Age And Anxiety- Know The Connection & Treatment
Identify Anxiety and Find Solutions for a Healthier, Happy Life
Today’s lives are no longer simple, and stress is a common byproduct that individuals face all over the world. All of us feel stressed and overwhelmed at some stage. Trouble begins when we drive ourselves too hard to achieve many things, all at the same time. It’s almost impossible to simultaneously excel at work and home life, to travel around the globe, be highly creative, and achieve ten-on-ten in fitness. The pressure to achieve 100% in all areas is surely exhausting. This leads to stress, anxiety, and burnout!
Anxiety is your body’s common reaction to stress. It’s a feeling of fear or trepidation about what would happen next. The first day at work, the ill health of a family member, or going through a financial crisis may cause individuals to feel frightened and nervous.
But if your feelings of anxiety are too much to handle, recur often, last for more than a few months, and interfere with your regular life, you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders occur when a person regularly feels excessive levels of sorrow, worry, or fear over an emotional trigger.
Feelings of stress and anxiety are not always bad. Both can help push you a bit to work towards accomplishing the task or challenge before you. However, if these feelings become never-ending, they can begin to interfere with your daily life. In that case, it’s important to seek help.
Anxiety and age: What is the relation?
According to theCDC, signs of anxiety disorder are prevalent in 7.1% of children aged between three and seventeen years. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)states that anxiety disorder is one of the most common illnesses in the USA for persons above 18 years of age.
Unfortunately, anxiety begins young. At least 1% of children from the ages of three to five and 6% from ages six to eleven show signs of the disorder.Roughly10% of pre-teens and teens also show signs of anxiety. It’s not often clear what leads to anxiety disorders in children and teenagers, but there are a few causes that are commonly agreed by experts
How do symptoms of anxiety differ in different age groups?
The signs of anxiety are different for everyone, depending on multiple factors, including age, social conditioning, family circumstances, etc. For example, phobias occur more commonly among children, panic disorders are experienced more frequently in middle-aged adults, and older adults are more prone to experience a general anxiety disorder.
Let us see how anxiety disorders manifest in different age groups.
Children experience anxiety for many reasons and most often have a hard time expressing the feeling in words. Fear of animals, things, strangers, the feeling of being separated from the parents, etc., can trigger an anxiety attack. Irritability, insomnia, and long bouts of crying are often the signs of anxiety in young children.
The signs of anxiety disorder in teenagers are further intensified by the emotional and physical hormone-induced changes common to this age group. Anxiety in teens manifests itself as phobias and panic disorders. Social pressure and peer pressure also contribute to anxiety disorder and depression in both boys and girls of this age. Researchers also believe that changes in the development of the brain also trigger such responses.
It is not uncommon for adults to become victims of anxiety disorders. Statistics reveal that in the US, 1 in 5 adults are affected every year. This tallies up to nearly 40 million adults who experience different signs of anxiety.
- Generalized anxiety disorder
Some people may show signs of chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry, tension, and fear even when there are no reasons or circumstances to provoke such feelings. People with such a disorder may display signs of a sudden overwhelming sensation of dread despite being very normal.
Phobia is fear of an object or place. It includes fear of water, high places, lonely, dark places, limited spaces, fear of insects, reptiles, and animals. The person may avoid visiting places or even seeing pictures of animals that trigger the phobia.
- Panic attack
A panic attack is the most common manifestation of anxiety and is characterized by constant episodes of fear and a spike in blood pressure.
- Social phobias
The fear of being judged or embarrassed in certain social situations may cause the person to endure them reluctantly or completely avoid such situations.
Most often, an anxiety disorder in adults above the age of sixty can be related to medical risk factors such as:
- Chronic effects of steroids and antidepressants.
- Sedentary lifestyle.
- Stressful life events.
- Chronic medical conditions like cancer, hypertension, diabetes.
It is common for older adults to show signs of withdrawal, aloofness, and refusal to open up with anyone. Such signs need to be evaluated immediately as they can be associated with other issues like clinical depression.
