What is an anxiety disorder? A mental health expert shares 3 ways to cope

Millions of people suffer from anxiety every year. This mental health condition is quite common, but often goes unnoticed. We brush off its symptoms by saying that life is hard or that ups and downs are part of life. But did you know that many also suffer from an anxiety disorder where they experience great and excessive worry and fear?

People who experience it often find themselves at a loss for words to express the state. Speaking to HerZindag, Rohini Kesavan Rajeev, Senior Psychotherapist and Founder of The Able Mind said that certain people are more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder than others.

Did you know that according to a report published by the World Health Organization on September 27, 2023, anxiety disorders affected 301 million people worldwide in 2019? That’s why Psychotherapist Rajeev shared some ways to cope with the situation.

What is an anxiety disorder?

The psychotherapist said that anxiety disorder is accompanied by excessive fear and worry, and it can appear, e.g.

  • Panic disorder, where the patient has panic attacks
  • Social anxiety disorder in which a person feels overly stressed and fearful in social settings
  • Separation anxiety disorder, where people feel extremely anxious or afraid of being separated from their loved ones

There may also be other situations where negative thoughts and feelings can overwhelm a person and affect them negatively.

What are the symptoms of an anxiety disorder?

symptoms of an anxiety disorder

According to the expert, people suffering from anxiety disorder experience various negative emotions such as fear and worry. He added that for anxiety symptoms to be called a disorder, the symptoms must be severe, last much longer than the situation that caused it, and impair daily functioning, thereby causing severe distress to the person.

How to cope with anxiety disorders?

how to cope with anxiety disorders

The expert said there are a few ways to deal with any mental disorder (How Loneliness Can Affect Sleep Disorders), but a person has to find what works for them. They should consult a health professional who will provide psychotherapy and prescribe medication if the condition is severe. They can help you identify triggers and suggest ways to resolve situations.

Here are some ways to cope with anxiety disorder,

  • Ground yourself when you feel stressed and anxious. The expert suggested trying the 5-4-3-2-1 technique to remember and understand the environment. For example, notice five things around you, touch four things, try to hear three sounds, identify at least two smells, and taste one thing. If your friend or loved one is experiencing these things, ask them to lie on the floor and help them with this technique.
  • You can also practice right angle breathing or the 5555 technique to calm down. When you feel anxious, close your eyes and focus on your breathing by placing one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Focusing on the up and down movements of your stomach will help you divert your mind. You need to breathe through your mouth, hold for five counts and exhale while counting to five again.
  • A third technique involves splashing cold water on the anxious person’s face a few times to calm them down. The expert said: It helps reset an overexcited sympathetic nervous system and regulates heart rate and breathing.

Who is more likely to experience an anxiety disorder?

who is more likely to have an anxiety disorder

Psychotherapist Rajeev said there are some people who are more likely to experience anxiety disorders (How to Cope with Anxiety) than others. This includes,

  • People with a traumatic past or childhood
  • People who constantly find themselves in unfavorable situations
  • People who struggle with poor sleep patterns, have unhealthy lifestyles and lower flexibility
  • People who have experienced atrocities due to discrimination based on caste, class, race, differently abled, exclusion, gender, sexuality etc.

It is important to note that you are providing a comfortable space for a loved one struggling with an anxiety disorder. If you need a safe place and can’t find it, you need to contact a therapist who can guide you through this difficult phase.

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