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Anxiety – When to Seek Help

When should one seek for help if anxiety occur?

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Some measure of anxiety is normal, and no treatment is necessary. However, there does come a point at
which seeking treatment for anxiety is vital to your well-being. Essentially, there are three instances where treatment should be sought.

The first is if you experience a panic attack. For people who have never experienced a panic attack, they may mistakenly think that they are suffering from a heart attack, and they will usually seek emergency treatment for that. Doctors perform tests to determine if a heart attack has occurred, and if it has not, based on the symptoms that occurred, a panic attack may be diagnosed.

When your anxiety has escalated to this point, you do need treatment for anxiety. The treatment that you receive from emergency medical professionals, thinking that you had a heart attack, is not sufficient treatment for anxiety.

Anxiety - by Telise RodelvIf your anxiety is unusual and extended, you should seek treatment. You know what a normal amount of stress is for you, but feeling anxious for a prolonged period or feeling an unexpected increase in the feelings of anxiety usually indicates that treatment is needed.

If the anxiety starts interfering in your life, treatment is required. Anxiety could keep one from doing things in life that they might do otherwise if that anxiety did not exist. For example, someone who is developing social anxiety may stop going to events or functions as frequently as they used to, and this does interfere in their life.

There is a fourth reason to seek treatment. Sometimes, we are too close to ourselves to see the big picture. If you have a fear or anxiety that you feel is perfectly normal, and someone close to you says it is not, it doesn’t hurt to seek the advice of a trained professional.

That other person may be wrong, and your fear or anxiety may be perfectly normal — but you do need to be sure.

Related article on Huffington Post – I Hate Being Bipolar – It’s Awesome!

Mental Health and Grief

Grief and Mental Health – When the Two Merge

Grief is something that we all experience at one time, or another.  The stages of grief – sometimes explained as 3, 5 or 7 different stages – are pretty well known and include shock, denial, anger, sadness, acceptance in some order.  Most people will struggle but eventually come to some resolution with no prediction as to how long that will take.

Resolution of deep sorrow can be made much more difficult when a pre-existing mental illness is imposed.  A severe loss can trigger a relapse of virtually any mental illness, even when the illness was well treated, and the patient was stable.  Patients may relapse into severe depression, bipolar episodes, panic attacks or a return of obsessive compulsive behavior.  If the patient was not well stabilized, the whole apple-cart can be upset.

Depressed and Suicidal GirlEven the most mentally healthy person can become unstable if unable to resolve the feelings caused by painGrief has been known to result in clinical depression, lasting for a long period which can lead to extreme difficulties and even death in the case of suicide.  The problem comes in a case where one becomes “stuck” at a certain point – usually during the agitation period.

There is a saying;   “depression is anger turned inward.”  The existence of anger over an extended period can cause depression.

Anger allows us to have a heightened response to a threatening situation.  Anger fuels energy, giving us a false sense of power, but over time, the brain and the body run out of that same energy.  This can result in fatigue, emotional lability, and symptoms of depression.  In some cases, depression caused by grief may be resolved with grief counseling.

In other cases, however, depression may have become severe enough that medication may be warranted.  Clinical depression is characterized by:

•    Fatigue and decreased energy
•    Cloudy thinking
•    Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
•    Insomnia or excessive sleeping
•    Irritability
•    Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
•    Body pain or digestive problems
•    Persistent sad or empty feelings
•    Thoughts of suicide

How different is this from grief – not much.  The only difference would be in how long it lasts.  Depression carries a high risk of suicide and if symptoms last longer than what would be considered “normal” – for any reason – you should seek treatmentMental Health ChaosDepression that is severe enough to interfere with normal activities for longer than four to six weeks should be treated – even if life circumstances explained it.  Counseling may work – or you may need medication for a short period.

If you have some known mental disorder, stay in contact with your mental health professional.  Most – and I did not say “all”, but most mental health patients find it difficult to self-assess, some find it difficult to be openly honest.  The only way to ensure that an episode of grief is resolved without severe consequences of going “off track” is to allow someone else to help assess your mental state.

Whether you are or are not a mental health patient, know that grief can cause mental illness and can worsen an existing illness – even if only for a short time.  It is not something to be dismissed or ignored as the risks are high.

Melissa Lind

Depression is Anger Turned Inward

Panic Attacks and Anxiety

Suffering from anxiety disorder and have panic attacks?

Do you have anxiety?
Are you constantly worried?

We all probably know that anxiety is a normal part of life.  That horrible feeling of anxiousness is something that can happen to all of us from time to time — and with good reason. However, many people suffer from anxiety without any valid reason — regardless of how correct the reason for the anxiety seems to them.

Anxiety can cause a host of other mental health problems.
Child AnxietyFirst, when the brain is stressed, the body’s immune system fails to function properly. Things like this leads to illnesses. Second, anxiety can prevent one from living life to the fullest. And, finally, stress can lead to full-blown anxiety attacks, otherwise known as panic attacks.

A panic attack might feel like a heart attack. In fact, when one suffers their first panic attack, this is what they think that it is, in most cases. They will usually seek out medical emergency services. A lot of the symptoms are often the same as a heart attack. The person may feel chest pains, have trouble catching their breath, become dizzy, feel nauseous, and also feel completely out of control.

