination about what could be possible in radically hopeful ways and then just fight for it, no matter what comes. And if it gets harder and harder and worse and worse, the way that we bring about the hope is by using it as a verb. It’s something active and doing it together with others, no matter how dark it gets.

adrienne maree brown

00:20:38

One of my teachers is a woman named Mariame Kaba, and she tells us that hope is a discipline. And so I feel like I’m constantly like in a discipline of strengthening that muscle of hope in myself.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:20:51

When activist adrienne maree brown is feeling down, they find their hope in the natural world around them.

adrienne maree brown

00:20:58

The Earth is constantly giving us instructions for how to be in relationship to her.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:21:03

One time Adrian traveled to Mexico because they just really needed a break from everything.

adrienne maree brown

00:21:09

And I looked up and I saw these birds moving in formation with each other. I learned that that formation is called a murmuration. The way the birds move is, they don’t map it out, nobody’s calling out the instructions, here’s where we go next. They pay attention to each other and they get into a deep relationship with the birds right around them, and they stay the right distance apart. And in this way, they avoid predation and they migrate massive distances and they survive. It was as if nature was being like, here, honey, these are the instructions. Humans are no different from anything else. You just have to find your formation. How do you murmurate together?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:21:53

The reality is, climate change isn’t going to fix itself. Just like the birds, humanity needs to work together and find our own formation.

adrienne maree brown

00:22:03

If you like the Avengers, you know you like Marvel Comics and you like all that. That’s who we are. Those of us who are trying to save the Earth, we are the superheroes of the future, come be a part of it. Like you can activate whatever your superpower is and join us because we are the badasses who are saving the earth. Like that’s what every one of those movies is about. It’s like, who’s going to save us? Who’s going to save us? Who’s going to save us? Us. We are. We’re always the ones who save us.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:22:30

So the question is how do we manage our anxiety and keep going in the fight against climate change? Here’s tip number one. Do something. Put your thoughts into action.

adrienne maree brown

00:22:43

This is a time when we need a lot of direct action and we need people who are willing to get in the streets and march and like protest and raise awareness around this stuff. Even if you’re like, Oh, I don’t do that, or I’m not ready to be in the streets yet, donate to people who actually support that work happening. Or create a ruckus wherever you are. Every single place we are is a frontline in this fight for the climate. So, become a warrior.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:23:09

Tip number two Celebrate the victories. Find joy in the work.

adrienne maree brown

00:23:14

It’s very hard to know that we’re moving in the right direction if we never celebrate. So whenever I facilitate a group, even the small wins, we all decided where to order lunch together from? Yay! Right? We managed to pull off a gathering where nobody had plastic water bottles? Amazing. Let’s celebrate all these moves that we’re making to get back in right relationship with the Earth. Part of the joy of doing climate activism well is being like, look at us. We are really taking care of the earth and taking care of each other. Wow. This is what we’re supposed to be doing.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:23:46

Tip number three, from researcher Britt Wray, approach climate anxiety with compassion for yourself.

Britt Wray

00:23:53

It’s really important to initially know that there’s nothing wrong with you. This is not a mental illness. You can’t get a diagnosis for it from a mental health professional. It’s not in the DSM and rather it’s a very understandable and normal natural reaction to a large, threatening scenario that is not easy to reconcile. This form of distress is, by many accounts, from mental health professionals, healthy. The issue is to make sure that it doesn’t become so intense that it starts to rob you of your functioning and general joy and well-being.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:24:34

Tip number four, find space to be in a community with like minded people who understand what you’re going through.

