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From simple anxiety feelings to serious and daunting situations, stress is part of every person’s life. According to statistics, 60% of American adults admit that they deal with stress and anxiety daily. This number is a considerable concern. Even so, what matters more is how you keep such fears under manageable levels to remain productive and enjoy life’s beauty amid the crises.

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In this article, you will learn nine simple ways to help you take control of your life by lowering your stress levels. Let’s see.

Let’s expound and see how each can lower your anxiety.

 

Number One: Get Quality Sleep

Are you sure of what causes your stress and anxiety? It may be your body asking for quality rest. Every subject’s body requires sleep to function optimally. Getting enough sleep positively boosts your energy, refills, and restores your body. It’s essential, and even a slight deprivation of sleep can lead to massive damage to your brain, cognition, and memory. Technically, your body can’t recuperate itself if deprived of enough sleep.

Research has it that if Americans could sleep considerably longer than they do currently, they would be healthier and happier. Lack of enough rest lists among the leading causes of negative moods and a lack of energy to carry out daily functions.

 

How is sleep related to stress?

If you don’t get enough night sleep, your body spontaneously increases stress hormones and keeps pushing the hormones. Consecutively, you wake up feeling more depressed and stressed the next day.

Similarly, being unable to sleep typically causes insomnia – a medical disorder that brings about an inability to sleep by keeping your mind at a hyper-arousal state.

 

effects of insomnia
Stress can ignite insomnia and many other health issues

 

So how do you give your body enough sleep?

Not having enough sleep can significantly affect your mental health, productivity, and performance. If you can’t seem to have enough sleep due to whichever reasons, try following these simple steps to boost your sleep quality.

 

Step 1: Follow natural and consistent sleep-wake patterns

It’s the first and very crucial step in your efforts to achieve a better night’s sleep. If you harmonize your body’s regular sleeping patterns, you’ll end up waking up more refreshed and energetic. Making even the slightest alterations in your sleep routines can stress your body while adjusting to the new changes. To achieve better sleep patterns, try the following tricks.

  • Try scheduling your sleep-wake up timings to be the same every day – This will allow your body’s internal clocks to enhance your sleep quality. If you practice the routine religiously, you will always wake up feeling refreshed and at your desired time, even without an alarm.
  • Do not extend your sleeping hours during the weekends and on off-days – You may think this habit will help you compensate for the shorter hours you sleep during the working/ school days. It may have a slightly positive impact, but it comes at the price of disturbing your sleep cycle.
  • Take small, powerful naps if you wake up still feeling drowsy after your regular sleeping hours.
  • Don’t encourage after-dinner laziness – You can do this by not staying too long on the couch, doing something productive like washing dishes, or taking a walk.

 

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Step 2: Regulate light exposure

Your sleep-wake patterns work following melatonin hormone release, a naturally occurring hormone regulated by light exposure. Biologically, you feel sleepier in the dark due to the free release of melatonin hormone. To maintain the melatonin hormone within the ideal levels, you need to control your exposure to light both in the day and night.

During day-time:

  • Get maximum exposure to bright sunlight. Try taking your morning coffee outside or reading your newspaper under the open sun.
  • Spread your yoga mat out in the sunlight and spring yourself around nature.
  • Keep your curtains open and let in as much sunlight into your house and workspace as possible.

At night:

  • Avoid using bright screens. You can dim the screens of your laptop and television if you must use them.
  • If you’re reading, avoid using backlit devices since they can negatively affect your vision and sleeping pattern.
  • Ensure your room is dim and cozy. Use thick curtains to conceal your windows, and if you can feel okay with it, try sleeping in a comforting dim blue light.

Step 3: Bedtime Snacks

Some people can’t fall asleep without taking a snack while others feel comfortable without taking anything after dinner. If you fall in the first category, ensure that you have a bite before retiring to bed. Some of the snacks you can try out include:

  • A small whole-grain meal
  • Half a chicken/ turkey sandwich
  • A glass of lukewarm milk
  • A banana
  • A mini bowl of yogurt.

Step 4: Make your sleeping environment peaceful

A quiet resting environment will instinctively divert your brain towards rest and sleep. On the other hand, a slight change in your sleeping environment will alter your sleep quality. These tips will help make your sleeping environment peaceful.

  • Ensure your bedding is comfortable. You can check if your mattress is in line with your body contours, and your bedsheets are sufficiently flexible to allow different postures while sleeping.
  • Ensure your breathing is comfortable and easy. You can do this by ensuring proper ventilation and keeping your room adequately warm.
  • Use earplugs to mask out road traffic noise.

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Step 5: Go back to sleep after a distraction

It’s normal to be distracted while sleeping. If this happens to you, try not to stay awake and slip back into slumber. If you have trouble going back to sleep after a distraction, try these tricks.

  • Just relax and avoid thinking hard about your inability to fall asleep.
  • Perform simple relaxation movements like deep breathing exercises, continuous muscle relaxation techniques, concentration, and visualization.
  • If you try the above tricks, but you’re still awake 15 minutes later, get up and attempt non-stimulant activities like reading under dim light. This action will strain your brain a little and bring back the urge to sleep.
  • In case you are staying up at night due to something or an issue consistently troubling you and making you nervous, note it down somewhere, go back to sleep and think about it the next day.

 

Number Two: Involve Your Senses for Your Revival

Your senses form your frontline defense against stress. If you can recognize the sensory feelings experienced by your body, then you can notice the wonders that come with senses. However, this requires some experience and preciseness. It requires you to narrow down into what stimulates your feelings and how they communicate to your brain. Identifying your external stimulus works magic into lowering your stress and anxiety levels quickly.

For example, if you’re a music enthusiast. You can try listening to a variety of music tracks of different genres and styles. Listen to as many songs as you can and spot which type soothes your heart and helps you to relax.

Apart from songs, you can explore a wide range of sensory experiences from wherever you are and how you relate to it. Some of the sensory activities you can try include:

 

  • Explore nature using your sight

You don’t have to think so much here. Simply look around you and see what excites your eyes. Enjoy the sight and divert your attention to it. Doing this will help to ease your brain and shift your focus from your worries. It can be as simple as looking at a photo of someone you adore or favorite moments.

Similarly, you can walk out and relish the beauty of nature. A waft of cool, fresh air will easily lift all your worries and stress. To pump it all up, try surrounding yourself with colors that make you feel comfortable. And lastly, you can top it up by adjusting your lighting to gentle blue hues.

 

benefits of salt lamp
The salt lamp has many benefits on your sleep and your health
  • Practice Aromatherapy

From ancient times, aromatherapy has been known and appreciated for its relaxation properties. It works by stimulating brain areas responsible for emotions and behaviors. Practicing this with essential oils is beneficial for reducing your stress levels since they aid in decreasing negative thoughts and feelings.

Some scents also have a massive impact on the brain. Therefore, you can try burning incense or lighting a fragrant candle and relax while your mind gets cozy with the fragrance. You can also experience aromatherapy by applying or inhaling essential oils. These oils can do wonders in easing your stress, treating insomnia, and lowering depression. Some essential oils that you can try out include:

  • Lavender
  • Bergamot
  • German chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Melissa
  • Clary sage
  • Rose

Safety tip: A significant proportion of essential oils are mild and safe for use by adults. However, it’s necessary to follow the recommended dosage, use under proper guidelines, and look out for underlying respiratory conditions and allergies.

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  • Experience touch

During critical and stressful moments, it’s crucial to indulge yourself to deal with the hard times. Handling stress can sometimes be doing something as simple as covering yourself with a delicate and warm blanket. Similarly, you can try holding a stress ball or fiddling some toys. The texture and touch work magically in satisfying your mind and diverting your brain from the stressors.

The secret is in experiencing a soothing and warming touch. It doesn’t have to work uniformly with everyone. Simply explore and see what works best for you.

  • Treat yourself to a favorite meal

Reveling on your favorite meal can assist in lowering your stress levels, mostly if you do it mindfully. Mindless eating habits will end up increasing your stress levels, whereas eating in moderation will cheer up your senses and reduce your anxiety.

Certain foods are great at relieving and lowering your anxiety. The reason can either be the relieving properties in the nutrition or your attachment and pleasure towards having the meal.

According to studies, chewing gum works as a remedy to stress and anxiety. The sugarless chewing gums help in lowering the salivary cortisol levels during stressful moments. Similarly, a piece of gum assists in soothing nerves and deviates your focus from your stress source.

Options on what foods and meals to try are endless. It can range from an enticing piece of chocolate to a steaming cup of coffee. You don’t have to think deeply about this. Simply try simple things and see what works best for you. Sometimes a bunch of almonds or a carrot is just enough to do the trick.

  • Favorite sound

Music elicits a significant impact on your mood and brain. Listening to calming music has shown positive effects on lowering stress and anxiety. Many people fancy meditating and relaxing music. However, if the uplifting beats are your thing, then feel free to enjoy it.

 

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Number Three: Practice Yoga and Breathing Exercise

From the ancient years, yoga has been known as an effective antidote for stress and anxiety. Even today, celebrities and high-end individuals with nerve-racking routines, those with deskbound lifestyles and daunting workloads, use yoga to eradicate the stress that comes with their daily lives.

Yoga is a mixture of various techniques that all serve a similar purpose to relax your brain and put you in the best state of health. To successfully relieve your worries through yoga, you should set a consistent routine involving regular intervals and then stick to it.

Check out this yoga plan for a kick-start. It’s more straightforward and easily adaptable.

 

Which components of yoga are necessary for stress relief?

As mentioned earlier, yoga is a bunch of techniques that can quickly ease your nerves and help you calm down. Some of these activities include:

  • Workouts
  • Breathing and control exercises
  • Relaxation exercises
  • Clearing up your mind

Let’s now expound on each and see how you can benefit from practicing them.

