Anxiety

What Does Anxiety Feel Like?

Anxiety is a normal emotion that is just a natural part of the human experience. How it feels, however, is unique to each person. Some people seem to be able to just glide through their life without anxiety, while others face debilitating fears. If anxiety is preventing you from living your everyday life, it might be time to seek treatment.

What Is Anxiety?

Most people experience fear or even a brief alarm when faced with a threat. Under those conditions, you may realize you’re undergoing a physical reaction, like a pounding heart, problems breathing, or a lump in your stomach. Anxiety’s like that but is a reaction to an imagined threat, not something immediate.

What Does Anxiety Feel Like?

Anxiety Symptoms

The different kinds of anxiety disorders can feature various symptoms and are unique to everyone. But generally, all have something in common:

  • Anxious beliefs or thoughts that are difficult to manage. They may trigger feelings of restlessness, tension and hamper daily life. They don’t go away and can worsen over time.
  • The presence of physical symptoms, which may include a throbbing or fast heartbeat, mysterious aches and discomfort, dizziness, and temporary breathing troubles.
  • You or someone else may notice changes in behavior, like if you’ve begun avoiding something that you used to enjoy participating in.

Many of these symptoms can be treated with a combination of strategies, including therapy and ketamine infusion.

Anxiety in their own words

The stigma surrounding mental illness has been a driving factor in people not seeking the medical care they need. Think back to your own family – have you ever heard your grandparents or an elderly family member talk about anxiety and depression? Probably not. But recent global awareness of the causes and consequences of mental illness have made discussions – and seeking treatment – more possible than ever.

“In the beginning, it was just sort of speeding and a kind of numbness and going from one thing to the next thing to the next thing. I will tell you when I realized that I thought, ‘All right, if I don’t calm down, I’m gonna be in serious trouble.'” – Oprah Winfrey during a discussion with ABC News.

“I’ve had a lot of issues with depression and anxiety, and I’ve been very vocal about it, but it’s not something I feel I’ll ever overcome. I want to make sure I’m healthy. If that’s good, everything else will fall into place.” – Selena Gomez, quoted in Harper’s Bazaar.

But you don’t have to be a celebrity to get care for anxiety. Talk to someone you trust and ask a doctor or mental healthcare specialist about treatment options.

Diagnosing & Treating Anxiety

If you’re experiencing anxiety and are worried it could morph into a chronic disorder, the best way to begin managing the symptoms is through diagnosis and treatment.

How do you diagnose anxiety?

  • Through a medical exam, where a doctor will try and find an underlying cause for your symptoms. This may involve blood tests and other diagnostic procedures.
  • Through a psychiatric assessment. In this case, a mental healthcare specialist will delve into any personal or family history of mental illness and want to know your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. You may be asked to fill out a mental health questionnaire, and your doctor may also want permission to talk to family and acquaintances about your symptoms.

In either case, your healthcare provider will compare your symptoms to criteria in other diagnostic tools. One of the most popular ways to assess your mental health is by referring to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Besides psychotherapy, symptoms of anxiety can be treated in other ways.

  • Ketamine infusion therapy. Ketamine was created as an anesthetic but has been used to treat mental health symptoms for decades. 
  • Stay physically fit. Even low-impact exercise two or three times a week can be beneficial. Try going for a walk or basic stretching routines, but also set a schedule for yourself.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drugs.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of stress management techniques. A doctor may recommend meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.
  • Get enough sleep for your age group and stick to a healthy and nutritious daily meal plan.

Final Thoughts

These symptoms are probably familiar enough to every person, but for many of us, the symptoms are too much to continue with everyday life. Know that treatment options are available that can help you find relief.

At Exodus Health, our vision is to help as many individuals as possible achieve freedom from mood disorders. It is our desire to be a light in a dark place and provide an avenue for restoring hope. Contact us today to get started!

Anxiety

Mood & Anxiety Disorders

Mood and anxiety disorders encompass many conditions under the broad category of mental health disorders. Common mood disorders are represented by several types of depression and related conditions. Mood disorders are more difficult to diagnose, especially in children or adolescents, because of how the symptoms crossover, and those symptoms are sometimes hard to express. 

Common Mood Disorders

There are many mood disorders, though you may be most familiar with those listed below. Symptoms may overlap, and you can have more than one mood disorder at a time. This can make treatment complicated, but one option worth considering is ketamine therapy, particularly in the case of depression.

