It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but if you cope with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety, the holidays can be particularly stressful. Managing your expectations, celebrating responsibly, knowing your limits, and seeking the support of trusted family and friends are a few of the ways you can manage holiday stress.
Consider this: 1 in 5 Americans experience a mental health condition each year. This ranges from common anxiety disorders to more serious conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Depending on the diagnosis, symptoms may be temporary and subside over time. However, a more serious diagnosis may require treatment such as therapy and medication to help manage symptoms. Treatment can last for a few weeks or months, and may even span an entire lifetime.
Trauma is an emotional and psychological response that occurs when a person experiences something frightening, upsetting or disturbing. Traumatic experiences can range from natural disasters to military combat and could include events like surviving a car accident or sexual assault. Feeling anxiety, nervousness or grief after a traumatic event is common. Fortunately, most people are resilient and are able to recover after a traumatic experience. Here are a few things you can do to cope with trauma.
Nearly 20% of adults in the US struggle with an anxiety disorder. This common mental illness can be caused by genetic factors, brain chemistry, personality or life events. Everyday anxiety can occur due to stressful events, but anxiety that is persistent, uncontrollable, excessive or irrational might be a sign you are struggling with an anxiety disorder.
The holidays can be stressful, particularly if you are coping with anxiety or depression, or if you are trying to maintain sobriety. Learn how to deal with stress during the holidays and follow these tips to boost your mental health throughout the holiday season.
Social anxiety is a disorder that refers specifically to intense and sometimes debilitating anxiety in social situations. A person with social anxiety disorder might fear being embarrassed in front of others while speaking publicly or not measuring up to perceived expectations when they meet someone new. This fear can prevent one from engaging in social situations, and result in avoiding public speaking or meeting new people.
Unlike shyness, social anxiety affects your everyday life, and can interfere with your career or relationships. The good news is that there are effective ways to overcome social anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.
Mindfulness is a popular term to describe the act of being present in the here and now. This is similar to the term grounding, which is more often used by psychologists to describe the method of returning our thoughts to our experience in the present moment. Mindfulness practices include meditation and yoga, but can also include coping methods such as identifying your feelings, acknowledging your emotions without judgment, and, generally speaking, practicing kindness for yourself and how you feel.
Mental illness is not just one type of disorder or disease. Mental illness refers to over 200 diagnoses including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, dementia and bipolar disorder. A person struggling with a mental illness is likely to have difficulty coping with everyday stressors, to the point where it interferes with their ability to lead a normal life.
Social anxiety disorder is often misunderstood. Social anxiety is more than being shy and often co-exists with anxiety, depression and other mental illness or disorders. Sufferers might feel shame and anxiety for being unable to participate fully in their own life - whether that’s socially or professionally - and they may feel embarrassed for feeling shame or anxiety at all. The good news is that counseling can help social anxiety, but first, see if you recognize any of these behaviors.
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, over 40 million people in the US over the age of 18 suffer from some anxiety-related disorder. Millions more go undiagnosed every year. These statistics are a reminder of the many individuals that live with anxiety disorders and their effects everyday. Anxiety doesn’t just affect your mental health; it also affects your physical health. Anxiety can make you physically ill. These sicknesses can be temporary, but excessive worry and stress can cause serious health problems including: