Oct 27, 2010 Posted Under: Mental Health

Learn the Basics of Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal feeling experienced by a person every once in a while in his or her life. It is a subjective emotional state whenever the ego is threatened and provoked by the unknown. In simple terms, it is fear of the unknown. There are different levels of anxiety ranging from mild, moderate, severe to panic. Each level has different psychological and physical characteristics and the appropriate management that needs to be done.

Mild Anxiety is the first level of anxiety. The person with mild anxiety still has intact problem solving skills. Physical symptoms include restlessness, fidgeting, and sensations of having butterflies in the stomach, difficulty sleeping and hypersensitivity to noise. What needs to be done during this period is to assist the anxious person to tolerate the anxiety for it is the first step to problem solving.

Moderate Anxiety is the second level of anxiety which is characterized by muscle tension, excessive sweating, headaches, and fast speech. The goal of management is to reduce the anxiety and eventually understanding the cause and identifying possible ways to control it.

Severe level is the third level of anxiety that renders the person feelings of dread and horror. Excessive crying, severe headache, trembling, vertigo, chest pain and pallor are among the physical symptoms. During this level, anxiety must be channelled and lowered to moderate or mild level.

The last and most severe form of anxiety is the Panic Stage. The person who experiences this cannot effectively process environmental stimuli and has a distorted perception. Physical symptoms include becoming totally immobile or mute, increased blood pressure and increased pulse rate. Symptoms basically revolve around three possibilities: fight, flight or freeze. Management needs to be supportive or protective towards the person in panic. If a person is in a panic mode, you need to make yourself available for the person and assurance of never leaving the person must be made. A calm environment must be achieved and stressors must be limited. If hyperventilation is experienced, provide a brown bag to facilitate return of normal breathing. Encourage the person to express his or her feelings by allowing the person to cry, pace or even shout. Avoid touching the person as it may trigger the attack more. These interventions are effective in dealing with a panic attack.

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