Anxiety can be absolutely debilitating, keeping you in a state of constant fight-or-flight mode at the slightest little trigger. You may attempt to reason with yourself, that this or that stress-inducing trigger is no big deal, but your brain chemistry is locked and loaded to take you through the spectrum of anxiety symptoms—sweaty palms, racing heart, shallow breathing, palpitations—you cannot seem to escape this cycle.
Many who approach a therapist with the complaint, “Anxiety makes me feel like I am losing my mind!” are suffering greatly. They want to find ways to manage the anxiety so they can live a normal, productive life, and that is entirely possible with the right treatment plan. Anxiety treatment is often very effective at greatly reducing the daily struggle with stress that has held you captive.
Help! Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like I am Losing my Mind
Anxiety disorder is a broad category of mental health disorders, each with the commonality of excessive worry or fear driving it. Anxiety disorders are very common, with 40 million people struggling with one each year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. An anxiety disorder is different from the common temporary fear experienced before having to make a presentation or trying out for something. We all experience those very normal sensations when we are out of our comfort zone. Anxiety disorders, however, are very intrusive, often becoming so difficult to manage that it impacts one’s lifestyle.
When someone suffers from anxiety something will trigger a cascade of symptoms, with each type of anxiety disorder having its own unique features. Generally, however, anxiety symptoms include:
- Feelings of dread and apprehension
- Being perpetually on alert for danger
- Racing heart or palpitations
- Shortness of breath, holding one’s breath
- Stomach upset, diarrhea
- Feeling jumpy or restless
Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
The anxiety spectrum of disorders includes:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Features constant excessive worry for much of the day, resulting in headaches, muscle tension, nausea, and trouble concentrating.
- Panic disorder: Sudden and unpredictable feelings of overwhelming terror, causing heart palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pain, and dizziness. May lead to social isolation to avoid having an attack.
- Social anxiety disorder: Intense and irrational fear of being judged or critiqued. Fear of being humiliated in public. Causes social isolation or minimizing social interaction.
- Specific phobias: Irrational fear of a specific thing, place, or situation. To manage this fear, the individual goes to great measures to avoid triggers.
- Trauma disorder, PTSD: Unresolved trauma can lead to avoidance of people, places, or situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. Flashbacks, nightmares, or repeated thoughts of the trauma stoke anxiety symptoms.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: Obsessive worries about such things as germs, causing harm, or a need for order drives compulsive behaviors that attempt to manage the symptoms of anxiety caused by the obsession.
How to Manage Anxiety
When the symptoms of anxiety have you saying, “Anxiety makes me feel like I am losing my mind,” it is time to meet with a mental health professional. At the initial meeting, a therapist will evaluate what type of anxiety you are suffering from and design an individualized treatment plan to help manage symptoms. Treatment is usually an integrated approach involving psychotherapy, medication, and stress-reducing holistic activities.
Psychotherapy for anxiety disorders will be determined based on the type of anxiety, but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been effective in helping individuals identify distorted or irrational thoughts and the maladaptive behavioral response to them. CBT then guides the individual toward replacing those with positive self-messaging resulting in constructive, productive behaviors.
Medication for anxiety disorders may involve benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax), drugs that swiftly produce a sedative response to calm nerves. In some cases, antidepressants are used to treat anxiety as well.
Holistic Therapies That Help Manage Stress
Including holistic therapies in the treatment plan is becoming more and more common. This is because these mostly Eastern-inspired activities are excellent complimentary interventions to the traditional psychotherapy. Some of the holistic activities accessed for treating anxiety include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Guided imagery
- Massage therapy
- Equine therapy
Elevation Behavioral Health Provides Effective Treatment for Anxiety Disorders
Elevation Behavioral Health is an upscale residential mental health treatment center in Los Angeles. If you recognize that declaration, “Anxiety makes me feel like I am losing my mind,” then seek the treatment you deserve to regain your quality of life. When outpatient care is not providing the results you desire, or your anxiety disorder worsens, consider a residential program where you can focus all of your attention on healing. Treatment is much more intensive and focused in a residential program, and by taking a break from the usual stressors or triggers in your everyday life, a stay at Elevation Behavioral Health can produce a significant and sustained reduction in anxiety symptoms. For more information about our program, reach out to Elevation Behavioral Health today at (888) 561-0868.