Situational anxiety is one of the most common forms of anxiety and is based on new or changing factors. These factors can cause nervousness, worry, stress, and panic that can, in turn, lead to irritability, trouble sleeping, muscle tension and tension headaches.
Situational Anxiety treatment options
There are currently no treatments available for this category
What Is Situational Anxiety?
Situational anxiety affects everyone differently. For some, it can manifest in mild symptoms, while others may find it debilitating and struggle to live an ordinary life. While worries and stress from major life events or in the lead up to things like exams can be perfectly natural, when those worries start to interfere with your daily life, this can indicate anxiety being present.
Anxiety is a term that is very general and could potentially be describing any number of different medical disorders. Situational anxiety is unique in that it normally affects people for a short amount of time (due to a particular stressor), rather than all the time.
What Causes Anxiety?
There are often a lot of factors at play when it comes to anxiety. Some of the factors that can make experiencing anxiety more likely include past or childhood trauma, physical or mental health issues, your current lifestyle, and the use of some medical or recreational drugs. Anxiety is often thought of as a response to our instinctive ‘fight or flight’ to help us escape dangerous situations. While this would have served us well in ancient times as a reaction to modern-day, unthreatening experiences, it is classed as anxiety.
If you are suffering from anxiety symptoms, it is a good idea to seek the advice of your doctor. While anxiety is often a condition in itself, it can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health issue. It is a good idea to have yourself checked to ensure nothing more serious is going on. Your doctor will also be able to give you advice on how to treat your anxiety and will be able to recommend you to mental health professionals or offer medication.
Situational Anxiety Symptoms
The symptoms of situational anxiety are often similar to other anxiety disorders. The key difference is their trigger, which is often dependent on a specific situation or event. For instance, riding on a crowded train or attending a busy party. Some of the symptoms you may face include:
- Feelings of unease, restlessness, or tension
- A sense of impending doom
- An elevated heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Being irritable and having trouble concentrating
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling tired and having difficulty sleeping
- Feeling nauseous
You may find that you experience one or two of these symptoms or all of the above. You might find that your anxiety makes carrying out everyday tasks difficult or even impossible. Avoiding social events and calling in sick to work are common ways of avoiding situational anxiety. This is why it is so important to seek anxiety treatment to prevent anxiety from ruling your life.
Situational Anxiety Diagnosis
Seeking a diagnosis for situational anxiety is a crucial first step to help you overcome the condition. As mentioned above, seeing your doctor is the best place to start. They can rule out any underlying medical conditions and provide you with advice to help you find the best treatment. When you speak to your doctor, they will usually ask you questions about your symptoms, including how long you have experienced them, how severe they are and what type of symptoms you typically encounter.
Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional such as a psychologist or counsellor. A psychologist will be able to prescribe you medications, such as Propranolol tablets, to help manage your symptoms, as well as offering talking therapies to help you manage your condition and get to the root cause where possible. A counsellor is often seen for a shorter period of time and will offer less comprehensive treatment. They can be invaluable if your anxiety is caused by a short-term issue, while a psychologist or psychotherapist may be more suitable for long-term treatment.
Situational Anxiety Triggers
Often the triggers for situational anxiety are specific to the individual. What many triggers share is the presence of a new or uncertain situation. Often anxiety in the face of major life events or uncertainty is normal and may even fade over time. It is essential to seek help if you find your anxiety is not abating or is impacting your daily life. Some of the most common triggers for situational anxiety include:
- Job interviews
- The first day of school
- Starting a new job
- Moving away from home
- Attending parties and social events
- The arrival of a new baby
- Public speaking
Situational Anxiety and Panic Attacks
Panic attacks can be one of the most unpleasant symptoms of situational anxiety. While they can be frightening and alarming, you will not usually be in any danger from a panic attack. A panic attack is usually identified by the feeling of fear and panic it causes, along with stronger versions of some of the symptoms above, such as shortness of breath and an elevated heart rate. Those suffering from situational anxiety will often experience panic attacks when exposed to their trigger but will usually be fine in comfortable and familiar surroundings.
Situational Anxiety and Depression
Depression can often be an underlying condition that leads to anxiety. Similarly, situational anxiety may lead to depression in some cases. The link between anxiety and depression is well known, and you will usually need to treat both simultaneously. Depression has a lot of similar symptoms to anxiety, as well as some that are specific to the condition. This can include:
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Trouble sleeping
- Low energy
- Lack of appetite
- Suicidal thoughts or ideation
It is crucial to talk openly and honestly with your doctor about your symptoms so that they can help you get the treatment you need. Things can feel hopeless when suffering from depression and anxiety, but they can be treated effectively with the right interventions.
How to Deal With Situational Anxiety
There are many different strategies you could use to cope with situational anxiety, whether in terms of your response to stressors, medication, or talking therapies. Breathing exercises have seen a lot of success in combating situational anxiety, as have relaxation techniques.
You could also prepare and practice before facing a new situation to help feel less out of control. For instance, you could visit a place or venue to get the lay of the land before an event or practice public speaking in front of loved ones. Asking a friend or family member to be with you when possible can also help alleviate stress.
Situational Anxiety Treatment
At Cloud Pharmacy, we offer treatments for situational anxiety that help to reduce the physical side effects. Propranolol is a beta-blocker, which means that it slows down the rate of your heartbeat and blocks the effect of adrenaline. This can help you to remain calmer, and reduce symptoms such as sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath.
Because medication only alleviates symptoms and does not get to the root cause of the problem, it’s a good idea to combine medical treatment with other factors. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy have also been shown to improve symptoms. It is vital that you find a reliable, qualified mental health professional who can offer the best treatment. You may also find that it takes a few tries with different mental health professionals until you find one whose approach suits you.
Lifestyle changes can also help to keep you feeling calm and avoid the panic that anxiety causes. Opt for regular exercise, a routine sleeping pattern, reduced caffeine intake, and no smoking for the best possible results.