Anxiety is seen more regularly today in the news and on social media. I was watching the news yesterday and a poll was shared about whether or not general doctors should screen for anxiety during visits. But what is anxiety really and how do you know when to see a provider for assistance? Anxiety is a medical diagnosis related to a heightened intensity of one's experienced internal state. It is normal for people to feel worried at times; mental health professionals are available to help you distinguish between normal and abnormal levels of anxiety. If you are asking yourself if you need help, go find out by asking a professional. Anxiety is often experienced as excessive worry and fear associated with feeling restless, tired, irritable, and tense. Anxiety can also impact your ability to concentrate and sleep (APA, 2013). Anxiety can be due to a variety of reasons such as separation, social settings, and situational experiences. Anxiety can be experienced throughout the year but research suggests spikes in anxiety symptoms in the fall #autumnanxiety.
Autumn anxiety is not a recognized disorder but can be an indicator of seasonal affective disorder. As the colder weather sets in and there is less sunlight available, we are all forced to change and adapt to the new challenges brought on by weather. For people who struggle with mental health, particularly seasonal affective disorder, schedule changes and adjustments can be especially challenging. Further anxiety and stress can be added when kids go back to school and the holiday stressors set in. Without proper intervention, anxiety can impact day to day tasks and overall functioning. So what can you do? What things can you implement into your plan to feelings of #autumnanxiety or seasonal affective disorder?
- Get sunlight (natural or lightbox interventions)
- Reframe thinking (challenge negative thoughts thought record interventions)
- Exercise daily (daily exercise is directly associated with improved mood)
- Seek help when needed (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is an approach used with anxiety)
Lieberman, Charlotte. (2020). How to manage your anxiety. Retrieved from: undefined
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Neurodevelopmental disorders. In Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.).
Cassata, Cathy. (2019). Autumn Anxiety: Why you may feel more stressed this season. Retrieved from: undefined?
Nicole Praschak-Rieder & Matthäus Willeit (2003) Treatment of seasonal affective disorders, Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 5:4, 389-398, DOI: 10.31887/DCNS.2003.5.4/npraschakrieder
Otto MW, Church TS, Craft LL, Greer TL, Smits JA, Trivedi MH. Exercise for mood and anxiety disorders. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2007;9(4):287-94. doi: 10.4088/pcc.v09n0406. PMID: 17934553; PMCID: PMC2018853.
National Center Complementary and Integrative Health. (2019). Seasonal affective disorder and complementary health approaches: what the science says. Retrieved from: undefined