AnxiousLuckily, you won’t die from a panic attack — even though you can’t be convinced of that when it is happening. Even better news is that panic attacks can be prevented. Medication can be prescribed, relaxation techniques can be used, and counseling, in the form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be sought.

Your doctor will most likely prescribe an antidepressant for your anxiety. However, antidepressants take about three weeks to become effective, and during this time, you may discover that you are more anxious than you were before. Panic attacks may become more severe during this time.

For reasons mentioned, your doctor may also prescribe a benzodiazepine. The benzodiazepine will effectively take care of the anxious feelings, and help to prevent panic attacks. However, this is not a safe long-term drug, as antidepressants are. Therefore, after about three weeks, your doctor will most likely discontinue the benzodiazepine, and continue with the antidepressant. Naturally, CBT will also be recommended.

Panic attacks are very real — and very scary. If you suffer from panic attacks, know that there is treatment out there, and with that treatment, you can avoid future panic attacks.

Stress and Anxiety – Is There Any Relationship? (Free PDF)

Panic attacks and anxiety disorder sufferers

Borderline Personality Disorder – True Story

A true Borderline Personality Disorder story

BPD – The likeable guy who suddenly isn’t

I once knew a man who I met through a friend.  When I met him, she was already planning on marrying him so I could not say much of anything.  He was an utterly likeable guy who was fun, fun-loving and an all-around joy to be near, but there was something I couldn’t understand.

My friend, due to her previous life experiences involving traumatic loss, was extremely opposed to anyone she loved being in the police service.  Her fiancé had been a marine and had later gone into the military police.  He had retired from the military and was working in his family business as the Vice President but had also grown his hair out, dressed in very casual clothing and loved race-cars.  He swore “blind” that he would never enter the military or law enforcement again.

This fun-loving person with long hair, wearing tank tops and racing cars was the guy I met.  He was also mechanically inept – couldn’t put a shelf on a wall or even put a barbeque grill together with instructions.  After they had got married, my husband and another friend spent many hours doing “fix-it” work around their house – taking things such as grass spreaders and playground sets apart to put them back together correctly.

Borderline Personality Disorder - Swirly MindHe was also very generous – spending money all the time for all and anyone around.  He would take 15 people to see a rock concert or a hockey game, bought the boys new video game systems and video games every weekend, bought garden supplies, supplies to put in a backyard kiln after my friend had said she thought she might want to make a pot, had a pool installed, bought a go-cart and mini-bike for the boys, $3000 vacuum cleaner… He traded her car in for a new, better, bigger car at least once a year, sometimes after only a few months. They were not in financial distress, but he was never concerned with how much money he spent.

I could never reconcile the goofball man with long hair and a beard who used to be a marine and an MP.

Fast forward a few years.  One day, my friend called me, totally hysterical because she came home to find him with a military style haircut, wearing a police uniform with guns and all – preparing to go to a part-time job that he had gotten with a police department in a small town nearby, having done all this in secret.  He swore it was only part-time because they needed the extra income (which they didn’t).

For several months, she expressed her extreme displeasure, fear, hatred.  Each time I would drive to their house, I would think, “What are the police doing here?”

Then I would remember that it was his patrol car.

Fast forward a few more months.  He is now working full-time as a cop – even though he promised it would only be part time.  She hates it.  He is also starting to exhibit bizarre behavior, restrictive rules for the kids, can’t keep from calling her every 10 minutes – even while he is at work, even while she is grocery shopping or picking up kids from school.

Tensions rise, arguments ensue, culminating in an episode involving him threatening to shoot himself in front of the 10 year old who runs from the house in his underwear to hide at the neighbors.

BPD - Borderline Personality DisorderHe eventually calms down and suggests that they need marital counseling – that she needs “help.”  Of course, he says it is “her” that needs help, and he is only going for her problems.

They go to the counseling where the therapist disagrees with his idea that the core issue is her problem.  They are both referred to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist diagnoses him with Borderline Personality Disorder – giving him medication and recommends extended therapy.  The psychiatrist gives her a prescription for situational anxiety disorder – as she is having intermittent panic attacks due to his behavior.  He recommends that my friend go to therapy to deal with her emotions surrounding the family issues and for their son to go to therapy to deal with the fact that his father flips out.

She decides to stay – based on his agreement to take medications and go to therapy.  Which he does not.  He does not believe the therapist or the physician were correct.
He then tells her that she needs to go to all of his police and wives functions – and makes plans to join the State Police Controlled Substances Crime division – sponsored by the governor.  Another episode involving a mental breakdown and a couple of loaded firearms occurs.

She puts her kid in the car – and leaves a beautiful home with a pool and all the money she could want, in order to escape.  He calls and calls and appears not to understand what happened, blaming the whole situation on her paranoia.  She never goes back and now lives as a single mom in a low-rent housing unit without financial assistance from him.  Apparently this is much better than dealing with him.

This man, my goofball friend – turned into a raving nutcase and likely it was not the first time (or the last time) he had done so.  He went back to his former wife to marry her for the third time.

