Self Help and Anxiety
Treatments for anxiety
Anxiolytics, some antidepressants and 'talking therapies' (counselling or psychotherapy) are very helpful and can be accessed through your GP. You should contact your GP early if you think you might be becoming anxious. Mindfulness and other forms of meditation can help too.
There are many approaches to the treatment of anxiety. If at first you find one doesn't work, try different approaches until you find one that you feel comfortable with and that works for you.
The vast majority of people with anxiety are treated by their GP. Often, medication won't be your prescriber's first choice, as talking therapy can be just as effective as tablets.
If you are prescribed antidepressants, they can take several weeks to work so don't give up hope if you don't feel better straight away. Sometimes they work best when taken for a longer time, and they shouldn't be stopped suddenly without medical advice.
The first appointment with your GP can feel difficult, especially if you view anxiety as a 'weakness' (it isn't!) so it might be helpful to write down what you want to talk about before you go. Make a note of any questions or worries you might have. Some people find it helpful to take a friend or family member along.
Anxiety makes us feel alone and helpless, and it can be hard to summon the energy to get help. A quick 'phone call to your GP can get things moving and start you on the road to recovery.
Anxiety often makes us want to avoid people or situations. It can be very hard, but facing our fears and staying with people can be very helpful. Remaining in work or returning to work might be very hard too, but can help us keep a sense of control. Keeping a normal daily routine is usually much better than withdrawing. We might feel like shutting ourselves away, but doing so can make things worse.
When we avoid a situation, it's harder to gain control over our fear.
There are many different types of talking therapy; the most effective for anxiety disorders is probably cognitive-behaviour therapy (CBT). In CBT, we learn to face our fears and the ways in which our thoughts can make us more anxious and less able to cope. Your CBT therapist will help you learn new skills to deal with anxiety and help support you face up to things you may have avoided.
Other treatments are available for other anxiety disorders, for example PTSD has been shown to respond well to a relatively new approach, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).
Dealing with things
Putting off problems can make them mount up. Are there things in your life you're putting off dealing with? Might an advocate or some extra support help? The Citizens Advice Bureau can help with a range of issues from housing to money worries. Doing things to address our problems relieves the burden and helps us feel 'in control' again.
If you're struggling with a difficult relationship, or anxiety is causing problems in your relationship you can find a list of national relationship helping agencies, or speak to your GP about other types of relationship counselling.
Avoiding alcohol and drugs
Alcohol is a depressant - it lowers the mood. Other non-prescribed drugs can have similar effects and are best avoided. If you think alcohol or drug use might be a problem, you can contact DAN 24/7, the Wales Drug and Alcohol Helpline: DAN 24/7 website or call them on 0808 808 2234.
There are many good books and websites that can help. Again your GP, practice nurse or primary care mental health practitioner will be able to recommend from a range of excellent and helpful material.
The sooner treatment starts, the sooner you'll feel better. If you've been affected by anything you've read here, contact your GP now. Don't delay in seeking help. Anxiety sometimes lifts on its own, but why take the chance?
Speak with your GP or a health professional for extra information or to get on the road to recovery today.
You can find a list of national agencies that can help with anxiety here: National Anxiety Agencies
This material is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. We have used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. We recommend you consult a doctor or other health care professional for the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, or if you are at all concerned about your health.