Talking about Anxiety Disorders & your Mental Health
I’ve made a commitment this month to really spend some time talking about Mental Health. We’re officially into week two, and I’m going to deep dive into a topic many of us know about, anxiety.
Why are we talking about anxiety? It’s a common mental health issue that has grown out of control due to the isolation that many people experienced with Covid. And even beyond that, most people are naturally inclined to feel anxiety, but many don’t know if what they’re experiencing is an anxiety disorder.
Here’s a quote that comes to my mind with last weeks email and the topic of anxiety:
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Lao Tzu
I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to be present and feel calmer and more connected to my life! But more importantly, I want to speak out about the difference between the anxiety most people experience and anxiety disorders.
So, what exactly is the difference between anxiety and anxiety disorders?
Information referenced from the Mayo Clinic
In most circumstances, the brain manages our fear and anxiety without allowing it to interfere with our daily actions. Normal anxiety is related to a very specific situation and only lasts as long as that problem exists and is a realistic response to that situation by societal standards.
“People with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. Often, anxiety disorders involve repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).” (Mayo Clinic Article)
Intense awareness like you are in danger, panicked or doomed.
Abnormal body responses:
Increases heart rate without physical activity
Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
Sweating or trembling
Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
Feeling like you are out of control:
Having difficulty controlling worry
Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Important to note:
Feeling anxious does not always correspond to having an anxiety disorder. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, please consult with your doctor. Get help early if you think any of this resonates with what you are experiencing.
What can cause anxiety disorders?
Information referenced from Mayo Clinic Article.
Trauma - Abuse, trauma or witnessing traumatic events
Stress due to an illness - Having a health condition or serious illness can cause significant worry about that illness.
Stress buildup from life situations.
Other mental health disorders - People with other mental health disorders, such as depression, often also have an anxiety disorder.
Having blood relatives with an anxiety disorder - Anxiety disorders can run in families.
Drugs or alcohol - Drug or alcohol use or misuse or withdrawal can cause or worsen anxiety.
Common Anxiety Disorders:
Information directly referenced from the Mayo Clinic Article
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
Panic disorder involves repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks). You may have feelings of impending doom, shortness of breath, chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering or pounding heart (heart palpitations).
Selective mutism is when children struggle to speak in certain situations, such as at school, but don’t struggle to speak in other situations, such as when they are at home with close family members. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.
Separation anxiety disorder is a childhood disorder characterized by anxiety that's excessive for the child's developmental level and related to separation from parents or others who have parental roles.
Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
Why is this important to know about?
Many who experience anxiety either feel alone or isolated from asking for help. Even if they do feel like they can ask for help, they don’t know how to differentiate the anxiety that naturally happens to most people and that of the severe nature of anxiety disorders.
If you think that you or someone in your life is experiencing an anxiety disorder, please also seek out the experience of your doctor.
How does light therapy help with anxiety?
Here are two core things that happen during a Low-Level Light Therapy session that help with reducing anxiety:
When your body absorbs red/near-infrared light energy, it simulates a photochemical reaction within your mitochondria that increases ATP production and cell signaling. Basically it gives your body the energy it needs to combat the low energy that accompanies low mood and anxiety disorders.
Light therapy helps your body increase your body's circulation - and specifically it supports healthy blood flow to areas of your brain like the hypothalamus which regulates your hormones, and the amygdala which is considered part of your “emotional brain.” It also helps with balancing serotonin which is key to regulating mood.
Now, what does science say…
During one randomized study, 9 of 10 patients experiencing both anxiety and depression were tested with near-infrared light therapy exposure to their foreheads and followed up with at 2 and 4 week intervals. 6 of the 10 patients experienced highly significant reductions in their anxiety and depression 2 weeks after treatment. (Article 1)
A study was conducted on 15 patients over a period of 8 weeks. All of the patients suffered from Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Near Infrared light therapy was applied with a face mask for 20 minutes for each patient. The study showed significant correlation between the near Infrared light therapy treatments and the improvement of the Generalized Anxiety Disorder symptoms. (Article 2)
The healing benefits of infrared wavelengths are unparalleled for naturally helping your mind, mood, & energy levels. Come experience the advantages for yourself!
No matter what it is that you are looking for, I know that we'll find a way to help you heal with light therapy.
If you want to learn more about Light Therapy & my Light Therapy work, you can follow me with the links below, or email me at Lisa@lightmattersinfo.com - thank you for reading!
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If you liked this article you can also read:
Here are the articles I've referenced above:
Mayo Clinic Article: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961
Article 1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2796659/
Article 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6818480/
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