Till Yesterday, I was dreaming of a beautiful future and was planning for it.But it was matter of days when I came across a new experience in life which was completely shocking, worrisome, dreadful and anxious for me. I was entangled in solving problems so that I can get out of this situation but this continued to worsen my situation.I just couldn't understand what was happening to me.If I won one battle by solving problems, another struggle was waiting for me.So, I just couldn't understand what was happening with me at all.Then I searched on net for any solution and fortunately(Thanks to availabilty of internet in this generation) I could understand a bit about my problem.Then my quest for my treatment continued and I came across ever new things and tricks of anxiety and still after almost 2 years of struggle, I am struggling,But Now I find that there is improvement.and hopefully, it will continue. But this two years journey has some positive side-effects.I learnt to accept things happening to me whether good or bad(thought I am still dreadful of physical sufferings but hopefully with the time I will overcome that also). This was the key in managing anxiety disorder. My way of acceptance was that mother nature has done everything in harmony.There is a universal plan behind all happenings. Just as a cell in our body performs its function of keeping us alive and it dies after sometime.In the same way we are like cells in this universal body.We are here with a purpose which we ourselves don't know.But whatever is happening to us is happening according to a much higher universal plan.We should learn to accept that gracefully and be happy in that otherwise what actually we are.Every moment of our life ,our every breathe , and our every single thought is because of that supreme power which somebody say God, others call it Mother nature. and another thing is that as they say our purpose of life is enlightenment.So, In that sense I think anxiety sufferers are the most fortunate people.Because In the process of managing anxiety they are taught to become aware of their present moment, to live in present which in other words is meditation.In daily life , because of hectic life schedules we don't have time to meditate even for 5 minutes.But In anxiety disorder , to treat our anxiety we start doing practices of becoming aware of present moment, accept thing as they are, just seeing them, noticing them without any judgement which takes us towards enlightenment perhaps.That is my observation being an anxiety sufferer and maybe I am not mature enough and have knowledge to say all these.But To me this is worth trying.Seeking some useful solutions from my friends as well from wherever I get.
I think it is important to provide data illuminating the connection between ending anxiety and music (since that is what I am all about)for you to peruse, every so often.
Several concluded that listening to music could decrease heart rate, blood pressure, and anxiety in heart patients — individuals who were physiologically effected by the stress and anxiety associated with their conditions. Out of 23 studies that included a total of 1,461 patients, listening to music provided relief of anxiety and stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Although a significant mood change wasn’t seen in those with depression, a positive mood change was seen in some. Only 2 of the 23 studies used actual music therapists for music listening and treatment.
David Bradshaw, Ph.D., of the Pain Research Center at the University of Utah helped explain, "Engaging your mind with music can help alter your sense of time so you worry less about what's happening in the moment.”
One hundred forty-three subjects were evaluated for yet another study. They were instructed to listen to music tracks, follow the melodies, and identify deviant tones. During the music tasks, they were given safe, experimental pain shocks with fingertip electrodes. The findings showed that central arousal from the pain stimuli reliably decreased with the increasing music-task demand.
Music helps reduce pain by activating sensory pathways that compete with pain pathways, stimulating emotional responses, and engaging cognitive attention. Music, therefore, provided meaningful intellectual and emotional engagement to help reduce pain. Among the study subjects, those with high levels of anxiety about pain had the greatest net engagement, which contradicted the authors' initial hypothesis that anxiety would interfere with a subject's ability to become absorbed in the music listening task. They noted that low anxiety actually may have diminished the ability to engage in the task. The findings suggest that engaging activities like music listening can be effective for reducing pain in high anxiety persons who can easily become absorbed in activities. They noted that interaction of anxiety and absorption is a new finding and implies that these personality characteristics should be considered when recommending engagement strategies for pain relief. Holmes said the findings are valuable because they pinpoint exactly where alcohol causes damage that leads to problems overcoming fear.
"We're not only seeing that alcohol has detrimental effects on a clinically important emotional process, but we're able to offer some insight into how alcohol might do so by disrupting the functioning of some very specific brain circuits," said Holmes. And for those who are using drink to combat anxiety take heed: Understanding the relationship between alcohol and anxiety at the molecular level could offer new possibilities for developing drugs to help patients with anxiety disorders who also have a history of heavy alcohol use. "This study is exciting because it gives us a specific molecule to look at in a specific brain region, thus opening the door to discovering new methods to treat these disorders," said Kash.