  • Workouts

Yoga workouts include specific postures and stretches. The physical practice of these signs is termed as “hatha yoga.” There is a further difference in hatha yoga. It involves a slow-paced movement and stretches, while at other times, it involves a fast-paced action similar to a routine treatment exercise.

Because your primary goal for doing yoga workouts is to relieve stress and relax your brain, you can go ahead and experiment with both styles. Get what works best for you and stick by it.

 

How do workouts relieve stress?

Almost all workouts relieve stress by releasing endorphins. These are natural hormones that help the body eliminate stress. While doing exercises, remember to do some stretches because they are equally crucial in relieving anxiety and stress. They work wonders by relaxing your body muscles.

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If you frequently stretch your body, you help yourself by releasing tension in particular areas like the neck, shoulders, and lower back. Alongside easing your nerves and relieving you of stress, exercises and stretches are also very good for your general well-being.

  • Breathing and control exercises

Although breathing is an automatic function of your body, yoga can help you control its efficiency significantly. Practicing yoga increases your awareness of the breathing routine; hence you get to master how to regulate the cycle.

Deep breathing exercises are the most widely used remedy for stress in the modern era. Let’s see how breathing works the magic.

 

How do breathing exercises ease your nerves?

Over the years, Buddhists and eastern healers have held on to the belief that breathing is the central foundation of brain regulation and functioning. Research also proves that breathing exercises help improve the brain’s intellectual functions and allow positive thought generation. Consecutively, this phenomenon eases stress and anxiety.

A study done by Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience and the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity in 2018 states that practical breathing exercises affect the human brain’s norepinephrine levels.

Norepinephrine is a chemical messenger released when you get emotionally aroused, challenged, or focused. Having a balance of the chemical means you will stay more positive, focused, and not nervous.

 

benefits of exercise
Daily exercising can diminish your stress level

 

  • Clearing up your mind

During stress conditions, the human mind is always racing, and the thoughts usually come one after another. These will then result in overthinking or dwelling on the incidents that caused your stress, which will do nothing more than heighten your panic levels. The result is you remain with a tired and stressed mind.

Yoga is an effective way to clear your mind and resolve all the unsorted matters. One successful way of clearing your mind is concentrating on your breathing pattern. This method utilizes a combination of yoga and breathing.

In this process, you have to concentrate on every exhale and inhale and stop overthinking about whatever is troubling your brain. Try eliminating the negative thoughts out of your mind whenever you exhale.

This regimen requires a lot of concentration to make your brain divert from stress and attain maximum calmness. If you master it, you’ll enjoy the peace you’ll experience afterward.

  • Relaxation Exercises

Every yoga session has a span of 10-15 minutes of relaxation spent in a specific posture called “savasana.” It may be hard to attain an enforced peace at first, but you will gradually notice your full body resting and every part at a relaxed stance.

Savasana (the act of slowly relaxing one body part at a time, along with a single muscle, while meditating on one thought at a time) is a fragment of relaxation that drags your body from the uncertainties to a peaceful and refreshed state of mind. It enables you to fight daily life stress and help you to reset back to a calm state.

Relaxation exercises offer a more promising way of achieving most of the meditation, and impressively reduce your anxiety and nervousness.

 

Number Four: Avoid Procrastination

On many occasions, you may fiddle with various things like a financial burden, deadlines, emotional needs, or even life-threatening events. All these occurrences intensify your stress, and you may feel helpless or lack the willpower to face your stressors.

Almost everyone in America is conversant with the phenomenon of procrastination. It makes you spend all your free time worrying about your vital tasks, which you’re unable to accomplish, and they remain a continuous cause for dispute and fear in your brain.

The long-term procrastinators have this stress pattern circled up for their entire life by postponing the critical things, slugging on responsibilities, and continuing in a state of depression.

Don’t allow procrastination to ruin your life by boosting depression and stress. Here are precise steps you can take to stop procrastination. They are straightforward and can easily apply to your stressful life.

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Step 1: Try changing the environment

Different environments have various impacts on your brain and productivity. If you’re stressed due to any cause, such as your work task, what feeling will you get by staring at the papers’ stack? I bet it’s NEGATIVE.

In stressful moments, your work area starts looking like a torture cell. It will make you flee from the task; procrastinate about how horrible it is, or just sleep. Try altering the location or shifting to another room as this will make you feel rejuvenated and relaxed.

You can also spend some time on the lawn or terrace. A waft of fresh air will calm your brain and help you focus again, and then you can start working on your task over again, with positivity and a better mindset.

Step 2: Hangout with inspirational individuals

The kind of people you spend time with have a significant influence on your behavior and moods. Conversing with an inspiring or motivating individual can significantly change your perception of how you see things even for just a few minutes.

Surround yourself with people who can lift your mood and help you eliminate your agitation through their intelligent and intellectual management skills.

A productive chat with a hard worker or a go-getter instills positivity in you and can help you manage your unsettled matters to eradicate stress.

Step 3: Avoid overcomplicating your situation

Are you in any of these situations, waiting for the correct time to act on everything, or hoping for things to improve on their own or stress washing away suddenly? Then it’s time you change your perspective.

Nothing will materialize unless you put your efforts into creating a peaceful change to your life. Discard all your troubling thoughts and try to disconnect yourself from all the chaos in your brain.

Believing in superstition, overthinking, pondering, over-stressing, or making assumptions are all fertile grounds for developing long-term depression and stress.

Be realistic and straightforward. Instead of overcomplicating your situation, take small steps, and work towards resolving your issues.

One of the reasons many people drown into depression entails running after perfectionism. Go for natural conditions and their real results. When your situation is less complicated, it becomes easier to face, resolve, and get out of your stress and frustration.

 

effects of procrastination
Procrastination can have dreadful effects on your mental and physical health

 

Step 4: Clarify your goals

Procrastinating over a long time often diverts your brain, seemingly making you busy worrying about other less-important issues instead of growing your goals and aspirations. You, in turn, start feeling frustrated and allow in nervousness and anxiety. Stress then diverts your focus from your pursuits and the actions you need to take to achieve them.

So, how can you remedy the concern? Get some time off your day to cool down in a quiet location, pause, and meditate on your goals. Re-visit the achievements you desired to accomplish and figure out the steps you have taken into achieving them.

Ask yourself how relevant the actions you need to take are, or else think about the flaws and the adjustments you need to make.

You also need to ask yourself if the actions you take are in line with your goals. If they don’t, then figure out what you can do to achieve what you want.

Doing proper planning will help you in achieving what you want and avoid getting stressed again.

Step 5: Strategize and take actions

When going through a worrying phase, many people continuously lament the terrible situation but take no action. Sadly, no changes occur if you don’t act. As a result, you don’t have a reason to sit idle and keep worrying over the pending tasks. What you need to do is put some quality time into strategizing and planning on how you can solve the situation.

Procrastination is like a chain, and breaking through it isn’t easy. If you want to be free, you must first take charge of your will-power and thoughts.

 

Number Five: Get an Emotional Support Animal

An emotional support animal is your animal companion during tormenting moments like stress, depression, emotional disorders, or disability. They offer affection, companionship, and support to reduce the psychological impacts of health conditions and problems.

To many people, dogs are the best emotional support animals, but some still prefer other animals like cats or miniature horses. People relate differently to different animals, so whatever your choice is, go for it.

 

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How Can ESA Help in Easing Your Nerves?

Having a furry friend during your worst moments could be the ultimate therapy you need to calm down. Some of the ways your furry friend can help you feel relaxed and relieved include the following.

 

  • Keeping an ESA can enhance the release of neurotransmitters

Because of their binding capabilities and love, ESA’s boost the release of mood-regulating neurochemicals such as dopamine. This chemical is associated with stimulating the feeling of pleasure and can help you calm down fast.

Looking in the dog’s eyes is associated with boosting these neurotransmitters. The experience leads you to feel less stressed and diverts your attention to caring more about the feeling and attachment.

When feeling stressed, like many others, you may want to be alone or away from other people. However, depriving yourself of love and affection at this time could be dangerous and aggravate your condition much further.

However, having a supportive animal friend will compensate for the loneliness your heart may feel and simplify your recovery process. They also give a sense of security and eliminate stress.

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  • An ESA helps in staying stress-free, especially those having a height phobia

Many people experience a lot of stress when commuting by airplanes. Some don’t do planes completely due to phobia of height. If you also dread heights, then this could be your chance to enjoy life without fear.

Many states allow people diagnosed with mental problems, including stress, to board airplanes with their emotional support animals.

If you tend to encounter stress attacks, carrying your ESA to the plane will benefit your condition.

Petting and taking care of animals relieve anxiety and will divert your brain away from what’s happening around you. Since the pet will most probably require your attention the entire flight, you won’t have a chance to stress about the height anymore.

    • The unconditional attachment you have with your ESA, irrespective of the time or place, will help even-out your mood and thoughts.
    • An ESA can be incorporated into your treatment plan to hasten the process.

ESA helps as a treatment model and relieves several mental health complications supplemented by pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments.

They work perfectly with cognitive-behavioral treatments to ease symptoms’ impacts and enable you to go about your daily life without concerns surrounding stress and other underlying mental issues.

 

  • Stabilize Stress Attacks

Matters get complicated and difficult to handle in case of a stress attack caused by emotional dysregulation. At such moments, these animals give generous support and make the situation more manageable.

While stressed, you mostly find yourself fearful, anxious, and unable to settle down. The ESAs can offer you a stable state supportive posture to help you deviate your focus from the stressors.

The whole idea of emotional support animals works wonders with animals in a neutral state. More so, if you opt for ESAs that are neither stressed nor depressed and cuddle around you, notwithstanding your condition.

