Living With Chronic Anxiety and Fear
The events of 2020 have induced widespread increases in anxiety and fear among the general population, as many people worry about the Covid-19 health pandemic, its ensuing economic stressors and the current political climate. Sometimes, however, anxiety isn’t linked to a specific threat and doesn’t seem to ever go away. If you suffer from chronic anxiety, know that there are multiple treatment options available that could help reduce your stress.
Anxiety is a Protective Mechanism
Anxiety, as most people think of it, is a protective mechanism that tries to warn you of danger. Consider the skydiver who becomes anxious as their jump approaches or the public speaker who is nervous shortly before taking the podium. Both of these are responses to a danger, either real or perceived. The anxiety that’s felt in these situations is a warning of the imminent situation.
The same anxious warning mechanism also can be activated by long-term threats. Feeling anxious about retirement or college savings, for example, is a warning that you might not be financially prepared. Being anxious about Covid-19, economic stresses and/or the political happenings of 2020 likewise is largely a sense that you might not be safe.
Of course, anxiety in many of these situations is warranted because you aren’t necessarily as safe as you’d like to be. When anxiety is caused by a threat, however, the feeling subsides when the threat goes away.
Chronic Anxiety is Unrelated to Threat
Chronic anxiety is different because it’s not caused by any one threat, and it doesn’t subside as a result. Chronic anxiety is an underlying or overt worry that’s always present, as a person feels anxious about everything. The condition’s anxiety persists regardless of how unreal or irrational a perceived risk is.
While the stressors of this year can lead to anxiety that’s manageable and will subside in due time, they also can easily cause chronic anxiety. Anxiety that’s related to Covid-19 can creep into all areas of life so that it becomes constant and extends to everything.
Chronic anxiety is clinically diagnosed as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Multiple Treatments Are Available for Chronic Anxiety
If you suffer from chronic anxiety, whether it’s developed this year or has always been present, there are a variety of treatment options available.
In some situations, self-care through healthy habits can help chronic anxiety subside. Eating right, exercising regularly, sleeping and meditating may all help manage chronic anxiety in the more mild cases.
Psychotherapy is an effective treatment for many people. Through psychotherapy, a trained mental health professional helps you understand not only the psychological aspect of anxiety but also how behaviors affect anxiety. The mental health specialist will help you identify unhealthy behaviors and replace them with more beneficial ones.
Medication is necessary in some cases. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the class of medication that’s normally prescribed for chronic anxiety, and their role is to reduce anxiety so that a person can implement healthier coping strategies. SSRIs may be used on a short-term or ongoing basis.
Jonas Hill is Here for You
If you’re suffering from chronic anxiety, the staff at Jonas Hill are here for you. Reach out to us, and we’ll listen to you. Depending on your specific situation, there are several ways we may be able to help.
Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information.