I remember being a little kid, and learning what happiness was. Sure, most people know what happiness feels like, and I'm no exception. But I'm talking about that blissful happiness you see in the movies, too. The kind where tears of joy stream down the face of the happy person, because they're just so overwhelmingly pleased about something. I recall trying to make myself feel as happy as the people in those movies, and as happy as I assumed others were, but I could never be that joyous.
I would sit up, at 3am and onwards, staring into the TV, wondering why I couldn't be as happy as other people were. Wondering why things had to be so difficult, every day, while other people got to be happy. Pondering whether the only tears I'd ever cry would be sad ones.
Anxiety was my respite from sadness. Not anxiety like somebody gets before a date, or during an exam, but a fear so intense that it literally made me collapse. My oasis in a desert of depression was a crippling surge of terror that would come at unpredictable and frequent times.
But then I found a way to get some of that happiness for myself. No, it wasn't religion, nor was it from a bunch of platitudes like "True happiness is inside us all." No, it was a real solution. A solution that worked, and was known to work because of the science behind it. Some of it came from maturity, but a lot of my newfound ability to feel joy came from drugs. Antidepressants, and other medicine, to be precise.
Yes, beautiful, magnificent, trialled, tested, and approved by science drugs. Some may say "But drugs aren't the answer. They're unnatural, and true happiness comes from learning to listen to what your body and mind need." But those people are deluded. Now I can be joyful, from time to time. I can have days where I'm not afraid to leave my room, and days where I can go to school, and I can do many things I could never have done before.
I'm not cured. I may never be cured. I may never be able to do everything that regular people can do, but that's ok. Because compared to how I was, and how horrible life seemed, now I feel free.
Controversy around Medical Marijuana
Medical Marijuana refers to the use of the plant cannabis and its extracts or constituents as herbal therapy as legislated in USA. There is controversy about the medical value of marijuana or cannabis and lot of opposition to their use. But there are many documented effects that are found beneficial in treatment of nausea and improvement of hunger in case of AIDS patients and patients undergoing chemotherapy and in treatment of glaucoma. More commonly it is believed to have analgesic properties but even this is disputed.
The controversy of medical marijuana is due to the fact that it is used in various forms like smoking or drinking the extracts for addictive recreational use and is legislated as illegal. Many countries have banned the use of cannabis in any form but the use in medical applications is permitted with various degrees of control and permission requirements. The medical use of cannabis is disputed all over the world.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Various studies have established the benefits of medical marijuana in treatment of many conditions like nausea, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, weight loss and loss of appetite. It is also found effective in treatment of painful conditions and spasticity, asthma and movement disorder. It has also proven to be useful in migraines, inflammatory bowels disease etc
Medical Marijuana in treatment of anxiety disorder
Medical marijuana has been used in treatment in psychiatric conditions like anxiety, depression and mood disorders. These disorders affect the way an individual thinks and feels and acts and these acts are always negatively affected. The depression and anxiety disorders cause a deep feeling of sadness and result in loss of interest in even pleasurable activities. If this condition can not be improved up on by change of life style, exercise and diet or by counseling it is necessary to provide relief with medication from the debilitating symptoms.
Benefits of Medical Marijuana
The proper use of medical marijuana many patients are able to avoid the use of opiates and tranquillizers or sleeping pills and other antidepressant medicines. It is argued that unlike other diseases, long suffering due to depression and anxiety disorders makes the patient will wear down the patient like no other disease and will deteriorate the condition as he looses interest in all activities that make recovery possible. In such cases, the mood elevation made possible by marijuana has a positive effect as the patient begins to take interest in activities that help to slowly recover; the mood improvement acts as a catalyst in the path to recovery. Marijuana Medical Handbook mentions that the power of marijuana to eliminate depression is the main medical benefit of the banned substance.
Arguments against Medical Marijuana
The main argument against marijuana is that it does not produce Serotonin, but affects anandamide which is present in brain and produces soothing feeling by reacting with THC which is present in marijuana. This can actually increase the depression and cause schizophrenia like in regular illegal use after a prolonged use. It is always safe to administer antidepressant under medical care than use the illegal substance. Also, the constituents of marijuana interfere with the process of balancing the chemicals which antidepressants work to achieve and in fact it may aggravate the condition instead of curing it.
