There are many approaches to conquering fear. Phobia is a kind of fear, yes, but its way stronger. It can cripple aspects of a person’s life and trigger physical health complications. What could be the most effective psychotherapy for, say, fear of rejection, crawly creatures, or other types of phobias?
We asked 12 renowned psychologists and gathered three innovative therapy approaches. This list is in no particular order.
Dr. Lee Keyes Ph.D., runs Keyes and Polychronis Consulting LLC, a company that focuses on college mental health care. Dr. Keyes is IACS-trained and boasts 30 years of experience in psychotherapy and management work.
He has provided counseling services in more than 80 campuses. The scope of his work includes reviewing and optimizing counseling service delivery in colleges, especially in the areas of suicide and threat assessment and management.
Dr. Keyes was the Executive Director of the Counseling Center at the University of Alabama. He was also the president of the Alabama Psychological Association and the International Accreditation of Counseling Services, Inc. He is currently an IACS advisory and senior site visitor. Keyes has published extensively on college mental health issues and treatment.
Here are the tips from Dr. Lee Keys:
In my experience, the most effective treatments for phobia include first discovering the conditioning history of the client so that the context of the fear is understood. This will likely involve interpersonal and psychodynamic approaches.
After that, I’d recommend considering exposure and response prevention (sometimes prolonged exposures), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
And/or trauma-informed therapies incorporating those two treatments, but only at the appropriate time.
Dr. Kim Chronister is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist with a doctoral from the Alliant International University (CSPP). Dr. Kim has published several best sellers on the topics of relationships, substance abuse, and eating disorders, among others. She has appeared on countless TV shows, documentaries, and radio show that explore the solutions to the psychological problems that people face in their lives.
Notable contributions by Dr. Kim include appearances on NBC News, Access Hollywood, Women’s Health Magazine, Investigation Discovery, and Livestrong to mention a few. She is the author of Peak Mindset: The New Science of Success and “FitMentality”.
Dr. Kim’s experience spans the areas of cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior, and ‘life coaching.’ Her methodology leverages strength-based approaches customized for each individual as opposed to conventional pathology.
Here are the tips from Dr.Kim Chronister:
When it comes to dealing with a specific phobia, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help particularly with a component of CBT called Exposure Response Prevention (also known as exposure therapy). There are manuals that providers can use for treating specific phobias with ERP. The technique involves gradually increasing your exposure to the object, setting, or experience that you fear, at your own pace, under controlled circumstances. As the client is exposed to the feared object, they are taught to master their fear through anxiety-reducing strategies like breathing control.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy typically works well with people struggling with social phobia and agoraphobia. Agoraphobia can be treated with CBT which has the potential to permanently change pathways in the brain that decrease anxiety and panic feelings allowing the client to function at a much higher level.
Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is another effective treatment for social phobia and agoraphobia. With MBCT, a client can learn how to use cognitive methods and mindfulness meditation to interrupt the process that triggers the response. MBCT also helps clients learn how to recognize their sense of themselves as separate from their thoughts and moods.
According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, around seventy-five percent of individuals with specific phobias overcome their fears through CBT, while eighty percent of those with social phobia are relieved through medication, CBT, or a combination of both.
Carole Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H. is a board-certified medical doctor, psychiatrist, and award-winning author. She has been an expert witness and legal analyst. She has appeared on TV and radio news, shows and interviews.
She has several publications to her name and is referred to as a “media psychiatrist.” Her contributions include appearances on NBC News, CBS News, Dr. Phil Show, and many others. Her books include Bad Girls: Why Men Love Them & How Good Girls Can Learn Their Secrets and Why We Love Them, How to Live with Them, and When to Leave Them.
Dr. Carole Lieberman practices in Hollywood and has a medical degree from Belgium’s Université Catholique de Louvain. She got her psychiatric residency training at New York University, Bellevue. She received a Master’s Degree in Public Health froth the University of California. She sits on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and she is a faculty member (Department of Psychiatry) at the University of California.
Here are the tips from Dr. Carole:
Tip#1: The most effective treatment for phobias is intensive psychotherapy. Talk therapy at least once a week can get to the root of the phobia. For example, someone who has a phobia of snakes may have been sexually abused as a child. And this unconscious memory gets triggered each time they see a snake. By going back into childhood, they can eventually
make the connection.
Tip#2: The second most effective treatment – that can be used along with talk therapy – is immersion therapy or exposure therapy.
The idea is to expose the phobic patient to an increasingly frightening hierarchy of situations. For example, if a person is phobic about heights, the therapy could take the patient to terraces of a building on increasingly higher floors and give them relaxation exercises at each, gradually moving over time to higher floors.
Dr. Sebastian J.Bartoschek is a psychologist, media personality, and lecturer. He has a Doctorate in Psychology and practices in Ruhr, Germany. The scope of his work focuses on issues of mental disorders, domestic life, and organizational psychology.
Dr. Sebastian provides hands-on clinical approaches in various psychological problem cases. He feels that conventional treatment approaches are inadequate when it comes to addressing diverse mental issues and the effects they have on patients and their caregivers.
Sebastian has more than ten years’ experience in clinical psychology and child mental health care. He provides stress management courses for children and young adolescents. He offers media commentary on various issues that touch on mental health.
Here are the tips from Dr. Sebastian J.Bartoschek:
To my mind a behavioral therapy works best with phobias, maybe in combination with some cognitive approach and underlying drug therapy. It is important to confront one selves with the fear inducing stimulus.
Dr. Janet Civitelli is a psychologist and career coach practicing in Austin. She focuses on helping individuals and workers derive the most fulfilment from their lives and work. She promotes the individual-based approaches to counseling and psychotherapy and has successfully leveraged digital technology in providing services to clients across the states.
Her areas of interest include conflict management, emotional intelligence, work-life balance and anxiety, and depression management. Further, she has contributed extensively to women’s health issues, burnout and adjustment to change, and significant life transitions.
Dr. Janet is an expert on late adolescent and adult general psychotherapy, anxiety, depression, and stress and adjustment. She has participated in several outreach services in these areas from training mental health professionals to helping institutions establish the right programs.
Here are the tips from Janet Civitelli:
Exposure therapy, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, is one of the most effective types of treatment for phobias. There are some innovative new types of exposure therapy that use virtual reality. Some clients also respond well to hypnotherapy.
Kasandra Putranto is an accredited clinical psychologist with more than 28 years of experience. She also has 18-years of experience in Forensic Psychology. Her areas of focus include cognitive behavior, relationships, personality management and anger and anxiety management.
Mrs Kasandra is the founder of Kasandra and Associates, a therapy consultancy with a focus on group, individual and corporate mental health along with forensic services. She is also the founder of attitude Achievement for Titanium Generation, a movement for grooming assertive and resilient individuals that can meet the demands of globalization.
She completed her undergraduate education from the University of Indonesia in 1992. She is a member of the Indonesian Young Entrepreneur, Care and Care Education Group for Children with Special Needs, Indonesian Women Professionals and the Indonesian Psychology Association (HIMPSI). She uses the Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Behavior Activation (CBT-BA) approach to provide services.
Here are the tips from A.Kasandra Putranto:
Based on my 28 years of Clinical psychological practice in Indonesia, it has been widely proven that phobias, both common or specific, develop during childhood and reinforced throughout the years.
By considering and fully understanding each condition of each patient with a phobia, my top 3 therapy recommendation for them would be:
Tip#1. Relaxation with Mindfulness Therapy Tip#2. Cognitive Behavior with Behavioral Activation Therapy Tip#3. Exposure Therapy
To create a comfortable and trustful relationship with the client, I feel that understanding the cause of a phobia at the beginning of therapy is as important as identifying the avoidance behavior and finding a way on how to treat them.
Sarvesh Dosooye is a Consulting Psychologist in Mauritius. He is the founder and managing director of Forward Psychology Consulting that focuses on the group, corporate and college mental health. Sarvesh has broad expertise in diverse areas of psychotherapy from personality questionnaires to counselling, aptitude assessment, team evaluations and career guidance.
Mr Dosooye promotes people-centred solutions when it comes to mental health therapies. He is well-traveled and has lived with people of diverse cultural backgrounds. He participates in various mental health campaigns in Mauritius and has been a mediator in multicultural conflicts.
Here are the tips from Savesh Dosooye:
Tip#1: Therapy and accompaniment with a psychologist are crucial to treat a phobia. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will help the person to gradually eliminate their obstacles and resume a normal pattern of behaviour.
Tip#2: Gradual exposure to their fear via Exposure Therapy helps in normalising the resulting feeling, thus decreasing debilitating reactions and harmful effects.
Tip#3: Psychological Coaching helps in also triggering growth in the person such that they can develop new, more productive thought patterns and behaviours. Thus, they not eliminate negative consequences but also gain positive outcomes they may not have had before.
Combining different techniques can yield high success rates in overcoming phobias.
Dr. Katharina Stenger PhD focuses on online counseling and other service delivery modalities that leverage digital capabilities. Dr. Stenger practices in Germany. She obtained her PhD from Saarland University. She offers on-site sessions on weekends and after-hours.
Her focus areas include speech therapy and writing therapy, personality development and anxiety and stress management. Her work and treatment approach lean towards cognitive behavioral therapy, humanistic approaches and life coaching.
Stenger has also been deeply involved in exploring new methods of addressing personal relationship issues, work-life balance, and stress management for people in show business. Notable of her approaches include the photo- psychological workshops that focus on emotions and self-awareness.
Here are the tips from Dr Katharina Stenger:
Tip#1: Psychoeducation: The first and most important step in the process of treating phobia would be to become active and to get deeper insight and understanding of your psychological condition. Being able to openly talk about what is happening to you will help you to deal with your mental and physical health status. Phobias are complex conditions. Therefore, the causes and treatments are versatile. It’s not easy to stay on top of things, but you can try to get in touch with your individual pathology. The very common symptom for phobia is the panic attack, which again can look and feel different for anyone suffering from it.
Tip#2: You will acknowledge the psychological condition as a part of your life. That doesn’t mean that the phobia defines who you are – on the contrary – you are more than your condition. Try to integrate the phobia instead of hiding from it and letting it hover above you all the time. The more you know about your mental health, the more you’ll find out how to boost your mental immune system. How to get educated: Talk to an expert about your experiences. This can be a local physician, psychologist or psychotherapist. If you are not able to go to a practice or a clinic, you can look for an online psychologist, just like me. Anchors will help you through a panic attack when you are confronted with a specific situation that triggers your phobia. I call them anchors because they will give you security in the state of wild emotions and physical stimuli. An anchor is something to hold on to – sometimes literally. It can be a ball that you squeeze in your hand, for instance. The purpose of this is to give you a distraction and to shift your full attention to the anchor. Try to include your senses. More examples: Count the different colors in the room you’re standing in (this includes the sense of sight). Listen to your favorite song (this includes the sense of hearing). Have a small sachet with lavender and other herbs with you (this includes the sense of smell). Eat your favorite candy (this includes the sense of taste). III Relaxation techniques Your body will be exhausted while and after facing a situation that triggers your phobia.
Tip#3: Relaxation techniques will help you to bring back a balance and to regain control over your mind and body. They can even help you during a panic attack. Yoga is great to keep the balance in your mind and your body. Meditation can help you to accept and to let go of negative thoughts. PMR (progressive muscle relaxation) will help you to focus solely on your muscles and give you a deep state of relaxation. How to find the right relaxation technique: It’s basically a process of trial and error. Similar to finding your personal anchors, the right technique can be highly individual.
Dr Michael Carollo PsyD is a New York-based psychologist and personal coach. His work draws from an array of evidence-based therapy techniques that have helped his clients identify and mobilize their emotional resources to overcome personal challenges and achieve their goals. His areas of specialization include relationship management, substance control, depression, divorce, gender issues, professional efficiency, and trauma healing.
Carollo tunes his work towards helping his clients learn to manage their emotional wellness by identifying the patterns that can hold them back from joy and fulfilment. He focuses on making psychotherapy accessible, available and affordable for all people through after-hour appointments and online services.
Carollo holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Boston University, a Masters in Clinical Psychology from the Antioch University New England and A Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the same institution.
Here are the tips from Dr.Michael Carollo:
Tip#1: Prolonged Exposure: This treatment is considered the gold standard in treatment of specific phobia (e.g. a fear of elevators, small spaces, bugs/spiders) and has been shown to be very effective in both the prior research and clinical practice. With the support of the therapist, the client will either realistically encounter (called in-vivo exposure) or think about (called imaginal exposure) the phobia trigger for an extended period of time until the fear response is overloaded and reduces naturally. Given the intensity of the treatment it is usually most helpful when clients are highly motivated to overcome one or more very specific fears quickly.
Tip#2: Graduated Exposure: This treatment is very similar to the treatment above, but is less intense overall and is also helpful with less specific triggers including social anxiety/social phobia. Before engaging in exposure exercises, the client and therapist develop a list of related triggers/situations and ranks them from least scary to most scary. The client and therapist will then use exposure exercises to slowly work their way up the list.
Tip#3: Exposure Based Group Therapy: This treatment involves engaging in either the prolonged or gradual exposure exercises in a group setting. Many clients report that the encouragement and support of other group members really helps increase their motivation to engage in the naturally challenging exposure exercises.
Nayia Naoum is a Psychologist and Psychotherapist in Nicosia. She focuses on counselling and mental health care for married couples and children. Her work takes on a holistic approach to mental health, including working with the soul, spirit, body and mind.
Nayia’s work draws on insights from cognitive psychology with solutions that span the areas of work-life balance, and interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. Her methods replace the many over-simplified and generalized approaches in psychotherapy with realistic and individualized analyses of human motivation and thinking patterns in decision making.
Her professional work combines psychotherapy with yoga and other mindfulness practices. She has come to see the value of this interdisciplinary approach toward mental wellness. She draws further inspiration from philosophy and other humanistic fields.
Here are the tips from Nayia Naoum:
I strongly believe and also witnessed throughout my career as a psychotherapist, that the 3 most effective Psychological treatments for phobias are the following:
Tip#1: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This treatment helps patients identify their faulty cognitions or thoughts that contribute to the phobia, and slowly and systematically break these down and replace them with more rational ones. This, in turn, influences affect or emotion, thus the phobia lessens or is overcome altogether.
Tip#2: Exposure therapy, where the patient is encouraged to slowly face the phobic object or situation instead of avoiding it, breaking down his “resistance wall” that intensifies the phobia. Gradual Desensitization is a common technique used in exposure therapy where the patient faces the object of his phobia “in stages” from the easiest stage to the most difficult (the actual object of the phobia).
Tip#3: Relaxation Techniques- where the patient learns to calm his nervous system and eliminates from his system maladaptive chemicals caused by fear such as adrenaline and cortisol. Progressive muscle relaxation , deep diaphragmatic breathing and visualizations are some common relaxation techniques.
