Controlling Anxiety

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Many of us have experienced anxiety at some point. Health experts say it’s an extremely common mental health disorder. Studies show more than three million patients are treated with frequent anxiety attacks every year.

Dr. Daryl Tanski, a psychiatrist with Lee Health, says patients often experience chest pain, rapid heart rate, and difficulty breathing. “When you think of anxiety disorders the underlying theme will be fear and the fear can manifest itself in varying ways.”

Doctors say anxiety is a common condition that affects people of any age. “Depending on the type of anxiety it might be present in the general population, anywhere from two to seven percent,” said Dr. Tanski.

A fear or stressful situation can result in a person losing control of their responses and having an anxiety attack. “An anxiety attack that somebody might experience usually emerges quickly and will peak in about five or ten minutes at its worst. Heart is pounding, breath is hard to catch, and will slowly resolve in a matter of hours,” said Dr. Tanski.

Patients may also experience trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, and irritability. If a person feels anxious it’s important to avoid alcohol and caffeine. “Some of the difficulties are appreciating what you do and don’t have control over and coming to that realization first that’s more of the cognitive aspect of anxiety,” said Dr. Tanski.

Doctors say it’s important to identify your triggers and practice ways to manage your responses. Experts suggest self-soothing exercises to control breathing, muscle relaxation, exercise, and positive mental imagery.

While we can’t always control the experience, doctors say with practice people can learn to control the response.

View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/

Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care.

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