 

esa and stress
Companionship of Emotional Support Animal can help in fixing stress issues in life

 

Number Six: Exercises – the Evidence -Based Method That Has Proven to Be Effective

Do you have a list of ongoing stressors, or have you tried many methods to relieve yourself but to no avail? Are you on the verge of giving it all up? Don’t do that just yet. There are simple lifestyle options you can try out first. Exercise is one of them and has been tested and proven to be a very effective stress reliever. The reason being—physical activity aids in relieving pressure in the entire body and brain.

 

So how does exercise ease stress?

Exercise causes physiological variations that improve general body oxygen and blood supply. It also enhances the release of endorphins_ the “happy-state” neurotransmitters, which actively fix your mood. When released, they bring about a feeling of wellbeing and euphoria.

Besides lowering your stress levels, exercise also aids in keeping you fit and in good health condition.

 

How much exercise do you require?

According to the American Heart Association, a human needs 150 minutes of moderate aerobic workouts every week.

  • Breaking the duration to 30 minutes daily for five working days makes it more achievable and reachable.
  • If you have commitments and you lack much time to concentrate on one thing, the 30 minutes a day plan can work well for you.
  • While doing workouts, engage your more extensive muscle group and infuse stretching exercises at the end of every session.
  • Ending your workouts with stretching exercises helps relieve pain and continuous pressure over your joints, making you feel relaxed.

 

What type of exercises do you need?

Any type of exercise can help in easing your worries and stress. However, you should consult your physician. A certified doctor can help you watch out for red flags before you start.

If you suffer from cardiac and respiratory issues, you’ll need to be more careful because some of the exercises may not be good for your well-being.

Although no single program can be suitable for everyone, don’t go overboard thinking of the right exercises for you. Try these activities and see how much relaxation they bring to you.

  • Playing games outdoor
  • Brisk walking
  • Cycling
  • Jogging
  • Dancing
  • Swimming

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If you want to incorporate more stretching and strengthening activities, you can use external weights and stitching bands.

Exercise can be any bodily activity that helps raise your cardiac output, relieves your stress, and maintains general body fit.

To some, physical activities such as gardening, washing dishes, or cleaning may prove to be satisfactory. If you find these exciting, you can go ahead and enjoy it.

 

Number Seven: Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is your essential ability to understand and acknowledge your surroundings and mental state, and reactions to your external environment.

Since it’s an inherent natural phenomenon, it’s always available, especially when undergoing stress and panic, as long as you practice it daily.

The necessary steps involved in practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness offers an excellent opportunity to create some positive space between you and your reactions.

Stress is caused when you fail to understand and react accordingly with issues and the surrounding environment. Practicing mindfulness at this point will save you a lot—here are the steps to follow to master mindfulness.

Step 1: Plan some time

You do not require any special equipment or special preparation.  You only need to set aside a particular place and time. Take some time off your schedules, go to your secret and quiet place. Focus on the process.

Step 2: Focus on the present

Alongside achieving inner peace and calming your brain, you’d also want to emphasize the present. You need to understand what causes you stress without being judgmental or biased.

To achieve this, you have to train your troubled and worried brain to stay neutral and attempt to find a typical perspective of circumstances and moments resulting in panic.

 

traveling and stress
Traveling means taking break from your daily life routine and also a way to relieve from stress

 

Step 3: Ignore your judgment

When going through a stressful situation, your brain pulls out negative thoughts and draws conclusions on all things happening around you. You lack positivity in how you think, and the condition worsens as the stress develops further.

To fight this, simply pay attention to your present without judging or drawing negative conclusions and thoughts. Just focus on the positive features of the whole situation.

Step 4: Hold on to your focus point

Brains are typically carried away with thoughts. Practice staying grounded with your focus, besides, keep concentrating on it. The main goal of mindfulness is to help you get back to your thinking point repeatedly.

Step 5: Be patient with your struggling mind

This is the most crucial part of the process. Learn to keep calm and tolerate your wandering brain. Desist from judging or blaming yourself in any way. It’s okay if you can’t feel optimistic about anything. Accept the thoughts crossing your mind and drive back to your focal point gently.

The practice isn’t easy, and mastering it requires consistent practice and patience. However, the results are worth the struggle and more.

 

Number Eight: Play Reviving Video Games

Dealing with stress from time to time isn’t a new aspect of today’s life. If your condition is unwavering and a long-term concerning the situation, you may want to forget your worries and feel relaxed. Try video games. Many people think that video gaming is childish and a waste of time. Well, many of these games are created with a lot of emphases and are very good for the health of your brain.

Some of the exciting video games that you can enjoy anytime anywhere include:

  • Bubble Wrap

This game is excellent for killing stress. Its idea is drawn from the original bubble wrap, in which people enjoy popping out bubbles. It’s so sweet that you can now get it in your device and play it virtually anywhere.

If you press the bubbles on your screen, they burst and carry your worries away with the popping movements. When they pop, they also assist you in doing away with destructive thoughts.

Find the free app and download it for free. It’s easy to play, and so you can kick into the game even in the queue, at the bus stop, or while on a journey.

The app is optimized with various colors, and calming sounds perfect for kicking the stress out of your system.

  • Colour Break

Are you an artist, or you just find it fun experiencing colors? This app allows you to dig into digital skills and forget about your worries. To draw the patterns, you will use either your finger or a stylus if you have one.

It makes you concentrate on your creativity while effectively diverting your brain from your stressors the entire day. What’s even better? You get an opportunity to share your patterns with friends from anywhere.

It has an exciting, colorful build, interactive features, and grants you the ability to share your finished patterns with anyone through email; these features make it an awesome option. Download the app today and build your painting skills while you keep your nerves calm.

  • Personal Zen

This is another excellent opportunity to keep stress at bay. This app is designed with the help of neuroscientists. It has shown positive impacts on users battling mental disorders and anxiety.

According to many research pieces, the researchers say that playing it a few times weekly 5-10 minutes is beneficial.

If you have much time at your disposal, continue playing it because the longer you play, the better your results. Similarly, it trains your brain on creating a focus on positive thinking.

 

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Number Nine: Seek Stress Medication and Counselling

If you don’t deal with stress sooner, it may manifest itself through several symptoms that affect your mind and body’s chemically driven functions. However, chronic stress and anxiety may take longer to diminish.

If you tried all the other remedies and nothing seems to change, then it may be time you thought of seeking medication, counseling, or both to help you calm down.

Before using any medication, ensure that:

The most prominent drug categories commonly prescribed to curb stress and anxieties include:

 

Central Nervous System Depressants (Sedatives)

These drugs act by constraining the central nervous system (brain) and inducing favorable impacts such as reduced anxiety, relaxation, and sleepiness. Even so, if taken in high dosage, they can lead to adverse effects including:

  • Breathing impairment
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor cognition

They can also be fatal if a subject overdose.

The most widely used are benzodiazepines (alprazolam, Diazepam) and barbiturates. Both types perform on various GABA neurotransmitter sites situated in the brain and produce relaxing effects.

Antidepressants

As their name suggests, so is their function. They are used in extreme depressive disorders and relative conditions. They are often given for stress management due to the strong correlation of depression with anxiety and the fact that their medication can be used interchangeably.

The strongest antidepressants used today are known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Serotonin hormone regulates mood and behavior changes in the brain and taking it generates adverse emotional effects such as anxiety, stress, and depression.

SSRI ensures that serotonin remains for more extended periods and goes on regulating mood and emotional balance. They’re not addictive, but known side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbance.

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Nutritional Supplements

Nutritional supplements are commonly used to treat stress and anxiety as a form of herbal antidote. Some of the widely used herbal medications include:

Although most of these substances occur naturally and are harvested, you should still be very cautious. Some specific combinations and doses may affect other body health conditions.

As a result, you should only take medication (whether herbal or clinical) strictly under the recommendations of a certified health practitioner.

Counseling

Whatever the cause of your stress, the pressure will consume your life if you leave it unattended. You can use many ways to relieve yourself from stress, and counseling is one of them.

 

What’s stress counseling?

Stress counseling refers to the involvement of a professional or certified psychotherapist in consultations and treatment for your stress management plan. Counselling offers various strategies, and you may need to go for several treatment sessions, depending on your mental conditions.

 

Benefits of Counselling

Counseling is a tried and tested an effective method of managing stress. It works perfectly in conjunction with other management methods.

Cognitive behavior therapy is one of the most successful strategies and most commonly used.

Some of the benefits of counseling include:

  • Offering the opportunity to diffuse the effects of stressors
  • Lessen long-term and short-term work-related issues
  • Assists you in experiencing the brighter side of life
  • Improve cognition
  • Integrates different exercises and techniques to manage stress
  • Boosts self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Talking therapies gives you room to let go of your worries and unsettled disputes.

The list goes on and on. Counseling opens doors to a lot of possibilities.

 

Conclusion

Stress is part and parcel of human life. But still, your health is way more important than the issues that keep worrying you. The best weapon to arm yourself with is how to combat it because you will have to deal with problems in one way or the other. This article has expounded in several ways you can manage stress and remain productive even in the worst storm.

Select what works best for you and follow the routine. Book an appointment today to restore your mental well-being.

 

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Often, we ignore the early signs of ADHD as childhood hyperactivity. Children are supposed to play, sweat it out, and have fun. However, children who suffer Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) find it challenging to focus, sit still, and accomplish small tasks. They will exhibit a restless behavior— always on the go, talking incessantly, and get bored quickly.

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ADHD doesn’t stop in childhood. Unfortunately, it can proceed past adolescence and plague your adult life. ADHD can affect your adult life adversely, because how can you make progress in your professional life when you can’t settle?

 

How Does ADHD Reduce the Quality of Your Life?

ADHD, like most mental health disorders, doesn’t get the attention as diseases with more physically pronounced symptoms. It might, therefore, aggravate because it takes longer to diagnose. Besides, most people who have ADHD do not even know it’s a severe thing until the symptoms come crushing.