Dr Diane, PhD is a clinical psychologist and researcher with more than 20 years of experience. Her work leans towards cognitive behaviour therapy with a focus on love, relationships and mood disorders. She works with families, couples and individuals and starts her treatment by addressing communication issues in relationships.
Dr. Diane received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and a masters degree in counselling from Santa Clara University. She worked with Stanford University on studies including panic attacks, eating disorders and other psychosocial challenges that plague students.
This research work inspired her to pursue a doctoral qualification at the University of San Francisco. Diane is a certified Cognitive Behavioral therapist. She has done clinical research and developed therapies for patients with depression, social anxiety, phobias and chronic pain.
Here are the tips from Dr. Diane Strachowski:
The treatment of choice for phobias is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, specifically systematic desensitization and exposure therapy.
Tip#1: In systematic desensitization you rank order a list of those things you are fearful of, say, it’s spiders. Make a list of those things that are scary to you, on a scale of 1-10, one is seeing a picture of a spider in a book a ten being having a spider walk on you or near you. Next, indicate not only how hard the task would be in rank order but what your SUDS would be, ‘Sudden Units of Distress’ on a scale of 1-100, say the spider in a book is a level 30, the spider walking on you is a 90. The goal is to teach people to slowly work up the desensitization ladder while at the same time being able to calm themselves down, do not move forward unless you get your breaking under control. So you are systematically desensitizing yourself to the anxiety you feel. By learning how to breathe and relax you change your reaction to the stimulus. A client keeps practicing on those things that are less anxiety-provoking before you move on. Clients can learn other alternatives to relax, like progressive muscle relaxation.
Tip#2: Imagined exposure, If the situation is something more abstract, like my client’s fears you can do something similar but it’s considered visual exposure, where they imagine the event.
Tip#3: Exposure therapy: it’s called in-vivo where they may be exposed to the phobic material in the session. A therapist can model these behaviors, say, I had a client who was scared of chemical cleaners, she brought them into a session and I touched it and put some on my skin to model or demonstrate for her that it was not harmful.
Lorna Devine is a certified CBT and life coach. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and Mental Health, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Her areas of focus include stress, low self-esteem, social anxiety, and low moods. Her work combines diverse approaches and techniques from evidence-based therapies to life coaching in helping her clients attain transformation. Apart from individual therapies, Lorna provides group and corporate counselling and hosts wellness workshops.
Lorna has been featured on BBC News and has worked with prominent brands including Sweaty Betty, Harper’s Bazaar and among others. She has more than ten years of experience in clinical psychology and has served thousands of clients.
Here are the tips from Lorna Devine:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based and highly effective talking therapy which can help you manage specific phobias (e.g. phobias about specific objects or situations such as a fear of dogs or a fear of heights) and more complex phobias including social anxiety and agoraphobia. CBT is based on the theory that our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and behaviours are all interconnected, and that negative thoughts and feelings can keep us trapped in a vicious cycle. The idea is that if we work on changing one of these, then we can alter the others.
Part of the treatment process that is often used to treat simple phobias involves gradual exposure. Exposure-based therapy in particular works by gradually exposing you to your fear, until the anxiety you experience naturally subsides, allowing you to gain control over your phobia.
For complex phobias including social anxiety, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE, 2013), an independent body that synthesises available research evidence to develop treatment guidelines recommends individual CBT that has been specifically developed to treat social anxiety. For adults who decline CBT and would like to consider another psychological intervention, there are other treatments available such as guided self-help which involves working through a CBT-based self-help guide with regular support from a therapist.
Weight loss is not always easy, but as people get older it becomes even more difficult. Diet and exercise regimens that work well for younger people often can be ineffective for people over 40. This can be frustrating for people who have been fit all their lives and yet find excess weight impossible to trim down in later years. If weight loss has been recommended by a physician and you are still experiencing difficulty in regaining a healthy weight you may be at risk for diabetes, heart disease, and even certain types of cancer. One available alternative therapy called hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may aid patients who are seeking to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
What Is HRT?
As people age, hormones change and can become imbalanced in the way they regulate body composition, often resulting in significantly increased body weight. This is why some medical practitioners utilize hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a way to aid in weight loss for older people or those struggling with weight regulation disorders. HRT is the utilization of hormone replacement supplements with the purpose of changing the level of a particular hormone in the body. It may aim to correct levels of common hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. These therapies may be administered in a variety of ways including:
Injections of the hormone into the bloodstream
A gradual release of hormones by way of an implant
A gel that is applied directly to the skin
Patches that are worn on the skin or gums
The method that is best for an individual depends on a variety of medical factors and can only be prescribed by a medical professional.
How Does HRT Work?
HRT works to prevent and reverse weight gain by correcting the imbalance of hormones that regulate factors such as the speed at which your body metabolizes fat deposits as well as how quickly it builds muscle mass. For example, falling estrogen levels experienced by women during menopause can cause falling energy levels, increased abdominal circumference, and reduced muscle mass. For these individuals, estrogen replacement can have the effect of making diet and exercise more effective and their resting metabolism more efficient. Men who likewise suffer from lower testosterone levels (Low T) realize similar benefits from therapies that balance out their levels of testosterone. Knowing that HRT works for you or not, one needs to consult with a doctor.
The History Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
HRT has been used since the 1960s for the treatment of a wide variety of disorders. It really became more popular in the 1990s as it becomes a more affordable and painless procedure. There was a controversy regarding its efficacy in the mid-2000s as a result of a study that showed increased risks of cancer and this caused some methods of therapy to be discontinued. This was beneficial to the practice as a whole because it helped to identify certain risk factors and detrimental drug interactions. It also helped to standardize dosing as overdosing had been a significant problem in the past. Follow-up studies showed that HRT did not pose as large a risk as was initially published so long as these risk factors are accounted for and in recent years it has returned to wide use and greater popularity among clinicians seeking to treat weight loss disorders.
HRT Benefits and Precautions
HRT is very beneficial to a majority of patients, but certain medical factors must be taken into account before starting the therapy. If you are in generally good health other than struggling to maintain a healthy body rate there is probably little to worry about. It can also be beneficial to those who are suffering from bone disorders such as osteoporosis or hormone-related symptoms of menopause. Women who have lost ovary function or had ovaries removed often receive hormone therapy as a way to treat the severe depression and difficulty sleeping that can result. It is very important to disclose any medical conditions that you may have because they may have a poor reaction to the treatment or cause it to be less effective. Chronic liver disease, gallbladder disease, and blood clots are all risk factors that need to be accounted for, and smoking may cause problems as well. Certain types of cancer such as breast cancer and uterine cancer are also a risk factor and you should disclose a history of any cancers in your family history. Your provider will have more information on what medications and treatments can be safely combined with HRT.
Are you interested in HRT as a method of helping your weight loss goals? Our patients have improved their quality of life with the help of these therapies and treatment may have additional benefits such as improved mental faculties and an increase in sex drive. Contact the Mango Clinic today for a free consultation and discover how easy it is to start HRT today!
Pregnancy and childbirth are life-changing moments in a woman’s life. The biggest concern for most women after birth is weight gain. It is normal for a woman to gain a particular amount of weight when pregnant because of the many changes taking place in her body. A woman is expected to gain about 24 to 34 pounds during a normal pregnancy.
Most of this weight tends to disappear immediately, after the baby and the placenta come out, or resolve after a while as the uterus shrinks and the body goes back to normal fluid levels. However, the idea of “eating for two” both during and after pregnancy can cause some women to add on some unnecessary pounds.
This extra weight may cause the new mom’s days to be filled with a lot of insecurities and image issues. So, unless you are Heidi Klum or Kate Middleton who appear to be as good as new every time they come out of the delivery room, you may be looking for some weight loss treatments that will guarantee the loss of your post-pregnancy fat. This guide details all the tips that will help you go back to your pre-pregnancy weight. Keep reading to find out.
Do not diet: Understandably, the extra weight could be causing you sleepless nights and you would do anything to have it gone; but be warned that going on a diet at this time could derail your post-pregnancy healing and weight loss goals. Instead of dieting, opt to eat healthily and eat for your hunger.
Opt for 5 to 6 smaller meals spread out throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals
Reach for superfoods: As a new mom, your body needs utmost nutrition, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Go for foods that are loaded with nutrients, but are low on calories. Replace your sugary meals with lean protein and fat because they’ll keep you full for longer. Such foods include fish, milk and yogurt, chicken, and beans.
Snack in between meals: Snacking keeps you full throughout the day and keeps you from overeating on the next meal. Keep different, healthy snacks in the house including wheat crackers, carrot sticks, apple slices, and cereals.
Don’t skip breakfast: Many new moms tend to forget to eat; which is understandable because having a small baby can be overwhelming. But, skipping meals will make you have less energy, and you will not be able to do the things that will make you lose weight. So, don’t skip any meal, especially breakfast as it gives you the energy you need to start your day.
Stay hydrated: Drink at least 12 glasses of water a day, and other healthy drinks such as fruit juices and smoothies. Remember, breast milk is 88% water, so you are constantly losing water as you breastfeed your little one. Take fruit juices in moderation as they may contribute to the extra calories. Also, avoid other drinks high in calories like sodas.
Slow Down: Take your time and enjoy your meal as this is the easiest way to tell when you are full.
While diet is important in any weight loss program, you also need to incorporate some exercise to burn more calories and keep your bones and muscles strong. Other than helping you lose weight, exercise has many other benefits to the new mom: it helps relieve stress and depression, and also deal with sleep issues.
You may be tempted to push yourself harder to lose more weight faster, but remember, rapid weight loss may be hard on your body and it’s not healthy. So, don’t overdo it! A brisk walk around the neighborhood with your munchkin in the stroller is a good way to get you started into an exercise routine.
The trick here is just to get off the couch and get moving. Other than handling the baby throughout the day (which is an exercise on its own), simple activities like watering the plants, making the bed, and arranging dishes can help you burn those extra calories.
Ask For Help
Post-pregnancy weight loss can take a great toll on you, but you don’t have to struggle alone. If you are struggling with weight loss, it’s time to seek the services of a doctor or dietician. At Mango Clinic, we understand that a lot of factors including genetics, lack of exercise, and eating disorders may all lead to difficulties in losing weight.
By now, you have discovered that depression may not be a state you can snap out of at will. This benign state of mental health guts down and takes all zest out of life. Unfortunately, in some cases, it may not be obvious to others that a person is depressed and in need of attention. Today we offer our support through these seven tested and workable ways to get your life back.
Depression affects everybody, from young children to the aged. Fortunately, these remedies come tailor-made to bring wellness regardless of the age group.
1. Medical Intervention
In many circles, people are oblivious to the fact that depression is a medical problem that requires intervention from a doctor or pharmacotherapy. Antidepressants are used to alleviate this emotional disorder. Depression is relatively widespread in society with one out of ten people in America using antidepressants on prescription.
An insight into the nature of these drugs highlights the most effective of them as well, as the accompanying side effects. Note that it may take several weeks before you notice any positive effects of these medications.
Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)
These treat acute depressive disorders by increasing the production of serotonin and norepinephrine. They conversely reduce acetylcholine production and therefore balancing neurotransmitters to stabilize mood disorders. The drugs manage patients with an imbalance of neurotransmitters.
While under TCA therapy, many patients notice these side effects in varying degrees:
They sedate causing drowsiness
Dryness of the mouth
Low blood pressure and dizziness
Hives and rashes
Change in body weight
Common examples of these drugs are Amitriptyline, Doxepin, and Amoxapine. These drugs cause some level of dependency, even with just a few doses. This means that abrupt discontinuation of their use will cause withdrawal symptoms. For that reason, you should not use these drugs without a prescription and constant monitoring by a doctor.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Brains cells send out signals, which need a neurotransmitter like serotonin to deliver them to the target cells. The brain cells secrete the neurotransmitter and then absorb it and release it again to send out the next signal. This absorption and release of the neurotransmitter is a process called reuptake.
Depression inhibits the functioning of the parts of the brain that transmit signals using serotonin. These antidepressants block the reuptake process and facilitate the accumulation of serotonin to achieve optimum neurotransmission.
Of the side effects of SSRI use, the most worrying is the possible development of suicidal thoughts in some people. In rare circumstances too, they can lead to serotonin syndrome. Other common side effects include:
Few people use this class of antidepressants today because of their side effects. Notable of this is the dietary restriction where the drugs cause a severe reaction when taken amid the consumption of tyramine containing foods. If you are required to take these medicines, you must avoid foods and condiments like soy sauce, nuts, aged cheese and meat, and alcohol.
Another precaution is the occurrence of serotonin syndrome, a potentially fatal condition caused by combining MAOIs with other serotonin-boosting foods or drugs. They also contribute to the risk of developing hypertension. Other side effects include:
Skin reaction like a rash
Emsam, Phenelzine, Isocarboxazid, and Tranylcypromine comprise some drugs in this group. They work by inhibiting the effects of monoamine oxidase, which disintegrates serotonin. Without disintegration of serotonin, the neurotransmitter increases and eventually decreases depression.
Serotonin Syndrome manifests symptoms like:
Palpitations and rapid heartbeat
High body temperature
Lack of consciousness
These require emergency medical attention. Apart from the mentioned side effects of those antidepressants, you should notify your doctor of any other discomfort experienced while under their therapy.
2. Psychosocial Support
Dark moods love solitude. In such situations, keeping to yourself and enjoying your own company will not further your cause in your road to recovery. Hooking up with other people goes beyond dusting your social media profile and adding to your list of casual online acquaintances.
Suffice to say you can make some real and enduring friendships on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. However, mental health concerns call for supportive interpersonal relationships with people you meet with often.
Surrounding yourself with a warm and understanding circle of friends and family encourages conversations about issues that cause anxiety. With their reassurances and help find yourself suitable anxiety treatment and get new strength to face challenges that overwhelm your spirit.
It’s understandable that you prefer to be by yourself or you’re feeling a bit rusty for the social scene. Have faith as we promise that these following tips will get you back on the show to rekindle old friendships and build new ones.
Have more family meals
Have you been turning down those persistent invites to the weekly family lunch or dinner? Sharing meals with your family enhances emotional adjustment that we need to cope with life. Experts emphasize that people committed to having about five dinners with their families produce better results at work and school.
Family dinners often provide a warm environment where family members unwind as they discuss their achievements and struggles of the day. What better way to find inner peace other than a hearty home-cooked meal relished with banter with people who allow you to be yourself? Such a stable family atmosphere provides an anchor for a person experiencing depressive feelings. It’s a healthy way to deal with stress and depression.
Get back with old friends
Although making new friends is encouraged, old and trusted friends will serve better. They understand and tolerate your quirks and encourage you to keep your chin up. Besides, you have a lot in common. Make time in your schedule to join them for some chitchat or for a fun activity that you all enjoy.
Even if you may not feel confident to discuss your cloudy feelings with them, you will find those simple things like returning their calls, or going out to dinner, a picnic, or for an excursion in such a company lights you up considerably.
Exercise with a friend
Although the benefits of a workout done individually is an answer to good health, going for a jog or to the gym with a workout partner motivates you to maintain your exercise schedule. Workout companions become accountability partners encouraging each other to stick it out to the end.
Besides, studies show that the positive emotional effect of exercise done in groups or with a partner can prevail up to 24 hours after the session. You can also explore learning a sport or joining a team. The physical exertion relieves stress and pent-up tension.
Seek solace in others
Contending with depression is a state that one out three people in America finds themselves in through the course of life. This means that you are not alone in this situation. Confide in a trusted and sincere companion about your plight.
Sometimes it could happen that a person’s behavior could be the source of your distress. It would appear that talking it out with the person is a step towards healing. Unresolved issues can cause feelings of extreme desperation, even suicidal at times. Sharing our concerns with loved ones brings us emotional support and hope for a solution to our distress.
Many people in our society need our support and attention. We find channels of offering assistance by engaging in acts of charity through organizations in our neighborhoods. By engaging with the less privileged, we are able to divert our attention from introspection to noticing the unfortunate circumstances of others.
Also, the intrinsic reward of helping those in need bolsters self-confidence and makes us feel needed and appreciated.
The therapeutic nature of music depends on its genre. Soothing melodies lower cortisol, the stress-causing hormone, while loud and fast music pumps it up increasing stress and depression. This is an opportune time to sign up for that music class.
3. Appropriate Nutrition
The thought of your favorite comfort food is appealing. Often comfort food gets the unfair label of unhealthy food. Of course, we know the physical effects of poor dietary habits. These cause health complications like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. These complications further increase stress and depression and can leave a big dent on self-esteem.
However, nutrition plays a role in mental health. Any factors that affect blood sugar or the cardiovascular system also affect the brain. This is because the brain also conducts metabolic processes for which it requires energy and nutrients.
Sometimes all it takes is a good meal to lift your mood. Nevertheless, there is more to food as an antidepressant. The food contains crucial depression-fighting components to become a source of healing.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Fats and oils do not make it to the healthy foods list due to the implications of bad cholesterol. This nutritional component builds up serotonin levels to balance your mood. Your body, however, needs portions of oils like the Omega-3, which you can find in select foods.
Seafood and fish
Tuna, salmon, and sardines top the list as the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. By the way that fishing trip will not only bring back your smile but will also bump up your omega-3 options. Apparently, wild-caught fish offer higher omega-3 content than canned fish off the shelf.
Hazelnuts, cashew nuts, and walnuts are a crunchy source of omega-3 fatty acids from the plant world. Study shows that people who consume nuts record scores of lower than 26% in depression prevalence tests.
These increase blood supply to the brain and keep you alert by improving your cognitive functions. You will get your share of flavonoids in dark chocolate and this explains the relaxing feeling from eating chocolate. Dark chocolate reduces depressive feelings by about 70% by boosting serotonin levels.
This is another serotonin booster. You will find ample amounts of tryptophan in:
Munching away at a banana or two daily lowers stress levels and depression and that’s why it’s called the happy fruit.
If the thought of chicken breasts lights up your day then you are on your way to recovery. Regardless of the recipe you choose, your serving of chicken is white meat and a source of the recommended lean proteins you need to fuel your brain functions.
Zinc deficiency causes many anomalies in body functions. Of these complications is the inadequate production of neurotransmitters. Eggs are a rich source of zinc and proteins, probably the reason why they pick you up when you take them for breakfast.
Even as you consume these mood boosters, remember that a balanced meal in adequate portions goes a long way in maintaining your overall wellness. In addition to that, ensure you take plenty of water to flush out toxins. Body cells need hydration to perform their functions and for replication.
From that, you may find it advisable to explore the possibility of consulting a nutritionist for dietary advice that can help in overcoming depression.
4. Lifestyle Choices for Wellness
In our quest for good mental health, we cannot understate the role our lifestyle choices play in sustained wellness. Every step in our daily lives goes to painting the large picture of our mental health. If you repeatedly feel bogged down and deflated, it might help to look around you and see that some of these activities we take for granted can be the game changers you yearn for.
A session on the meditation mat
Many cultures have used meditation for centuries as a way of achieving mental balance. The calming effect of sitting in a quiet place or having a yoga session is a therapy proved to relieve stress and reduce the ravages of depression.
Neurologists found that meditation restructures and strengthens pathways used as neuronal circuits by the brain. It exercises the less used channels and in the end, it builds your overall mental abilities.
Some experts recommend meditation as an alternative in manipulating behavioral patterns. The brain exercise counters its deterioration, which would otherwise lead to mental issues like dementia, agitation, depression, and amnesia.
When you hear that books transport us to another world, that journey wouldn’t come at a better time than when you’re trying to keep dark thoughts away. As you become absorbed in the content, it becomes a needed distraction from self-defeating thoughts.
Some books also contain information that boosts self-affirming thoughts to encourage you to take a proactive role in coping with your situation.
Research is ongoing on the role of books in restructuring the brain and enhancing the production of mood-boosting hormones. Whichever way, a relevant book can help you find inner peace and change your perspective for brighter days ahead.
Keep it real
Sometimes life can make us feel worthless when we commit our focus on competing with others. Chasing amorphous lifestyle standards set by social media posts can make us feel as though we do not measure up.
Avoiding such hype and not chasing fads and trends is one way of avoiding unnecessary mental torture. Consider switching off your social media handles and taking a fresh outlook on your life, including appreciating your achievements and dignity.
Also, such interactive platforms can expose you to trolling and distressing information. Ambition in life is good but in excess, it is a source of mental anguish and depression. Separate yourself from associations, whether online or offline that put excessive pressure on you to change your identity. Maintaining relationships that perpetually take the wind out of your sails will obstruct your road to recovery.
Are you getting enough sleep?
Inadequate sleep makes us grouchy. Any change in your sleep patterns should act as an alert that things are getting out of balance in your life. Adequate sleep rejuvenates the brain and assists it to regenerate. Sleep disorders play a part in the manifestation of anxiety and depressive tendencies.
Sleep disorders can exhibit insomnia exhibit as insomnia where you unwittingly become a night owl. Count on a sleepless night to keep you fatigued and irritable from the moment you step out of bed. On the other hand, a sleep disorder can manifest in excessive drowsiness or irregular sleep with periods of unexplained night awakening.
You can improve your schedule and surroundings to boost your sleep quality and reduce the latent period in these ways:
Making your bed and keeping your bedroom tidy and well aerated
Taking a short walk before bedtime
Adhering to a sleep timetable
Keeping the bedroom light dim or switching it off when going to sleep
Having a gentle massage
Limiting consumption of alcohol or stimulants like caffeinated drinks before bedtime, and instead of taking a soothing glass of warm milk
Switching off your phone to avoid interrupted sleep
Taking a warm relaxing bath and if possible with calming essential oils like lavender
As you can see, it does not take much to get yourself well-rested. However, if you still have difficulty sleeping, and it is affecting your life, you can talk to a sleep therapist or a doctor to explore other viable alternatives.
Take a shower
After a good night’s sleep, what better way to get your brain back on active mode than a brisk shower. Not only is it refreshing, but it also encourages increased feelings of self-worth and self-care.
An appealing physical appearance improves mood greatly. You can consider hitting a spa, the barbershop, or a salon for some tender and loving care. You can also look in your closet for some attractive pieces to spruce your appearance, and throw some wow into your day.
Each day is a step
As you embark on your way to recovery, keep it at heart that this is a very personal journey. Move at your pace and exploit therapies that you feel work the best for you. You can keep a journal to chronicle your progress and to vocalize feelings and thoughts for relief.
However, avoid mopping around all day. Findings show that even small tasks like cleaning up your house, sitting out in the sun or under the stars, opening the windows to let in natural light, and any preferences you have in making your surroundings cozy boost wellness considerably.
Cook your way out of moodiness
Activities with goals in focus form a good therapeutic session. They heal the brain and encourage their stimulation. Cooking strengthens your brain to cope with stress. You must wonder how. For one, the aromas from food relax your brain. Also, the physical exertion of cooking activities, though mild, stimulates the mind.
The experience brings even greater rewards if you have company chipping in to help in preparing the meal and then cleaning up after. This is a chance for heartwarming and relaxing conversation as you spend quality time with loved ones.
Try some soothing tunes
We find most music uplifting and entertaining. Researchers take this a notch higher by recommending music therapy or a sound bath for depressive therapy. Soothing music separate from banging cacophony eases stress in the brain which releases alpha brainwaves.
If you can find music with about 60 beats per minute, experts say it would be best for promoting the alpha brainwaves’ production. Turn to your favorite tunes to lull or stimulate your brain depending on the cause of your low spirits.
Reconnect with nature
The feel of the wind in the hair, the tickle of grass under your bare feet, and the sun in your face- these are the small joys of life. You probably haven’t noticed them in a while. Going for a walk and taking in the exuberating yet calming displays of nature is another way of protecting mental health.
Such exposure prevents or slows down the progression of mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and depression. These outdoor activities encourage the body to release endorphins which in turn reduce stress levels.
A sedentary lifestyle attracts numerous health complications. Regular nature walks form part of the exercise that you need for better physical health and to clear the mind. Alongside nature walks, if your circumstances allow, you can engage in gardening or nature conservation activities to help you release pent up stress.
5. Psychotherapy Support
Of the many approaches advanced in the search for effective management of depression, psychotherapy is one of the most documented and approved options. Talking to someone lessens mental burdens, and it helps when the listener is a trained therapist.
It has evolved over the years and its presentation varies depending on the patient’s condition and responsiveness. Therapy can take about four months depending on the acuity of the problem.
This therapy explores different relationships to correct any dysfunctions in them that could be the cause of mental stress for a member. Most types of counseling dwell on the interpersonal role of the client in a relationship and addresses matters concerning:
Distressing incidents like the loss of a loved one
Personal loss due to the removal of a significant aspect of personal life like loss of a job
Role alteration where you take on a new role due to a change in a relationship for example in a marriage or after a divorce
Role conflict where a relationship is weakened by the failure of a participant to take up the expected role in it, for example, an absentee parent or spouse
Therapy sessions can take any or a combination of the following forms:
In this scenario, the therapist convenes a group of individuals who present closely related emotional problems. The members take turns in discussing their situations and phobias. The therapist then addresses the concerns and guides with measures that will assist the members in overcoming what overwhelms them.
Group therapy encourages the cultivation of social interaction within the members of the support group. Out of such associations, members feel accountable to take charge of their recovery processes. Members also feel normal and encouraged when they freely share their problems with others in the group who are conversant with the challenges of coping with depression.
Though not so popular today, individual therapy gives the patient a chance at exploring issues they feel are private and need confidentiality. Such sessions also help in resolving personal conflicts and facing deep fears that may be the cause of depression.
Here, as the name suggests, the willing family members participate in the counseling session to help uncover the issues causing mental distress. Together they explore ways of supporting the depressed member to overcome.
Psychiatrists, counseling psychologists, and clinical social workers conduct therapy sessions after acquiring relevant training and certification.
Ancient medical practitioners of the Orient gifted the world acupuncture as a method of relieving many types of mental and physical discomforts. Not only has acupuncture been effective, but it has stood the test of time and is favored today as a therapeutic procedure.
An acupuncture session involves inserting hair-thin needles into specific points on the body and this facilitates relief. Through this thought process, the body is encouraged to heal itself by producing antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and pain-relieving chemicals.
In the case of depression, acupuncture brings about the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. In the end, it balances the mood and regulates behavior to ease depression.
Emotional Support Animal Therapy
Taking care of an animal as a pet brings emotional comfort and experts cannot understate the positive impact of a pet’s unconditional affection on mental imbalances. Dogs, dolphins, and horses come highly recommended for the program.
The idea of emotional support animals is based on training an animal and registering it to provide specific support to people who have challenges in coping with daily responsibilities.
The challenges could arise from a physical or mental debilitation, or when a patient needs palliative care due to a chronic or terminal illness.
Authorities allow holders to travel with the animals. The certified professional in charge of your animal gives you an ESA letter of recommendation to allow you to take the animal with you even to animal restricted areas and without requiring a pet deposit fee.
Well, as the animal becomes a faithful and fun companion, the patient focuses on taking care of it which reduces introspection and depression. The animals, especially the canines receive training to assist the patient in running some errands. What better way to bring your smile back than playing fetch with your furry friend!
This is where a patient wears motion sensors that simulate 3D experiences which alter the perception of an authentic environment. They exploit three processes involving distraction, exposure, and training of the mind.
The 3D experience can be used to conjure pleasing and calming virtual settings as a distraction from negative thoughts. The training aspect of this therapy lets the practitioner use it to train the patient’s mind to unlearn negative responses to worrying situations. This premise holds that depressive behavior can be unlearned by exposing the brain to repeated acceptable stimulation.
Everybody wishes to lead a happy life full of vigor and productivity. The challenges of daily life can bog you down and cloud your emotions. Nevertheless, you can fight back these feelings by choosing to focus on positive aspects and believing that things will work out anyhow.
To do this successfully, you can engage in activities you enjoy to distract you from the overwhelming sadness.
Make a conscious choice to appreciate the many positive things going for you instead of focusing on the dark aspects of your life, even imagined ones.
Have some chamomile tea
What makes chamomile tea special? Unlike other types of tea, chamomile contains chrysin and flavonoids. These elements induce relaxation and sleep. Its other benefits include its functions as an:
Seek out happy larks
If you keep the company of gloomy people, their mood will rub on to you. Joy can be infectious and the kind of company you expose yourself to can gradually affect your mental health. Hanging around happy people encourages you to adopt healthy and positive behavior and attitudes that help you to sustain your recovery.
Taking some time from your schedule to go out for some groceries is another way of distracting yourself. The attractive array of fresh farm produce at the grocery whets your appetite and you can start visualizing your exploits when you get back to your kitchen. You see this takes away your mind from your depressive thoughts.
The shopping mall indulges your eyes with its variety of products of different sizes, colors, and shapes, aisles upon aisles of numerous options. What about going to your favorite boutique and trying on some clothes, and a stopover at the free makeover for your face. The possibilities seem endless and your joy abounds.
Avoid retrogressive habits
Avoid engaging in habits that provide momentary pleasure but backtrack your recovery. Taking alcohol or narcotics and engaging in binge eating later eat into your self-esteem and overall health. Such behaviors deepen your depression and expose you to addictions and other mental health problems.
In the end, you are in control of your destiny even if it does not feel like it. By committing yourself to a recovery schedule, you focus your will and effort into leading a happy and fruitful life. Remember too, that the quality of our lives affects those around us.
Fortunately, the road to recovery is sure and you will come out healthier and more positive of the circumstances in your life to enjoy your life fully.
