Anxiety

Worried that you worry too much? Everyone worries or gets scared sometimes. But feeling extremely worried or afraid much of the time, or repeatedly feel panicky, may be signs of an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorders include panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. They are among the most common mental illnesses, affecting roughly 40 million American adults. A person has an anxiety disorder if she or he has persistent worry for more days than not, for at least several months. Some people with anxiety feel they have always been worriers, even since childhood or adolescence. In other people, anxiety comes on suddenly, triggered by a crisis or a period of stress, such as the loss of a job, a family illness, the death of a relative, or other tragedy.

Numerous therapies can help control anxiety. These include psychotherapy and medication, ideally supported by good nutrition, sleep, and regular exercise. People who are anxious tend to reach for unhealthy "comfort" food—and then worry about it. Or they completely avoid food, skipping meals or even fasting—and worry that something is wrong, such as an undiagnosed cancer. Healthy eating can avoid these anxiety triggers.

Not getting enough sleep can boost a person's anxiety level. On the flip side, getting enough sleep can help control stress and anxiety. So can getting regular exercise—aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.

Anxiety Articles

Minding your memory

Most adults experience the occasional "senior moment" as they age. While these memory slips may be embarrassing and stressful, they are not always a warning sign of problems like Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Still, for specific types of everyday forgetfulness, adopting certain lifestyle behaviors and strategies can help people retain and recall information and navigate memory lapses when they arise. More »

Supplements for three common conditions

If someone is unable to tolerate medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or anxiety, supplements may be an option. Evidence shows that certain supplements may be effective for these conditions, if taken properly under the supervision of your doctor. But to ensure you are buying products that are both safe and effective, look for a quality seal on the label. More »

The mental side of cardiac rehab

Recovery from a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery often involves cardiac rehabilitation. While it’s normal to have some anxiety and stress after a heart-related issue, dealing with these issues and treating even more significant problems such as depression can affect people’s recovery success and increase their risk of future problems. (Locked) More »

How to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a severe and potentially debilitating anxiety disorder that affects people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. PTSD often develops in combat veterans, but it can also strike older adults, and especially men. Fortunately, there are many proven ways to help treat and manage PTSD. These include prolonged exposure therapy, social support, medication, exercise, and meditation. (Locked) More »

Recognizing and easing the physical symptoms of anxiety

Anxiety can produce physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach upset, and tightness in the chest. Sometimes this sets up a vicious cycle, in which anxiety triggers physical symptoms, and the symptoms magnify anxiety, which makes them even worse. Doing distracting tasks or relaxation exercises can help break this cycle. People should seek professional help if symptoms can’t be controlled. More »

Is your habit getting out of control?

Times of stress or trauma can trigger new substance use disorders or lead to relapse in people who are recovering. During these times, the brain seeks to find relief for the most pressing short-term problems, which takes the focus off long-term health. People shouldn’t wait until the problem is entrenched to seek help. Reaching out early brings benefits. (Locked) More »

Overcome your fear factor

Research has shown that feelings of general anxiety, nervousness, and fear tend to rise with age. This can lead to increased isolation and less exercise, and may progress to an anxiety disorder. Strategies to help manage and overcome increased feelings of fear include seeing a therapist, practicing mindfulness, consulting with a financial expert, and hiring a personal trainer. More »

How noise pollution may harm the heart

Long-term exposure to traffic noise may lead to heightened activity in the amygdala, the brain region involved in processing stress, anxiety, and fear. This link may explain why chronic noise appears to raise cardiovascular risk. More »

Sexual and gender minorities face unique health risks

Sexual and gender minorities may have higher risks of certain health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression. A new study also found that they may be at higher risk for dementia.  There are strategies that can mitigate this risk, including adopting health habits proven to promote heart health, such as a healthy diet, regular screening exams and frequent exercise. Experts also recommend addressing mental health problems quickly and finding a LGBT-friendly provider. More »