  • Major depression means you have less interest in everyday activities, feel sad or desperate, and may experience other symptoms for two or more weeks.
  • Bipolar disorder I and II encompass a condition where someone has episodes of depression alternating with instances of elevated mood or mania.
  • A mood disorder caused by another health condition, like cancer, injuries, infections, and chronic illnesses. All of these can trigger depression symptoms.
  • Seasonal affective disorder is a kind of depression closely associated with months when there are fewer hours of natural daylight, generally in the fall and winter, with symptoms beginning to fade with warmer weather and longer days.

What causes mood disorders?

Depending on what disorder you suffer from, there could be several basic factors. Factors related to genetics, biology, your environment, and others have been identified as triggers for mood disorders.

Risk factors:

  • Family history.
  • You’ve had a mood disorder before.
  • Trauma and significant life stressors.
  • You were sick or were prescribed certain medications. “Depression has been linked to major diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease.”
  • Brain construction and how it works, particularly regarding bipolar disorder.

Common Anxiety Disorders

Occasional anxiety is an expected part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear.” If you have anxiety that doesn’t go away and the symptoms worsen over time – affecting daily life, including job performance, schoolwork, and relationships – then you may be suffering from a more serious anxiety disorder.

Types of anxiety disorders include:

  • Agoraphobia, characterized by fear and avoidance of places or situations that might trigger panic and induce feelings of being helpless, trapped, or embarrassed.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder includes consistent and extreme anxiety and worries around ordinary, everyday activities or events. The worry is often out of proportion to actual danger.
  • Panic disorder is characterized by recurrent instances of unexpected feelings of deep anxiety and fear that reach peak intensity within minutes (commonly known as panic attacks).
  • Separation anxiety disorder, mostly in children, is extreme anxiety for a child’s developmental level and is linked to separation from someone charged with parental roles.
  • Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, involves high points of anxiety, avoidance, and fear of social settings because of feelings of embarrassment, worry about being unfairly judged or viewed negatively by someone else, and self-consciousness.

Anxiety disorders could be caused by:

  • Chemical imbalances in regions of the brain which control your mood.
  • Environmental factors and trauma.
  • Anxiety disorders may run in your family and be passed down from a biological relative.

Know the symptoms

Ketamine therapy can often treat anxiety and mood disorders symptoms, but it’s a good idea to know what they are before agreeing to treatment.

  • You feel sad nearly every day or almost all the time 
  • Low energy or feeling sluggish
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless 
  • Lack of appetite or binge eating
  • Unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Feeling fidgety, wound-up, or on-guard
  • Being easily tired
  • You feel out of control, and experience many other symptoms

Diagnosis & Treatment

A healthcare provider or a mental health specialist can diagnose mood and anxiety disorders. It normally involves a physical examination to look for an underlying medical cause for your symptoms and document personal and family medical history. Talking with someone who specializes in mental health has the same goals but focuses on your thoughts, feelings, and behavior as triggers for your condition. Your personal and family history of mental illness will also be explored, with your symptoms compared to specific mood and anxiety disorders criteria.

If you suffer from either condition, ketamine therapy may help control the symptoms, but your healthcare provider will also probably recommend psychotherapy and certain other medicine.

Anxiety

Effects Of Anxiety

If you suffer from anxiety or a more severe anxiety disorder, know that you’re not alone. You’re among a group of 40 million U.S. adults who experience related symptoms each year and struggle with the consequences. Anxiety symptoms can be harmful if left untreated, but, fortunately, they can be managed.

What Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal part of our lives. You get worried about taking an exam or may breathe heavily for short periods watching a scary movie. But these feelings usually subside for most people. “However, 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).”

Non-Medical Ways To Cope With Anxiety

Dr. David Samadi, based at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island, New York, offers these tips for coping with anxiety.

  • Make changes where possible and let the remainder run its course.
  • Exercise as a way to release tension and help you get relaxed.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.
  • Stay away from drugs and alcohol as a means of relief.
  • Learn about anxiety disorders. 
  • Use stress management practices.
  • Ask your doctor for help in managing your anxiety.