ADHD can cause anxiety— you’ll intensely be worrying about everything. And this robs you of a goodnight’s sleep, which later summons lethargy. Now you can think of an exhausted brain being hyperactive. Such a level of turmoil can substantially reduce the quality of your life— every facet of it.

 

ADHD in children
Research shows that ADHD is affecting young boys more than it is affecting girls

 

Sleep is essential for the body’s natural renewal and to slow brain activity, but ADHD takes it away. You are also more susceptible to sleep-related issues like snoring and restless leg syndrome.

Due to the strain this disorder puts your brain through, you might struggle to keep up the pace at work. You’ll find it hard sitting for long in those boardroom meetings. Even taking instructions from your superiors becomes hectic because your attention can’t stretch long enough to get the little details. This can lower your performance at work and make it hard for you to keep jobs.

This disorder can decimate your life in many ways; that’s why you should know the right medication. The only sure way to know you’re getting medicated is when you use FDA-approved ADHD drugs. But here’s why you should use an approved drug for treating this disorder.

 

Why it’s essential to use FDA approved ADHD drugs only

Drug companies make drugs, but the drugs must pass through the FDA to get approval before they can be administered. The drug companies have their own procedures that test if the drugs are safe for the people it’s made for, and if they’re effective for the conditions they treat.

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The FDA, however, can only approve a drug for single use. It is doctors who will use their discretion backed up by medical research to prescribe medication off-label where the drugs can help alleviate the symptoms. That’s why some medications used for ADHD can be used for anxiety. Off-label prescriptions are effective, but the drug must be approved by the FDA, even if for a different condition.

FDA Approved Drugs assures safety and effectiveness

Drugs that do not pass through FDA don’t assure users of their safety. A drug company can’t make the drugs, test them in-house, and stamp an approval stamp on them. Using non-FDA approved ADHD drugs can cause severe damage, including liver damage, heart problems, and affect your cognitive abilities. It is only by using FDA-approved drugs that you know your safety was prioritized.

Also, non-FDA approved drugs can cause serious problems when prescribed off label. For off-label prescription, since the medicine wasn’t approved for the condition, there is no written dosage for the disease. The doctors have to depend on their training to know the right dosage to administer. Non-FDA approved drugs got away without passing any tests, depending on a doctor’s training to administer a dose of such drug for a mental health disorder is a health risk to anyone.

 

non FDA drug side effects
These side-effects are common in both stimulant and non-stimulant ADHD drugs

 

Some ADHD patients have other health conditions

Before drugs get approved, the FDA tests them to know if they are safe and effective for patients with other health conditions. That’s why you find drugs that are not good for lactating mothers and others that shouldn’t be used during pregnancy. Unapproved drugs lack this information, as the manufacturers bypass some tests.

For instance, psychostimulants like methylphenidate and amphetamines are effective at treating ADHD but are not recommended during pregnancy. These drugs expose the fetus to harm. Expectant ADHD patients can, therefore, go for another option— we know this because the FDA tested the drug, unapproved drugs don’t have this information, and so puts your health at risk.

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In conclusion, ADHD is a serious condition that can maim your personal life and drain your professional life. Though it is common in children below six years, it can plague your adult life too. Using FDA approved drugs for this condition assures effectiveness and safety.

However, your safety begins with entrusting your health to medical professionals. Book an appointment with us to find help with ADHD-related issues.

 

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What’s holding back mental healthcare access? There is a lot of information on the general issues that bar people from seeking help to treat their mental illnesses. Sure, there are people that have managed to access successful treatment, but a good number of those battling mental illnesses aren’t getting the help they need. This gap between patients and treatment trickles down to multiple factors.

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Ideally, knowing all the reasons that are keeping you from accessing treatment could change your life. If you would like to know some of the reasons why accessing mental healthcare is tough, this is the post for you. It includes five of these barriers.

The points included in this post are not only an inside view of the mental healthcare industry but also evidence-based insights into why accessing treatment options have been a problem. It will answer the many questions in your mind right now.

 

Number One – Structural Barriers

Mental health issues are common all over America. While all states have been working on creating an environment favorable for mental health treatment, there still exists a large gap between access to treatment and the prevalence of the illnesses.

The Treatment Gap

The treatment gap is used to refer to the difference between the number of patients who need specific treatment and those who actually receive the care. Among the primary reasons for this large gap is the availability of unpredictable and insufficient data on the American population. This is exacerbated by the scarcity of resources for collecting this data.

According to the survey:

  • America’s weighted mean for the treatment gap for mental illnesses stands at 71.2%
  • The mean for the treatment gap stands at 57.6% for severe disorders
  • The mean for the treatment gap stands at 65.7% for critical to moderate disorders

In the case of severe mental disorders, the treatment gap is as follows:

  • 5% in North America
  • 9% in Latin America
  • 4% in Mesoamerica
  • 8% in South America

For severe to moderate mental disorders, the treatment gap increases substantially:

  • 2% in North America
  • 7% in Latin America
  • 7% in Mesoamerica
  • 1% in South America

Tackling the treatment gap that exists among alcohol and substance abusers is the biggest challenge for first-world countries such as America. The treatment gap among American adults is also exceptionally high, further adding to the global mental health disorder burden.

Poor Mental Health Policies

Policies are supposed to aid in meeting the needs of the population. Historically, America has been more than adamant in creating mental health policies aimed at helping people with war-related chronic mental health problems. This includes a centralized system of procedures that have been around since 1960. Services might no longer be available to the seriously ill citizens because the centralized approach didn’t factor this target demographic.

The present situation concerning public health policies isn’t that different from the post-war one. Instead of targeting the population that needs them, today’s health policies are aimed at therapeutic services for outpatient settings. As such, this scenario results in inadequate resource allocation for the mental health sector.

Here are a few trends recorded in 2020, according to Mental Health America’s published article:

  • There has been an increase in the prevalence of depression and anxiety from 8.66% to 13.01%
  • More adults are attempting suicide than ever
  • While most American have insurance, they lack treatment
  • The youth and adults lack treatment requirements
  • There is still a large proportion of the youth that goes unidentified despite struggling with mental health illnesses

 

Mental health professionals
Which Mental Health Professionals are More at Risk?

 

Mental Health Professional Shortage

In general, America doesn’t have enough health professionals, but this inadequacy can be felt most in the mental healthcare sector. According to mental health resources, a good number of Americans, 89.3 million, live in federally designated areas of mental health shortage.

These statistics can be tied back to a variety of factors. Other than rural areas being highly deprived of diagnostic and treatment services, they typically lack access to mental health professionals. On the flip side, while urban areas have more health professionals, most have long waiting lists. Patients often have to wait for months before accessing these services.

This matter is further aggravated by government-sponsored and private insurance plans. Also, doctors often shy away from taking up mental healthcare careers.

The Organization of Mental Healthcare Services Is Fragmented

The fragmentation of mental health services makes accessing mental healthcare tougher for most people. Mental health services are referred to as ‘de facto’ in many areas. While people do report their problems, they often find themselves stuck in a maze of disorganization before they can get any help. This increases the urgency of having an efficient service system to facilitate direct contact with the community.

Some of the reasons for the disorganization of mental health services include:

  • Desperate administrative resources
  • Historical reforms
  • Variation in eligibility criteria rules
  • Misconducted funding streams

 

When combined, these factors have created widespread artificial boundaries between the patients and access to treatment. It is rare for popular communities to offer their past and present medical histories for assessment. When these communities actually present this data, processing the examinations usually takes months.

A severe lack of mental health services is also common among large minority communities, which is why people who dwell in rural areas are known to commit suicide at a rate that’s higher than their urban counterparts.

 

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Ignorance of the High-Risk Population’s Treatment

Whenever reform and guidelines are being designed, the high-risk population is often neglected. Mental healthcare isn’t advanced enough to ensure that all aspects that require consideration are addressed. However, the leaders in advancement also use outdated and general approaches when making decisions on mental healthcare.

Here is some of the high-risk population that is often ignored during mental healthcare reforms:

Geriatric Population

Mental health disorders and suicide are highly prevalent among the older generations, so providing this age group with treatment is necessary. For older people, ‘Medicare’ is their primary financer for health issues. The sad truth is that Medicare offers limited services and options for the mental healthcare sector. This inadequacy is linked to:

  • Limits to hospitalization
  • Limited coverage of office visits
  • Little to no coverage of prescription drugs

Around 25% of this demographic claim that these Medicare restrictions bar them from seeking healthcare. Since the treatment offered to older people isn’t as receptive as that offered to other adults, most resist seeking treatment. Under Medicare, general outpatient medical services require a 20 percent copayment, while most outpatient mental health services require a 50 percent copayment. It also rigidly limits the lifetime hospitalizations to 190 days.

Suggested Citation: “9 Barriers to Effective Treatment and Intervention.” Institute of Medicine. 2002. Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. DOI: 10.17226/10398.

The under-diagnosis and under-treatment of the older generation also pose a greater risk to access to treatment. Since a good number of physicians’ view depression and mental illnesses as part of growing old arising from anatomical, physiological, and psychological changes, special treatment considerations do not seem necessary for this group. However, this mindset can negatively impact the importance of seeking mental healthcare.

Adolescents

The reasons behind poor mental healthcare access are the same for the adolescent population; low utilization, limited access to care, low help-seeking behavior, and diagnosis problems have all contributed to the limited access to mental health treatment.

Another significant factor is that the unemployed status of most adolescents makes affording treatment expenses an uphill task. This age group also doesn’t adhere to appointments and follow-ups as required.

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Number Two – Limited Awareness/Education About Mental Health

The lack of mental healthcare awareness can be quite consequential. Stories about mental health complications can be found everywhere, including in newspapers, media, and TV. The responsibility of spreading and understanding mental health awareness falls on the government, treatment providers, and family members. Why aren’t people that struggle with bipolar disorder or chronic depressive disorder or schizophrenia getting the treatment they deserve? For those who do, why are treatment rates quite high?