I'm a new ASN member and have only just begun being active on here. I belong to a lot of different online anxiety communities, but ASN is my favorite. I'm not sure why. It seems more dynamic than most of the other sites I use, and the focus feels more about hope than about just stewing in the problem. I'm a very solutions-oriented person, so maybe that's what I dig about it.
I thought it would be a good idea to tell my story about my journey of anxiety recovery. It just occurred to me I've never written about it except in pieces. I've never made a complete account of my struggles with anxiety and I think it would help me to do so. So here goes:
I was raised in a very dysfunctional family. My mother suffered from severe depression and my father left us when I was five. My mom was in bad shape and suffered repeated hospitalizations. I grew up feeling different; I was ashamed about Mom's mental illness and did my best to hide it from everyone.
It was a very unstable environment to grow up in, even though the 1970s were the "age of divorce". I can't think of a single childhood friend with parents that weren't divorced, but I don't think most of them were being raised by crazy people. I was. Threats and physical violence was an everyday part of my home life.
Add to that the fact I was a very tall, skinny, geeky kid, naturally shy and awkward with girls. I didn't feel I fit in anywhere. I still struggle with this feeling although I've realized it's actually just part of the human condition: nearly everyone feels inadequate and like an outsider.
Entering Adulthood: A Complete Lack of Basic Skills
I left home at 18 totally unprepared for basic life tasks like working a job, having a girlfriend, maintaining friendships, etc. Being raised by my mom meant that not only did I inherit her depression (genetic), I was also taught I was incompetent and incapable of taking care of myself. Mom is an old-school Southern woman. Her self-worth is defined by her ability to please a man - very typical of her generation. Needless to say, she wasn't well-equipped to teach a child how to navigate life. I didn't get good basic life skills because she simply had none to give.
I started doing drugs in high school and then REALLY started doing drugs as I entered my 20s. I know now I was self-medicating my feelings of depression, terror, and being totally alone in the world. This behavior continued through my first marriage and all through my college years. Thank God I had something to help me cope! What I didn't know was the party was about to end and I would have to face how I really felt.
Severe Depression: A Mask for Anxiety?
I was very depressed all throughout my 20s. I tried to commit suicide several times. I was coping with depression mostly by substance abuse and extreme dependence on my wife at the time. We divorced in 1996, the same year I turned 30. That was also the year I sought help for my drug addiction and got clean and sober for the first time since junior high school.
What's interesting is that my depression got a lot better, probably because I wasn't using depressant drugs anymore. The flip side is my anxiety got much, MUCH worse. I hadn't had big problems with anxiety until I cleaned up. It's been quite a battle since then. It's ironic...
I've been drug free (except for anti-depressant meds) for 15 years now. Suicidal depression is no longer an issue for me. Now I'm battling GAD, SAD and agoraphobia. Of all these, GAD is the worst. I'm basically just always worrying. I take medication for it, and that definitely helps some. I do regular therapy, including CBT and EMDR. I practice living mindfully (in the moment) as much as possible. But it's still hard.
My Anxiety Successes
I've also had a lot of success overcoming and coping with anxiety disorder. It's much better than it was say 10 years ago. I've learned a lot of very effective skills through Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). I did a 6 month intensive course of it 5 years ago and it's formed the basis of my anxiety recovery program. I was able to cure myself of a bad case of driving phobia using a combination of DBT and meditation.
I believe the only way for me to get better is to focus on changing my behavior. Changed behaviors really do lead to changed feelings. I know the relief I've experienced from painful anxiety feelings is mostly due to changing my behavior via CBT / DBT. Mindful living and meditation allow me to "hang in there" when the fear feelings get really intense (which they definitely still do sometimes).
I'm going to keep fighting to lead a happy, fulfilling life as free from fear as possible - not just for myself but also for my 2 kids. The only way to do that is to keep learning new skills and be part of a community of people who really know what it's like. Most people don't understand how hard living with anxiety disorder is. Unless you've experienced it yourself, you can't really know what it feels like.
I'm really grateful to be part of this community and would love to connect with anyone on here, especially anyone struggling with GAD. That's the hardest thing for me right now.
Thanks for being here and for letting me share my story.
In Vivo Desensitization is defined as:
A variation of systematic desensitization in which the anxiety-arousing situations to which the person is exposed are real, rather than imagined.
