Dr Hatice Yilmaz, MD, MS Wed, 07 Feb 2018 17:21:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Effects on Learning and Memory Functions of Different Doses of ADHD Medication Fri, 17 Jan 2014 20:36:17 +0000 A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison provided answers on how ADHD drug methylphenidate (Ritalin) may affect the children’s memory and learning capabilities. Findings of the study suggest that ADHD stimulant drugs given in higher doses may actually weaken working memory.

As a parent of a child with ADHD who has eliminated sleep problems or no longer wrings hands as a result of taking medications, this study will make you wonder on what the treatment consequence is between hyperactivity and basic function.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study performed studies on three monkeys that were given varying doses of methylphenidate (Ritalin). The monkeys were trained to focus at a target “dot” on a computer screen while another passed quickly.

Researchers found out that lower doses of the Ritalin apparently boosted the monkey’s ability to learn and higher doses negatively affected the monkey’s working memory and learning capability. Hyperactivity symptoms were reduced. Researchers said the monkeys given the higher doses continued with the task, but they kept making the same mistakes.

Checking if Ritalin medication enhanced the working memory at low doses, researchers were surprised to find out that there was no effect. The monkeys that were given low dose of medication did not show any memory enhancement while the ones given the higher medication dose performed worse than those with lower doses. Luis Populin, PhD, head author of the study and Bradley Postle, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin, explained that the medication Ritalin or methylphenidate has effects on the brain’s executive function. The drug can create an environment in the brain that will facilitate memory retention and formation, depending on the dose. From the study findings, it was discovered that a lower dose of the medication assisted in creating the conditions for success without really improving the memory function at all.

Dr. Populin highlighted the findings that the right dose of ADHD medications is vital for both the adult and the children afflicted with the disorder. Doctors should be aware that subjecting the patients to higher doses of medication may eventually compromise the cognitive ability of the patient. It s therefore critical that the parent discusses the medication dose level of their child with ADHD, with the doctor to make sure that he or she is not given higher doses of the ADHD drug or medication as it may cause problems with the kid’s academic performance.

The findings of this research is aligned with the findings of a 1977 research which showed that a low dose of ADHD drug boosted the child’s cognitive performance and a higher dose lessened their hyperactivity symptoms and negatively affected their memory test performance.

The University of Madison study on the monkeys was published in the Cognitive Neuroscience Journal.

Abnormalities in Brain Linked to Comorbid ADHD in Bipolar Disorder Wed, 15 Jan 2014 14:27:04 +0000 Abnormalities in brain structure which are detected through MRI or magnetic resonance imaging in patients who have Bipolar Disorder may have been erroneously associated to the disorder. The similarities of the symptoms of ADHD and Bipolar Disorder and their frequent coexistence make it difficult to distinguish one from the other. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis remains to be a challenge.

According to new research, abnormalities may actually be attributed to the Bipolar Disorder patient who also has symptoms of ADHD. ADHD and Bipolar Disorder has a comorbidity prevalence of 5 to 20 percent. These two frequently co-exist but often overlooked when looking at MRI scans. For the new study, the University of California at Los Angeles researchers set out to find out how Bipolar Disorder and ADHD separately contributed to abnormalities in the brain found during MRI.

The study recruited 85 participants 17 of which had Bipolar Disorder and 19 had ADHD only. 18 participants had both ADHD and Bipolar Disorder and 31 showed no indication of any mental disorder. The Bipolar Disorder participants were not taking lithium and were not in depressive state.

MRI was used by the researchers to measure the participants cortical thickness. Through an analysis of the frontal part of the cingulate cortex and the anterior part of the brain’s frontal lobes, results showed the participants who have Bipolar Disorder lessened cortical thickness with and without co-existing ADHD. On the other hand, the effect of Bipolar Disorder on the cortical thickness was not the same in patients with ADHD and without ADHD in the right orbitofrontal cortex and left subgenual cingulated.