Effects Of Anxiety

  • Heart problems, especially when under stress. These are characterized by an elevated heart rate which can boost your chances of an attack, stroke, or heart disease.
  • When you’re anxious, it’s natural for your heart to pump more blood, making your blood pressure increase. Anxiety itself doesn’t lead to high blood pressure, but rather it’s the frequent episodes of the fight-flight reaction which may promote high blood pressure issues. This can damage your brain, heart, and kidneys and boost your risk of stroke.
  • Stomach and gastrointestinal discomfort. Things like diarrhea, nausea, and stomach aches are widespread symptoms of continuing anxiety.
  • Asthma and breathing trouble. If you’re anxious, you can breathe rapidly as a result, and your airways become restricted. This phenomenon may lead to higher instances of asthma for people with anxiety, compared to those without.
  • Your immune system won’t work like it should, leaving you more susceptible to viruses like colds. When you’re suffering from anxiety, it triggers the delivery of stress hormones leading to many changes in how your immune system responds.
  • You may suffer from chronic muscle tension as your muscles tense and tighten because of anxiety. And if anxiety persists, the muscles can’t fully relax, resulting in chronic muscle tension. 
  • You may have frequent headaches, migraines and dental problems caused by clenched teeth. 
  • If you’re anxious or constantly under stress, you may binge eat and experience weight gain as a result. Anxiety causes us to crave chocolates and other sugary “comfort foods” because they dispense the body’s natural “feel-good” hormone, serotonin. As serotonin gets released, you experience temporary relief but also more frequent and continual cravings for less-than-healthy foods. 
  • You may experience sleep problems like insomnia, where you have trouble falling asleep. If you can’t sleep, you may be more susceptible to problems like heart disease, stroke, a compromised immune system, poor judgment, and even other anxiety disorders. 
  • Your healthcare provider may observe spikes in blood sugar levels. This is caused by the release of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine during the body’s fight-or-flight response to anxiety and stress. During this response, your liver may release warehoused glucose or blood sugar into your bloodstream to give your body an energy boost. Your body will eventually absorb the extra blood sugar, but repeated instances boost your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Anxiety can happen to anyone, and it’s a normal part of life. But if symptoms occur every day and linger for months, you may be at risk of developing a more serious anxiety disorder. In either case, a healthcare provider could:

  • Give you a psychological assessment. This would focus on thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and look for a psychological basis for your symptoms, including personal or family history of mental illness.
  • Review your symptoms with criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, before deciding on a diagnosis.

Treatment may involve psychotherapy or options including ketamine infusion.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. The effects on the human body can be serious if the symptoms are brushed aside as just part of a bad day. If you experience symptoms, contact us today to learn more about treatment options and regain control of your life.

Anxiety Chronic Pain Depression Ketamine PTSD

How Does Ketamine Infusion Therapy Work?

People who suffer from mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), along with nerve-based chronic pain conditions, know all-too-well that physical and psychological discomfort is oftentimes hard to manage. Traditional treatment options sometimes work poorly, if at all, and many people are turning to a new kind of treatment – ketamine infusions

WHAT IS KETAMINE?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. It is an injectable, short-acting anesthetic for use in humans and animals. It is referred to as a ‘dissociative anesthetic’ because it makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment.” Created as an anesthetic in the 1960s, ketamine became famous for successfully treating wounded U.S. soldiers in Vietnam.

HOW DOES KETAMINE WORK FOR DEPRESSION?

For people experiencing symptoms of mental illness, chronic pain, or other disorders, research has shown that a neurotransmitter in the brain called glutamate may be weakened, damaged, or not working correctly leading to depression, for instance. Neurotransmitters are responsible for sending signals between cells, influencing how pain is perceived physically and mentally. Low doses of ketamine have been shown to repair or strengthen damaged neurotransmitters, making it easier for a person to handle depression symptoms. 

HOW DOES KETAMINE INFUSION THERAPY WORK?

Ketamine has been proven effective in treating symptoms of mental illness and shows promise in reducing discomfort from arthritis and nerve-based chronic pain conditions. Since the early 1960s when it was created for pre-surgical anesthesia, ketamine has largely been administered intravenously. Today, ketamine infusion therapy works the same way – dispensed through a tube intravenously, but in lower doses than what is typically needed to sedate a person for surgery.

How does ketamine work? 

Ketamine can sometimes go to work right away to provide relief. Feeling better quickly, and improving moods is its key benefit. When administered in a controlled setting, it kicks off a series of events in your brain that rejuvenates damaged neurons.

Will I need regular ketamine therapy? 

Ketamine has a high success rate in treating symptoms of mood disorders and various pain conditions, but because it is not a cure for the conditions it treats, this is considered an ongoing treatment process where periodic infusions are still required after the initial series of infusions are completed.