The best excuse for this situation would be ‘Anosognosia’ – an inadequacy in self-awareness. If the person suffering from a mental disorder isn’t well-educated about their condition, they will have a lot of questions about their wellbeing. ‘Broken brain’ is a term commonly used to refer to people struggling with mental illnesses who have to deal with the continuous change in their brain or its damage without sensing that they have a mental illness.

50% of patients who are suffering from mental illness often don’t accept the fact that they have a mental disorder. While their health providers, friends, or family might try to inform them of their condition, it can be tough for them to understand or be mindful of their mental wellbeing. Addressing anosognosia is challenging since it is also a symptom of mental illness. Those who aren’t at home with their mental illnesses might react differently, including through:

Irritation

Other than being uncomfortable to deal with at first, mental disorders do get worse with age and time. Those struggling with these illnesses may face pressure in the form of work, financial burden, memory loss, a decline in cognitive skills, and stigma, which can breed anxiety while socializing.

Fear and Anger

The experience of being told that you have a mental disorder is typically painful and terrifying. People react towards fear in a completely unpredictable way. For those with psychiatric disorders, it can be tough to take things positively.

The language used to address the different disorders could also be an issue to the point where people suffering from mental illnesses become susceptible to specific words. For instance, calling such people’ mentally disturbed’ can be humiliating and cause anger reactions.

Why Mental Health Awareness Matters

Mental health awareness and the awareness of existing healthcare choices are necessary for early diagnosis and for spotting red flags within a specific demographic. This awareness also speeds up recovery from mental disorders.

Knowledge of all things mental health-related could help those in need figure out how to access healthcare resources. In fact, half of Americans might not access healthcare resources due to not knowing how to go about it.

They may not be aware of the resources that exist for their specific disorder; non-profit organizations, insurance policies, government-sponsored low-budget insurance coverage, and funding all offer great opportunities for improved mental health for the population. However, the lack of education, cultural and language barriers, superstitions, and conservative mindsets hold back people from leveraging healthcare options and treatments.

 

Psychiatric health in USA
Limitations of Psychiatric Health in the USA

 

Awareness offers both hope and a large recovery window. Attention to the possibilities of mental illnesses creates the perfect environment for decreasing comorbidities and improving how people approach life.

In the United States of America, a variety of organizations is working overtime to improve mental health awareness in their communities. These initiatives are targeted at improving the mental health of the population as well as increasing awareness of available treatment options. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Helpful Educational Resource for Mental Disorders and Healthcare In The U.S
  • CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

The CDC offers a rich source of data concerning mental health disorders. It has databases that are broadly based on public data and statistics. In recent years, the organization has been a huge advocate for mental health awareness. It has been promoting this cause by describing mental health to the public and outlining the benefits of mental health awareness as well as the available treatment options.

MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus is the service behind the most extensive medical library in the world, the ‘National Library of Medicine.’ The organization’s main goal is to offer high-quality information concerning health and wellness. By using English and Spanish, it achieves its goals of spreading healthcare awareness through all possible mediums. As an online resource, MedlinePlus is among the most trusted sources of information for individuals and their friends and family.

Mentalhealth.Gov

The U.S government uses this website as a one-step access door for a wide variety of mental health resources. Visitors can learn all things related to mental health by visiting the site. It targets a number of areas, including:

  • The general public
  • Policymakers
  • School systems
  • Health and emergency preparedness professionals
  • Local communities
  • Government and business leaders

National Center For PTSD

This organization’s target demographic is American veterans, both men, and women. It claims to offer all employees of the VA respect, excellence, and a baseline of standards.

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National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

NIMH has been one of the greatest champions of establishing evidence-based research on mental illnesses. As a leading federal agency in the mental health field, it falls under the 27 institutes of the National Institute of Health, which has been acclaimed as the world’s largest biomedical research agency.

In the coming five years, NIMH has created a strategic plan on how it wants to push mental health awareness forward. The plan includes (2020 updated):

  • Highlighting efforts aimed at improving therapeutic and preventive mental health interventions
  • Monitoring the trajectory of mental illnesses to establish the perfect way to intervene
  • Advancing the basic science of the brain, behavior, and genomics to understand mental illnesses better
  • Ensuring that people suffering from mental disorders can benefit from improved services and outcomes, and better knowledge to practice

 

Number Three – Racial Barriers and Social Stigma

The disorder isn’t the only complication that people struggling with mental illness have to deal with. While the disorder itself can be daunting to deal with, the whole experience is worsened by social stereotypes and prejudice.

Victims of mental illnesses are often robbed of both a healthy, happy life and access to mental healthcare facilities. They end up being deprived of adequate healthcare, good jobs, and access to freely available resources.

Why Mental Health Stigma Is Prevalent?

Stigma arises whenever the society or those closest to the victim term them as less desirable. It can be manifested in a variety of ways, including negative attitudes, ignorance, or discrimination. The victim is often referred to as ‘other.’

This stigma could easily be fueled by society’s negative attitudes and lack of awareness. In other cases, people struggling with mental illnesses often become society’s soft targets of violence in a variety of ways. For instance, people who have schizophrenia are often regarded as violent and a danger to others.

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Five Common Societal Misconceptions About Mental Illness

1.     Mental Disorders Are A Weakness

It is common for the mentally ill to receive a lot of backlash for their mental health status. Their condition often raises questions about their abilities, intelligence, and physical output. Such perceptions about them often lead victims towards a path of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness, which is often a big hurdle to their motivation to seek mental healthcare.

Also, seeking treatment for mental disorders is often regarded as a lack of mental strength. The truth is that mental strength isn’t affected by mental illnesses. In fact, many people dealing with mental health disorders are quite influential and are known to handle their condition incredibly well.

2.     It Is Impossible to Overcome Mental Health Problems

Some contributing factors are non-modifiable, such as age, genetics, sex, and family history. However, it is quite possible for people struggling with mental illnesses to manage and recover from their conditions. A lot can be done to their daily living to lead them on the road of recovery. This includes:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Embracing psychotherapy
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Taking FDA-approved medication
  • Engaging in regular physical activity and exercise

3.     Violence Is Normal for People with Mental Disorders

The media has made a significant contribution to the negative portrayal of the mentally ill. Mental illnesses have been tied to ghost possessions, domestic violence, spooky mental asylums, serial killers, and more.

Hollywood movies, news, and documentaries have easily earned the mentally ill a ‘crazy’ label. In reality, people struggling with mental illnesses tend to be innocent and polite and are often not the perpetrators of violence, but victims of it.

The ensuing backlash, false portrayal by the media, constant label, and linkage of mental illness to criminality have all contributed to creating an unsuitable environment for those with mental illnesses to recover or open up about their struggles.

 

Mental health problems in USA
USA Mental Health Stats of Previous Years

 

4.     Seeking Mental Healthcare Is Considered as a Sign of Failure and a Source of Embarrassment

Around 50% of Americans are embarrassed and hesitant to seek help, regardless of their mental condition. This can be linked to the myths, baseless opinions, and stereotypes that are constantly exchanged within society. Mental health disorders are far from being a choice. Seeking mental healthcare should be seen in the same light as getting help for other health conditions. It should be viewed as a choice to prioritize your health enough to seek treatment and enjoy a better life. Owning up to your mental disorder and seeking help is, in fact, a sign of strength, which shows you have the spiritual power and will to design a happier life for yourself.

5.     Mental Health Practitioners Aren’t Doctors

Studies in the field of psychiatry and psychology are of great importance. These health professionals play a key role in diagnosing mental disorders, treating them, and coming up with advanced ways of managing mental illnesses. Psychologists cannot be called doctors until they earn their PhD. in their fields and get authorized licensure. Attending medical schools isn’t a requirement for them. On the other hand, psychiatrists have to attend medical school to completion and take licensing exams before reaching their degree. In both cases, these professionals are referred to as doctors after fulfilling the required criteria.

While there is a significant difference in salary and education, this difference neither takes away their title nor questions their expertise. The fact is that both professions have a significant role to play in decreasing mental health stigma and improving healthcare accessibility with an excellent prognosis.

Stigma Can Be Divided into Two:

  • Public stigma
  • Self-stigma

Public Stigma:

Stereotype: The mentally ill are negatively perceived by society. (violent, different, weak, dangerous)

Prejudice: Rigidity towards these negative beliefs.

Discrimination: Often, this leads to the avoidance and withholding of common living opportunities.

On average, the American and European population has a very negative perception of people with mental health disorders. Even professionals in the mental health sector do practice some form of stigmatization.

Some of the general thoughts about mental health within the public domain are:

  • People struggling with mental illness should be isolated from society
  • The mentally ill are immature
  • Others should make the life decision of the mentally ill since they are incapable of making these decisions themselves

Double standards and discrimination in thoughts and opinions around the mentally ill are quite common. Family members might shy away from socializing with the mentally ill. An above-average portion of society will also have negative thoughts concerning marriages with the mentally ill. This public stigma hurts the chances of the mentally ill to access good jobs, free treatment options, safe housing, social club memberships, public parks, etc.

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Self-Stigma:

Stereotypes: Having a negative perception about oneself (feeling helpless, weak, and crazy, etc.)

Prejudice: Agreeing with and settling to the false beliefs of society

Discrimination: Failing to seek help and missing out on treatment opportunities

It is common for people living within a society that stigmatizes against them to endorse this backlash. With time, a mentally ill person might find themselves thinking that they inherently deserve less, and often lose hope for their future. Low self-esteem and dignity are significant contributors to the low rates of the mentally ill seeking resources and screening.

Moving onto this chapter’s last section

Racial Disparities

Unlike in the case of general health, there are petty differences among the public regarding accessing quality mental healthcare. The minorities in the United States, such as African Americans, access poor quality mental healthcare, whereas the situation is much better for accessing general healthcare.