Through the MRI researchers observed that cortical thinning in the right orbitofrontal cortex was linked with Bipolar Disorder, only if the patient has no ADHD diagnosis. The presence of ADHD, in the left subgenual cingulated removed the thinning of the brain’s cortex linked with Bipolar Disorder.


In Utero Exposure to Ischemic-Hypoxic Conditions or IHCs Tue, 14 Jan 2014 16:44:06 +0000 New findings from recent study revealed that kids who experienced “in utero exposure to ischemic-hypoxic conditions or IHCs run a high likelihood of developing ADHD in their adult years compared with children who are not exposed.

Earlier studies indicated findings pointing to genetic, prenatal, postnatal and environmental factors to be associated with distorted neuro-development. Unfortunately, there is not enough information to support the association of ADHD in children and ischemic-hypoxic conditions.

Darios Getahun, MD, PhD, of the Department of Research and Evaluation of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California hospital, and his co-workers extracted data from population database from kids between 5 and 11 years of age who were born between 1995 and 2010, in Kaiser Permanente hospitals. In the study, for every patient, the researchers collected information from the perinatal service system, outpatient doctor encounters, inpatient records from the hospital, pharmacy and laboratory records. The research was done to examine the link between ADHD and IHC. Findings derived from the study revealed that 4.3% (about 13,613) children, of the children in the study group had ADHD diagnosis.

Included in the study group were children diagnosed with ADHD and who received at least two ADHD-specific prescriptions during the follow-up period. Age and diagnosis were the matching criteria for five control children. Taken from perinatal service system records are additional information which included behavioral characteristics, maternal sociodemographoc, child race or ethnicity, perinatal complications, gender and age.

Children with ADHD were likely to be of black/white ethnicity and male. The same children are also prone to IHC exposure. The study findings suggest that IHCs are linked with ADHD in children’s early years even after considering for other possible danger like gestational age. Events in pregnancy are said to contribute to the origin of this condition over and above the well known familial or genetic influences.



Link Between Sleep Apnea and ADD/ADHD Tue, 14 Jan 2014 13:40:15 +0000 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5 million children between the ages of 3 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. This is one of the most common mental disorders present among children and adolescents in the United States. And recent studies and research findings suggest that sleep problems could be partly blamed for the in increasing number of ADHD children in the country.

A study which analyzed over 11,000 children for a period of six years, from 6 months old through adolescence revealed that a higher incidence of behavioral and emotional issues such as hyperactivity, depression, anxiety and aggressiveness are present in children with sleeping problems and sleep disordered breathing such as breathing through the mouth, snoring and apnea a condition where a child seemingly stops breathing for a few seconds at a time. Children with sleep disorders are likely to develop symptoms similar to ADHD by about 50 to 90 percent than children without sleep-disordered breathing problems. Children around age 2 with severe breathing patterns are the most likely candidate at risk for hyperactivity.

According to Kevin Smith, a pediatric psychologist at Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, sleep disorders are believed to be contributing to ADHD like behavior during the day. Karen Bonuck, lead author of the study and professor of family and social medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York explains that brain neurons may be damaged by lack of sleep. One reason could be low level of oxygen level and high carbon dioxide level; other reasons could be interference with sleep’s restorative processes and disruption in the balance of cellular and chemical systems. Bonuck explained further that nighttime sleep patterns should be checked when a child is being suspected of having the symptoms of ADHD. Parents may want to document the problematic behavior through a video or audio tape.

Another study conducted by researchers from the University of Arizona revealed similar results children with obstructive sleep apnea or OSA showed specific symptoms of aggression and hyperactivity. They also showed lacking in social interactions and leadership skills. This was explained by Michelle Perfect, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Arizona and lead author of the study which assessed the behavior of 263 older children, some of whom have OSA and some without. Findings reaffirmed similar findings of other studies pointing to higher OSA rates in children with ADHD.

Authors of these studies urge teachers, school personnel and clinicians to include sleep problems or sleep disorders when a child manifests hyperactivity and attention problems. It could be that OSA symptoms aggravate the symptoms of ADHD.