Are there potential side effects? 

As with any medication, there’s a risk of negative side effects when ketamine is administered intravenously. It can result in side effects including increased blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety, dizziness, double vision, seizures, vomiting, slowed breathing, and others. These side effects are very rare with low-dose ketamine infusions and any increases in blood pressure and heart rate typically return to baseline ranges within 20 minutes of the infusion being completed.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS

Many people who suffer from mental illnesses like depression, seasonal anxiety disorder, postpartum depression, chronic pain, or sleep conditions like neck pain or insomnia, may benefit from non-traditional therapy to lessen their symptoms. There’s no magic answer when it comes to reducing pain, and the first step along the path of managing discomfort is getting diagnosed by a healthcare provider. 

Once diagnosed, your provider may recommend one or a combination of therapeutic treatments including:

  • Ketamine therapy.
  • Eliminating or reducing caffeine from your diet, particularly in the form of caffeinated soda or coffee beverages.
  • Eating healthier meals, including food rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, and lean meats. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and vitamin B12 should also be part of your meal plan.
  • Light exercise including regular walks.
  • Meditation, yoga, or tai chi.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Many kinds of physical and psychological pain can be managed with psychotherapy, medicine, or holistic therapy. In some cases, physical therapy or surgery may be required. But if you’ve experienced pain that resists such treatment, ask your healthcare provider about the benefits of ketamine infusion therapy. Ketamine was once used solely as an anesthetic, but it has proven effective in treating the symptoms of mental illness and other pain conditions. 

Contact us today to learn more about these innovative new treatment options.

Anxiety

How To Handle Anxiety

Anxiety is an emotion – a momentary feeling of stress, the human body letting you know it thinks you may be in danger. Anxiety disorders are more serious mental health conditions where feelings of anxiety go above and beyond this normal response to urgency or perceived danger and greatly disrupt your life.

Most people will experience anxiety regularly, and up to 40 million adults in the United States experience an anxiety disorder every year. Fortunately, despite how the symptoms can make a person feel, there is still hope for the future.

Anxiety disorders can be treated through medications, therapy sessions, lifestyle changes, and more. While no single treatment will work for every person, anyone can find a treatment that helps relieve their symptoms.

Here is a helpful guide explaining some tips and tricks that can help with handling anxiety symptoms.

How To Handle Anxiety

Exercise

Mental health and physical health are two sides of the same coin. Regular exercise can help relieve anxiety symptoms. This can be as little as 30 minutes of exercise, 3 to 5 times a week.

Sleep Schedule

Ideally, every person should get around eight hours of sleep every night. If you are struggling to get to sleep, try techniques like adapting a consistent sleep schedule or avoiding screens and electronic devices an hour before bedtime.

Avoid Harmful Substances

If you find yourself anxious or stressed out, it’s easy to turn to things like caffeine or alcohol, but these substances may only make your anxiety worse in time.

Treatment

There should be no shame in seeking out treatment for your anxiety, especially if it is interfering with your everyday responsibilities.

The types of anxiety disorders

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Selective Mutism
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder

The symptoms of anxiety

  • Feelings of nervousness
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • A sense of impending doom or urgency
  • Increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Avoidance of anxiety triggers

The Causes of Anxiety

The development of an anxiety disorder is not as crystal clear as other conditions, such as an illness like the common cold. Whereas a cold can be traced back to exposure to a cold virus, anxiety disorders are instead a complex mix of several biological and environmental factors.

Examples of conditions or medical problems linked to anxiety include some of the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid problems (like hyperthyroidism)
  • Respiratory disorders, such as COPD or Asthma
  • Drug abuse or withdrawal
  • Chronic pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome

Ketamine Treatment For Anxiety

Exactly how ketamine treats anxiety disorders is still being researched, much like what leads to the development of anxiety. The current understanding is that ketamine binds to receptors in the brain that increase the amount of a neurotransmitter – glutamate – is released. This will then set off a chain of reactions within the brain that affects thinking and emotional regulation.

To put this in layman’s terms, the brain reacts to ketamine in a way that triggers hormones that help create more positive emotions. This can occur within minutes after a person receives their infusion, but some people may need several treatments before they experience the highest level of benefits.

If you or a loved one are suffering from anxiety, contact us today to find out if one of our innovative new treatment options are right for you.

