Anxiety is one of the most terrifying feelings you can experience. It is your brain’s response to various internal and environmental conditions, as well as perceived threats. The threats and conditions directly tie into your fears of not surviving, which activates the basic survival needs of security and well-being. In this article you will learn what generalized anxiety disorder is and the treatment options available to help you feel better. Battling your anxiety does not have to be an isolating or shameful experience.
General Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is the body’s response to keeping you safe and in check. Everyone experiences a small amount of stress or a normal amount of anxiety on a daily basis. 6.1 million Americans experience small amounts of stress due to diet, genetics, behaviors, and other factors. This form of anxiety is healthy; it allows us to process, build courage, think of new ideas, and engage in self care.
General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a medical condition characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of things for at least six months. This form of anxiety leaves you feeling like you are in a state of disaster with all the unwelcomed thoughts and feelings stemming from stressful circumstances. These stressful circumstances can range from normal day to day activities such as money, health, family, work, to unanticipated activities such as emergencies or the fear of something unexpected happening. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day can debilitate you with anxiety. This worry cycle can make you believe that life is out of control. Even though GAD is common and affects millions of adults in America, it is treatable. There are various treatment options that range from seeking help from professionals such as psychiatrists or therapists, to making life changes related to health and wellness practices. It may feel like an uphill battle. It is possible to turn your fears into faith. You can regain control of your life with perseverance.
There are several treatment options available for anxiety that can include small steps you can take daily, to larger life changing steps. It is not about what you start with, but the very brave act of starting and committing. Here are 5 suggested ways you can begin to manage your anxiety:
1. Acknowledge the Uncertainty
Uncertainty exists in the world and it is part of the human experience. Nothing is certain! If your brain tries to give you a “what if” question (e.g. What if this isn’t safe?) you can rewire your brain by changing the question to seek out the opportunity in the unknown (e.g. What if this is safe?). Doing this regularly begins to focus your brain on opportunity/faith over fear in times of uncertainty.
2. Reward Brave Behaviors
Rewarding brave behaviors and celebrating small successes, increases the "feel-good" hormone, Dopamine. If you are feeling anxious about going back into the office, make a plan to talk with a colleague you have missed or get a coffee mid-day as a reward for facing your discomfort. If you are feeling anxious and you meditate, celebrate this win! Every time you reward or celebrate, no matter how small or big, your brain releases the Dopamine motivational molecule, which plays a key role in driving motivation, desire, and success!
3. Seek Support
According to a report from the American Psychological Association, nearly half of Americans are apprehensive about returning to in-person interactions post COVID-19. What this means for you, is that there is a strong chance your feelings of anxiety will be validated and related to in a conversation. Facing fears with a supportive person may reduce the level of anxiety associated with the situation.
4. Talk to a Therapist
If you need help finding a conscious therapist to speak with, contact me today. It feels isolating when it’s you versus your anxiety. I am committed to helping you re-channel your anxiety response with a new set of coping tools, insights, and healings to tap into your shakti (the life force energy that is within you). Feeling overwhelmed and debilitated does not have to be your day-to-day reality. If you are ready to feel heard, reach levels of peace and calmness, and feel more happiness in your life, contact me today for a complimentary consultation. I am in this with you, and TOGETHER we can navigate any conflict you are trying to manage.
5. Consider Ketamine Treatments
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is a research-backed and safe evidenced-based healing approach to traditional psychotherapy that is focused on healing old traumas that don't serve your highest self. Ketamine’s tolerability and safety have been demonstrated over almost five decades (Jaitly 2013). A 2017 study showed that clients diagnosed with social anxiety disorder or GAD showed significant improvements in functionality and in their personal lives after undergoing weekly treatment with ketamine infusions. Ketamine is a treatment that helps clients lift the depression fog, as well as curtail the intensity of GAD. The combination of Ketamine with therapy accelerates the growth of neuroplasticity and disrupts limiting beliefs, making it effective at treating mental health symptoms.
Ketamine Assisted Therapy
Ketamine has been used in the mental health space for over 20 years and has been supported by research to show significant clinical improvement with people battling depression and anxiety. Its calming effect has been shown to positively affect those with mental illnesses. Even after the medicine has left the client’s body, the anti-anxiety effects continue to boost their mood.
Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptors in the brain, which allows your brain to produce an increased amount of glutamate. Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter in our brain and central nervous system that is used to build proteins, stimulate cells, and promotes brain development. With Ketamine treatments, you can treat anxiety with increased glutamate, disrupt the limiting beliefs that come from the fears related to anxiety, and build new neuro-connections which help you see different perspectives. Research has shown the more infusions you receive, the longer-lasting the effects will be. It is recommended to have 2 infusions a week for up to 6 total infusions before re-evaluating. In a few days, you might feel an alleviation from anxiety symptoms.
Dealing with anxiety is a terrifying struggle, and there are many options for healing. Your brain has the amazing capacity to create new cells in order to heal, grow and form new connections. What this means for you is that years of anxiety can change. You can be relieved from emotional pain so you can live a happier, lighter, and more connected life!
Ektha Aggarwal is a licensed South Asian Therapist and CEO of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services in Los Angeles, CA. Ektha specializes in working with South Asians (Indian & Desi) and people of color to break the stigma around mental health and instill the concept of immigrant resilience. If you are ready to feel empowered, effortlessly achieve your goals, and feel more happiness in your life, schedule a complimentary consultation now.