Dogs are human’s best friends in many ways. One particular way is when they function not only as companions and members of the family but in addition, as a personal assistant in healthcare situations. If you suffer from a disease or disability, you may benefit greatly from the support of a trustworthy and loyal animal. Our canine friends are well able to serve us when we need their help.
ESAs and service dogs are often mistaken for one another. They do indeed perform similar functions. There are clear distinctions, however, between the two. It is important for you to learn about these differences so that you will be able to obtain the help you may need from these specialized animals. The main differentiating factor regards their functions.
How do They function?
Service and ESA dogs provide different types of care for their human companions. They are trained for separate tasks. A service dog is specially taught how to perform specific jobs and key tasks for a person who suffers from a physical, emotional, or cognitive disability and cannot do these actions for themselves. A few examples of the tasks that service dogs perform include visual functions for those without sight and hearing for those who are deaf. By contrast, an ESA functions as a highly specialized and trustworthy companion for someone needing emotional or cognitive therapeutic support. ESAs help people heal.
Are They Certified?
Because these two types of caring animals perform different service functions, they are certified differently as well. Only specially trained dogs qualify to be service dogs. These dogs are generally acquired through a service dog agency. On the other hand, an ESA can be almost any dog or even another animal such as a cat or horse. In the case of a person who needs an ESA, a mental health professional or a doctor will provide a diagnosis of the condition being helped by the animal. Additionally, they will provide a letter certifying how the ESA will benefit the individual.
As a general rule, service dogs are offered legal protections while ESAs are generally not. The legal protection for service dogs is provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act. ESA’s do not receive this type of federal protection.
Examples of Therapy Provided by ESAs
ESAs in particular can be extremely useful for those with emotional issues. In addition to providing unconditional love and affection, animals perceive human moods by people’s body language, actions, and tone of voice. ESAs can be helpful for those suffering from depression, PTSD, anxiety, agoraphobia (fear of being away from home), aerophobia (fear of flying), and social shyness, to name but a few. Many doctors have noted vast improvements in their patients after developing a relationship with an ESA. Patients report increased confidence and comfort, a boost in self-esteem, decreased shyness, and higher degrees of motivation.
The majority of ESAs are dogs. In a typical example, a young lady presented that her biggest fear was flying. She complained that her anxiety started from the time she obtained her tickets until the time of the flight itself. Since she found out about emotional support digs and teamed up with one, her anxiety about flying has been greatly reduced. The dog accompanies her on every flight.
ESAs are not restricted to our canine friends. Horses can be excellent ESAs. Horses used in therapeutic work demonstrate exceptional patience, perception, and gentleness. Therapeutic horses may be large animals or smaller ponies. They are particularly selected to be able to put people at ease in their presence.
Let Your Helper Dog Be Visible to Others
Whether you have a certified service dog or an ESA, it is often useful to help other people understand that your dog is performing special functions for you. You’d like it to be distinguished from other types of dogs.
If you are using a service dog, let them stand out by giving them a special-colored vest to wear. This makes the dog easily identifiable, and will likely enable you to enter places of business and other venues free of hassles.
If you have an ESA, consider carrying a medical ESA letter regarding the utility of your dog. By doing so you will clearly be able to communicate that your dog is a personal assistant if the need should arise.
About Mango Clinic
At Mango Clinic, your health, and wellbeing are extremely important to us. We offer low-cost options, reliable care, and flexible solutions for your treatment plans. We can help you obtain an ESA letter as needed. You will find us to be very flexible in the ways we can work with you. Please contact us today.
You’ve attempted to lose weight, be more actively fit, and eat healthier overall. No matter how many carbs and sugars you stay away from, or the hours you put in of exercise, it seems the extra pounds won’t drop. Perhaps in times of stress, you give in to temptation and suddenly, clothes are becoming tighter. We recognize that losing weight and maintaining it isn’t always easy. It may seem even more difficult when you are stuck at home unable to go to the gym or work with a trainer. You may feel sluggish, unmotivated, or even isolated as sitting at home to “Netflix and chill” takes on new meaning. The problem is, we won’t be in quarantine forever and you don’t want to emerge looking like you’ve eaten a football field full of ice cream (even if you have). What can you do during quarantine to stay on track and be held accountable?
If you are struggling with your weight you have options with us at the Mango Clinic and we are here to help you. Most individuals will not seek out a weight loss center or clinic unless they are considered obese. First, remember that when planning to lose weight in quarantine or not, there are basic rules that do not change. Take in less energy than you burn and you’ll lose weight. If you have other health-associated problems because of your weight, chances are those areas will improve as well once you work our program.
Obesity is generally defined using Body Mass Index or for short “BMI”. BMI is the ratio between your weight and height. A BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 is considered healthy. Waist circumference is a second measure to consider when looking at obesity. Too much fat around the waist is an indicator of health problems. For women, a waist greater than 35 inches and men a waist greater than 40 inches is a risk factor. Together, these measures combined give a good idea of obesity. In its simplest form, obesity is caused by an energy imbalance. Food is an energy source for your body. If you eat more than your body uses, the excess is stored as fat. The basic principle behind weight loss is fixing that energy imbalance.
Weight Loss Options
There are two ways to restore the balance between calorie intake and fat storage: Medical Non-surgical Weight Loss and Surgical Weight Loss. Non-surgical weight loss, in particular, includes dietary advice specific to your health and lifestyle, behavior modification, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exercise therapy. At Mango Clinic, we focus on non-surgical weight loss solutions, which is a good option for people with a BMI of 35 and below who don’t have additional health problems.
Be sure to obtain nutritional counseling from our experts who will guide your meal intake. In particular, eat all colors of the rainbow for a healthy variety of low-sugar fruits and vegetables. Including fiber will help you feel fuller longer, resisting unhealthy snacks, and drinking cleansing water will all help you progress.
Consider online workouts with a certified trainer through social media and YouTube. Or simply do unscripted and easy activities at home that you can incorporate throughout your regular day such as gardening, walking your dog, or playing with your kids in your backyard.
Though nutritious eating and fitness are the foundations for creating a healthy lifestyle that is long-lasting, it doesn’t do much for fighting cravings or reducing appetite. It could be in your best interest to supplement with FDA approved prescription medications for weight loss such as Lorcaserin or Orlistat. We can create a winning combination customized for you.
Although typically used to serve patients who have trouble leaving their homes due to a medical condition or from some type of phobia, it has proven increasingly popular and the top choice to practice safe medicine during the quarantine. As in person, we have the ability to create an individualized approach to your weight loss journey and can prescribe treatments that are necessary. In this way, we can focus on your medical, nutritional as well as psychological and social needs.
Some Final Thoughts
In addition to the above options, we recommend joining a support group to help keep you accountable. There’s no substitute for the camaraderie and emotional support derived from a group of people on a similar path. Valuable insights can be discovered that help you better understand your relationship with food and others can share their experiences. Don’t delay in scheduling an in-person consultation if that’s the direction you ultimately need to take. As it is safe to do so, we will offer face to face visits with modified protocols to allow time for extra sterilization so that our patients and team members are protected.
Anxiety affects so many people worldwide that it qualifies to be labeled a modern plague. The mental disorder already contributes significantly to the rise of the global mortality rate. What makes it one of the biggest health concerns of our generation is that its effects can be felt deeply by the families and loved ones of the affected individuals.
Contrary to popular belief, anxiety is not just a mental illness that changes how your brain works. Its negative impact can be so severe that it affects all aspects of daily life.
Some of the notable first victims of anxiety are your self-esteem, economic well-being, day-to-day life, and finally, romantic and social relationships. Anxiety quietly escalates from a tool of personal torment to a chaotic force that wreaks havoc on a person’s entire livelihood.
As luck would have it, anxiety is not a problem that goes away if you ignore it. As a matter of fact, turning a blind eye to the problem always leads to severe repercussions. The first step to solving any problem, especially one as devious and persistent as anxiety disorder, is to learn all you can about it.
In this guide, I uncover the truths and realities of anxiety disorder to equip you with all the tools you need to rid yourself of the debilitating condition. In addition to its origins, causes, signs, and symptoms, I will discuss the various treatment strategies for anxiety, including the appropriate homeopathic and pharmaceutical avenues you can take to manage its symptoms.
By the end of this comprehensive anxiety guide, you will understand everything about the mental condition, including the underlying causes, triggers, and how it manifests. You will also learn how to effectively manage the mild, moderate, and severe symptoms of anxiety, and how to permanently break free from the vice-like grip of anxiety disorder.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – Anxiety and Its Historical Expressions
Chapter 2 – The Etiology, Pathophysiology, and Complications of Anxiety
Chapter 3 – Classification of Anxiety Disorders (And their Signs and Symptoms)
Chapter 4 – Self-Diagnosis and Screening Tools for Anxiety
Chapter 5 – Recent Findings from Anxiety Research (2020 Update)
Chapter 6 – How to Manage Anxiety without Medication
Chapter 7 – Treating Anxiety with Anxiolytic Drugs
Chapter 8 – How to Overcome an Anxiety Attack on Your Own
Chapter 9 – Anxiety Success Stories and Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Tidbits
Chapter 1- Anxiety and Its Historical Expressions
What is anxiety?
Why do we get anxious?
How long have human beings been dealing with the adversities of anxiety disorder?
This chapter defines and explains what anxiety is, where it comes from, and when it is classified as a disorder. It also touches on some famous historical expressions of the mental imbalance. It highlights the turning point of anxiety from a reflexive mental state that protects us, to a debilitating psychological condition that ruins our way of living.
What is Anxiety?
The clinical definition of anxiety is that it is a mental state that manifests emotionally as feelings of fear, worry, tension. And physically, like elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, and nervous behavior.
Why do we Get Anxious?
Anxiety is the mind’s natural response to pending danger. It is the brain’s way of signaling to the rest of the body that something terrible is about to happen, so we should be alert and prepared. Under normal circumstances, anxiety is a useful reflexive emotion that keeps us alert to external threats.
On the other hand, runaway anxiety is hugely destructive. Imagine being constantly terrified, fearful, depressed, or panicked. The emotional toll it will have on you is significant. However, anxiety disorder doesn’t just affect us emotionally. Over time, it can have dire physical and mental implications.
There’s no quick and easy way to describe anxiety. It is an amalgamation of behavioral responses, fearful thoughts, and physical changes that emerge when our minds respond to a perceived threat.
It doesn’t have to be a significant threat. You can get anxious before a visit to the dentists’ office. You can also get worried when your boss calls you into his office abruptly. Anxiety is simply how our minds prepare our bodies for a threat it senses in our future. It can also be a response to a negative experience from our past.
The reality is that everyone gets anxious. In small doses, anxiety is vital to our survival. Think about it. Before crossing the road, you look both ways to make sure no vehicles are coming, and use a crosswalk to stay safe. That is anxiety driving you to keep yourself from harm, even if there are no vehicles nearby.
Anxiety is, therefore, an entirely rational response to perceived danger until it becomes excessive, intense, and out of control. This crucial defense mechanism that keeps us safe from external hazards suddenly starts to eat at our mental and physical health from the inside out.
Historical Expressions of Anxiety
To say that anxiety is a recent problem would be inaccurate. Throughout the civilized history of mankind, great minds have discussed anxiety disorder at length in an attempt to define it and understand it.
The great evolutionary theorist was no stranger to the workings of the mind. Darwin defined anxiety as the product of adaptive emotions. He suggested that anxiety emerges when our behavioral psychology evolves radically, hinting at mania and psychopathy as two prime examples of drastic emotional adaptation.
Cannon pinpointed the origin of anxiety to the thalamus, the part of the brain responsible for behaviors like anger, fear, and the ‘fight or flight’ response. Cannon’s expressions are in line with modern perceptions of the thalamus, which is the trigger for all emotions and is responsible for involuntary actions (like breathing), and organ functioning.
Russian physiologist Pavlov made historically significant contributions to the study of anxiety when he conducted experiments with a trained dog. He concluded that the brain could develop agitated behavioral patterns in the wake of excessive or constant inhibitory and excitatory stimuli.
Suffocation – The False Alarm Theory of Panic Disorder
This 1993 publication by Klein suggests that the cause of many panic attacks (which are a symptom of acute anxiety disorder) is the brain’s ‘suffocation monitor.’ The brain erroneously signals a lack of breathable air, which in turn causes the victim to hyperventilate, experience increased heart rate and blood pressure, and even lose consciousness.
The theory proposed that a rise in plasma CO2 levels and brain lactate was enough to send the body into a state of dyspnea and hyperventilation, even when there was no real threat of suffocation. This theory shows just how badly the mind can cause the body to overreact due to anxiety.
Why Anxiety is a Big Problem Today?
Before humans settled into civilizations, we were exposed to a host of environmental dangers as well as threats from other humans from different communities. Back then, the only real cause for anxiety was social isolation and poor grooming habits. We understood enough to know that we needed each other and that we needed to keep our bodies clean.
Fast forward to the 21st Century, where modern problems have morphed the leading cause of anxiety into a plethora of reasons. There is a lot more to be uncertain about in the intricate settings we’ve created for ourselves. We have school fees to think about. The mortgage is due every month. Our relationships need work and attention. We are overwhelmed by the amount of work on our plate.
Anxiety has developed astronomically over the centuries and is now one of the biggest mental disorders on the planet. On our path to understanding it, we have gone back in time to gather evidence and examples. But the real secret to stopping anxiety is to learn how it affects the body and the mind at a personal level.
All this is covered in the next chapter, which explores anxiety and its effects on the human body. For further reading on the origin and history of anxiety, you can find a thorough publication here.
Chapter 2- The Etiology, Pathophysiology, and Complications of Anxiety
How does the body react to anxiety?
What are the changes that occur when in a state of anxiety?
What causes these changes?
To better understand how to manage the symptoms of anxiety, you first need to know how it starts. This requires a closer look at the origin of anxiety on your body and the effects it has on your physical and mental wellbeing.
This chapter will walk you through the underlying causes of anxiety, the symptoms that manifest first, and the complications that anxiety brings so that you’re in a better position to grasp the anxiety management strategies that we will talk about later in the guide.
What Causes Anxiety?
Think about the last time you were anxious. Was it the time you were confronted by a bully on your way home? Was it when you forgot your wallet at home only to find out at the check-out counter?
You might not remember precisely when it was, and that’s okay. However, it is impossible to forget the sickening feeling of your stomach dropping when faced with a stressful situation. That’s how anxiety feels like, and everyone has felt it at least once before.
If we go with the American Psychological Association’s definition of anxiety, which is “a future-oriented concern that cautions you to avoid stressful situations,” we see that anxiety is a response to an unknown threat that is yet to appear. You can’t overcome anxiety if you don’t know what you’re anxious about in the first place!
So, the first step to overcoming anxiety is knowing what causes fear. That’s what I will cover in this chapter.
