Young woman looks out window with her hand on her face as she contemplates taking anxiety medication
Healthy Living

When Is It Time to Try Medicine for Stress and Anxiety?

Dec 17 2018
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How to know when you need extra help with your anxiety

Not wanting to get in the car and drive through a major snowstorm. Only talking with those you already know at networking events. Only taking the scenic routes. All of these may be smart, well-thought-out decisions. Or, they could be signs that your anxiety has become uncontrollable. How can you know which is which?

People who have anxiety are usually aware that they tend to worry a lot. They know they might consider the worst-case outcome and hesitate when taking any sort of risk. But sometimes stress and anxiety go too far. When your fears and worries prevent you from seeing your loved ones, doing your job well or living your life fully, it may be time to try anxiety medication to handle your symptoms.

Having anxiety doesn’t mean you’re not a good, capable and productive person. In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with your character. Having an overwhelming level of stress and anxiety isn’t your fault. That’s why treatment can be so effective. Let’s take a closer look at whether it may be time to try anxiety medication. 

What does it feel like to have anxiety?

There are telltale signs that you have anxiety. Do you have excessive, uncontrollable worry about a number of activities? Concern about a specific action happening in the near future is understandable and healthy. But extreme worry about many things in your life may suggest something more.

Do you avoid social settings, especially anything resembling a performance? True, not everyone wants to sing on stage. But if you’re overwhelmed at the idea of standing up at work and introducing yourself, that could be anxiety. Speaking of doing something that makes you uncomfortable, does your heart pound and race? Do you find yourself sweating, trembling and short of breath? Some people with anxiety even experience feelings like they’re having a heart attack.

Anxiety can also mean having a fear of being in a place, like a concert hall, that would be hard to exit if panic symptoms arise. You may have an unreasonable fear of something like insects, blood, heights or flying. Maybe you have flashbacks or nightmares. Maybe you find yourself doing something over and over, double and triple checking, to make sure everything is OK.

Signs you may need medical help for your anxiety or anxiety medication

Not all anxiety is necessarily bad. We need something that tells us not to jump off mountains or approach wild bears. Your anxiety might become so huge in your life that it’s stopping you from engaging in social activities, doing your job, going to school or just enjoying things you once loved, though. Then, it may be time to seek medical attention. Talking with a professional and/or taking anxiety medication can help when you find yourself making the “safe” choice all the time. That’s even if anxiety takes you far out of your way or stops you from doing something you know you should.

It’s worth talking to a doctor if you can’t bring yourself to leave the house because you fear something bad might happen. If you worry so much that you find yourself with physical sensations, like shaking or hot flashes, a doctor, and perhaps anxiety medication, can help. If it happens so often that you find yourself losing out on opportunities, there’s something you can do. People who feel like they’ve tried everything to reduce their anxiety and nothing is working may greatly benefit from working with a medical professional.

Natural, non-medical ways to reduce stress and anxiety

Whether you work with a doctor or not, there are many natural ways to reduce your stress and anxiety. The first step is to reduce caffeine (like coffee and colas) and alcoholic drinks. Quit smoking, too. Try to eat a healthy diet and exercise. The more you move, the better. Try yoga. Stretching, breathing exercises and meditation can be great for everyone.

Finally, make sure you’re getting enough rest. If you have trouble sleeping, up your exercise so that you’re physically tired at the end of the day. Once you’re in bed, make a practice of consciously relaxing and putting your worries aside, if even it’s for five minutes.

Are your anxiety and stress unmanageable or stopping you from living fully? We can help. Visit mercy.com to find help near you today.


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