Press Release updated: Sep 14, 2017 17:23 EDT

​Anxiety runs havoc in the lives of over 40 million adults over the age of 18 in America, which counts for a staggering 18% of the country’s population, as per studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health. A small amount of anxiety perfectly healthy and normal, and is something that every person goes through. However, when the level of anxiety gets excessive and starts to undermine a person’s ability to go about their daily life normally, red flags should start popping up. Research statistics paint a very glum and concerning picture of the state of affairs in the country; less than 33% of those who suffer from anxiety disorders actually receive treatment for it. Psychologist Natalia Gorjatschew has worked for over 15 years with people from Lincoln County, a small town in Oregon notorious for having a large undiagnosed population.

She believes the first step in the long journey to help people who suffer from anxiety is to raise awareness about what anxiety really is and how it manifests. “Our brain has 3 neurotransmitters that effectively influence the level of our anxiety: GABA, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Any imbalance in their levels resulting from a genetic disposition or life experiences has the ability to cause anxiety, which can be both mentally as well as physically painful. Numerous specific disorders are categorized under the broad umbrella of anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, separation anxiety, panic disorder, major depressive disorder and certain phobias.”

While a lot of people choose the way of self-diagnosis and self-treatment, Natalia Gorjatschew presents a more nuanced approach to tackling this issue. “With the internet nowadays providing everyone with information at their fingertips, everyone thinks they’re a doctor after reading an article or two. The truth is only a trained mental health professional can diagnose you properly since there’s a whole variety of factors that need to be looked at like family history. This diagnosis is done by a psychiatrist who then advises further course of action through either therapy or medication or a combination of both. The most recommended form of therapy, which has shown the best results and has the consensus in our scientific community, is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

This method is used to make the patients themselves identify, get to the bottom of, and become aware of the thoughts and behaviors that trigger distressing emotions which cause anxiety. The recognition of these triggers is key to managing anxiety. This is a long process that takes time and needs to be worked towards constantly, and change doesn’t just happen overnight. Therapists help patients manage expectations and frustrations thereby ensuring optimal progression towards the end goal of sustainable self-management. Similarly for medication, although everyone reacts differently to different medications, there are a few general categories of drugs that are commonly used to manage the intensity of the feelings a patient goes through. These include, but are not limited to, Anti-Depressants, Reuptake Inhibitors, Receptor Modulators, Benzodiazepines and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors.”

A large percentage of people with anxiety disorders also suffer from other psychological disorders, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADHD, sleep disorders and substance abuse to name a few.

“This co-existing of several mental health disorders is precisely when it’s crucial to diagnose and treat anxiety disorders. It doesn’t help that anxiety feeds on negativity, and results in a vicious circle which leads to even more anxiety. But the problem is you can’t just tell someone with anxiety to stop worrying unnecessarily, it’s like asking a person who just fractured their leg to not feel pain. There are ways, however, that we can all help those around us who suffer from it to feel more relaxed and at ease.

It starts from encouraging them to not fear it, as it will only worsen it. We should instead encourage them to talk about it openly so that they don’t live in the fear of judgment. Just being in the presence of someone in a calming capacity can make a huge difference. Try to engage them in new fun activities that increase the heart beat, since exercising is great for anxiety. Professionals in the fields have long used creative arts such as painting, singing, dancing, and theater to help people who suffer from anxiety manage it better.

Even the simple act of coloring a picture can have a therapeutic effect. Anxious people have overworked minds that are constantly over-thinking about a whole range of things. Meditation is, therefore, a great tool to clear the clutter in one’s mind and teaches us how to focus on only one thing and block out all surrounding noise and distractions. This goes a long way to eliminate stimuli that have the potential to trigger anxiety.

For individuals willing to adopt the latest breakthroughs in the scientific community, there are other exciting options as well. Medical marijuana is now legal to a certain extent in as many as 30 states in America, as well as a whole host of countries around the world like Uruguay, Spain, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Australia, Turkey, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Columbia, and Chile. Canada and Ireland are the latest countries set to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.

This comes on the back of extensive research in the scientific and medical community which has proved tremendous benefits to using marijuana to treat not just anxiety disorders but other health conditions as well, even cancer! A chemical compound called Cannabidiol in marijuana helps deal with anxiety, and perhaps the greatest testament to its effectiveness is the fact that Military veterans all over the country have been lobbying for years to legalize Medical Marijuana for treating their PTSD. In February this year, the FDA finally approved the first ever clinical trial to treat PTSD in veterans using marijuana. Yet another new age way of treating anxiety is by getting a therapy or service dog. These dogs have been trained to recognize and sense the onset of anxiety attacks and can help their owners as well they keep them out of harm’s way. Tell me anything better than those cute furry companions to help one navigate through anxiety? Dogs are just so great that they’re now even being used in zoos to help reduce the anxiety in cheetahs, who’re very skittish by nature! Just being in the presence of one is enough to lift one’s spirits.”

Natalia Gorjatschew’s advice on how to help people with anxiety should serve as an educational tool for our society and hopefully usher in a new generation of reduced negativity.

Source: Web Presence LLC

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