Researchers worry that in case of a misdiagnosed ADHD, the child runs the risk of being given stimulant medications like Vyvanse and Ritalin and these stimulants can cause insomnia. If statistics released by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are any indication, there is an increasing trend in children receiving prescribed stimulant medications. These statistics somehow support the connection and link of sleep disorders with ADHD.


Teens with ADHD Suffer into Adulthood Thu, 09 Jan 2014 01:05:41 +0000 We know that ADHD can be diagnosed in children and can continue its symptoms into the teenage years and right into adulthood. A new and long term study conducted by a research group from the Children and Adults with ADHD or CHADD which involved 551 teens diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder came out with their findings that these teens tend to carry with them an array of serious difficulties including physical and mental health issues, finances and work-related problems, as they grow older. This could be the longest study conducted to monitor and determine the later impact of ADHD as the teens were followed and monitored when they were 14 to 16 years of age until they reached the age of 37.

A study researcher David W. Brook, MD, a New York University School of Medicine psychiatry professor explained that an estimated 40 percent of children with ADHD continued to manifest symptoms into adolescence and adulthood. He further went on to explain that teens with ADHD suffer the long-lasting effects of the disorder and they manifest difficulty in adjusting to the pressures of life in terms of parenthood, being a worker and wage earner.

The researchers involved in the study evaluated the teens development from being adolescents until they become adults in terms of work performance, concerns over finances including their physical and mental health. Their findings showed that teens and young adults with ADHD:

  • Were more prone to have problems on their physical health, twice more than those without ADHD
  • Showed the likelihood of having antisocial personality disorder, more than 5 times compared to those without the disorder
  • Were more likely to have mental health issues, twice more than those without ADHD
  • Manifested having impaired work performance, twice more than those without the disorder
  • Were likely to experience financial stress, three times more than those without ADHD

These findings came as no surprise, according to the CEO of CHADD, Ruth Hughes, PhD. She agreed on the importance of early intervention in order to allow children to help cope with life’s difficulties. Parents are therefore instrumental in providing their children with early treatment.


The Emotional and Social Impact of Discontinued Treatment of ADHD in Later Years Tue, 01 Oct 2013 02:40:16 +0000 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average 9 percent of children ranging from 4 to 17 years of age are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD every year. ADHD is considered one of the most common disorders among children in the country. Mental healthcare providers urge parents to observe their children for any unusual behavior which could be symptoms of the disorder. Equally important is making sure that the suspected child with ADHD is brought to the child psychiatrists for proper diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

The Archives of General Psychiatry published a study on October 15, 2012 which apparently emphasize and highlight the importance of appropriate and uninterrupted treatment. In the said study, about 300 young boys from New York City were followed by researchers for a long period of 33 years. About 150 young boys were diagnosed with ADHD in their childhood but they stopped their medications by the time they went to school. These young boys were recruited by a parent, teacher or a psychiatrist. The other 150 young boys were selected because they have no records of behavioral problems leading to the conclusion that they did not have ADHD.

The study showed the following findings:

  • men with ADHD are 7 times more likely to discontinue schooling
  • if employed, men with ADHD will make an average of less than US$40,000 per year compared with those who do not have ADHD.
  • men with ADHD will likely end up in a divorce, twice more than non-ADHD men.
  • 16 percent of men with ADHD showed signs of personality disorder while non-ADHD men showed none
  • 36 percent of men with ADHD had been imprisoned at least once compared to the low 11 percent in men without ADHD.

Such findings reinforce the experts opinion that discontinued or interrupted treatment could have long-term impact on the person’s emotional and social wellness of men with ADHD many years after their diagnosis. It is surprising to see the difference in outcomes from ADHD and non-ADHD individuals. Mental healthcare providers should encourage and convince parents on the significance of continuous treatment in order to prevent the not-so-good outcomes.

ADHD May be Related to Sleep Disorder Thu, 12 Sep 2013 04:32:18 +0000 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder rose to 22% from 2003 to 2007. On a yearly basis, ADHD diagnoses registered a 3% increase each year from 1997 to 2006 and from 2003 to 2007, the average increased to 5.5% per year for the specific period.