Britt Wray

00:24:41

So it’s really important to find containment for the distress. Containment is found with any other individuals who will validate and give permission to these feelings and say that, yes, you are understood. There’s such a need for this now that many groups have emerged around the world to help people with their climate distress. Places like the Good Grief Network, who run a ten step program that’s actually modeled off of Alcoholics Anonymous, moving people through eco anxiety and grief towards meaningful orientations and purposeful actions on it. There are things like climate cafes, which are decentralized meetings that are held by volunteers all over the world where people can have open hearted and frank conversations about how they’re feeling in light of the climate crisis. I have a monthly maintenance call with a climate aware therapist because the mental health and climate space is filled with a lot of distressing concepts. And so it’s nice to be able to check in with others who professionally focus on that.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:25:47

If you want more information, you can subscribe to Britt’s newsletter at Gen Dread. That’s G-E-N Dread dot substack dot com. We’ll put a link in our show notes to that, as well as to the Good Grief Network and Climate Cafes.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:26:05

I hope all of you listening are taking some of what Britt and adrienne have said to heart. I definitely have. But I think with mindfulness, community and small steps, we can all get to a place where it doesn’t feel as overwhelming. Climate change is happening. It isn’t going away. And I don’t want to lay it all at the feet of future generations. But, at the same time, I am optimistic about the future. I think we can really work together and make our community stronger, and that, with scientific solutions, may really make a difference.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:26:41

I’d love to hear if any of what we talked about today has helped you record your thoughts as a voice memo and email them to ask Sanjay at CNN dot com or give us a call at 4703960832 and leave a message. We might even include them on an upcoming episode of the podcast. We’ll be back next Tuesday with an episode about the importance of play and why it’s good not just for kids, but also adults. Thanks for listening.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

00:27:13

Chasing Life is a production of CNN audio. Megan Marcus is our executive producer. Our podcast is produced by Emily Liu, Andrea Kane, Xavier Lopez, Isoke Samuel, Grace Walker and Allison Park. Tommy Bazarian is our engineer and a special thanks to Ben Tinker, Amanda Sealy, Carolyn Sung and Nadia Kounang of CNN Health, as well as Rafeena Ahmad, Lindsay Abrams and Courtney Coupe from CNN Audio.

Who Is In Control, You Or Your Anxiety? – Forbes

Anxiety is an emotion we’ve all felt – the uneasiness, the restlessness, and the non-stop overthinking. The truth is, as any psychologist will tell you, anxiety is not inherently a bad thing. In fact, it is a response your mind and body create to adapt to situations that could be threatening.

There is a point, however, when this response can start to work against you. How do you know when your anxiety is crippling you instead of helping you? While the best option is to see a licensed mental health practitioner, it is also helpful to educate yourself on these three signs that might point to serious anxiety.

#1. Your anxiety doesn’t go down with the sun

A high level of anxiety throughout the day that does not taper by the evening is a cause for concern.

According to a recent study, for most anxious people, worrying typically abates by day’s end. But this is not the case for people who have higher levels of worry-proneness.

“Worry can become a cause for concern if the frequency and/or intensity of the worry is disproportionate to the source of the worry,” explains Rebecca Cox of Vanderbilt University. “If I’m so worried about an upcoming test that I can’t focus on studying, or I’m so frequently worried about storms that I don’t leave my house, then worry has crossed into a problematic range.”

MORE FOR YOU

Essentially, she explains, worry has likely reached a clinical level if it is interfering with your goals and values of daily life.

Previous research says that worry may function to keep anxiety at a high, but predictable, level in order to avoid experiencing an unexpected shift in emotion.

If you are suffering from evening anxiety, Cox has the following advice for you:

  1. High levels of worry-proneness and generalized anxiety disorder are common and treatable. Those looking for treatment should find providers of evidence-based psychotherapy from reputable organizations.
  2. Healthy lifestyle factors may also help with worry, like prioritizing sleep and exercising regularly
  3. We can also decrease worry’s power by accepting the uncertainty in life. When we are worrying about something we have little or no control over, inserting some ‘maybe’ thinking can be a powerful challenge to worry. “Maybe I will fail that exam, maybe a terrible storm will hit … maybe, maybe not,” Cox explains. “Accepting and tolerating that uncertainty can help us to stop attempting to control the future by worrying.”