In psychological circles, overthinking is also known as ‘rumination.’ To ruminate is to go over something repeatedly, casually, and slowly. Animals known as ruminants are called so because they regurgitate food they’ve already eaten, and eat it again. In relation to the human mind, rumination can be described as the act of focusing all your attention on your distress and its consequences, but not its solutions.
Overthinking happens when you take even the slightest problems that you have and repeatedly visualize its consequences. In the process, your mind begins to exaggerate the problem, essentially turning that molehill into a mountain of depressive and anxious thoughts.
Overthinking is the leading cause of stress and anxiety. It can lead you to stress and obsess over the tiniest problems.
Just like ruminating on your problems is a bad idea, fixating on your achievements can be a slippery slope too. You may be an exceptional individual that is blessed with talents to help you achieve academic, romantic, and social success.
But when you become obsessed with achieving more out of your job, relationship, or academics, you put your mind and body at risk. It’s okay to be an over-achiever, to work overtime, and to stay ahead of your peers.
However, it should never be at your health’s expense. High expectations lead to overworking, and if you make it a habit, you might find yourself unable to relax. Being unproductive can cause severe spells of anxiety if you get into the habit of working continuously.
We live in the age of popularity where our value is determined by the quality and quantity of our interactions on social media. The need to please everyone can be overwhelming and is a present danger to our peace of mind.
Low self-esteem is the apparent result of the thorough scrutiny one receives on every text, status update, blog post, and the image they upload on the Internet. After a while, you begin to attach your value to how many responses you get on a post, or how popular your social media pages are.
We go through tremendous pressure to impress with each breath we take. It is then not surprising that social media is one of the biggest causes of anxiety in our era.
Living with a negative mindset is comparable to putting your mind in jail. Pessimism forces the best of us to dwell on negative thoughts and predict nothing but negative consequences for our actions. It is a dark, joyless abyss that continually puts your brain on edge. With an inability to calm down and relax, anxiety becomes inevitable.
Humans have evolved a sense of self-preservation so strong that we are incapable of living in bliss and harmony for our entire lives. The mind doesn’t forget, and a traumatic past is sometimes the unexpected cause of a bout of anxiety.
We are all molded by our past, but as much as we’d prefer to let bygones be bygones, our brain is constantly reminding us of the traumatic events that shaped our present. This deep-seated fear of the horrible past repeating itself sometimes evolves into a vicious cycle that spawns a particularly ruthless form of anxiety known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which we will talk about in-depth.
Environmental Causes of Anxiety
Our surroundings are constantly changing in this fast-paced world. It’s not easy to adapt to everything new immediately. Most people have trouble leaving their comfort zones, which is a natural response to the fear of change.
On the one hand, the changing world is our cue as humans to be braver and more excited about discovering new things. On the other hand, not everyone is mentally equipped to deal with change. Sometimes, our anxiety is a direct result of our environment changing at a pace that makes us uncomfortable.
Anxiety can be passed down through generations, much like hereditary diseases. If your family has a history of mental disorders like depression and anxiety, it might explain why you suffer from anxiety, even in the absence of the psychological and environmental factors we’ve discussed.
Sometimes it all boils down to a chemical imbalance in your brain. This imbalance might be inherited, or it could be the result of a severe head injury. Trauma can change the way brain cells send and receive signals, making you more likely to react vigorously to small negative incidents.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Some drugs are known to exacerbate our natural anxiety. However, the most prominent drug-related cause for anxiety is withdrawal. Quitting a drug addiction thrusts your body into a state of withdrawal, which famously leads to extreme anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.
The Pathophysiology of Anxiety
On your path to understanding anxiety, you may have encountered various abstract descriptions of how the mental disorder is formed. The reality is there is a distinct physiological process behind the onset of anxiety disorder.
Here is what you need to know.
When you encounter a wild animal or sink into a period of anxiety-fuelled rumination, you activate the body’s hormonal system. It is called the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system. Triggering the hormonal system results in the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that puts your body in a state of hyper-alertness. It also inspires the release of another hormone, the corticotropin-releasing hormone, which releases corticotropin, another stress hormone.
All this is perfectly fine under normal circumstances. But, when your mind is continuously agitated, stressed, or anxious, a severe problem starts to develop.
The corticotropin-releasing hormone is vulnerable to genetic polymorphism. That means if activated too frequently, it can stay activated. Your body has mechanisms to check the release of the stress hormone because staying in a state of alertness is mentally and physically exhausting. However, repeated and prolonged spells of anxiety repress the gene that controls the release of stress hormones.
What follows is that your stress levels skyrocket, and with no inhibitors to dump the stress hormone out of your system, you continuously become anxious.
Anxiety would be almost non-threatening if the disorder stuck to the confines of the mind. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. Anxiety interferes with the functioning of the sensorimotor system, which is responsible for our senses, motor responses, and nerve function.
Complications and Long-Term Side-Effects of Anxiety
Even though your anxiety may seem like an insurmountable issue on its own, it gets worse. There are grave long-term ramifications of anxiety, which can make the condition ten times worse. Here are the common complications and side-effects associated with long-term anxiety.
Anxiety and depression are what we refer to as “twin problems.” One almost always accompanies the other. Despite their relationship, these two are interminably different and require different strategies and medications. Studies are still ongoing to prove that anxiety can lead to depression and vice versa.
That said, depression and anxiety share a number of symptoms, including:
Interrupted sleep cycles
Anxiety is responsible for a gastric disorder that affects about 20 percent of the American population. That disorder is known as involuntary bowel syndrome (IBS) and is characterized by sharp upper abdominal pain. Studies show that the majority of these people also suffer from anxiety.
The National Institute of Health Research estimates that 60 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from a long-term sleeping disorder. Problems like insomnia don’t usually manifest organically. Sometimes they come as a side-effect of pharmaceutical drugs. However, in the absence of a blatant cause, anxiety is suspected as one of the leading reasons for disrupted sleep cycles and sleep disorders.
Chronic pain manifests in different ways, but only has a few causes. The leading cause of all illness is inflammation, and anxiety is one of the biggest inflammatory instigators in the human body. Unfortunately, most people treat their chronic pain as a separate issue, when, in reality, the problem that needs to be addressed is their anxiety.
Anxiety can cause erectile dysfunction in any male over the age of 20 years. The research says that it stems from the behavioral changes induced by anxiety, which is why some men find it challenging to sustain erections in stressful situations. Anxiety can impede any of the three mechanisms responsible for psychogenic, reflexive, and nocturnal erections.
To escape the vicious cycle of negative thoughts and fears, some people may opt for drugs and alcohol. Since none of these substances address anxiety at the root, they soon become a crutch that helps them to temporarily forget their problems. This behavior can easily lead to addiction and depression.
Anxiety disorder can be overwhelming to live with. The inability to turn off negative thoughts and feelings has a significant toll on the human mind. Sometimes, people view suicide as their only escape. Anxiety, at its most extreme, culminates in the horrific loss of life through suicide.
Can you pinpoint the cause of your anxiety?
Are you a victim of its side effects and complications?
Finding out if it affects you is a massive step in the right direction. After all, you can’t treat what you don’t have.
The next step is to identify the different types of anxiety disorders, which will help you develop a specific strategy to conquer it.
Chapter 3- Classification of Anxiety Disorders (And their Signs and Symptoms)
So far, I’ve touched on anxiety’s clinical definitions, historical expressions, etiology, pathophysiology, and complications. All this information has given you a better understanding of general anxiety.
Now, it’s time to sink our teeth into the details. Anxiety is further classified into:
Generalized anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder, and;
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Identifying the type of anxiety that plagues you is the key to learning how to manage its symptoms, and eventually free yourself from it.
Without further delay, let’s dive in.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This type of anxiety manifests as extreme distress to even the slightest negative situation. A person with GAD will always expect the worst out of any situation, be it their job, family life, or future. The problems they obsess over may not even hold real-world implications.
To qualify for a GAD diagnosis, the person must experience this form of anxiety for at least six months, and exhibit the following signs and symptoms for at least three:
Feelings of impending danger
Increased heart rate
Females are twice as likely to suffer from GAD than makes. This type of anxiety starts to creep in at the end of childhood and can last all the way to your 30s and 40s. Most people with GAD can tell that they’re overreacting but have no way to control their worrying. It is an unfortunate situation that often leads to escalated anxiety and, gradually, panic.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental illness that is characterized by overthinking and compulsive behavior. A compulsion is an irresistible urge to do something even when you don’t understand why you’re doing it. This form of anxiety is famous for causing intrusive thoughts and mindlessly repeated actions.
An example of OCD can be witnessed in people who bite their nails in nervous situations. They may be well aware that they shouldn’t be doing that, but they cannot control the urge to do so anyway.
OCD manifests in very odd situations, from counting to organizing, cleaning, and even talking. For instance, if you have to wash your hands three times every time you use the toilet, or are compelled to arrange everything in your house to be parallel to each other, you may have OCD.
OCD can be further classified into four types:
Contamination OCD (where you don’t want to touch objects for fear of contamination)
Rumination OCD (where you obsessively think about specific thoughts)
Checking OCD (where you repeatedly check on something, such as whether you turned the oven off)
Symmetry OCD (where you need everything around you to be in perfect symmetry)
OCD is, by far, the most diverse form of anxiety. As such, there are many symptoms to look out for. They include:
A need to count things
Extreme paranoia about people who are close to you
Unwarranted submissive behavior
Continuous body sensations (such as itchiness, heat, or cold)
OCD manifests during the teenage years. Like GAD, it is also more prevalent in women than in men.
PTSD comes after you experience or witness a traumatic event. It could be a car crash, seeing a murder, watching a loved one die, or even experiencing a traumatic injury. People who go through such trauma often have a hard time re-adjusting, and when this goes on for months, or even years, they can be diagnosed with PTSD.
PTSD prominently appears in the form of flashbacks, sleep issues, and night terrors. Most soldiers come back from the war with PTSD due to the graphic and inhumane nature of combat. In any case, symptoms of PTSD include:
Avoidance (of thoughts, memories, or other people)
Altered emotional reactions
Children who have PTSD may also exhibit the following symptoms:
Speech problems (slurred speech)
PTSD patients have to relive their worst moments every day. Experiencing these symptoms regularly can have a dramatic effect on a person’s day-to-day life, and it can alter their brain chemistry permanently. PTSD sufferers are highly susceptible to suicidal thoughts and may also be prone to violent outbursts, hallucinating, and even psychosis.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
SAD manifests itself as the fear of social environments. People with SAD may experience extreme discomfort in typical social situations. They find it hard to talk to other people or even visit crowded places.
SAD causes the brain to formulate negative assumptions about other people and the environment. This negativity culminates in fear of the non-existent. It is not uncommon for panic attacks to arise when a person with SAD is forced to stay in a social setting.
The physical symptoms of SAD are:
Despite its severity, SAD affects about 50 percent of people aged 11 and under, and up to 80 percent of people between 12 and 20. It is quite pervasive and, therefore, normalized, which explains why few people seek medical attention for the condition.
If you suspect that you have one of these four types of anxiety but cannot be sure, the next chapter is specifically for you.
Chapter 4- Self-Diagnosis and Screening Tools for Anxiety
Are you a victim of anxiety?
Most of us are, but we have no way of knowing that.
In this chapter, I provide a set of screening tools and information that will help you determine whether you have anxiety and the specific type of anxiety that you have. In addition to those, I will list down some general anxiety symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Even though anxiety is a familiar feeling, the symptoms of anxiety vary from person to person. The same can be said about the frequency and intensity of the symptoms. Your type of anxiety vastly dictates how you manifest the disorder. While OCD pushes you to compulsiveness, SAD might cause you to isolate yourself from the rest of the world.
Be that as it may, anxiety affects the body in a pretty standard way. As the instigator of the ‘fight or flight’ reaction, it may result in a few common symptoms for all people who have anxiety. These include:
Muscle tension – tensed up muscles are the first physical sign of anxiety. However, there is debate as to whether anxiety causes muscle tension or muscle tension causes stress and anxiety.
Panic attacks – people with a long history of anxiety are more likely to experience panic attacks, even if their anxiety is instigated by something minor.
Sinus tachycardia – this fancy term simply refers to an increased heart rate, which is a telltale sign of stress and anxiety. This condition progresses in severity the longer your anxiety is left untreated. It can, sometimes, even turn out to be life-threatening, causing cardiac arrests or otherwise interfering with the normal functioning of the heart.
Insomnia – Anxiety is part of the trifecta (the other two are stress and depression) that is notorious for causing sleep issues such as insomnia.
Constipation – Bowel movements can be affected by anxiety too. When there is no other cause for constipation, it may be possible that the problem is a psychogenic side-effect of anxiety.
Self-Screening for Anxiety Disorders
Self-evaluation is critical when determining whether you have anxiety and how severe it is. Below, I have compiled a series of precise questionnaires to serve as screening tests for all four types of anxiety disorders. These tests apply to people of all ages and health conditions.
It is essential to take part in the screening test before moving on to the other chapters, which will talk about the ways to manage your anxiety.
GAD Screening Questionnaire
Do you worry about several things over the course of a day? Has that been the norm for the past few weeks/months/years? (YES/NO)
Is your tendency to worry increasing in frequency and/or intensity? (YES/NO)
Is it hard to stop worrying once you get started? (YES/NO)
Do you obsess over the most insignificant things, such as arriving late at work? (YES/NO)
References-Newman, M. G., Zuellig, A. R., Kachin, K. E., Constantino, M. J., Przeworski, A., Erickson, T., & Cashman-McGrath, L. (2002). Preliminary reliability and validity of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire-IV: A revised self-report diagnostic measure of generalized anxiety disorder. Behavior Therapy, 33, 215-233. doi: 10.1016/S0005-7894(02)80026-0
OCD Screening Questionnaire
Do you experience unpleasant intrusive thoughts or impulses? (YES/NO)
Are you always worried about germs? (YES/NO)
Do you experience shortness of breath for no apparent cause? (YES/NO)
Have you, in the last few days, experienced a sensation of weakness in the legs? (YES/NO)
Do you find it hard to throw out things even when you don’t need them? (YES/NO)
Have you recently altered your eating or sleeping habits? (YES/NO)
Over the course of last year, were you arrested or fined as a direct consequence of alcohol or substance abuse? (YES/NO)
References-Goodman, WK, Price LH, et al. The Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS): Part 1. Development, use, and reliability. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 46:1006-1011 (1989). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), American Psychiatric Association, 1994, Washington, D.C
PTSD Screening Questionnaire
Have you experienced/witnessed a life-threatening event that still makes you fearful today? (YES/NO)
Do you experience repeated feelings of distress, unpleasant flashbacks, or nightmares? (YES/NO)
Do you experience intense physical or emotional pain when you think of an event from your past? (YES/NO)
Do you actively avoid conversations and thoughts about a traumatic event from your past? (YES/NO)
Do you harbor negative beliefs about yourself? (YES/NO)
Do you feel isolated from other people? (YES/NO)
Are you in a continuously negative emotional state? (YES/NO)
Do you have problems sleeping? (YES/NO)
Do you have problems concentrating? (YES/NO)
References- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing
SAD Screening Questionnaire
Do you have an intense fear of social situations? (YES/NO)
Do you have trouble with social interactions? (YES/NO)
Do you feel extreme discomfort under observation? (YES/NO)
Does the thought of getting in a social situation make your heart pound? (YES/NO)
Is your fear of socializing a present feature in your daily life? (YES/NO)
Do you feel worthless and ashamed for no reason? (YES/NO)
Have you been arrested before for alcohol or drug abuse? (YES/NO)
Reference- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.
