WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about anxiety?
Anxiety is a condition that causes you to feel extremely worried or nervous. The feelings are so strong that they can cause problems with your daily activities or sleep. Anxiety may be triggered by something you fear, or it may happen without a cause. Family or work stress, smoking, caffeine, and alcohol can increase your risk for anxiety. Certain medicines or health conditions can also increase your risk. Anxiety can become a long-term condition if it is not managed or treated.
What other common signs and symptoms may occur with anxiety?
- Fatigue or muscle tightness
- Shaking, restlessness, or irritability
- Problems focusing
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling jumpy, easily startled, or dizzy
- Rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath
What do I need to tell my healthcare provider about my anxiety?
Tell your healthcare provider when your symptoms began and what triggers them. Tell your provider if anxiety affects your daily activities. Your provider will also ask about your medical history and if you have family members with a similar condition. Tell your provider about your past and present alcohol, nicotine, or drug use.
What can I do to manage anxiety?
You may get medicines to help you feel calm and relaxed, and to decrease your symptoms. Medicines are usually given together with therapy or other treatments. The following can help you manage anxiety:
- Talk to someone about your anxiety. Your healthcare provider may suggest counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you understand and change how you react to events that trigger your symptoms. You might feel more comfortable talking with a friend or family member about your anxiety. Choose someone you know will be supportive and encouraging.
- Find ways to relax. Activities such as exercise, meditation, or listening to music can help you relax. Spend time with friends, or do things you enjoy.
- Practice deep breathing. Deep breathing can help you relax when you feel anxious. Focus on taking slow, deep breaths several times a day, or during an anxiety attack. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Create a regular sleep routine. Regular sleep can help you feel calmer during the day. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day. Do not watch television or use the computer right before bed. Your room should be comfortable, dark, and quiet.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, whole-grain breads, and cooked beans. Healthy foods can help you feel less anxious and have more energy.
Call 911 if:
- You have chest pain, tightness, or heaviness that may spread to your shoulders, arms, jaw, neck, or back.
- You feel like hurting yourself or someone else.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- Your symptoms get worse or do not get better with treatment.
- Your anxiety keeps you from doing your regular daily activities.
- You have new symptoms since your last visit.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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