Crippling anxiety can appear quickly, accompanied by racing thoughts, restlessness and panic attacks. Our self-medicating society tends to treat anxiety with alcohol or anti-anxiety medication to help us feel normal during these difficult times. In many cases, self-medicating makes the problem worse because the anxiety inevitably returns after the drugs or alcohol has worn off.
It is possible to beat crippling anxiety without turning to pills or alcohol. The first step is to face the problem. Figure out what is causing the anxiety, and instead of avoiding it, face it. Address the problem, and the anxiety will fade. The second step is to reveal the underlying emotion. Many forms of anxiety—obsessive/compulsive disorder, panic attacks, constant worrying—come about when our emotions and desires are swept under the rug so we can conform to societal norms. Instead of hiding these emotions, let them out and confront the reasons for the feelings and do something about them.
Try writing down anxious thoughts. Many people that deal with debilitating anxiety will get caught in a loop of thoughts that can include predicting the future, reading people’s minds or catastrophizing. Because of their state of heightened anxiety, they are unable to see these thoughts for what they are. Writing the thoughts down and letting a trusted friend read and discuss them allows the anxious person to see the thoughts for what they are and get their anxiety in check.
Source: Thai-An Truong, licensed practical counselor and owner of Lasting Change Therapy LLC. Location: 10317 Greenbriar Pl., Ste. 400, OKC. For more information, visit LastingChangeTherapy.com.