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OCD - How Can You Handle It Well?

OCD - How Can You Handle It Well?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is also known as OCD. It is a mental ailment that causes specific changes in the brain as well as the behaviour of the patient. It can also cause severe anxiety and lead the patient to consume a lot of time for completing even the most normal tasks. These obsessions are like thoughts, images and even videos playing where the cause of a certain action becomes more profound with the number of imagined risks if it is not done in a specific way, as per the mind of the patient. These turn into repetitive actions undertaken by the patient, where these actions are known as compulsions.

Hence the term: obsessive compulsive disorder. Washing, cleaning, losing control, contamination fears and more are only a few of the thoughts that plague patients suffering from this disorder. While this disorder may not have a specific cure, there are various ways in which it can be managed. Let us look at some of these methods.

Causes of OCD

The exact cause of OCD is unknown. It is generally considered unlikely that OCD develops purely psychologically as a consequence of the way we are brought up.

  1. Genetics and Physiology: It is generally accepted that OCD arises from differences in the physiology of the brain in people with the condition.
  2. Serotonin: Lack of serotonin activity appears to be involved in causing OCD. Serotonin is a calming and inhibitory neurotransmitter, one of its main actions is to control and put the brakes on painful, worrying or anxious thoughts.
  3. Traumatic Life Events: Traumatic emotional events such as bereavement may trigger or worsen OCD in people who already have a tendency to have the condition.

Treatment of OCD:

For best results in treating this troublesome anxiety disorder combine brain-chemistry balancing approaches with psychotherapy techniques.

  1. Nutritional Therapy: Try tryptophan and St John's Wort to increase serotonin. Rhodiola has been shown to help generalised anxiety disorder however Rhodiola has the ability to raise 'brain energy' and therefore hypothetically may exa-sperate OCD symptoms. 
  2. The Inositol Treatment of OCD: Inositol, one of the B vitamins, has been found effective in treating OCD. Inositol is used in biochemical processes that affect serotonin receptors.
  3. Psychotherapy: This is also known as discussion or talk therapy where the patient is allowed to engage with a therapist who is usually a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist. The doctor will help the patient in first of all, becoming aware of the problem by helping the patient carry out various tasks in a controlled environment. These tasks will be timed and then relayed to the patient before the exposure therapy begins, where the patient will be taught to build a better quality of life. This a long term and time taking process which can also involve group sessions and sessions with the family members. Also, this method takes a lot of practice so that the patient learns how to regulate the obsessions and stop the compulsive behaviour gradually.
  4. Exercise: Numerous studies have shown the benefits of exercise upon mental health. So, a minimum of 20mins of daily exercise can help you a lot.
  5. Relaxation Training & MeditationLearning meditation and relaxation techniques may enhance one's ability to control anxiety and one's thoughts in general.
  6. Medication: There are various kinds of medicines that can be prescribed for these patients. Anti-depressants can help the patient in overcoming the fears and anxiety that a person feels when the wheels of one's imagination begin to turn towards obsessive thoughts. This will also help in tackling the hopelessness that the person feels when faced with the so called depressing outcome of not bowing to the compulsive habits.

Putting It All Together:

  • Follow the diet for serotonin deficient depression, and GABA deficient anxiety.
  • Consult with a qualified therapist using behavioural rather than analytical techniques.
  • Do some repetitive mind-occupying/filling as opposed to mind-emptying meditations everyday.
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What To Do If Your Workplace is Anxiety-Inducing?

What To Do If Your Workplace is Anxiety-Inducing?

The office floor is one of the most stressful places for most people. A toxic work environment and being overworked is one of the key factors for stress and anxiety. The easiest solution to a toxic workplace is to leave and find a new job, but this is not always possible. In such cases here are a few tips on how to beat workplace stress and anxiety.

  1. Exercise: Exercise benefits not only your physical well-being but also your emotional and mental health. Exercising enhances the production of endorphins or happy hormones that help uplift your mood. Exercise also weakens symptoms of anxiety by tiring the muscles and burning cortisol. Ideally, you should exercise in the morning before work and in the evening after work.
  2. Move around: Avoid sitting at your desk for long spells. Try taking a break every hour to simply stretch or walk around the office floor. An easy way to do this is by walking over to your colleague’s desk to pass a message instead of picking up the phone. If a task ever seems to become too much to handle, take a break so that you can readdress it with a fresh outlook.
  3. Treat tasks as challenges: Repetitive tasks can be very boring and irritating. However, if you make this into a game or competition with yourself or others it can be quite interesting. An easy way to make mundane tasks interesting is to time them and try getting it done faster. This will make your work more enjoyable and not give you enough mental space to get stressed out. You will also find yourself getting more work done in a day.
  4. Make your desk less serious: Your immediate environment makes a big difference to how you feel while working. While some office HR policies may frown upon anything that takes away from the formal atmosphere of the space, there are still ways you can inject a little fun into your workday. Wearing a t-shirt with a funny slogan under your formal shirt or putting up a few personal pictures on your desk can make your day a little calmer.
  5. Initiate positive relationships: Bitching about your boss may seem to come naturally, but does nothing constructive for your situation. Instead, try being positive in your conversations with colleagues. Look for people who give off a positive aura and try spending more time with them than with those who are constantly whining and complaining.

What Is Psychosomatic Disorder?

What Is Psychosomatic Disorder?

What is a psychosomatic disorder?

The term “psychosomatic disorder” is mainly used to mean “a physical disease that is thought to be caused, or made worse, by mental factors.” the term is also used when mental factors cause physical symptoms but where there is no physical disease. For example, chest pain may be caused by stress and no physical disease can be found.

Some physical diseases are thought to be prone to be made worse by mental factors such as stress and anxiety. At any given time, a person’s mental state can affect the degree of severity of the physical disease. Physical symptoms that are caused by mental factors are also called somatization or somatoform disorders. These symptoms are due to increased activity of nervous impulses sent from the brain to various parts of the body.

A number of factors may play a role in psychosomatic disorders, such as personality traits; genetic or environmental family influences; biological factors; learned behaviour and more.

How mental factors can affect physical conditions

A broad range of physical diseases and conditions may be especially prone to be made worse by mental factors. These include skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis; high blood pressure; heart problems and more. Psychosomatic disorders frequently affect the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems as well as the cardiovascular system.

Psychosomatic disorders can have mild to severe effects on one’s quality of life, from interfering with the normal ability to function to cause physical or mental disability.

Treatment of psychosomatic disorders

Cognitive behaviour therapy (cbt) is often the treatment of choice for a psychosomatic disorder. This therapy helps patients learn new ways to cope with and solve their problems as they gain a deeper understanding of their condition or circumstances. Patients will also learn to set realistic life goals and identify and change behaviours or thoughts that have negative effects on their lives.

Easy Meals That You Can Eat Before & While Traveling!

Easy Meals That You Can Eat Before & While Traveling!

Travelling is considered as a great opportunity to explore various culinary specialties. But the fact is it may not always be feasible due to health, personal choices, time, and finances. All these can be nullified with a single stroke and that is to eat own food. In addition, if the entire family is traveling together, then you should avoid eating outside food all the more as nobody wants to get sick, while on the go. Therefore, the key is to eat light, both before and during the journey.

What are the other benefits of eating light?

  1. Healthy: Eating light is very important during travel, as no one wants to spend their time with an upset stomach or constant nausea breaks. The best way to do this is to eat light, home-made food. If the travel duration is long, eating light a couple of days prior to travel is advisable.
  2. Flexibility: Carry your own food, as not only it is hygienic, but it also gives you the flexibility to eat when you feel like it. You don’t have to constantly look out for the next eating joint without having an option to choose one.
  3. Time-saving: A food break on a journey normally takes about 40 minutes to an hour and eating on the go can help reduce your anxiety while traveling. If there are kids who are bored and keep asking when shall we reach, this is a good way to keep them engaged.
  4. Cost-effective: It is a very well-known fact that carrying your food is very cost effective than eating outside.

Now that you have made the choice to carry your own food,  what are your choices?

Whatever you choose, make sure it should be light on the stomach, easy to pack, and also easy to open up and eat. Some of the options that you can consider are

  1. Fruits: You can keep fruits like bananas, oranges and apples handy. These are easy to carry and eat and are light on the stomach, which makes them a great snack.
  2. Dry fruits: When you are feeling down slightly, try munching on a couple of almonds or raisins and see your mood elate. They also provide instant energy. However, you should be careful, so as not to consume them in excess. 
  3. Simple rolls: Roti rolls or wraps not only easy to pack but are tasty and convenient to eat when traveling. Make sure the vegetables are simple to digest like potato and tomato and there should be less spice and oil used, both for the roll and for the stuffing.
  4. Sandwiches: Carrying a box of whole wheat bread sandwiches, some with butter, and some with plain cucumber, tomato and onion with some mint spread is ideal for food on the go. Sandwiches are easy to digest, pack and the combinations will give you variety as well. 
  5. Other foods: Some other food options that you can go for are salads with healthy dressings, poha, idli, besan chila and upma, etc. 