Studies show that the prevalence of mental health issues among African Americans is less than or equal to that of the other American ethnic groups. However, the outcomes for blacks aren’t anywhere close to being as good as those of the whites.

 

Number Four – Barriers in Primary Healthcare and Suicidal Detection

Globally, mental health problems are quite common. In fact, the morbidity and mortality rate has seen a steady increase recently due to inadequate primary care and screening for the mentally ill. Primary care plays a pivotal role in the detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis of mental illnesses. Most people struggling with mental disorders complain about inadequacies in primary healthcare facilities and limited access to the available ones. According to a study conducted by De Hert and colleagues, the poor management of mental illnesses can be tied back to several barriers, which include:

Patient Barriers:

Low Socioeconomic Background:

The unavailability of resources like aids, funding, family support, and insurance coverage hold back people from affording mental healthcare. One of the most significant problems for people with low socioeconomic backgrounds is that the mentally ill are often regarded as disabled and problematic. As such, these individuals have to primarily depend on their own financial abilities due to inequality, social stigma, and low self-confidence.

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Poor Mental Health Experience:

Some of the social experiences people have had with mental health make patients shy away from opening up to society and health experts. For instance, the media has been painting a terrorizing picture of common mental healthcare resources such as doctors and hospitals. Famous Hollywood movies have created the perception of the mentally ill being victimized through experimentation, torture, bloodshed, and violence. This negative image makes it tough for people with mental illnesses to believe that the real world is any different.

Service Provider Barriers:

Three factors drive the quality and capacity to address and treat mental health disorders:

Knowledge

Inadequate knowledge about the different mental health conditions among healthcare providers complicates access to mental healthcare. While there are diverse mental health disorders, a single disorder could affect two people in varying ways. Lacking the knowledge of the multiple aspects of the different disorders makes managing patients an uphill task. Education is necessary among doctors and nurses for them to deal with mental health emergencies with efficiency.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice of a good number of healthcare providers excludes mental illnesses. While a physician will claim that they have a license to treat the body, they may emphasize that they don’t treat the brain. Such individuals believe that dealing with mental health issues is outside their scope.

Attitudes and Values:

A lot of people find dealing with new primary healthcare workers tough. Making a connection with them and opening up can be a challenge for most people. This especially holds true for people with a history of alcohol and drug abuse as they experience rejection from primary healthcare workers who might see them as “drug-seeking.”

Barriers to Suicide Detection and Management:

In the United States, suicide has grown into a significant concern. Mental health disorders and suicide attempts often go hand in hand.

What Are the Mental Health Disorders Associated with The Risk Of Suicide?

Some of the mental health disorders that result in suicide include:

  • Major depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alcoholism
  • Emotional stress
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personal disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
Suicide rate in USA
Prominent Factors Contributing to Suicide in the USA

 

Here are some of the problems that hold back suicide detection:

Suicide Screening

Most countries have embraced a grim suicide detection strategy. In most cases, this involves conducting primary health surveys on depression and assessing the probability of suicide occurring among the target audience.

While there are a variety of tools that can help screen suicide, their applicability is often questionable. Having conversations with the patient about their condition as well as their family and medical history is often the best alternative.

People who fit the following description often have a high risk of suicide:

  • People facing fatigue
  • Clients with chronic pain
  • People struggling with financial burdens
  • People going through sudden changes in their life
  • People who are socially isolated
  • People going through postpartum depression
  • People who are sleep-deprived
  • People with a history of substance abuse
  • People struggling with more than one chronic disease
  • People whose first-degrees biological relatives have a history of depression
  • People living in impoverished home environments
  • The geriatric population that lives alone

Often the sensitivity and availability of the screening tools aren’t always at 100%. Picking the ideal screening tools trickles down to a variety of factors, including personal preferences, availability, time consumption, and other factors.

The fact that screening tools are also known to lead to false-positive results is also a major drawback. This can lead to high medical care costs, which could complicate the lives of people who lack private insurance.

 

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Number Five – Financial Barriers

The adverse effects of economic and psychological issues have had a significant role to play in the increasing burden of mental health disorders around the world. According to recent research, about 56% of the population with depression and 86% of people struggling with alcohol abuse go untreated due to the high cost of accessing treatment.

Globally, the inability to afford mental healthcare treatment is the main cause of treatment denial. Many of America’s insurance companies, especially Medicare, either allocate inadequate resources or completely fail to cover mental healthcare services. Reversing this is largely in the hands of authorities, caretakers, and the policymakers.

WHO has already confirmed the significant threat that lies with mental illnesses? Millions of Americans find accessing psychiatric healthcare challenging. Often, those who access the care often have to go through a maze of fragmentation and financial obstacles.

Some of the main reasons behind these financial issues include:

  • Unemployment
  • Insurance companies’ high rate of denial of care
  • Health insurance networks lacking mental health experts
  • Mental healthcare facilities demanding high out-of-pocket costs

These issues will exist, whether the person seeking mental healthcare has private or public insurance coverage. Here is a list of the opportunities for healthcare treatment offered in the United States and the financial aspect that hold them back:

Insurance

Ideally, having insurance coverage is meant to make accessing treatment easier. There is a scheme under the American health system that allows all deserving populations to access treatment under a specific insurance plan.

Many insurance sources under this scheme do cover mental health treatments. For instance, employers can provide insurance to their employees. As for young people (those below the age of 26), they can always rely on the coverage provided by their parent’s employer. On the other hand, college students can enjoy low-cost insurance provided by the school’s state.

The Financial Drawbacks of These Insurance Options

A good number of these plans might exclude mental health conditions from their coverage. Despite the government trying its best to be strict, many insurers could exclude previously diagnosed illnesses from their coverage. In other cases, the mentally ill might struggle to afford common insurance plans, with some working under employers who don’t offer insurance!

For people who can’t access insurance through family support, school, or work, there is always the option to access government-sponsored plans through:

  • Medicare
  • Affordable Care Act Marketplace
  • Medicaid

Medicare And Medicaid

The U.S government sponsors Medicaid and Medicare. These services are provided based on qualifications, disability status, income, and age. For you to gain access to the service, you will need to work with a social service agency to fill social security disability applications.

 

Psychiatric health in USA
Limitations of Psychiatric Health in the USA

 

The Limitations of Medicare:

Limited Providence of Facilities

Other than the popular Medicare plans to have a variety of financial restrictions, the services that you can access under the insurance are limited to a specific budget. For a majority of these plans, you will need to pay higher fees if you can only access out-of-network healthcare providers. While other plans can give more choices, they often come with a high price tag that is difficult to afford.

State-Specific Limitations on Coverage

Although Medicare services can be accessed throughout America, the advantage plans will often be strictly restricted to specific areas or states. This will prove to be disadvantageous to the demographic that travels frequently; their health insurance might not work outside their residential area.

The Additional Cost of Healthcare Coverage

At face value, Medicare looks like a reasonable plan that comes with premium charges that are automatically deducted throughout the project’s many parts. However, it might have user-specific hidden charges. These charges could include specialist visit copays, add ups on the advantage plans, and drug deductibles.

Free Clinic and Health Services

While insurance will cater to most parts of healthcare, there exist a couple of cost-free options. These options are easy to obtain through Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC). However, you need to meet stringent requirements to gain access to these services.

Another popular option is to reach out to local non-profit organizations. While some therapists under these organizations can offer their services at no cost, such opportunities are often luck-dependent.

What Are the Possible Issues?

Cost-free options are often offered by healthcare candidates like part-time workers, observers, and trainees. These candidates might fail to match the quality services and treatment regimens offered by experts. People seeking treatment for their mental health disorders could easily experience a lack of professionalism and malpractice.

Funding for The Mentally Ill Working Population

Finding employment as a mental health patient is often a struggle. However, job seekers can always leverage the disability quota for a chance at landing minimum role jobs. The government also provides supported employment options and vocational rehabilitation services. The former offers people with mental illnesses an excellent opportunity to make enough money and afford their treatment.

In order to get supported employment, you might have to contact mental health agencies. Your employment could be restricted to specific sectors, such as teaching the mentally ill. Once you are employed, your employer will take the responsibility of eliminating any barriers to how you work. Often, this involves stringent supervision to ensure high levels of quality and create an ideal corruption-free environment.

The Difficulty of Maintaining Jobs With Mental Disorders

It is often difficult to find and maintain jobs with mental illness. While 60% of Americans suffering from mental illnesses are ready to work, it can be surprising to learn that their unemployment rate lies at 80%. Sure, seeking a job with a mental illness can be a great idea, but the underlying illness could complicate relating with others in the workplace.

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Conclusion

There is a diversity of barriers to accessing ample care for mental health disorders, with most of the above-listed obstacles having several contributing factors. The ensuing stigma and lack of healthcare access could arise from both the society or the patient himself. The ultimate goal is to work on ways for breaking these stereotypes and barriers to eventually allow victims to enjoy a healthy and functional life like the rest of the population.

Now that you have learned enough about mental health care aspects, you can do your part to change this narrative. Whether you or your loved one have a mental illness or not, you are always welcome to seek care at Mango Clinic. Feel free to leave a comment and visit this site anytime for more knowledge. Book an appointment today!

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More often than not, constant stress leads to its more debilitating ally: anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 31% of Americans will have anxiety disorders at a certain point in their lives. Also, adults and teen women are at a far higher risk as compared to men.

Risk Factors

Anxiety disorders arise from an intricate set of causative agents, including:

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Personality
  • Life events

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What’s the Difference Between Anxiety & Depression?

Briefly, anxiety entails an excessive feeling of worry, whereas depression applies to extreme feelings of hopelessness and/or worthlessness. What’s more, subjects can have both conditions (anxiety and depression) concurrently.