Years later, we still get “restricted number” phone calls from him – for no apparent reason other than to check up on her.

Until this experience, I always thought that Borderline Personality Disorder was a fairly benign thing – they were secret manipulators but relatively innocuous – along the same lines as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is irritating but not dangerous.  Now I know that is not true, Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as Emotionally UnstablePersonality Disorder is a real and valid psychiatric disorder that should be treated.

It is characterized by:

•    Occupational – Economic issues such as a sudden shift in career field cue to sudden changes in values, self-opinion
•    Antagonism
•    Separation anxiety and abandonment issues
•    Suicidal behavior
•    Multiple separations or divorces
•    Unstable, intense close relationships are vacillating with extreme anger
•    Harmful impulsiveness – including spending, reckless driving, thrill-seeking
•    Physical Violence
•    Chronic feelings of boredom which may contribute to impulsive activities
•    Irresponsibility

The National Institute of Mental Health says that Borderline Personality disorder is likely to last for many years and may be subject to relapse of symptoms which remiss but those core symptoms such as highly changeable moods and impulsive behavior will likely continue.

Melissa Lind

The Anxiety Attack

Anxiety attacks come quite quickly, with little or no warning.

What is the physical aspects of an anxiety attack, you may ask?

An anxiety attack, which is also referred to as a panic attack, is not the same thing as “feeling anxious.” We all feel anxious from time to time, and many people even feel anxious all of the time — because they suffer from an anxiety disorder. However, anxiety attack — which is, of course, brought on by extreme anxiety — is just a side effect of anxiety.

Anxiety AttackAn anxiety attack comes on fairly fast, with little or no warning. They last as long as 10 minutes, but the average attack lasts between one and five minutes. After one has suffered one or several anxiety attacks, they accept it for what it is. First-time sufferers often think that they have a heart attack, or even a nervous breakdown. They may even think that they are dying — even though they aren’t.

While many people may think that anxiety attacks are brought on by mental issues, this isn’t quite true. We all have a fight or flight response. Sometimes, when one suffers from anxiety disorders, the fight or flight response goes into “overdrive.” This causes the body to be flooded with hormones, including adrenalin, which causes the other symptoms of a panic attack.

An anxiety attack can be quite overwhelming and scary. Several things occur at once — physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Physically, people may start profusely sweating. They may become short of breath, have a pounding heart, experience chest pain, become dizzy and/or lightheaded, feel nauseous, and even hyperventilate. They may feel as they are being choked or smothered, and there are numerous other physical aspects of an anxiety attack.

Mentally, the person will feel complete out of control, experience as they are going crazy, may hear things louder than they actually are have racing thoughts, and have impaired vision. They may seem like life has either slowed down or sped up. They may feel as they are in a dream (or nightmare) state. Tunnel vision is also common during a panic attack.

Emotionally, they will feel terror. They may fear that they are dying, and they may experience flashbacks to either earlier anxiety attacks or other traumatic events in their lives.

As you can see, anxiety attack is no joking matter for the person experiencing it. Luckily, there are medications that can be prescribed to minimize the appearance of panic attacks, as well as the symptoms experienced during such attacks.

Different Types of Anxiety

There are different types of anxiety

When you think about anxiety, you may not realize that there are different types of anxiety. The most common types of anxiety include social anxiety, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and generalized anxiety. So, what do they all mean?

Social Anxiety is anxiety or feelings of anxiety that occur either in a social situation, or in anticipation of a social situation. If social anxiety is not effectively dealt with, it can become a problem. Especially if it allows persons suffering from anxiety attacks are allowed to put themselves in feared social situations.

Panic Disorder exists when a person suffers from panic attacks or from feelings of intense fear for no obvious reason. The symptoms of a panic attack may be extremely tough, and the person may even think that they have a heart attack.
It is essential to note that one cannot die from a panic attack, even though they may feel that they are actually dying. With panic disorder, one might fear having a panic attack to the point of causing one.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSDPost Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when one has experienced something traumatic. This usually does not happen immediately after the event. It could happen days, weeks, months, or even years after the trauma has been experienced. The person may experience flashbacks of trauma, and this can prevent one from living a normal life.

Phobias involve many different things. One might fear spiders, snakes, water, heights, driving, or any number of things. The fear that one feels, however, is not normal in that it is often highly elaborate. This does not mean that the person is exaggerating the fear that they feel. In fact, the fear that they feel is absolutely real — to them.
Phobias tend to make people avoid things in life that they may otherwise enjoy. For example, one might fear spiders to the extent that they would never take a walk on a wooded path, where spiders might exist.

Finally, we have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. Some people feel that this is what is diagnosed when there is no other cause for anxiety found; however, that is not the case. GAD occurs when one is constantly worried about every aspect of their life. It can be seriously disabling. People who suffer from GAD worry about themselves, their family, their friends, and the whole world.

If you’ve been having feelings of anxiety or anxiety attacks, it is necessary to seek treatment and to determine what type of anxiety you have, so the cause can be found, and treatment can be administered.

 

Helpful resource? The Linden Method & Lite Version – #1 Anxiety & Panic Cure Program