Stay healthy and fit so that you can enjoy your traveling with the required energy and enthusiasm. 

Social Phobia - How To Overcome It?

Social Phobia - How To Overcome It?

Anxiety often leads to the development of phobias. An unreasonable fear of being in social situations is known as social anxiety or social phobia. People suffering from such a phobia may be afraid of specific social settings like public speaking or generic social events such as eating with others or using public telephones. They are afraid that they will embarrass themselves or be humiliated in front of others. Being in such a situation can often build up into a panic attack. In many cases, the person himself is aware that his fear is irrational but cannot overcome it. Hence, here are a few tips to overcome social phobia.

  1. Relax: The first thing you need to do is learn to relax. People with phobias often anticipate them and stress themselves out before the situation can present itself. Being anxious heightens sensitivity and worsens your response to a social situation. Hence, before stepping out or meeting someone, take a deep breath and relax. Instead of focusing on the stressful situation, think about something in the future like getting home to a nice cup of tea.
  2. Test yourself: Make a list of the situations that you are afraid of and anticipate the level of anxiety you think it would cause. Then test this hypothesis by putting yourself in the situation. For example, if you fear walking into a crowded room, try doing it once. You may find that you cope with the situation better then you anticipated. Keep a record of these hypothesis and test results.
  3. Practice doing what scares you: Some situations may scare you too much to dive straight into them. In such cases, practice what you would do if you were in such a situation by yourself or with someone you trust. Run the situation in your head and imagine what you would do if it were actually happening.
  4. Look around: Social awkwardness is often caused by imaging that people can read your thoughts and thus focusing on them rather than the people you are talking to or the space you are in. Train your mind to notice things around you and be aware of your situation. Focusing outwards can lower your anxiety and enhance your ability to hold a conversation with people. To make this a habit, whenever you walk into a room make a mental note of three things in the room.
  5. Ask questions: An easy way to shift focus from yourself to people around you is by asking questions. When you someone a question listen to their response and if you still aren't comfortable talking about your own views, ask another related question. This will not give your mind time to dwell on any negative thoughts and can even increase your social circle.
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Anxiety - How To Overcome It?

Anxiety - How To Overcome It?

Living with anxiety on a daily basis can be really stressful. And while you are dealing with anxiety it is very important not to sway away with the symptoms and commit yourself to a treatment. For an instant release of anxiety, you really don't need to go for a vacation or to the spa or a weekend retreat. It is easy to beat anxiety within 5-15 minutes from your home. So don't think and instantly reduce your anxiety to give yourself a wonderful day.

Here are 5 tips to instantly reduce your anxiety:

1. Meditation: Meditation for a few minutes daily helps relieve anxiety. As per research, doing meditation daily changes the neural pathways of the brain thereby making it more flexible towards stress. Meditation is the simplest way to beat anxiety. All you have to do is just sit straight with feet on the floor and closed eyes. Next just focus your energy on reciting a mantra.

2. Deep Breathing: A 5-minute breathing regime is a sure shot to relieve anxiety. Sit straight with closed eyes and place your hands on your abdomen. First, start with slow inhalation of air through the nose. Feel the breath through your abdomen and head and then reverse the process by exhaling it out through the mouth. Psychologists state that deep breathing helps to bring down stress and anxiety by lowering the blood pressure.

3. Laugh Aloud: A good laugh is a nice way to shed off stress and anxiety. When you laugh chemical endorphins are released which elevate your mood. A good laugh also lowers the cortisol levels which are the stress hormone.

4. Talk to someone: Distracting yourself by talking to friends and family helps. The mind starts wandering when in anxiety and alone and the effective technique to talk to some trusted person helps. The support you get from family and friends just boosts you back and wards you off from the symptoms. In case of a panic attack, you can request the company of a friend and relative to watch over you.

5. Trick your Anxious Thoughts: Anxiety does not happen suddenly but is due to the mind's tendency to have negative thoughts spiralling day in and day out and the worse is that you have no control over the thoughts. Learn to tame these thoughts and the triggers which cause these to keep anxiety at bay. There are strategies which you can try to help you keep anxious thoughts away.

There are:

a. Question yourself when you experience anxiety. A long checklist helps you make your thoughts more realistic.
b. Give affirmations to yourself that everything is okay, you will get over the situation. Usually, affirmations are made to comfort one.
c. Know the physical symptoms as many times physical sensations like in case of a panic attack tend to trigger anxiety and stress. When you get used to the symptoms the mind does not send signals for anxiety to the brain. Create exercise to habituate yourself to a panic attack.

