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Anxiety Toolbox

Saturday, 02 January 2016 00:00  by Brittany F.

anxiety blog

As someone who has struggled with anxiety issues, it can be hard to understand and know what you are going through, especially when no one around you knows either. After many months of trying to keep it together and being strong, one day my world fell apart! I was pregnant with our youngest child, my husband was working out town and I was pretty much a single mother through the week of our older 2 children. My days were a blur; getting everyone up for school and work, work all day, get the kids from daycare, get home to do homework, cook dinner, get the kids baths and ready for bed, then clean the kitchen, do some laundry and finally maybe have an hour of time for me to get myself ready for bed and try to relax a bit, which of course I wasn’t relaxing much and wasn’t sleeping much either. I had spoken to my OBGYN regarding how I was feeling and she gave me a few suggestions to try until my next visit. That was a Wednesday and on Friday morning I had my very first panic attack. I was sitting at my desk at work, when all of a sudden the lights became blurry, I felt like I was in a tunnel almost blind. My chest started pounding and I began to sob uncontrollably. I called my husband barely able to speak, unable to explain to him what was wrong. I knew I was so overwhelmed with everything and I couldn’t keep it together any longer. After doing some research of the incident, that’s when I learned I had a panic attack. I called my doctor and they put me on an antidepressant and gave me information for anxiety.

I’ve heard people say many times over things like: “you have nothing to worry about”, “why can’t you just get over it”, “your worrying about something so small”. Well in reality someone with GAD cannot just get over it. It is an unfortunate part of the disorder. If we were able to get over it that would be so much easier than what we go through on a daily basis. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a common disorder of which the central feature is excessive worry about a number of different events. Symptoms include excessive anxiety about multiple events and issues, and difficulty controlling worrisome thoughts that persists for at least 6 months. Antidepressants provide a modest-to-moderate reduction in anxiety in GAD, and are superior to placebo in treating GAD. The efficacy of different antidepressants is similar.

Thankfully this is where antidepressants help tremendously. They help to releave some of the anxiousness and hopefully give you some peace of mind. Antidepressants or SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) are recommended by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and are typically used to treat major depressive disorders and anxiety disorders. They can also be used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders and stroke recovery. SSRIs have the power to markedly improve mood, outlook, and behavior. Although often positive, these same benefits can also be a cause of concern to many people. They may think that taking an SSRI will turn you into someone other than your own self? Most experts would say that when antidepressants are effective, they take away the negative effects that mask your real self and can reveal someone's true personality (rather than change it) by lifting the veil. It's true that taking an SSRI changes the way nerve cells work inside your brain. This causes subtle changes in the way you feel, act, and behave. But you just might like the "new" you. In one of the few studies measuring personality changes in response to antidepressants, those taking SSRIs felt more emotionally stable, outgoing, trusting, and assertive, and less hostile. It can change how you experience emotions.

I know all of this may seem so overwhelming but you are not alone. Millions of people suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions. There are many types of help so talk to your health care provider about it and find out the best fit for you.

References:

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_serotonin_reuptake_inhibitor
  • http://www.webmd.com/depression/ssris-myths-and-facts-about-antidepressants
  • http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/panic-attacks-and-panic-disorders.htm

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