If you’ve answered yes to more than one question in each of the above questionnaires, you should consider seeing a primary care physician. These questionnaires only help you confirm whether you have anxiety or not. If you still feel uncertain, here is a more detailed survey to help you out.
This guide (2020 update) is merely a resource for all the questions and concerns you might have about anxiety. For a full diagnosis, visit a hospital for further evaluation.
The next chapter covers the most recent findings on the anxiety that are based on scientific evidence.
Chapter 5- Recent Findings from Anxiety Research (2020 Update)
This guide would not be complete if I didn’t touch on some of the recent findings in the study of anxiety.
I’ve carefully selected a handful of relevant and recent studies with science-backed evidence to help you better understand how anxiety management tactics are changing.
This chapter is all about the most recent anxiety research (2020 update), including new findings and the latest anxiety management trends from around the globe.
Anxiety is a Major Contributor to Quality-Adjusted Life-Year Loss
The quality-adjusted life-year, or QALY for short, is a measure of the burden of living with a disease in relation to the quality and quantity of the life lived. If you’ve lived one QALY, that means you’ve spent a year in perfect health.
According to a 2020 Composite International Diagnostic study conducted by the World Health Organization in Singapore, GAD and OCD are two of the top five leading causes of QALY loss. Conclusions that were drawn from the study revealed that these two forms of anxiety are some of the worst mental conditions to live with and that they gradually lead to severe societal and psychological implications.
The study also revealed that mental disorders, in general, mostly affect females, young people, unemployed people, and people with low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Gamers Are at a High Risk of Anxiety
The gaming culture, which was already prevalent in Korea, Japan, and China, has now reached Africa. Gamers stand a higher risk of suffering from anxiety, according to recent findings. Despite the lack of prior statistics on the impact of video games in Africa, there is cause for concern following the results of a 2020 research.
According to the study, there is a notable rise in anxiety symptoms like sinus tachycardia, insomnia, depression, and panic attacks across different age groups and health brackets in Africa. It appears that Africa is wading knee-deep in an aggressive onslaught of gaming-induced anxiety that spawns from the increased accessibility to video game consoles like
The PlayStation and the Xbox.
Curiously, smartphone addiction faces the blame for Africa’s rapidly growing technology craze. The situation has deteriorated so quickly due to technology that a considerable portion of the population now suffers from anxiety disorders and a host of other mental illnesses.
Female Redheads Are More Likely to Have Anxiety
Even though only 2 percent of Europeans have red hair, science says that redheads are more likely to get anxiety disorders, especially if they’re female. The explorative study showed that even though redheaded men were similarly prone to anxiety, females were more likely to experience a severe form of the condition in their lifetime.
How can this bias be explained scientifically?
Redheads are also known for their fair/pale complexions, which is indicative of low receptor activity. The receptor in question is the MC1R gene, which is responsible for skin and hair pigmentation. In redheads, this gene is suppressed, which is the reason behind the red color of their hair.
Red pigmentation has less protective benefits than black and brown pigmentation, which means redheads get exposed to more UV radiation than everyone else. Excessive exposure to UV rays causes undue oxidative stress on the cells, which can lead to permanent DNA damage.
The statistics went on to say that unlike their redheaded counterparts, women with black or brown hair and darker skin are less susceptible to mental disorders.
Anxiety during Pregnancy Can Lead to Complications
Pregnant women are often advised to avoid stress and for a good reason. Unlike the rest of us, anxiety and stress affect not only the psychological health of expectant mothers but also the health of the fetus. It also amplifies existing medical conditions, which can turn out to be dangerous for the baby.
How dangerous can anxiety be to a pregnant woman?
First of all, there is the risk of developing preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication that comes about as a result of high blood pressure. There is also eclampsia, a condition that causes seizures in pregnant women. You don’t need a medical degree to know that that is dangerous to both the baby and the mother.
Doctors are more likely to recommend caesarian sections if the woman arrives at the maternity ward, looking tense and stressed out. There is an incredibly high risk of hurting the fetus during childbirth if anxiety is a present factor.
Anxiety is totally treatable in pregnant women. In fact, another study confirmed that taking anxiety medication while pregnant does not directly cause complications.
Early Life Stress is a Major Cause of Anxiety
A study has confirmed that early life stress (ELS) is a precursor to late-adulthood anxiety. Previously, late-adulthood anxiety was challenging to screen due to the cumulative negative effect of stress over the course of a person’s life. Anxiety becomes harder to diagnose the older we grow because there are several clinical and subclinical symptoms to observe.
However, these new findings reinforce the notion that ELS plays a significant role in instigating anxiety during our golden years.
What exactly does that mean?
To put it simply, ELS could be the result of child abuse, maltreatment, a death in the family, or divorce. The findings show that people with negative childhood experiences, including a problematic upbringing due to low socioeconomic status, are predisposed to get anxiety in their senior years. There is still a lot of research to be done concerning early life stress and how it links late age anxiety.
Apart from making delicious bread and warding off vampires, garlic has another unusual use: it soothes anxiety!
According to a study, antioxidant-rich vegetables can reduce oxidative markers in the brain. However, no human trials have occurred yet; the test was conducted on rats.
After being divided into two groups, the first group received garlic treatment for ten days, while the other did not. At the end of the study, the garlic-treated group was observed to display less anxious behavior than the group that didn’t receive any treatment.
What can we conclude from this?
Garlic can help manage anxiety symptoms due to its ability to cut down oxidative stress in brain cells. A healthy brain does not easily develop behavioral patterns that are consistent with chronic anxiety.
Exposure Therapy as a Promising Anxiety Treatment
When something scares us, our first impulse is to get as far away from it as possible. Exposure therapy sounds counterintuitive because it forces you to face your fears, which doesn’t sound very fun.
However, it is practical, so that makes it an option worth considering. Exposure therapy is designed for people who want to get over their fears. And what better way is there to do so than to confront what terrifies you?
To avoid inducing even stronger bouts of anxiety (anxiety can escalate rapidly to a panic attack under sudden stress), exposure therapy occurs in a safe and controlled environment. Though the road to recovery is slow using this method, exposure therapy is extremely useful in eradicating avoidant behavior.
It also has a few different variations:
Virtual Reality (VR) Exposure
This type of exposure utilizes equipment to replicate the sounds, sights, and smells of the patient’s worst fears.
In Vivo Exposure
This method involves placing the patient in direct contact with the object that causes them anxiety.
This type of exposure encourages the patient to relive the traumatic events that cause them anxiety.
This form of therapy invokes memories of past events by simulating the physical sensations that the patient went through.
For this type of exposure, the patient is exposed to several objects of fear progressively based on the level of anxiety they inspire.
The patient is exposed to the object of his greatest fear first.
Objects of anxiety are introduced gradually after intermittent periods of relaxation exercises.
Why does exposure therapy work?
As people experience their worst fears over and over, they gradually stop being afraid of them. Exposure therapy weakens the haunting memory of a traumatic event. Over time, the memory and the feelings it inspires becomes less intense.
An unexpected perk of exposure therapy is that it re-instills a sense of confidence. Overcoming fear is a great achievement that empowers the person to be more capable of overcoming other fears and anxieties. It equips the patient with the ability to manage their mental health on their own.
Eradicating unwarranted fears is the whole point of anxiety therapy, and as far as that is concerned, exposure therapy is one of the most effective ways to manage anxiety disorder.
In the following chapters, we will dive a little deeper into the pharmacological and homeopathic treatments and anxiety management therapies used today. In order to gain complete control over your anxiety symptoms, you need to take action!
Let’s take a look at all the options that you have at your disposal.
Chapter 6- How to Manage Anxiety without Medication
Can you keep anxiety disorder in check without a prescription?
Undoubtedly, most people with anxiety have explored homeopathic options before going the pharmacological way. However, are you aware that non-pharmacological treatment can be just as effective in treating anxiety?
These therapies teach you how to relax and calm yourself out of a state of anxiety. That’s saying a lot. You see, most medicines alter your brain chemistry so that you don’t feel anxious anymore. But with these homeopathic methods, you address your anxiety at the root of it and learn how to cope with it.
Do these methods help to suppress all anxiety symptoms?
For the most part, yes. For instance, you can use these anxiety management therapies to suppress:
Behavioral symptoms – these include overprotective behavior, aggression, substance abuse, and compulsive behaviors.
Cognitive symptoms – these are such as worrying, negative thinking, panic attacks, inability to focus, daydreaming, and obsessions with body sensations.
Physical symptoms – these may be sweating, elevated heart rate, lethargy, dyspnea, tense muscles, weakness, nausea, shivering, fluctuating body temperature, the urge to urinate constantly, blurred vision, and chest tightness.
Read on to see all the possible ways you can manage these symptoms of anxiety without using medication.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychotherapy used to treat not just anxiety, but a wide array of mental issues as well. The therapy works by helping the patient discover the origins of negative thoughts and impulses, which can help them detect the habits and thinking patterns that induce anxiety.
Why is it practical?
Because it helps you unearth the underlying reasons behind your anxiety, which can be the key to stopping anxiety attacks permanently. Not only does it help you manage the symptoms of anxiety, but it also prevents you from relapsing, helps you control your emotions better, and trains you to overcome your emotional trauma.
Are there risks involved?
No, there’s nothing significant to speak of. However, it may force you into very uncomfortable situations with your therapist as you explore your mind to establish your objects of fear and overcome past emotional traumas. Let’s just say that these sessions can get really intimate.
How can you get CBT for your anxiety?
Find a qualified therapist. The higher their reputation is, the better for you.
Go over the expenses and payment plans first before starting the therapy.
Go over your symptoms as well as any other information that you may need to tell the therapist before you attend your first appointment.
If that sounds a little complex, here is a quick overview of the whole process:
First, the therapist listens to you to try to identify the main issues that plague your mind.
Then, they observe your thinking and try to interpret your thoughts to understand what you really mean.
The next step is the identification of negative cognitive patterns, which can be observed from the way you talk.
Finally, the therapist attempts to destroy all negative thinking patterns so that you can create new positive ones.
How reliable are the results?
Rather than address the underlying causes of your anxiety directly, CBT empowers you to deal with the symptoms and complications of anxiety without relying on anyone else. Over time, you become more adept at dealing with anxiety symptoms, which makes you more confident, happier, and optimistic about the future.
I touched on exposure therapy briefly in the previous chapter. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the treatment, including the conditions it treats and why it has such a high efficacy for anxiety management.
Exposure therapy can be used on the following mental health issues:
Like we mentioned, there are different techniques for exposure therapy. What will work for you depends on your anxiety and how well you respond to fear.
This type of exposure involves putting the patient in the situation that they fear most. For instance, if you have SAD, the therapy may place you in an environment that would typically make you fearful, such as a party. Most of the time, these environments are only simulations, so they give you plenty of room to adapt to their real-world equivalents.
Here, the patients are requested to imagine or think about all the situations and objects that make them anxious. After a period, they learn to cope better in the same stressful situations because they learn how to control the emotions that cause them anxiety. Also, repetitive imagination may weaken the actual memory of the traumatic event.
This method is particularly intense, and not recommended for all anxiety patients (some might react adversely to the sudden exposure of their worst fears). It is called the flooding method because the patient is exposed to the most fearful object first. On the upside, once the patient is able to overcome the most fearful stimuli, everything else is easier to cope with.
Regarded as the core concept of exposure therapy, systematic desensitization involves the gradual exposure of the patient to progressively more fearful objects as a means of helping them build a coping mechanism.
A sound coping mechanism can be a powerful tool to help you keep anxiety and its symptoms at bay.
Here’s an example of how the systematic desensitization of a car accident victim might look:
Step One: Looking at pictures of vehicles and roads.
Step Two: Watching footage of cars driving and/or racing.
Step Three: Discussing the possibility of a test drive.
Step Four: Meeting at the physical location for the ride (could be an empty parking lot)
Step Five: Sitting in the driver’s seat, fastening the seat belt, and checking the mirrors, tire pressure, etc., but not driving. This step is essential to getting over a fear of driving.
Step Six: Driving a car for a short distance.
All these steps happen in different sessions or at the pace recommended by the therapist. The reason why this therapy is useful in that it teaches relaxation techniques, first and foremost. Secondly, it eases the victim into their fears slowly by slowly so that they don’t get overwhelmed and relapse. Finally, it involves constant guidance and supervision, which makes the anxiety patient feel less alone, and therefore, less likely to feel distressed.
Breathing and Muscle Relaxation Exercises
Here is a simple way to calm your anxiety whenever it strikes using little more than your lungs.
Make sure you’re sitting comfortably. Place one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest. Breathe in deeply. The hand on your chest, ideally, should not move or should move only slightly. The hand on your stomach should move more prominently than the one on your chest.
Breathe in normally through your nose as you pay attention to your hands. Ensure that the hand on your stomach moves even if it is only slightly (that means you’re expanding your diaphragm).
For a while, keep breathing slowly, but through your mouth this time.
Repeat this process as many times as you need to feel calm again.
You can also practice muscle relaxation to help you quell and anxiety attack.
Sit comfortably, then slowly inhale through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.
Ball up your hand into a tight fist.
Squeeze the fist as hard as you can and hold the position for a few seconds. Focus on the tight feeling as hard as possible.
Slowly unclench your hand and feel the tension as it dissipates. Your hand should feel lighter and more relaxed.
Repeat the exercise with different muscle groups (your biceps, your calves, your abs, etc.) until your heart rate drops back to normal.
Biofeedback offers a play-by-play of the events that lead up to an anxiety attack. This form of therapy helps patients understand how their bodies react when they start becoming anxious. When you get anxious, your body gives off a number of signs, which are not usually perceptible by the victim. These include:
Fluctuating body temperature
ECG and EEG changes
Increased heart rate
Monitoring their bodies for these signs gives them insight about their anxiety, including its triggers and how quickly it develops into a full-blown attack. Getting real-time peek at the inner workings of their bodies assists them to deploy relaxation methods rapidly before the problem escalates.
References- Beck, A. T. (2005). Anxiety disorders and phobias: A cognitive perspective. Basic Books.