#2. Your anxiety is leaking into your dreams

One recent study that tracked the dreams of clinically anxious people revealed some fascinating commonalities.

Specifically, several dream topics seemed to be more prevalent in anxiety patients compared to healthy persons. These themes include:

  1. Being chased and pursued
  2. Being physically attacked and facing aggressive actions
  3. Being frozen with fright
  4. Quarrels and verbally aggressive interactions
  5. Anxiety and fear about aggressive actions from others
  6. Fear of falling and being in danger of falling
  7. Being excluded and rejected in social situations
  8. Death of parents and family members
  9. Accidents and car or plane crashes
  10. Facing failures and being unsuccessful

Other defining characteristics of these dreams were:

  • Previous love interests. Dreamers’ ex-partners or ex-spouses appeared more frequently in the dream contents of anxiety-disordered individuals than in dreams of healthy people
  • High speed and power. Dreams of anxiety-disordered patients were also characterized by the presence of high velocity and fast speed, in general, and, subsequently, fast-moving characters, objects, transport, and vehicles
  • High emotional intensity. The presence of an anxiety disorder instigates a higher overall subjective intensity of dream experiences and dream imagery. The dream contents in anxiety patients not only exist in large numbers but are also experienced with a particularly high subjective intensity and emphasis.

If your dreams are characterized by these types of images and themes, psychologist Anton Rimsh of the University of Düsseldorf advises consulting with a practicing psychoanalyst, as they have experience working not only with anxiety disorders but also with dream contents.

#3. Your anxiety is stressing out your significant other

One study that tracked anxiety levels in 33 married couples (the wife in each case suffered from clinical anxiety) found that on the days the wife’s anxiety was exacerbated, the husband reported their relationship as being distressing.

In most cases, the responsibility to accommodate or alleviate their wife’s anxiety was shouldered by the husband. In situations where the husband was able to lighten the situation, the wife reported the relationship as positive. But if the husband reacted with anger or annoyance, it made her situation worse, creating a negative and distressing feedback loop of increased anxiety and hostility.

The story, however, does not end there. Just because the husband was able to temporarily handle their wife’s anxiety didn’t mean that the impact of the interaction on the relationship was positive. This was especially true for relationships where the go-to technique to dissipate anxiety was avoidance-based.

“It is possible that when couples collude in managing anxiety through avoidance, they may inadvertently maintain or exacerbate the degree of shared distress from day to day,” state the authors.

If a relationship has reached the stage where anxiety (or the avoidance of anxiety) is controlling the dynamic and level of distress, it may be time for expert intervention. An honest and open dialogue with your partner, a counselor, or a couples’ therapist is strongly recommended in these situations.

Conclusion: Mental health issues, like physical ailments, are unavoidable. The problem begins when they go unaddressed for long periods of time. Keeping a watch on your anxiety levels, and seeking out help when help is needed, can greatly benefit your health and lifestyle.

Fit and Well Idaho: Getting to the root of your anxiety – KMVT

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Over 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder. And for this week’s Fit and Well Idaho report we look at how many of the symptoms of anxiety mimic other health conditions.

Often, when people are having a panic attack, your symptoms may feel like a heart attack, or you may exhibit some gastrointestinal problems as well.

If people aren’t sure what is going on with them, they may head to the emergency room to be checked out. Only to be told everything looks good.

Panic attacks and other anxiety disorders are common, but it is important to get the correct help for those, such as therapy or even medicine.

But one doctor says getting to the root of your anxiety is key.

“Being mindful of the underlying anxiety and treating that is important, of course there is medication that can help with that, but exercise doing mindfulness, meditation, those are all things, even music has been shown to help with serotonin and manage anxiety and generalized anxiety.” Said Dr. Ashley Yoder from Elmore County Quick Care.

She says having anxiety and panic attacks is more common than you may think and if you think you may be struggling with it, to visit your doctor as soon as possible.

Copyright 2022 KMVT/KSVT. All rights reserved.