25% of the Indian population suffers from Anxiety. 7.6% of the global population is diagnosed with Anxiety disorder, making it the commonest mental health issue, after Depression. Only a quarter of the sufferers in developing countries get a medical diagnosis and treatment for it.
Understanding and Managing the Anxiety Trick
“The more I try the worse it gets” is what people get to hear a lot from the ones with Anxiety. That is because they fall prey to the Anxiety trick. Someone with Social Anxiety avoids socializing even more. People with OCD keep encouraging it by repeating their compulsive behaviours. People with PTSD and or GAD avoid what makes them anxious instead of facing it.
Since that keeps them in their comfort zone, oblivious from what they are missing out, they think it is protecting them. This is how Anxiety tricks its victims into making it even stronger. Help people with Anxiety to face it. This does not include telling them things like “there is nothing to be anxious about” or “your fears are irrational”. Accept that they feel anxious and help them accept it to a level that they do not need to flee the situation but face it.
Fighting an Anxiety Attack
It is impossible for a person to win a war against Anxiety in a day. But, here is how to win it One Battle At A Time. Help them act against their instincts. If someone is scared of water, instead of letting them wait till the end, make them go first. If someone is scared of meeting new people in a crowd, introduce them to a few friendly strangers. If someone is suffering from a panic attack, their natural instinct would be to crouch into the Foetal position and take frequent short breaths. Help them sit straight and take deep breaths.
Change In Diet
Cut down on Adrenal Stimulants like Carbonated drinks, Caffeine, Sugar, and Processed food. They cause palpitations and trigger panic attacks. Soda depletes Vitamins and Minerals, causing hormonal imbalance. Increase Fresh fruit juice and Green tea intake. A proper diet will restore the Vitamins and Mineral balance.
Yoga, Swimming, Basketball, Running, whatever the person likes, they should just do it; if not every day, then on alternate days. Getting some sunlight is also suggested.
Challenge Negative Core Beliefs and Focus on What Is
Some negative feelings or fear, rejection, hopelessness, loneliness, public humiliation, etc. may get ingrained due to childhood trauma; some work from unconscious mind.
One can help the sufferer fight it by helping them focus on what is, and not on what could go wrong. Being prepared for the worst outcome is one thing, but expecting it is another. If none of these options work, it is always a good idea to get professional help from a reputed Psychologist.