The therapies we’ve discussed are widely used today to treat the symptoms of anxiety. However, there is no guarantee that any one of them is 100% effective for everyone.
Sometimes, as is the case in severe anxiety disorder, medication is a necessity, not a choice. Some people suffer from such crippling anxiety that they can’t leave their homes without medication. Such people may find relief in the next chapter, where we will discuss the best pharmaceutical drugs for anxiety management.
Chapter 7- Treating Anxiety with Anxiolytic Drugs
When all else fails, the only hope for anxiety management comes in the form of prescription medication. These are the drugs used to treat severe instances of clinical anxiety, so expect them to be potent, and to have a few side effects.
Today, benzodiazepines are the most widely used anxiolytic drugs. They are safer and more effective than other options, so this is probably the first thing your doctor will prescribe.
Types of benzodiazepines include:
Triazolam (short action)
Alprazolam (intermediate action)
Flurazepam (long action)
How Benzodiazepines Treat Anxiety
Benzodiazepines have sedative properties. They affect the GABA receptor, which is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the CNS (central nervous system). GABA receptors are scattered all over the nervous system and the brain. They can be found in the thalamus, cerebral cortex, and limbic structures.
These anxiolytic drugs slow down brain activity in lower doses. At higher doses, they can even have a hypnotic affect. They’ve proven effective for treating symptoms that are consistent with PTSD, SAD, OCD, and GAD, as well as any anxiety-related phobias.
Benzodiazepines sometimes produce counterintuitive effects. Instead of making the patient calm and relax, they may induce agitation, mania, irritability, and even hallucinations!
It’s worth mentioning that some demographics are predisposed to these unwanted effects. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, geriatric patients, and substance abusers are at high risk of developing complications from the medication.
Benzodiazepines have different durations of action to better suit the various strains of anxiety.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs are more commonly used as anti-depressants. They inhibit serotonin reuptake. Serotonin is the “feel-good” hormone. In its absence, the brain can develop destructive thinking patterns such as the ones that lead to anxiety and depression.
SSRIs also come with milder side effects than most of the other anxiolytic drugs we will discuss. Some common SSRIs include:
How SSRIs Treat Anxiety
SSRIs stop the reuptake of serotonin, therefore leaving plenty of the happy hormone in your brain chemistry to combat stress inducers like cortisol. It takes about two weeks for the drug to exhibit positive results.
The other reason why this drug is so popular is that it works for about 80 percent of people with anxiety. The side effects, though mild, can still be uncomfortable to experience. They include:
Disrupted sleep patterns
Complications from drug interactions
Perhaps the most concerning side effect of SSRIs is Discontinuation Syndrome. When discontinued abruptly, SSRIs may induce intense withdrawal symptoms that are in line with some of the withdrawal symptoms observed with narcotics.
Patients may experience irritability, changed sleep patterns, nervous behavior, malaise, headaches, and flu-like symptoms when they stop taking the prescription abruptly.
Buspirone is considered more effective than most benzodiazepines. It is used to treat symptoms of anxiety-related disorders like GAD and OCD.
Unlike benzodiazepines and SSRIs, buspirone doesn’t have anticonvulsant or muscle-relaxing properties. Most anti-depressants do, because these symptoms usually arise, either as a direct consequence of the disease or as a side effect.
Buspirone is often prescribed for acute anxiety and depression treatment. Even though side effects don’t occur frequently, they are still a present concern. They include:
Minimal cognitive dissonance
Buspirone is suitable for people with a history of substance abuse because it has a low risk of dependence. Furthermore, there are few notable or threatening drug interactions inspired by the drug.
Barbiturates are incredibly habit-forming, which is why most of them have been replaced by benzodiazepines. Even though technically, benzodiazepines are still barbiturates, their binding mechanisms and sites are different.
Barbiturates are mild sedatives that can also induce hypnosis. They’re popularly administered to treat insomnia, anxiety, and nervous tension.
Lately, the use of barbiturates for insomnia has tapered down as better pharmacological and homeopathic remedies emerge. However, Butalbital, a barbiturate, works along with migraine medications to kill anxiety-induced headaches.
Antihistamines such as Hydroxyzine, Doxylamine, and Diphenhydramine offer sedative properties to help manage the symptoms of anxiety.
Although most of these drugs have side-effects too, antihistamines are widely available and accessible over the counter, which can be useful in emergency situations.
As we close the chapter, remember that it is not wise to take any prescription drug WITHOUT your doctor’s consent. Most of them can be addictive, plus they all come with a set of unpleasant side effects.
The next chapter talks about how to help yourself out an anxiety attack using simple but effective anxiety management techniques.
Chapter 8- How to Overcome an Anxiety Attack on your Own
Anxiety attacks can strike when you least expect them. If you’ve been through such an ordeal, you understand how debilitating and uncomfortable a sudden attack can be.
This chapter is a secret key. A key that will help you unlock your own potential to stop anxiety attacks without anyone else’s intervention.
These quick management guidelines can get you out of a tricky situation quickly and discreetly.
Be fully aware of the anxiety attack
The symptoms of an anxiety attack are consistent with those of a heart attack or angina. Your chest tightens, you feel dizzy and weak, and you start hyperventilating.
At this moment, your brain is unable to decipher what’s happening, so it’s not uncommon for it to exaggerate the severity of the attack. The first time someone gets an anxiety attack, they may feel like they’re dying.
However, it is crucial that you recognize the attack as it starts. The faster you believe that it’s all going to go away in a few minutes, the better you start to feel. Calmness descends once you convince yourself that it is nothing to worry about.
Start your breathing exercise immediately
Hyperventilation makes it incredibly hard to focus or calm down, and it is usually the first symptom of an anxiety attack. If you can get your breath under control quickly, then you can manage the rest of the symptoms just fine.
Breathe deeply and feel the air rushing into your chest and abdomen. Breathe in until your diaphragm feels tight, then slowly let it out through your nose. Draw it out as long as you can, don’t just exhale at once. Repeat this severally until your breathing returns to normal.
Close your eyes
Anxiety is your body’s way of telling you that it’s feeling overwhelmed by stimuli. One of the first things you should do is close your eyes. Motion, colors, and visual stimuli are known to trigger more anxiety, and that’s the last thing you want while in the middle of an attack.
Sit somewhere comfortable, or hold onto something while you stand, shut your eyes, and breathe the anxiety away.
Try your best to stay conscious of your surroundings. You might get a sudden attack in public, or worse while driving.
In a state of anxiety, brain alterations make you lose your sense of balance, vision, and reality. It’s not uncommon to hallucinate under extreme anxiety.
By all means, keep yourself conscious to avoid further hurting yourself. Move your feet around, clench and unclench your hand, and do anything else that keeps you grounded in the present.
Find a focal point and divert all your attention to it
To quiet down an anxious brain, you need to minimize the number of external stimuli it gets. Pick a point anywhere in front of you and focus on it. Pour all your attention on it as if it is the only thing in existence. Analyze it thoroughly, detail from detail, and reflect on it for as long as you need to.
Anxiety usually dissipates when the brain focuses on something.
Try progressive muscle relaxation
If breathing isn’t working for you, progressive muscle relaxation will. Start with your hands. Ball them up into tight fists, hold and feel the sensation, then let go and feel your muscles relaxing.
Continue doing this for your arm, your shoulder, your chest, and your torso and legs until your anxiety goes away.
Picture yourself in your happy place
You’re no longer at the train station or coffee shop. Instead, you’re at that beach destination you’ve always wanted to go to. You’re at your son’s graduation, or your daughter’s wedding, or witnessing your child’s first steps.
Your happy place can be anything you want it to be, it just needs to distract you from the present. Much of anxiety management is distracting oneself from the repetitive negative thoughts causing you grief.
Divert your attention from whatever is causing you anxiety, and picture your perfect day or dream destination. A diversion is the quickest way to quell anxiety before it even starts.
Try some light exercise
Exercise releases endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the enemies of cortisol and corticotropin, the two stress hormones. Light jogging or brisk walking can inject you with some much-needed endorphins to overcome your anxiety.
Keep in mind that your body is already stressed as it is. Your heart rate is probably through the roof, so don’t engage in strenuous physical exercises at this time. Also, you may find it difficult to do anything particularly vigorous because of hyperventilation.
If you have it handy, an anxiolytic drug can help your anxiety deescalate if it comes unexpectedly. These are not the only anti-anxiety drugs out there, but they’re generally more effective for most people.
There are a lot of ways to deal with anxiety. However, in a pinch, you will find that benzodiazepines are far more effective at quelling anxiety than herbal or homeopathic remedies. One such drug you can have handy at all times is Alprazolam, which is an FDA-approved anxiolytic.
Caffeine is one of the substances that are notorious for exacerbating anxiety symptoms. Consuming coffee or soda during an anxiety attack could spell bad news for you. It is, after all, a stimulant that sends the brain into overdrive.
Make sure your diet contains little to no caffeine whatsoever if you get frequent anxiety attacks. Foods like chocolate and beverages like tea, coffee, and soda may increase the recurrence and intensity of your attacks.
Call your emergency contact
In case an attack catches you off-guard, it is best to call someone that can help you immediately. Severe anxiety attacks can be crippling. You may need someone’s help to get to a medical center, or to overcome the attack.
If you don’t have an emergency contact, call emergency services. Either way, don’t suffer on your own because some attacks can be horrendous.
Now you know what to do the next time an anxiety attack catches you flat-footed. Next, we take a positive turn to look at some of the anxiety success stories I’ve come across, plus some tasty tidbits about Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and what they can do for people with anxiety.
To wrap up our 2020 anxiety go-to-guide, I’m going to share some real-life stories about people who overcame anxiety, as well as why getting an ESA could be the turning point in your battle with anxiety.
I have handpicked the stories that I feel would be most relatable to a broader audience, and that contain some of the strategies we’ve discussed in the earlier chapters.
All of these stories are self-told. I am merely passing them on to you. So, if you’re ready for a happy ending, let’s dive in.
Success Story #1: Samantha’s Victory over SAD
“Before last year, I was a perfectly healthy person. I was not psychotic, and I had never experienced hallucinations before, either. However, things took a turn for the worse when social anxiety disorder (SAD) took hold of me and refused to let go.
Deep inside, I always had a deep fear of social settings. Going to parties was an ordeal I just couldn’t handle. The mere thought of it gave me Goosebumps.
In retrospect, I should have known something was amiss when I looked at my high school attendance sheet. It was spotty at best.
When I turned 20, my family planned a surprise party. I don’t know what was worse; the fact that they planned it in a public restaurant, or the fact that they invited what seemed like a million people to my birthday party.
I remember clearly how quickly my chest tightened at the sight of all those people yelling “Surprise!” with an assortment of party favors stacked around them. I couldn’t breathe, and my legs were suddenly too weak to support me. When my vision started to blur out, I was certain that I was about to die.
That was the first of many anxiety attacks. Afterward, we went to see the family therapist, who gave me a screening questionnaire for social anxiety disorder. I was later diagnosed with an acute form of social anxiety.
The therapist was extremely helpful, and I owe my mental health to them. After some sessions, I opted for cognitive behavioral therapy as a means of getting over my anxiety. It wasn’t working quickly enough for me.
Soon, I started practicing breathing exercises and muscle relaxation. I was desperate for an answer, and I nearly gave up until my therapist prescribed a benzodiazepine drug to help with my anxiety.
From that day, every time I could feel an anxiety attack coming on, I would pop a pill, and it would all go away. It was liberating. I soon began getting my social life back on track. I could meet friends from school and even visit public spaces like malls by myself.
20 therapy sessions later, we finally found the underlying causes of my anxiety. I had so much pent up negativity that I was projecting it on everyone I saw.
I’m still attending therapy sessions, and occasionally taking a pill to stop an anxiety attack, but I am much more comfortable in social situations than I ever thought I would be. I am learning how to quell my attacks without medication, and soon, I will be completely capable of managing my anxiety using these self-taught techniques. I couldn’t be happier.”
Samantha is a perfect example of how destructive social anxiety can be. She is a fighter, though, and so are you. Anxiety should not be left to dictate your daily life.
Success Story #2: Andrew Kicks Anxiety to the Curb
“My life was perfect. I was a middle-aged man with two beautiful kids and a loving wife. I had a great job at the bank, my own house, and I made enough to live comfortably and travel the world with my family. All this turned to dust when, one day, I was fired.
At first, I was sure it was a temporary setback. However, the bills started to pile up. The house needed groceries. We had a mortgage to pay. We couldn’t manage all that with just my wife’s salary.
I don’t know how it happened, but soon I was perpetually drunk. Alcohol was an escape from my overthinking mind. You don’t become an addict overnight, but when you finally realize that you are, everything changes.
Shame drove me to act aggressively towards my own family. I felt hopeless, useless, and soon, my only way out looked to be suicide. If it wasn’t for my patient, persistent, and caring wife, I would not be telling you this story.
As soon as she noticed my alcoholism, my wife was on blogs, message boards, and forums on anxiety management. She looked far and wide for a solution, and after consulting our insurance company, she signed me up for psychiatric sessions.
My family was nothing but supportive throughout. My wife somehow kept the house running on her income alone. Meanwhile, the therapist helped me discover a lot of negative emotions and thoughts that were the root of my anxiety.
Soon, I was taking exposure therapy to deal with my fear of financial instability and economic loss. My therapist also helped me discover that I was dealing with a lot of guilt, and I felt that I had let my family down.
In time, I quit binge drinking and took anxiolytics as prescribed. Later, I landed another job at a local bank and was finally able to take care of my lovely wife and children.
I couldn’t have overcome anxiety without their love and support, and I strongly advise anyone who feels stressed to get analyzed before the problem swallows them whole.”
Getting evaluated is the first step toward fighting off anxiety disorder. Don’t sit on your problems, thinking they will go away; they might just stay with you for life.
Before we get to our last success story, I should mention a few things about Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).
It was Sigmund Freud himself, the famous psychoanalyst, who observed that people who love animals and keep them as pets release endorphins in higher amounts than those who don’t. Their mental health tends to be better too.
Mental health organizations recommend getting an ESA for psychological issues like anxiety. They can be instrumental in managing the more severe symptoms.
How can you get your very own emotional support animal? It’s easy. All you need is an ESA letter, and this is how you get that:
Establish that you do need an ESA. Remember, ESAs are specially trained to provide emotional support. If you just want a pet, look into adopting from the shelter instead.
If you have a trained pet, you need to acknowledge that and let the concerned parties know as well.
Visit a licensed therapist for an evaluation. You can also apply for an ESA letter online, which is a different but straightforward process too.
Wait for your ESA letter in the mail.
Our next protagonist, Daniel, used the same approach to get himself an ESA for his chronic anxiety problems.
“I am happy to be able to finally talk about my condition, which has troubled me for years. I would be glad if I am able to reach out to other people like me who need help with their anxiety.