Treatment options for anxiety
Research has proven that talking therapies can have a hugely beneficial effect on children with anxiety issues. Children can be taught active coping strategies, distraction techniques, and problem-focused solutions to deal with anxiety and stress disorders.
Often children and adults try to cope with stressful situations by avoiding the issue and getting on with their daily lives. But it doesn’t address the root problems as well as increases the risk of reinforcing the fear of the anxiety-inducing event or object, making things even harder to solve in the future
In many situations, doctors recommend taking medication to decrease or overcome the anxiety condition. Young people have successfully used medications such as antidepressants to overcome their anxiety disorders.
Often a talking therapy will also be recommended, and it has repeatedly been shown that medication taken alongside talking therapy can be more effective. While many parents are understandably concerned about their child taking antidepressants, there are pros and cons to the approach. Antidepressants can be highly effective at helping children overcome the often debilitating symptoms of an anxiety disorder, so with careful management, they can be very useful.
Exercise can be a great way to reduce anxiety symptoms. If you find that working out helps, push yourself for some brisk walks or an active sport that is enjoyable for you. Get into the target heart rate range each time you work out, and make sure it lasts at least 30 minutes per workout session on average.
Anxiety is the worst at times and can lead to shallow breathing. But there are some easy ways to find your chill, like deep breathing exercises or yoga. Here are some yoga breathing exercises to get started:
- Find a calm and comfortable spot and lie down on your back.
- Now slowly breathe. Many people are unaware of the muscles they need to use when performing this exercise. To do it correctly, you should put your hand just below your navel and inhale through your nose while expanding out with a breath using your diaphragm muscle. Keep inhaling as deeply as you can once the diaphragm is fully expanded.
- After you inhale, it’s time for the exhale. Use your abdominal muscles to push all of that fresh air out and reverse the process: contract them while slowly letting the air go.
- Continue this process a few times until you feel completely relaxed and at ease.
- You feel like your worrying affects every aspect of your life- your relationships, work, daily activities, and everything else.
- You are constantly on edge and in a panic, feeling as if you’re going to mess up everything at any moment, and you find yourself failing again and again in controlling the situation.
- You start getting depressed and resort to drugs or alcohol as an escape route. You might also experience other mental health issues coupled with anxiety.
- You start doubting whether your anxiety is leading to physical health issues.
- You begin to get suicidal thoughts and start behaving in a self-harming manner. In such instances, you need immediate medical attention.
Steps to cope with anxiety
Life brings difficult and tricky situations with each new turn. It’s always beneficial for us to know our limits and not get disheartened with every small failure. It’s great to learn some relaxation techniques that could help you cope with stress in a healthy way. Having our family and friends with us also makes us become more resilient and better prepared to face difficulties.
Experts believe that these pointers can help people who are easily prone to anxiety:
- Mindful response
The response to a situation often drives the decisions taken to deal with it. Being mindful of tough situations teaches us to make calm and proper decisions rather than hasty, irrational ones that can only worsen the circumstances. Deep breathing techniques and mediation can mold the mind into handling difficult situations with calm composure. Though technology can sometimes feed into panic, there are instances when they also come in handy. For e.g., there are a host of mindfulness apps that can help you soothe your anxieties and bring some solace and calm to your mind.
- Ample food and rest
There is nothing more beneficial than a good night’s sleep to relax and rejuvenate the mind. Lack of sleep can be detrimental in more ways than one. So is the lack of a proper diet. Diet and rest require top priority to battle with anxiety disorder. Modern day fitness apps help you keep track of your sleeping patterns and dietary habits. Make use of them to create a healthy routine.
- Social support
Having a strong social network is a great blessing. Friends can offer conclusive solutions for difficult problems and also serve as a source of emotional support. Connecting with people who have similar anxiety problems can also be helpful.
Anxiety disorder can be debilitating for everyone, irrespective of age. But the good news is that there are medical solutions to overcome this shortcoming.
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