There is no cure for anxiety but the fastest way to get your anxiety under control is to simply manage it.

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Anxiety Disorder - Symptoms Of It!

Anxiety Disorder - Symptoms Of It!

A right amount of anxiety is good to keep you progressing on your goals and life; when it gets too high, things go helter-skelter. It is normal to get anxious and stressed at times. However, when the stress starts affecting your lifestyle, it might be an anxiety disorder. The irony is, more often, you may not know when it exceeds the limits that your body and mind can bear.

Read on to know a few symptoms when your anxiety has turned into disorder.

  1. Worrying excessively: If you tend to worry about normal matters to such an extent that it overrules your life and are also experiencing tiredness, then it is a signal of undue stress. In short, if your emotions are causing a great deal of discomfort, you are ailing from anxiety problems.
  2. Irregular sleep patterns: If you are unable to fall or stay asleep, it could be normal anxiety. However, if you find yourself being awake for prolonged durations at night and it is accompanied by uneasiness, it is advisable to get some help for recuperating from anxiety disorders.
  3. Strained muscles: Your muscles are tensed if you perceive that you are clenching your jaws or closing your fists. Also, they are symptoms signalling that you have an anxiety disorder.
  4. IndigestionAccording to research studies, digestion problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and anxiety are correlated. Due to psychological stress, your gut is adversely affected. Moreover, if you are having digestive problems, it causes anxiety. Some symptoms of IBS include flatulence, bowel-related problems, cramps, stomach pain and bloating.
  5. Breathing issues: If a person suffers from respiratory troubles such as shortness of breath or rapid breathing (hyperventilation), they should go for a diagnosis to ascertain whether they have an anxiety disorder. Also, they must consult the doctors on the treatment course. It is also important to adhere to the instructions of the medical experts for a quick recovery.
  6. Other symptoms: Some other symptoms of anxiety disorders include trembling unwarranted self-doubt, compulsive behavioral patterns, being obsessed with perfectionism, having disturbing flashbacks, heightened heart rate, nausea, burning sensation on the skin, dizziness, tingling, numbness, difficulty in concentrating, sweating, urge to urinate frequently, heart-linked palpitations, and irritability.

On a concluding note, it should be noted that if you are experiencing stress, there are various ways of tackling your problem. Seeking the help of a counsellor is an option. Furthermore, you can engage in relaxation and deep breathing techniques for easing the tension in the body. You can start with low-impact exercises such as swimming, gardening, walking, or jogging. Gradually, you can progress to high-impact workouts. These methods are effective for your overall well-being. Also, they can thwart depression because of the release of the ‘feel-good’ hormones known as endorphins.

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4 F's of Fear - Rising Above It!

4 F's of Fear - Rising Above It!

Fear, anxiety and stress can often lead humans to either escape the situation or fight it by defending themselves. But there are other behaviours that humans turn to when they are under stress. This is not unnatural at all; we all face it at some point in time. What’s more, even dogs revert to the four Fs when under stress. Let us find out what are they and also how to deal with them.

  1. Fight: Fighting back is the natural reaction, which we turn to when we want to defend ourselves. Shouting at someone might give you some confidence for the time being. But again, it is not a permanent solution. We might end up apologising for our behaviour later but do nothing to address the situation that brought about that kind of behaviour.
  2. Flight: This is the escape mode that we turn to when we want to avoid a certain person or scenario, that might lead to stress. However, it must be remembered that, fleeing stress will help in fixing it temporarily. But since the situation remains unchanged, it will keep happening again and again.
  3. Freeze: For some people, the shock is so overwhelming that it becomes difficult for them to react at all. They simply freeze. The person goes into the panic mode and fails to move or say anything.
  4. Fool around: This option seems to be not a very bad idea in times of stress and anxiety depending on exactly what you mean by fooling around. If you can crack a joke at a tensed situation and lighten the mood, it helps immensely. However, if your idea of fooling around is to avoid talking about the situation and instead have fun, talk about other silly things, then it might not be a good idea.

Dealing with stress is not easy, but if you have realised the cause for your stress, your problem is half solved. If it is something you can change, then start working on it. If not, then it is best to let things happen in their own sweet way, while you change your attitude towards it. If you have realised what kind of behaviour your turn to when under stress, it is easier to face the situation. Listen to some of your favourite music, wear clothes that make you feel good and think about the situation and the possible solution later. Don’t let stress get to you, face situations, keep calm and be positive!

Sleep - How Anxiety Can Affect It?