For as long as I can remember, anxiety has been a part of my life. I’ve struggled daily through strange negative thoughts, night terrors, and a cascade of never-ending stress. As I grew older, the condition only became worse. I would suffer such intense anxiety attacks that by the time they were over, I’d be drenched in sweat, and my heart would be going a mile a minute.
I would spend hours on health blogs, then soon these hours would be spent in a therapists’ office. Prescriptions followed, and though I did my best never to skip doses, the symptoms didn’t seem to go away.
One day, as per my physician’s request to participate in light exercises, I found myself in the park after a mile-long jog. I was sitting on a park bench, mulling over my dark thoughts, as usual, when suddenly I was broken out of my reverie by something warm and wet on my bare shins. It was a cute little dog.
Soon after, the owner, a flustered lady, came over apologizing profusely for the dog, which had apparently broken its leash. I waved away her apology, and we sat and talked for a while. She had three lovely Pomeranians. We talked about a lot of things, including her cute, furry babies.
After she left, it suddenly hit me: I had not thought of anything but dogs in nearly 45 minutes! Heck, I had even temporarily forgotten that I had anxiety! It felt like a miracle had just happened.
That night, I did my research about animals and anxiety. I was ecstatic. Apparently, animals could provide emotional support, which is what I felt with the nice lady’s dogs at the park.
You can guess what I spent most of my next therapy session talking about. My therapist agreed, and through him, I obtained an ESA later. That same day, I adopted a trained, friendly, and very lively Dalmatian and named him Barney.
Since Barney came home, even my medication seems to be working at hyper strength. We are making a lot of progress with my therapist too. I rarely have time to overthink things, and Barney never lets me worry—he’s always ready to distract me with a few acrobatic runs around the house.
My only regret is that I didn’t stumble upon ESAs sooner. I highly recommend anyone who feels like their medication or therapy has stalled to consider getting an ESA. It will change your life, I assure you.”
The ultimate guide for anxiety, unfortunately, ends here. Within these pages is all the information you might need to learn about your condition and do something about it.
Anxiety affects a lot of peoples’ livelihoods, even without their knowledge. However, it doesn’t have to. Knowing is half the battle, and with this information at your disposal, you’re halfway to victory against chronic anxiety disorders.
If you’re finding a reliable source to get your anxiety treated then MangoClinic is your safest bet. Schedule an appointment to seek assistance from our highly professional and experienced healthcare professionals.
Weight loss is a goal of many people, including men, women, and children. It is also a great challenge that has led people down slippery paths when they have tried to achieve weight loss through unconventional methods like starving themselves. There is one weight-loss method that has scientifically been proven to be effective. It is intermittent fasting but like other methods, it has to be done correctly for it to work.
How Intermittent Fasting Works
Intermittent fasting is a pattern of food consumption where there are periods of eating and desisting or fasting. Unlike diets, it is not about eating more or less of particular kinds of food but rather about when you eat and don’t eat. This is why it is a pattern of eating rather than a diet.
Intermittent fasting has different approaches with varying fasting periods:
One approach is the 16/8 method where breakfast is skipped and food intake is restricted for eight hours. You then fast for 16 hours in between.
Another approach is the Eat-Stop-Eat where you fast for 24 hours one or two times every week. For instance, you would eat dinner one night and fast till dinner time the next night.
A third approach is the 5:2 diet where 500 to 600 calories are consumed for two consecutive days every week. On the other five days, you would eat as you normally do.
How Weight Loss is Achieved
Whichever method you choose, weight loss is achieved. This is as long as you don’t go overboard and eat too much after a fast. This is because changes occur at the cellular level. One change that occurs is that the hormone levels in the body adjust. The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) increases by as much as five times which results in fat loss and muscle gain among other benefits. Also, insulin levels reduce significantly which makes it easier to lose stored fat.
Additionally, as your weight goes down, the cells start to repair themselves which optimizes every body function. One cellular change is autophagy where old cells are digested which removes old, dysfunctional proteins that have accumulated in the cells. This is why you will not only feel and look lighter but energized. Even gene function changes which improves longevity and immunity.
With all these changes and with a higher metabolic rate because there is less to digest, intermittent fasting has been found to cause weight loss of 3 to 8 % over a period of three to 24 weeks. This is very favorable compared to other weight loss methods. One of the greatest benefits has been losing 4 to 7% of waist circumference which means a significant loss of fat around the belly which is the most dangerous. Some people also saw inflammation reduce which causes many chronic conditions.
Not for Everyone
While its benefits are clear, intermittent fasting is not for everyone. It should not be practiced by:
Expectant or breastfeeding mothers
A woman who is trying to conceive whether naturally or through treatment
One who is underweight or has a history of an eating disorder
Diabetics and people with blood sugar regulation problems
High or low blood pressure
Those on medication
Women within the history of amenorrhea
People with heart conditions
For some of the people above, intermittent fasting can be beneficial and effective in controlling their symptoms. It is, however, important to get checked and be given the green light to start this method of weight loss. The healthcare provider may want to provide specific guidelines and may want to monitor them which is important.
A common question about intermittent fasting is whether you can consume anything during a fast. The answer is yes: you can take liquids such as water, tea, coffee, and fruit and vegetable juices. The idea is to stick to low calorie, low sugar drinks to give the body a rest from digesting the contents of a full stomach. It is also important to think ahead about what you will eat when the fasting period is over. Take the time to prepare healthy food and drink so that it’s ready to eat when you break the fast. Otherwise, you will most likely reach for unhealthy food and snacks which will defeat the purpose of losing weight.
You also want to practice portion control. Prepare what you will eat and serve it so that you can stick to a healthy portion. Otherwise, you will eat more than you need to because you haven’t eaten in a while which will be counterproductive.
Those who want to work out can go ahead and do so. If you are doing so during a fasting period, you can boost your energy with a piece of fruit or a pre or post-workout supplement. Just keep it light and healthy.
Here to help
MangoClinicin Miami has a team of skilled, experienced healthcare providers including weight management specialists. Make an appointment and schedule a consultation with one of them. They will offer professional advice about intermittent fasting and other weight management options to find what would best for you. Get in touch and start the journey to achieving your weight loss goals safely for life.
Are you on the journey of losing weight and you have unanswered questions on possible hair loss? Or perhaps you have observed your hair thinning previously as you try to shed off pounds of flesh. Well, look no further. There’s a definite relationship between hair loss and weight loss. For weight loss programs and treatment, you need to have a reliable and worthy medical team, dedicated to your convenience. At Mango Clinic, we specialize in catering for such, and we have got you covered.
Most remarkably, weight loss indeed triggers hair loss. There are various ways weight loss affects your hair. The following are some of the ways in which you may lose your hair in the process of losing weight.
The hair follicles largely depend on body nutrients. The survey indicates that the growth of hair is largely dependent on the intake of calories and proteins. Losing weight entails cutting down on the consumption of calories which then affects the hair follicles. This leads to a deficiency in hair nutrients resulting in hair loss. Diet is so paramount in the growth of hair. As much as hair loss may be caused by other factors, cutting down on calories and or proteins may impact negatively on your hair health.
After Weight Loss
Some analysts have argued that the more you lose weight, the more your hair may get lost as well. Hair growth largely depends on body metabolism. Weight loss destabilizes the body’s metabolism which in turn affects hair growth. It has been argued that a number of individuals lose hair around 6 months after beginning to lose weight. Most importantly, you should have a balanced diet that will restore your hair in the event of loss of hair. During weight loss; you are bound to develop a side effect called telogen effluvium which is responsible for hair loss.
To a great extent, protein deficiency affects hair growth and hair health in general. Hair is made up of proteins, failure to which it will result in hair falling off.
Shedding off some pounds is also associated with both physical and emotional stress. This does not work well with hair growth. Physical stress causes hair to thin out resulting in hair loss.
Occasionally, hair loss might be caused by hereditary factors. Hair loss from heredity can affect both men and women. In women, this condition normally affects the scalp, on top of the head.
The good news is that hair loss can be prevented through proper dietary measures. These are some of the ways you can prevent loss of hair during weight loss.
Lose weight gradually. Do not rush into losing weight overnight. Let it be a process that can be managed. You are advised to lose 2lbs every week.
Eat enough proteins to avoid your hair follicles falling off. You can do this by having a dietary app that will help you to consume the right quantities of proteins.
Eat plenty of grains and veggies. Such foods contain the right nutrients that will prevent hair loss. Vitamins and zinc are important components of hair growth. Zinc and vitamins are found in veggies and fruits and their consumption will keep your hair in great shape.
Use of recommended hair supplements that will provide the body with the necessary nutrients. For such meticulous services visit us at Mango Clinic in Miami.
Having plenty of sleep will definitely work in your favor. Seven hours of sleep every night is highly advisable.
Medical Remedies for Hair Loss
Gratefully, there are mediations that can help to improve your hair against thinning. The most common remedies include:
Minoxidil which is in clinical trials has been used widely for treating hair loss and thinning. At Mango Clinic, we pride in providing solutions and proper hair maintenance tips. This medication has been proved to be effective in all clinical tests.
Spironolactone is a prescription drug that helps in the treatment of hair loss. It has also been proven to be effective despite the fact that it has not been approved by the FDA. At Mango Clinic, our dermatologists will help you to handle hair loss with the assurance of proper medication. Our healthcare providers will help you to make the right decisions if you experience hair loss.
As much as hair loss is not a permanent solution, it is imperative to have proper medical advice on hair and weight loss. Normally, hair begins to grow between 3-6 months of thinning. If this does not happen then you need sound professional assistance. For hair growth and dietary assistance, feel free to visit us at Mango Clinic for more information. Our medical staff prides itself in serving patients diligently.
Finding the right kind of medical treatment for your physical or mental health disorder is not always easy. It can actually be quite difficult finding the right type of treatment, much of which can be a prescription medicine. For most ailments, pills are prescribed by licensed doctors; these usually work just fine for most people, but not all. Not every person reacts the same way to certain types of medication, and that can complicate things if you do not have other options. This is especially true if your disorder or ailment is more mental than physical. There is medication to treat physical wounds, but mental ones cannot always be as easily treated in the same way. As a result, other forms of therapy must be found and utilized for many.
For mental health, therapy is a commonly suggested option. Therapy comes in different varieties, including the popular one-on-one sessions with a therapist. These are not universally helpful, though speaking with someone, whether it’s long or short term, is still recommended by health professionals. Whether you want to supplement sessions with medication is up to both the therapist and the patient. Therapy can also take on the form of group sessions or doing activities.
One form of alternative therapy that can prove beneficial is having an emotional support animal. An ESA can do wonders for many patients who are going through any variety of health disorders by being a loyal and unjudging companion to the owner. Unlike a service dog that is specially trained to do certain tasks, an ESA is essentially a regular domestic pet that doubles as a therapeutic recovery for the owner. This means that you would not have to find a specific type of animal for an ESA; a regular dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or hamster can qualify as an emotional support animal.
When getting an emotional support animal, it’s vital that you also have an emotional support animal letter. mangoclinic.com
can help you get a genuine ESA letter signed by a licensed doctor that will permit you to live a freer life for you and your animal companion. With this document, you will be able to board airplanes without having to pay an additional fee to the airline. You will also be able to live in residential areas that may not normally allow pets. Since this letter states that your animal companion is important for your mental health recovery, airlines and landlords will not be able to hassle you.
Is EmotionalPetSupport.com A Scam?
It is an unfortunate circumstance that trying to get a valid emotional support animal letter is not always easy. When you go on a search engine and look into getting an ESA letter, you will no doubt come across many scam sites. These fraudulent websites are only interested in providing invalid products that will do you no good when you need to protect yourself from airlines or landlords.
Many of these sites, such as EmotionalPetSupport.com, follow a pattern that you can pay attention to so that you do not become another victim of these scammers. Regardless of how their website may appear or what it may say, these sites always provide ESA letters in the same way. First, you fill out a questionnaire that contains some common questions asking why you would need an ESA letter. From there, you submit the information and it will supposedly be looked over by someone; they will often say it is a doctor, but this is not something you can usually confirm. Afterward, you are provided with their version of an ESA letter; this is almost always electronic only, but some sites do offer physical version at an additional price (which are shipped to your mailbox).
EmotionalPetSupport.com has a lot of information on their homepage; it’s actually too much information, especially since the form you would have to fill out is on this same page. While it can appear convincing, with its declaration of being a “Real Company With Most Positive Reviews” among other things, you can tell they do not provide legitimate ESA letters simply because they do not require you to speak with a licensed doctor. When it comes to getting an ESA letter, it’s surprisingly simple: speak with a licensed doctor and they will decide whether or not to approve you for one. While it does require more work (since you have to orally speak with a doctor either in person, over the phone, or video chat), this is the only way your ESA letter can be valid. Otherwise, a letter you would get from EmotionalPetSupport.com can be easily dismissed for being inauthentic.
A couple of other things to point out about EmotionalPetSupport.com is how they market ESAs and the address on their website. Something else you might see on these scam sites is how they seem to put service animals and ESAs in the same boat as if they were almost the same thing. The issue here is that, if you have a service animal, you would not be visiting a website for ESAs. The same goes for if you have an ESA, service animal information would not be helpful to you. You cannot get a letter that covers both, since the process involved for either or is different. In addition to that, service animals are trained and registered, whereas ESAs are not. The owner has to make sure they are mentioned and have been recommended by the licensed doctor in the letter, but the animal is not registered or addressed like that in any way.
Then there’s the address found near the bottom of EmotionalPetSupport.com. If a site does not feature an address on any of their pages (especially their homepage), this alone could be your warning to not trust them. However, when looking up the address found on this site, you may find a link to the Hawaii Business Express government page, which lists the company in question as “PROVIDING WEB SERVICES SUCH AS SEO, WEB HOSTING, GOOGLE PPC.” which seems wholly unrelated to emotional support animal letters.
How Does EmotionalPetSupport.com Compare To MangoClinic.com?
As previously mentioned, getting an ESA letter from EmotionalPetSupport.com is just a process of filling out a form, waiting for approval, and then receiving an electronic version (with optional physical versions). Qualifying for one of these letters just comes down to answering the questions they provide on their homepage and waiting to see if the so-called “doctors” they have on staff look over your info and provide a letter. As for the cost, it seems to vary depending on which service you are interested in since the form includes specific information for airlines and optional physical documents. The main letter, however, goes for $99 (housing or travel) and $149 (for both).
Mango Clinic provides a legitimate service that has you speak directly with a licensed doctor who can provide evaluate your qualifications and provide approval for an ESA letter. You can speak with them either in person, over the phone, or video chat, making it easier than ever before to get a real and verifiable ESA letter. Our letters start at $129 for housing, $149 for travel, and $189 for both; the higher price signifies its legitimacy plus the customer service provided, along with extra features such as additional paperwork and revisions. Any place that sells ESA letters for as low as $99 (or lower) are always suspicious.
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