This differs from Flooding, another technique for treating Anxiety, by using a more measured approach to treating Anxiety. Typically, with In Vivo Desensitization, the patient is gradually exposed to the actual feared stimulus over a period of sessions based on a hierarchical list of Anxiety evoking stimuli. The treatment is based on the theory that the fear response has been conditioned and that avoidance of the fear maintains the fear. The idea is that through exposure to the stimulus, this harmful conditioning can be “unlearned”.
Well back in 1958 John Wolpe developed a method of a creating a hierarchical list of anxiety evoking stimuli in order of intensity which allows patients to undergo adaption.
Wolpe further writes: “An Anxiety hierarchy is the thematically related list of anxiety evoking stimuli, ranked according to the amount of anxiety they evoke. There are a number of considerations in constructing desensitization hierarchies. First, suitable themes have to be identified around which anxiety-evoking stimuli can be clustered. Second, clients can be introduced to interviews in which therapists focus on other problems using other methods. A record is then kept of all scene presentations and their outcomes.
The sessions range in length of exposure and typically gets longer as the patient gets more into advanced stages.
As one of my largest fears is driving alone an example of a desensitization hierarchy might look like this.
The idea is that the patient exposes himself to the Anxiety, then uses relaxing techniques, and cognitive training to recover from the attempted step. Building upon each success it is possible to unlearn the Anxiety and replace it with positive conditioning.
In Vivo Desensitization is not for everyone and I strongly suggest you seek the guidance of a good therapist before attempting this on your own. It needs to be pointed out, that as you can learn good habits, you can also learn bad habits, so doing this therapy under the watchful eye of someone who is trained in this technique is vital. With that said using In Vivo Desensitization to treat Anxiety can really help you overcome your conditioned fears.
If you say you have never experienced anxiety, you will be thought to be either lying, or extraordinary. Each and every one of us will feel anxious at some time or another, the only difference being that the cause of anxiety will differ, and the extent will vary. Most often, we do not give a second thought to the anxiety we endure, mainly because it is second nature to us and we know it will pass as suddenly as it came, leaving us none the worse for having experienced it. When the frequency and intensity is harder to bear, the condition should not be ignored, and for a start, natural anxiety treatments can be commenced.
Anxiety that is severe enough to be accompanied by the inability to concentrate, with feelings of restlessness, impatience and irritability, should make us pause and try to think why it is happening. If the sensations are caused by unusually heavy workloads, family or financial difficulties, you may feel tired and listless, but you will not experience the discomfort of a fast beating heart, rapid and shallow breathing, a feeling of confusion, accompanied by tummy cramps.
These are in no way symptoms of ordinary stress. When we go through all these sensations at the same time, we will need to acknowledge them for what they are, and try to get the condition under control, before it takes control of us, in an unstoppable grip. Ideally, we should visit a doctor as a precautionary measure, but if that is not possible, there is a need to start taking things easy. Then, try out these simple and uncomplicated methods of reducing stress and anxiety - most of which are inexpensive, but the returns are invaluable.
what can you do?
Firstly, remembering that prevention is better than cure, reach for your shoes - both, your walking shoes, as well as your dancing ones! Then enroll for dancing lessons, if you don't already know how to dance - and if you'd rather not, search the internet, or find some easily explained dance steps on YouTube.Try to enroll for Yoga and, or, Tai Chi classes, and meditation.Try to concentrate on your breathing when life gets too hectic - it draws your attention away from the stress around you.
Take your walking shoes to work, and go for a walk during you lunch break, if you don't have time to walk in the early mornings or after work in the evenings. Walking is simple but good exercise.All these activities pump up the production of your feel good hormones, while at the same time keeping you flexible, controlling your weight, and filling you with the sense of wellbeing.
Try aromatherapy, using essential oils from flowers and delicate plants for massages and baths, as well as putting a few drops of sweet smelling oil like geranium, lavender jasmine, etc, either in infusers, or through use of scented candles.The sweet and gentle scent that fills the surrounding atmosphere is soothing and calms the spirit.
Further, different people manage to find their own way of handling anxiety and panic attacks when they start to come on. Some people have found that trying to whistle a tune or humming their favorite song can help a lot. While it is not easy at first, practice will make one perfect - as they go along trying, they suddenly find that without even realizing it, the sensation has passed.Some try to breathe into a paper bag, or search their handbags for candy to suck on - actions that draw their attention away from the immediate situation.
When one learns to either control one's anxiety, or the symptoms that accompany it, the sensation can leave one feeling so confident and so much in control, that the recurrence and the severity of subsequent attacks are felt with lower intensity.