The world has been an especially topsy-turvy place for a couple of years now. Even when it seems possible that the human race could possibly be slowly emerging from one unprecedented struggle in the COVID-19 pandemic, another potential catastrophe could be in the offing. The recent events in Europe involving Russia and Ukraine have heightened concerns regarding a widescale war. This level of concern based on conflict in this part of the world has not been felt for generations, or not too long after the last worldwide pandemic. If you or someone you love suffers from an anxiety disorder, this could be a very troubling time.
Not only are many of those already dealing with an anxiety disorder seeing a spike in their symptoms due to all that’s happening, but more and more people are encountering this problem as the possibility for war increases daily. Wartime anxiety disorder may not have a long history that’s documented, but it’s always been present and fortunately, we now have the knowledge and ability to diagnose it and provide anxiety treatment that helps. SoCal Empowered is an Orange County mental health provider that works daily with people suffering from an anxiety disorder. Below are warning signs to watch for if the latest potential catastrophe is affecting you.
Be Careful of Obsessively Watching or Reading the News
Watching, listening to or reading the news these days is hardly a relaxing experience for most people. News organizations need to sell papers/viewers/clicks in order to maintain their operations, and they are professionals, so they understand that negativity and stress sell. No media person ever hooked a customer with the headline, “All Is Well!” That’s important to remember in terms of how it could relate to a potential anxiety disorder.
This problem has only compounded with the advent of ubiquitous social media channels on our phones, tablets and computers. Pew Research did a study in 2020 that showed that the vast majority of Americans believe that social media has a mostly negative effect on the day-day realities of the country.
That survey was conducted during the pandemic, which leads to another important point with regards to media and inherently negative events. That point was detailed in a study that was released last year by researchers from Dartmouth University. It revealed that approximately 90 percent of the coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States was negative in nature, compared to 50 – 60 percent in other countries around the world.
All of this negativity leads to stress. Stress leads to anxiety. Prolonged periods of intense anxiety can lead to an anxiety disorder. One of the best ways to avoid the possibility of dealing with anxiety treatment is to avoid triggers for anxiety in the first place. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America has published articles, including the one linked here, specifically stating that consuming too much news can lead to an anxiety disorder along with depression.
The best way to combat this potential problem is to limit the amount of media you consume, whether it’s on television or the Internet. Information overload will not help you live a better life, but instead could lead to your mind becoming cluttered with troubling and difficult thought patterns.
Keep Things In Perspective
One of the many things we learned during the pandemic was that suddenly and radically changing our individual daily lifestyles had potentially lasting effects on our overall mental health. Some even called that period in history a mental health pandemic. We discussed that issue here if you’d like more information.
Therefore, if you find yourself extremely and/or persistently concerned that the developing war in Ukraine could soon affect you and/or your loved ones, take some time to put that media away and protect your own varied routine. For instance, a good way to hit a sometimes-needed “mental reset” button is to simply put your devices down and go for a nice walk outside. Take some time to “unplug” and focus on the things in your life that are good and that you’re fortunate to experience. It’s a lot easier to accomplish this when there isn’t a news/current events commentator buzzing in your ear.
You can also potentially help to minimize the onset of an anxiety disorder by leaning on your support network. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your life – family, friends, colleagues, etc. – who will make time to listen to you if you’re struggling, now is the time to make use of that gift. Simply talking things out can help people put things that seem overwhelming when limited to internal thoughts into proper perspective.
Symptoms of an Anxiety Disorder
Finally, if you’re truly concerned that you or someone you love has developed an anxiety disorder, then you should be aware of the common symptoms associated with it. We discuss anxiety disorder issues on an in-depth level here, and while there are several different types of anxiety disorder diagnoses, symptoms associated with general anxiety include:
- Feeling nervous, restless or tense
- Having a sense of impending danger, panic or doom
- Having an increased heart rate
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
- Having trouble sleeping
- Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Having difficulty controlling worry
- Having the urge to avoid things that trigger anxiety
Further discussion of this list can be found here, as it was published by the Mayo Clinic.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
Pandemics, wars and other catastrophic events affect all or most of us in one way or another. While these worldwide events earn a lot of attention, individual issues or challenges can also lead to an anxiety disorder. If you believe that you or someone you love needs help with anxiety treatment, you should act now to get things started.
You can do so by contacting our team of Orange County mental health professionals at SoCal Empowered. We will listen to your situation and make a recommendation for how you should proceed, whether that includes booking a stay with us or pursuing another possible solution. We will even deal directly with your insurance company before you make any commitments so that you’ll know what’s happening in that regard as soon as possible.
Contact us today so we can help you get a handle on things.