Severe anxiety can be a debilitating disease. It will cause feelings of constant worry, nervousness and fear that will interfere with the ability to go about normal daily activities. It is impossible to not feel threatened and can lead to depression, which can further impair someone to recognize that they are in need of help. In addition to emotional challenges, physical symptoms can include having an upset stomach, diarrhea, trouble breathing, or feeling faint.
Once diagnosed with severe anxiety, patients may be prescribed drugs to help them feel better and reduce the occurrence of panic attacks. But drugs may only mask the problem, and are not seen as a long-term treatment. Side effects and the risk of addiction may be reasons to look for other therapy options.
Patients should consult their doctor about the potential side effects associated with any drug they are given to treat severe anxiety. Anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines will help patients feel better because they reduce brain activity. But unwanted side effects could include drowsiness, slurred sleep, disorientation, memory loss and blurred vision. Medications can also lead to numbness because they block feelings of pleasure or pain.
Receiving psychiatric help is necessary because a patient suffering from severe anxiety needs to learn how to recondition the brain. It is natural to be afraid in certain situations. But in most cases of severe anxiety, a particular incident has led to the increased feelings of fear and worry while going about everyday activities.
Cognitive behavioral (CBT) and exposure (ET) therapies have been found to be particularly beneficial. They treat patients to control anxiety levels, stop worrisome thoughts and conquer their fears.
CBT is reported to be the most widely used therapy for severe anxiety disorders because it addresses negative patterns and distortions in the way we look at the world and ourselves. ET will expose the patient to the situations or objects they fear and lead to their occurrence of their symptoms. The goal is that repeated exposure will help a patient gain a sense of control over a threatening situation and diminish symptoms.
Developing a routine that includes regular exercise, yoga and meditation has helped reduce the feelings that lead to panic disorders. Omega 3, found in fish oil or flaxseed supplements, has been shown to stabilize moods. Increased anxiety can also be a side effect of vitamin B and magnesium deficiencies. Vitamin B deficiencies can be treated with supplements or eating leafy greens. Magnesium supplements are also available.
Passionflower is another herbal supplement used to treat severe anxiety, but it is not without its own side effects. Studies have shown it to help increase job performance and reduce drowsiness seen with prescription drugs, but should not be taken with sedatives.
Severe anxiety disorders can be frightening, but patients need to understand that receiving help can show them how to regain control. Symptoms are treatable, and medical professionals will discuss the different options available.