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Saturday, January 24, 2009


Anxiety is one of the most common and least understood disorders in our country. It affects about 40 million Americans each year. Anxiety can last many years and may become worse over time if not treated. Children as well as adults can suffer from this condition, and is more prevalent amongst women than men. There are many types of anxiety that one can experience, and a person can suffer from more than one type at a time. There are six main categories of anxiety: generalized anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia and specific phobias. While the onset of each type may be from different triggers such as stress or certain events, there are some similarities in some of the symptoms. One may experience sudden feelings of terror, sweating, dizziness, weakness, a pounding heartbeat and feelings of impending doom. Fear of losing control is common during an episode.
There are many treatment options available to those who suffer from anxiety, but unfortunately many people go years without being diagnosed. Anxiety disorders are commonly treated with medication and specific types of psychotherapy, so it is important to consult your doctor if you feel that you may suffer from this condition. Many people find support groups and educational resources very helpful in their recovery. There are some steps that one can take to help prevent an anxiety attack from occurring. A healthy, stimulant free diet and exercise can help the body cope better with the physical symptoms. Sometimes mental exercises can help to relax oneself and prevent an attack.
Here is an example of a breathing exercise that may help:

-Lie down or sit in a position you find comfortable.
-Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Your breathing should be slow and relaxed.
-Make your stomach rise slightly with each breath. Focus all of your attention on your breathing technique and ignore everything around you.
-Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. If you find that your mind is wandering, bring it back to your breathing.
-Continue with this technique until you feel a sense of peace and calm.

There are many effective treatments and support groups available for those who suffer from anxiety disorders. The most important thing to remember about this condition is that with proper treatment this disorder CAN be effectively treated, and it doesn't have to stop one from living life to the fullest!

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