Non-Medical Anxiety Treatments
The following treatments may help you cope with your stress and anxiety:
Recognize that you are under stress and that stress may be affecting your health, moods, concentration and behavior.
Recognize that your care recipient or other loved one is under stress and that the stress is affecting their judgment and behavior.
Recognize how you are dealing with stress: Are you turning to alcohol, recreational drugs or excessive alcohol? Is the excess stress leading to extramarital affairs?
Exercise. Regular exercise like walking and swimming can reduce stress levels or help you cope better with high levels of stress.
Eat a balanced diet. Junk food and food with high levels of fat, caffeine or sugar tend to increase anxiety and may cause mood swings.
Budget you money. Spending what you can afford and not incurring excess debt can prevent the major stresses that financial problems can cause.
Take holidays or breaks within budgets. Getting away from the stressful environment even for short periods of time can help as long as the cost of the holiday doesn’t create new pressures and stresses.
Practice yoga, meditation or tai chi, or read. Just creating space for yourself and having some quiet time away from external forces can help you deal with stress and anxiety.
Take your time with major decisions. Look at all options and try to make decisions that will cause the least amount of stress.
Recognize and treat addictions such as alcohol, cigarettes and gambling.
Anxiety Medications and Supplements
The following medical treatments may help you cope with your stress and anxiety:
Antidepressants such as Paxil may be very useful if the anxiety becomes so overwhelming that it becomes the dominant force in your life. Take it as instructed by your doctor.
Unlike antidepressants, short-term anxiolytics such as Ativan or Rivotril are potentially addictive and should only be used occasionally or for a short time, per your physician’s orders.
Sleeping pills, such as Restoril or Imovane, are also potentially addictive, but may be very effective in the short term for poor sleep caused by a stressful decision or waiting for the results of a serious medical test.
Nonaddictive sleep aids such as tryptophan (this substance is found in warm milk and is now available in prescription form) are another alternative. Tryptophan is not as potent as Restoril or Imovane, but it is not addictive and may be used long term.
Alternative anxiety treatments, such as Calm and St. John’s wort, may also help. However, keep in mind that herbs and other plant products may be beneficial, but scientific data on the effectiveness of these products may be scarce or lacking.
Therapy and Self-Help
One-on-one counseling sessions or group sessions may help you increase and improve communication at home or at work.
Psychotherapy may help you with unresolved conflicts or help you to deal with painful memories.
Behavior modification involves learning to react differently to stresses by changing learned behavior/responses to stressful situations or difficult decisions.
Cognitive therapy involves learning how to voluntarily control panic attacks and learning how to overcome fears, such as fear of flying.
Self-help discussion groups and chats are available in person and online.
Many psychologists, physicians and other healthcare workers have written excellent books about dealing with stress and anxiety.