Anxiety Disorders

Ariana Grande is THE queen of pop music. Her ability to create two completely different styles of music within a year is nothing short of insane. In a recent interview with British Vogue, the pop star revealed that she is always had anxiety though never spoke publicly about it because she “thought everyone had it”. However, Grande has been outspoken about dealing with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of last year’s deadly bombing at her concert at Manchester Arena in England.

 From the upbeat style of “ Sweetener “ to the soulful and empowering “ Thank U Next”, Grande has poured her hardships and heartbreaks into her last two albums and all the albums that came before that. Her life these past couple of years has been deeply overwhelming and broadcasted across news stations and tabloids alike. On her newest album, Sweetener the final track addresses her experience with anxiety. Grande explained the meaning of the song she wrote with Pharrell Williams, “Get Well Soon,” to curious fans over Twitter. Instead of shutting down, she put all of her energy into creating music that inspires her fans and makes those close to her proud. She helped her fans understand that speaking up about mental health and the struggles we all face should be normalized. Grande uses relaxation techniques to overcome her anxiety.

Anxiety disorders are real, serious medical conditions just as real and serious as physical disorders such as heart disease or diabetes. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorder in the United States. The term “anxiety disorder” refers to specific psychiatric disorders that involve extreme fear or worry and includes generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder and panic attacks, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, selective mutism, separation anxiety and specific phobias. The five major types of anxiety disorders are Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety exaggerated worry and tension even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.

 Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviours (compulsions). Panic disorders is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or abdominal stress. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters and accidents. 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.

The causes of anxiety disorders are currently unknown but likely involve a combination of factors including genetic, environmental, psychological and developmental. Anxiety disorders run in families, suggesting that a combination of genes and environmental stresses can produce the disorders. 

Treatment will consist of a combination of psychotherapy, behavioural therapy and medications.  Alcohol dependence, depression or other conditions can sometimes have such a strong effect on mental well-being that treating an anxiety disorder must wait until any underlying conditions are brought under control. In some cases, a person can treat an anxiety disorder at home without clinical supervision. However, this may not be effective foe severe or long term anxiety disorders. Learning to manage stress can help limit potential triggers. Organize any upcoming pressures and deadlines compile lists to make daunting tasks more manageable and commit to taking time off from study or work.

Moreover, relaxation techniques are one of the ways to prevent anxiety disorders. Simple activities can help soothe the mental and physical signs of anxiety. These techniques include meditation, deep breathing exercise’s, long baths, resting in the dark and yoga. On top of that, a standard way of treating anxiety is psychological counselling. This can include cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) psychotherapy or a combination of therapies. In addition, cultivate connections with other people. Loneliness and isolation set the stage for anxiety. Decrease vulnerability by reaching out to others. Make it a point to see friends, join a self help or support group, share your worries and concerns with a trusted loved one. Not only that, adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Physical activity relieves tension and anxiety, so make time for regular exercise. Don’t use alcohol and drugs to cope with symptoms and try to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine which can make anxiety worse.

There is no quick fix for anxiety. Overcoming an anxiety disorder takes time and commitment. Therapy involves facing fears rather than avoiding them, so sometimes you will feel worse before you get better. The important thing is to stick with treatment and follow your therapist’s advice. If you are feeling discouraged with the pace of recovery, remember that therapy for anxiety is very effective in the long run. You will reap the benefits if you see it through. You can also support your own anxiety therapy by making positive choices. Everything from your activity level to your social life affects anxiety. Set the stage for success by making a conscious decision to promote relaxation, vitality and a positive mental outlook in everyday life.