Feeling out of control over a situation can cause stress, anxiety, or else depression. Yet, recognizing their differences can help you make the right diagnosis and lead to the correct treatment.

So, how can you diagnose these medical disorders? Well, let’s find out.

 

Diagnosing Stress Disorders?

Stress describes a feeling of physical tension or an emotional response to an event. It can stem from any situation or thought that elicits a sense of frustration, anger, or nervousness. Stress is your body’s response to a challenge or demand.

Once your mind gets these threatening signals, it releases a flood of chemicals that may overwhelm the rational—a more evolved part of your brain referred to as the prefrontal cortex.

Next, neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine stimulate the amygdala—a considerably primal part of your brain designed to prepare your body’s “flight or fight” reaction when you’re facing adversity.

Another biological process that takes place involves a blend of nerve and hormonal cues that trigger your adrenal glands to discharge two hormones; adrenaline and cortisol.

As a result, your heart rate may increase, while your breathing rhythm becomes shallower to prep your body to react to a situation.

Typically, this makes it a challenge to reflect with relaxed emotions, measured logic, and restraint the prefrontal cortex offers.

In the past, this complex process was considerably beneficial to our lives. But today, the presence of daily stressors serves to threaten the intricate balance of our mental health.

 

Stress, anxiety and depression commonalities
Common Factors between Stress, Anxiety, and Depression!\

 

When stress continues uninterrupted for long periods, it no longer serves it’s initially intended biological purpose of alerting you. Instead, its function becomes corrupted (chronic), a situation that is relatively difficult to turn around.

Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Chest pain
  • Insomnia
  • Grinding of teeth

Without treatment, chronic stress can potentially increase a subject’s likelihood of developing high blood pressure (BP), heart conditions, diabetes, and weight issues (obesity).

Experts also consider chronic stress as a causative agent of autoimmune diseases—linking it to a weakened immune system that leaves you more vulnerable to opportunistic infections such as colds, among others.

Anxiety Prognosis

Anxiety and stress have identical physical and biological attributes. But here are the differences;

  • Stress-induced neurotransmitters and hormones mostly will stay ramped up, and the subject’s mind gets stuck in repetitive worrying
  • Panic-driven thought loops

Anxiety is a normal reaction to a situation when you feel pressured, or to some extent, fearful due to unknown elements or perceived danger.

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But the condition becomes a clinical concern when the feeling fails to subside even when the threat dissipates and subsequently begins to interfere with your daily functioning and interactions.

Discerning the context is critical. A physician will conduct a thorough evaluation of the patient’s existing environment and current circumstances to interpret better their feelings and experiences based on their reality.

Depression Signs, Symptoms & Causes

Unlike stress and anxiety, there’s far less information available relating to the causes, symptoms, and drivers of depression.

Likely Causes:

  • Multifaceted interaction of social, psychological or even biological factors
  • Adverse life events, including grief, trauma, loss of livelihood, health concerns

Its debilitating impact on people can lead to loss of ability to function in many areas of their lives, in particular work and relationships.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is a leading cause of disability globally. Similarly, the disorder is detrimental mainly when it contributes to suicidal thought or planning.

 

Stress, anxiety and depression treatments
Effective Treatments for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression

 

Physical Symptoms:

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia
  • Physical pain
  • Lethargy

Mentally, the condition manifests itself in the following manner:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Heightened anxiety
  • Mental paralysis

Where the subject tends to feel like a burden, they’re also less likely to engage or reach out to others and may end up withdrawing socially.

Individuals with depressive conditions can also have ruminative episodes alongside feelings of guilt, leading to an impaired ability to think, concentrate, or form memories.

Over time, researchers have moved away from only considering depression as a biochemical imbalance of neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

As such, the understanding shifts to a more complex view of the condition that includes considering changes in electrical activity in the brain involving the interactions between neurons and nerve cells. This assessment is because depression reduces the ability of neurons to interact with each other.

Due to the disparities in thinking, treatment for depression differs on an individual basis and may involve a blend of medication and therapy.

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Conclusion

As with many other conditions, certified medics tailor stress, anxiety, and depression treatments to a specific diagnosis. Meaning the physician designs the treatment plan to help the subject manage and limit the symptoms of each of the above disorders, and often simultaneously.

Overall, stress, anxiety, and depression list among the most common human experiences. Regardless of your experience with these feelings or disorders, one thing you should know is you can seek professional help. You’re not alone. Reach out to us at Mango Clinic for mental health problems!

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Patients often use acetaminophen and ibuprofen, among other over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, to relieve pain. Prescription medications like opioids are stronger alternatives to OTCs. While such remedies are effective, long-term use usually comes with numerous side effects and may become addictive.
Natural pain relievers provide suitable alternatives for people to explore. Herbs and essential oils form a bulk of such pain management treatments.

 

What is Pain? 

Your nervous system uses pain as a signal to indicate that something is amiss. Pain can be anything from a mild sting or tinge to a persistent ache in different parts of your body. Overall, you experience enough discomfort to seek help.
You can classify pain as either acute or chronic, depending on its nature. Acute pain often results from an injury or a disease, and it usually goes away after some time. Chronic pain, on the other hand, tends to last longer, resulting in a lingering problem.

 

Types of pain
Different Types of Pains

 

Managing Chronic Pain

Diagnosis is always the first step in any treatment program. You’ll need to talk to your doctor about your symptoms before settling on a suitable treatment plan for chronic aches. Prescription medications and OTCs are often the first choices for managing pain.
Topical creams for muscle aches and oral medications for internal pain are the common types of OTC pain relievers. In cases where OTCs fail to manage the pain, doctors may prescribe opioids like morphine, nonopioids like aspirin, or adjuvant analgesics such as antidepressants.
Some medics, however, recommend a combination of treatments. Such combinations may include:
•    Exercise
•    Psychological counseling
•    Physical therapy
•    Acupuncture
These treatment options work differently for different individuals. Managing chronic pain often requires you to find a customized treatment plan to fit your specific needs.
Side effects of medications
Regular use of drugs can cause mild to severe side effects, including:
•    Difficulty in breathing
•    Nausea
•    Vomiting
•    Edema
•    Constipation or diarrhea

 

Alternative Pain Management Treatments

Acupuncture- This ancient Chinese healing art has offered relief to many patients for countless years. With this treatment, your doctor inserts tiny needles into specific parts of the skin. Your body, in turn, releases endorphins that block pain messages from reaching your brain. Acupuncture may also involve electrical stimulation or pressure.

1.    Biofeedback

With this pain management technique, the physician trains you to consciously affect involuntary body functions like muscle tension and heart rate. Your doctor measures information about different physical characteristics, then use the feedback to enhance your awareness of the processes.
Once you understand how such features relate to pain, you can adjust them when you feel pain. Biofeedback is also an excellent therapy for alleviating stress as it helps patients relax.

 

Effective Pain Relievers
Most Effective Pain Relievers

 

2.    Massage

Patients often subscribe to massage therapy when looking to relax and relieve stress. This treatment involves stroking, kneading, and rubbing your body’s soft tissues. The relaxation technique decreases muscle tension, which may be the source of your chronic aches. Proper massages often manipulate different body systems, including the nervous, lymphatic, and circulation systems. Massage is especially beneficial for patients with chronic lower back pain.

3.    Chiropractic

Chiropractors offer safe pairs of hands for anyone dealing with chronic pain around various joints. These physicians relate the structures of different body parts to their functions. In most instances, chiropractic visits focus on adjustments to realign the body. Proper realignments help to promote self-healing for patients.

4.    Relaxation therapy

Stress can sometimes result in chronic pain as it causes increased muscle tension. Meditation, guided imagery, and yoga help to reduce the adverse effects of stress, and reduce pain symptoms in the process. In this case, you’ll focus your attention on a single item. As you minimize distracting thoughts or feelings, your body gets relief from pain.

5.    Psychotherapy

Some doctors may suggest that you visit a psychologist if they feel your chronic pain is a mental issue. Counselors will help you develop coping skills for managing pain while empowering you to deal with negative thoughts. The extra emotional support reduces your stress levels, placing you in an excellent position to manage your pain.

6.    Aromatherapy

Essential plant oils have lovely scents that are ideal for pain management. Your physician may ask you to apply the oils to your skin or inhale in this pain management therapy. Cancer patients and people with rheumatoid arthritis often experience decreased pain symptoms from this therapy.

 

How Do I Get Alternative Pain Management Treatments

Besides helping to alleviate chronic aches, alternative pain management treatments have little to no side effects. The likelihood of addiction is also close to zero making this treatment options a win-win situation for patients.
Licensed physicians at Mango Clinic will assess your individual needs to understand your chronic aches. You will explore various treatment options with your physician to find one that will work best for you. Ensure that you know what the process will entail and what to expect with the option you choose. Visit our website or contact us to schedule your consultation today.

 

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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.

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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.

 

Factors of anxiety disorder
Factors Causing Anxiety Disorder

 

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.

  • Charles Darwin

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.

  • Walter Cannon

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.

  • Ivan Pavlov

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.

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Psychological Causes of Anxiety

  • Overthinking

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.

  • Unrealistic expectations

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.

  • Low Self-Esteem

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.

  • Pessimism

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.

  • The Past

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.

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Physiological Causes of Anxiety

  • Genetics

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.

  • Hormonal Imbalances

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.

This system controls how we move and how we respond to stimuli. That’s why when in the grip of an anxiety attack, our movements become jerky and uncoordinated.

 

Problems causing by anxiety
7 Problems Caused by Anxiety

 

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.

  • Depression

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
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Nervousness

 

  • Gastric Disorders

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.

  • Sleep Disorders

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

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.

  • Erectile Dysfunction

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.

  • Substance Abuse

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.

  • Suicidal Behavior

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
  • Obsessive-compulsive 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.

