The Anxiety and Depression Association of America, http://www.adaa.org/
has a lot of good information and can answer many of your questions if you've just been diagnosed with panic anxiety or depression, or any other anxiety disorder. They also have a Therapist Locator so you can see if there's a counselor or therapist near you who specializes in anxiety and depression. Here is just a little bit of what's on their website:
Panic disorder is diagnosed in people who experience spontaneous seemingly out-of-the-blue panic attacks and are preoccupied with the fear of a recurring attack. Panic attacks occur unexpectedly, sometimes even during sleep. (You can click a link to see the symptoms of a panic attack).
About six million American adults experience panic disorder in a given year. Typically developing in early adulthood, women are twice as likely as men to have panic disorder. Many people don't know that their disorder is real and highly responsive to treatment. Some are afraid or embarrassed to tell anyone, including their doctors and loved ones, about what they experience for fear of being considered a hypochondriac. Instead they suffer in silence, distancing themselves from friends, family, and others who could be helpful or supportive. The disorder often occurs with other mental and physical disorders, including other anxiety disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, or substance abuse. This may complicate of getting a correct diagnosis.
Some people stop going into situations or places in which they've previously had a panic attack in anticipation of it happening again. These people have agoraphobia, and they typically avoid public places where they feel immediate escape might be difficult, such as shopping malls, public transportation, or large sports arenas. About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia. Their world may become smaller as they are constantly on guard, waiting for the next panic attack. Some people develop a fixed route or territory, and it may become impossible for them to travel beyond their safety zones without suffering severe anxiety.
Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at one time or another. The difference between them is that stress is a response to a threat in a situation. Anxiety is a reaction to the stress.Whether in good times or bad, most people say that stress interferes at least moderately with their lives. Chronic stress can affect your health, causing symptoms from headaches, high blood pressure, and chest pain to heart palpitations, skin rashes, and loss of sleep. But you can learn how to reduce the impact of stress and manage your symptoms.
Physical activity is a proven way to reduce stress. Regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, and improve sleep and self-esteem. Other effective methods include mind-body practices of breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation. Relaxation techniques have been used to assist in the treatment of phobias, panic disorder, and depression.
Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress
Take a time out. Listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy boosting snacks on hand.
Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify?
Write in a journal when you are feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you're feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least two and one-half hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, Seventy-five minutes of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.
Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It's better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
Distract yourself with an ipod or other portable media player to download audio books, podcasts, or music. Many people find it is more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
Recruit an exercise buddy. It is often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier. stressful situations.