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How to cope with anxiety

31st January 2012

Writing in Pulse, Sheffield GP Dr Karine Nohr shares a few of her tactics to help her patients cope with anxiety.

angrypatient1Q

While IAPT services can help patients with anxiety-type symptoms, there are too many who need its help for the capacity of the service and also many patients would not want referral.

But there are other strategies too, and while we all have our own tactics for this all-too-common problem, here are three of mine:

Firstly, for patients with panic attacks, often expressing a fear of dying and feeling as though they are unable to breathe, I explain to them about the fright/flight mechanism and that when they are in a state of panic, their body has gone in to a state of sympathetic overdrive, where their heart and lungs are in a super-efficient mode. And actually, the last thing that is going to happen is to stop breathing.

Secondly, controlled breathing is a fabulous way for the patient to learn to manage their anxiety for themselves. I explain to them about the autonomic nervous system and that breathing is the one route where they can have conscious control of their sympathetic overdrive. By exerting that control, they can get the rest of their sympathetic nervous system to settle down. I then teach them a breathing technique that will help them relax.

Thirdly, relaxation and self-hypnosis CDs have also proved enormously useful. There are many examples and as GPs, it is worth trying a few yourself to find one that may suit your particular patient population.

 

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Comments

Samuel Jackon

Friday 4th January 2013 @ 8:43

Even yoga helps to avoid anxiety and depression.


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