Sleep - How Anxiety Can Affect It?

Anxiety and stress are the biggest roadblocks of sound sleep for many individuals. It is estimated that three out of ten individuals can’t sleep due to anxiety related disorders. The mind starts racing as soon one tries to sleep. The anxiousness results in increased restlessness, thereby, affecting sleep. Most adults face this problem at least once in a week. There are many individuals whose sleep is affected more than once a week due to anxiety.

A study revealed that more approximately 42 % women and 52% men find it difficult to focus on their work the very next day. In a case, anxiety affects your sleep occasionally, these simple methods would help you to do away with sleeplessness:

  1. Exercise: It is a very old practice and most people already know it. Daily exercise, moderate workout, brisk walking, jogging etc. can keep stress away and helps to improve sleep. Daily exercise can relax your nerves, loosen body muscles, relaxes the brain and helps to keep stress away. People with chronic insomnia have found to be exercising beneficial. In a case of an intense work-out session, it should be ensured that the body is rested at least twice in a week.
  2. Wind down before sleep: A bedtime routine is important for a sound sleep. Healthy practices such as taking shower, playing quiet music, reading a book etc. can help soothe your nerves and get can hellp you sleep better and quickly. These activities should be done at least half an hour before sleep. Soon it becomes a habit and helps an individual sleep without stress and anxiety.
  3. Meditate: Quieting the mind is an art. Yoga can greatly you help to achieve this without much hassle. If meditation looks like too taxing, sitting quietly in an isolated place for 5 odd minutes and inhaling and exhaling air will also do the trick. Yoga is a thousand-year-old stress buster mechanism. It has fetched fruitful results for many.
  4. Do not undertake stressful activities before bed: It becomes obvious not to get into any heated arguments, reading a stressful news, undertaking any stressful activity etc before bed. This will ensure that a person can relax before sleep and the adrenaline levels are at a normal level. It will ensure sound sleep for an individual.
  5. Create a to-do list: A to-do list takes care of daily works to be done. This can organize the day and help a person establish everything he needed to, throughout the course of the day. This will also help an individual refrain from any stress which in turn will help in sound sleep.
  6. Don’t lie awake: If it becomes difficult to sleep, it makes sense not to lie awake. Instead few things that are relaxing can be done in the interim. It will soothe the nerve and help to catch sleep sooner than later.
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10 Tips To Help You Overcome Social Anxiety!

10 Tips To Help You Overcome Social Anxiety!

Social anxiety disorder or social anxiety phobia is characterised by an extreme and often, unrealistic fear of social situations and scenarios. A patient suffering from this condition will usually be ridden with self-confidence and a sense of intense nervousness, as if he or she is being constantly watched and scrutinised. It may be caused by biological, psychological or environmental factors. Let us find out ten ways to getting over the same.

  1. CBT: CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy is a form of talk therapy that allows a patient to speak with a psychologist or psychiatrist, so as to find out the root cause of the condition. This form of theory helps in arriving at ways of overcoming the feelings of nervousness in social situations.
  2. Practice going out with smaller groups: It is said that sticking to small and intimate groups can help in overcoming the hesitation and self-esteem issues that many of these patients feel. Once they are comfortable, they can take on larger groups.
  3. Medication: Antidepressants and beta blockers are sometimes prescribed along with other kinds of medication, for patients who are unable to control their intense anxiety in social situations.
  4. Face the fear: A little introspection will help you arrive at the reason or root cause of your anxiety. This can help in facing the fears and tackling them. You can talk about these fears with someone.
  5. Unhelpful thinking: Tackle unhelpful thinking where you imagine people are looking at you in a certain way because they must be judging you. Tell yourself over and over until you believe that it is not true.
  6. Focus on yourself: The key is to focus on yourself instead of getting hooked on to what others may be thinking about you. This will help in banishing the negative thoughts.
  7. Be in the present: Practice deep breathing or meditation to bring yourself back to the present every time you begin to think about what people may be thinking about you when you are in a social scenario.
  8. Lifestyle changes: Drinking less and not smoking at all can also help in the better production of hormones that will help in balanced thinking, especially in anxiety-ridden situations.
  9. Group therapy: Much like CBT, group therapy gives you space and platform to voice your fears and anxiety. The advantage of this kind of therapy is that you can also hear the stories and fears of other people, which will give you some point of reference when it comes to overcoming your own fears.
  10. Communication skills: You can go to a counsellor or get soft skills training for better communication skills, which will help you improve your social interactions. This, in turn, will give you much confidence to deal with the world outside.
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