 

Types of anxiety disorder
4 Major Types of Anxiety Disorder

 

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:

  • Unexplained nervousness
  • Feelings of impending danger
  • Hyperventilation
  • Sleep disorders
  • Increased heart rate
  • Gastric disorders

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)
  • Germophobia

OCD manifests during the teenage years. Like GAD, it is also more prevalent in women than in men.

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

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)
  • Intrusive flashbacks
  • Altered emotional reactions
  • Negative thinking

Children who have PTSD may also exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Bed-wetting
  • Speech problems (slurred speech)
  • Night terrors

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:

  • Staggered speech
  • Nausea
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Heart palpitations

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.

 

Tips to control anxiety
Simple Tips to Control 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 

  1. 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)
  2. Is your tendency to worry increasing in frequency and/or intensity? (YES/NO)
  3. Is it hard to stop worrying once you get started? (YES/NO)
  4. 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 

  1. Do you experience unpleasant intrusive thoughts or impulses? (YES/NO)
  2. Are you always worried about germs? (YES/NO)
  3. Do you experience shortness of breath for no apparent cause? (YES/NO)
  4. Have you, in the last few days, experienced a sensation of weakness in the legs? (YES/NO)
  5. Do you find it hard to throw out things even when you don’t need them? (YES/NO)
  6. Have you recently altered your eating or sleeping habits? (YES/NO)
  7. 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 

  1. Have you experienced/witnessed a life-threatening event that still makes you fearful today? (YES/NO)
  2. Do you experience repeated feelings of distress, unpleasant flashbacks, or nightmares? (YES/NO)
  3. Do you experience intense physical or emotional pain when you think of an event from your past? (YES/NO)
  4. Do you actively avoid conversations and thoughts about a traumatic event from your past? (YES/NO)
  5. Do you harbor negative beliefs about yourself? (YES/NO)
  6. Do you feel isolated from other people? (YES/NO)
  7. Are you in a continuously negative emotional state? (YES/NO)
  8. Do you have problems sleeping? (YES/NO)
  9. 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 

  1. Do you have an intense fear of social situations? (YES/NO)
  2. Do you have trouble with social interactions? (YES/NO)
  3. Do you feel extreme discomfort under observation? (YES/NO)
  4. Does the thought of getting in a social situation make your heart pound? (YES/NO)
  5. Is your fear of socializing a present feature in your daily life? (YES/NO)
  6. Do you feel worthless and ashamed for no reason? (YES/NO)
  7. 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.

Let’s jump in!

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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.

 

Anxiety facts
Recent Anxiety Facts and Stats

 

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.

Find a suitable solution to your anxiety today!

 

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Garlic Can Make You Less Anxious 

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.

  • Imaginal exposure

This type of exposure encourages the patient to relive the traumatic events that cause them anxiety.

  • Interoceptive exposure

This form of therapy invokes memories of past events by simulating the physical sensations that the patient went through.

  • Graded exposure

For this type of exposure, the patient is exposed to several objects of fear progressively based on the level of anxiety they inspire.

  • Flooding exposure

The patient is exposed to the object of his greatest fear first.

  • Systematic desensitization

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.

 

how to overcome anxiety without drugs
5 Ways to Fight Anxiety without Drugs

 

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?

  1. Find a qualified therapist. The higher their reputation is, the better for you.
  2. Go over the expenses and payment plans first before starting the therapy.
  3. Go over your symptoms as well as any other information that you may need to tell the therapist before you attend your first appointment.
  4. Attend all sessions dutifully.

In the end, you can expect to see an improvement in your mental health. You will also gain all the skills necessary for coping with future stressors.

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.

 

Exposure Therapy

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:

  • PTSD
  • GAD
  • General anxiety
  • Phobias
  • OCD

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.

 

In-Vivo Training 

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.

 

Imaginal Exposure

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.

 

Flooding Method

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.

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Systematic Desensitization

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

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
  • Muscle tension
  • 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.

 

Types of anxiety medications
Generalized Types of Anxiety Medications

 

Benzodiazepines

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)
  • Diazepam
  • Temazepam

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.

Like many pharmacological products, benzodiazepines are not without side effects. They may include:

  • Ataxia
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Cognitive dissonance
  • Dependency
  • Stomach problems
  • Headaches
  • Amnesia
  • Blurred vision

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:

  • Citalopram
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline
  • Fluoxetine

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:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Anxiety
  • 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

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:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • Nervousness
  • Mild sedation
  • Psychomotor dysfunctions
  • 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.

Get your anxiety medicines prescribed today!

 

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Barbiturates

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.

Some of the side effects of barbiturates include:

  • Addiction
  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Tremors
  • Drowsiness
  • Enzyme induction

 

Antihistamines

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.

 

 Anxiety relief tips
Simple Tips for Anxiety Relief

 

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.

 

Stay aware

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.

 

Take medication

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.

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Stay away from caffeine

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.

 

Chapter 9- Anxiety Success Stories and Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Tidbits

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.

 

What to know before consulting anxiety doctor
Things to know before consulting anxiety doctor

 

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.

 

Success Story #3: Daniel Gets Over Anxiety with an ESA

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:

  1. 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.
  2. If you have a trained pet, you need to acknowledge that and let the concerned parties know as well.
  3. Visit a licensed therapist for an evaluation. You can also apply for an ESA letter online, which is a different but straightforward process too.
  4. 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.

Get an ESA letter today!

 

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Here is his story.

“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.”

 

Conclusion

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.

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Life, as we know it, has some ups and downs, and contrary to what many of us may think, challenges are not always a bad thing. Problems are an integral part of the things that help us grow and forge ahead in our lives.

Get professional assistance to deal with stress!

 

Naturally, one of the many reasons we make everyday life decisions and perform various actions is primarily because we want to overcome some challenges. The issue is not having to face challenges but is encountering problems that severely overwhelm us. Unfortunately, when the challenges of life overwhelm you, this is no longer healthy, and it transforms into stress.

What Is Stress?

Stress can simply be defined as an involuntary response to a particular external stimulus. It is a distinct reaction to a given situation where an individual feels anxious or threatened. It represents a feeling of physical or emotional tension.

Anything that places very high demands on you can usually be stressful. The pressures and circumstances that result in stress are called stressors. More often than not, we consider stressors as entirely negative, like a problematic rocky relationship or an overwhelming work schedule.

In most cases, however, stress can usually be positive (like preparing for a graduation, wedding, or party) or negative (like trying to cope with a natural calamity). In this post, we will discuss the negative form of stress, which can have a severe impact on you.

What Causes Stress?

A wide array of factors can cause stress. The undeniable fact is, we are all prone to getting stressed so long as we are alive. Nonetheless, there are some particular experiences and circumstances that make you more prone to stress. Here are some of the most common causes of stress.

  • Experiencing or being a victim of various unforeseen, traumatic events like theft, natural calamities, rape, robbery, among others.
  • Being in a financial crisis like huge pending debts.
  • The passing away of a loved one.
  • Inability to successfully accomplish a given task within a given deadline.
  • Failing in your tasks or endeavors.
  • Being in the dilemma of having to make a difficult decision.
  • An unexpected delay in endeavors you have worked hard to accomplish.
  • Experiencing personal interpersonal or relationship problems such as separation.
  • Struggling with various educational issues such as learning difficulty, poor grades, or finding it difficult to adjust to learning demands.
  • Having impractical expectations on something or someone that ends up in disappointment.
  • Transitioning into a new phase of your life like getting accepted into a college or getting married.
  • Harboring twisted, unhealthy, and uninformed perceptions of circumstances and certain things, for instance, interpreting momentary disappointment as depression.
  • Having an unhealthy perception of certain things, for example, interpreting a temporary failure as depression.

Signs and Symptoms of Stress

 

Signs of Emotional Stress
Signs of stress

 

Although stress cannot be entirely described as a sickness, it, however, similarly manifests itself like with an ailment. More often than not, when you are going through a stressful period, you will experience various symptoms just like you would when feeling sick.

The important thing to note, however, is that the symptoms you experience are not only associated with stress alone and can be signs of other issues. This, therefore, renders it crucial for you to consult with an expert before making any conclusions.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms of stress you should look out for.

  • Fatigue and Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty or lack of concentration
  • Sleeping disorders. You can be oversleeping or not getting enough sleep
  • Sudden mood changes/mood swings

As we earlier outlined, the symptoms associated with stress are not unique to stress alone. As such, in case you observe a few of these mentioned symptoms, you must consult with your physician, particularly when they seem to hinder your ability to function correctly.

Stress Management: Healthy Ways of Dealing with Stress

Fortunately, there are numerous ways you can use to deal with stress. However, the primary concern is that not all stress management tactics are healthy. Learning healthy ways of coping with stress can help alleviate both stress symptoms and stressful emotions.

The most effective way of dealing with stress entails developing a habit (and a healthy one to emphasize). Certain habits like alcoholism, smoking, violence, drug abuse, and indulging in unhealthy sexual practices are some of the most popular ways we use to cope with stress, but which are not healthy.

 

Deal with Stress
Tips to Deal with Stress

 

To deal with stress appropriately, here are a few healthy and widely recommended approaches you can adopt to cope with stress.

  • Seeing a professional therapist
  • Adequately and regularly exercising
  • Learning to relax
  • Practicing appropriate breath control exercises
  • Participating in various healthy recreational activities that you enjoy, like traveling, reading, etc.
  • Taking some time off, if necessary
  • Transforming your physical environment and eradicating things that trigger the stress
  • Avoiding unrealistic expectations and not being too hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned

Get professional assistance to deal with stress!

 

You need to seek help from a medical health professional immediately if you are stressed before you face severe health issues. Schedule an appointment today at mangoclinic.com.

 

Book an appointment with MangoClinic
Book an Appointment Today!

 


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