Anxiety

Anxiety In Kids

Anxiety in children is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms overlap with other illnesses, but progress is being made. While millions of kids 17 and younger suffer from anxiety, research continues into evaluating traditional therapy and medication, and the efficacy of newer treatment options including the use of ketamine infusion therapy.

THE SCOPE OF THE PROBLEM

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • About 4.4 million children aged 3-17 years have diagnosed anxiety.
  • About 1.9 million children aged 3-17 years have diagnosed depression.
  • For children aged 6-17 years, the numbers who were diagnosed with either anxiety or depression went up from 5.4% in 2003 to 8.4% in 2011–2012. For those children diagnosed with just anxiety, the numbers increase from 5.5% in 2007 to 6.4% in 2011–2012.

ANXIETY IN KIDS AND THE ICEBERG ANALOGY

Doctors and therapists will often use the iceberg analogy when talking about anxiety in kids. Icebergs look beautiful floating in the ocean, their tips reflecting the sun. But what lies beneath the waterline is just as worrisome as whatever you see above it. In a child, anxiety is the tip; behaviors that

are below the waterline are accumulated layers of experiences and emotions:
Difficulty Sleeping

Anxiety and sleep trouble are like the chicken and the egg. Research indicates that anxiety can result in sleep disorders, and chronic sleep interruptions can manifest as anxiety. These are hallmarks of anxiety in
children.

Anger

Children who are anxious often perceive a potentially threatening situation as more dangerous than it really is, such as a test in school, or underestimate their own ability to cope with these situations. When kids are overly and chronically worried and feel ill-equipped to handle the anxiety, they feel helpless. Helplessness is an expressway to frustration, dead-ending at a roadblock called anger. Irritability, part of the anger family, shows up in anxious children.

Defiance

Children who suffer from anxiety often try to take back control for comfort and security, often in peculiar and unexpected ways. Because the child has trouble communicating what is happening, adults often misinterpret the situation as simple defiance – rather than an effort to manage a time where they feel helpless and anxious.

“Chandeliering”

This is an analogy for when an apparently calm person suddenly goes ballistic for no reason. But what has happened is the child has buried anxiety and hurt for so many months or years that a harmless comment or event unexpectedly sends them plowing through a metaphorical chandelier. Such tantrums demonstrate a child unable to communicate about their fear and they try to bury it instead.

No Focus

Lack of focus is sometimes misdiagnosed as a characteristic solely of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but also appears in children with anxiety. That does not necessarily mean the child has ADHD. Rather, the conditions have overlapping symptoms. Kids experiencing anxiety often get preoccupied with their own feelings that they cannot recognize what is happening around them.

Avoidance

Kids who try to avoid a person, place or task usually end up dealing with more of whatever they wanted to avoid, like school work or chores around the house. They will have wasted time and energy on avoidance, making it the driver of bigger anxiety than before.

Negativity

Kids with anxiety often express negative thoughts more frequently than positive ones. Because of this, negative thoughts take root faster and easier than positive thoughts, making a child suffering anxiety appear like a downer most of the time. Children suffering anxiety are susceptible to these patterns because they are not mature enough to see a negative thought for its true meaning and reverse it by engaging in upbeat self-talk.

Overplanning

Some children express anxiety by trying to take control through defiance, while others fall victim to overplanning for an event where planning is unnecessary or minimal.

TREATING ANXIETY IN CHILDREN

The first step in recovery is to converse with a healthcare professional, such as the child’s primary care doctor or a licensed pediatric therapist, about obtaining an evaluation. Some of the symptoms and signs of depression or anxiety in kids may be created by other conditions, like trauma. Treatment for children normally involves regular psychotherapy sessions, but ketamine infusion therapy has also shown promise for reducing symptoms of anxiety in young children and teen patients.

Like any medication or form of treatment you want to do your own research and speak with a trusted provider on the possible benefits. It’s never a one size fits all approach when you’re treating the symptoms of a mood disorder like anxiety.

CONCLUSION

If you suspect your child is suffering from anxiety, call your primary care doctor immediately for a consultation. Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication, or possibly ketamine infusion therapy, but none of these options will work unless you take the initiative on your child’s behalf. The condition can be managed with prompt care and compassion.

Anxiety

How to stop an anxiety attack

Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders in America, with anxiety attacking about 18 percent of the population every year. But its commonness doesn’t mean it’s any easier to deal with than another health condition. In fact, its symptoms and causes are difficult to identify, resulting in many people not receiving the care they need to become well. If you suspect you or a loved one suffers from anxiety, get help today.

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