Researchers say that a lot of children are diagnosed with ADHD when they should have been examined for sleep apnea a sleep disorder. Such confusion may be attributed to the many cases of ADHD diagnosed children. The result of such confusion is an aggravated problem due to the drug treatment recommended for those children.

The idea may have stemmed from the fact that the signs of sleep disorder overlap with ADHD symptoms. In adults, sleep deprivation could result to sluggish feelings and drowsiness while in children, sleep disorder can cause them to be moody, wired and obstinate aside from having difficulty in concentrating, getting along with friends or sitting still.

A study published in Pediatrics journal in March 2012, which connects sleep deprivation to ADHD symptoms. In said study, 11,000 British children were followed and observed for 6 years which started when the children were 6 months old. Children who snore when they sleep, or do mouth breathing or have apnea, will be 40% to 100% in the likelihood of developing ADHD-like behavioral symptoms than children who breathe normally. Also, children who had sleep disorder breathing that persisted throughout the study and most severe at age 2 1/2, are at higher risk of having ADHD-like behaviors.

Most parents do not know the signs of abnormal sleep behaviors; for instance, sleep apnea may considered as a sign of deep sleep by some parents. The parents need to be educated about the signs of abnormal sleep behaviors. The mental health providers need to explore more about abnormal sleep behaviors before giving the diagnosis of ADHD.

It is not easy to spot sleep deprivation signs in children. Parents have uniformed knowledge or impression about healthy habits of sleeping. This was highlighted in a study conducted in 2011 by Penn State University-Harrisburg researchers which was published in The Journal of Sleep Research which showed that out f 170 parents who participated in the study, less than 10% were able to correctly answer basic questions about healthy sleeping concerns.

Kimberly Anne Schreck, the study’s lead author and a Penn State behavioral analyst and psychologist noted that majority of the parents were clueless about what is normal sleep behavior and many parents thought that snoring means that their child was in deep and sound sleep.

Tips on How to Counter Insomnia Thu, 15 Aug 2013 05:15:33 +0000 Insomnia is defined as the difficulty of falling and or staying asleep throughout the night. If the problem lasts for more than three weeks, it is no longer a simple sleep problem. It is insomnia. The lack of quality sleep can affect a person’s daily functioning. It may cause several incapacitating problems.

There are some ways of remedies which are deemed helpful to get good quality sleep. These have been proven to help deal with stress, tension and anxiety which all contribute to insomnia. Some of these remedies may work, some may not. Pick whatever works for you and keep doing them.

  • Warm bath– a good warm bath will relax your body, soothe and calm your nerves which could set the mood for a good sleep.
  • Massage– a good rubbing or soft massage before dozing off will enhance relaxing mood and make way for sleeping.
  • Set the music for sleeping. Soft, calming music will get you to relax and eventually doze off. Any type of music that soothes your mind and body will work wonders in getting you to sleep.
  • Warm glass of milk before bedtime – It can be milk or hot camomile or anise tea. They have natural sleep-enhancing ingredients. The calcium content of milk works directly on nerves to relax them.
  • No caffeine, alcohol or cigarette. Coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks should not be taken near bedtime. Alcohol and cigarette disrupt sleep and should be avoided.
  • Right room temperature – this should give the best sleeping condition. Not a too cold or too hot room.
  • Sleep on a firm bed – this will give your body comfortable support which will prevent sleep disruption.
  • Sleep on your right side or back– this is the best relaxing sleeping position. Do not sleep on your stomach as it will cause pressure on all the internal organs which can cause shallow breathing and other health problems.
  • Exercise for half an hour before bedtime – the physical activity will cause the body to slow down a bit, enough to condition the body for a good sleep.
  • Keep regular bedtime– making your body adjust to changing sleeping time will cause confusion to your body clock. Always keep a regular and fixed bedtime.
  • Get up if you can’t sleep. There’s no point lying awake if you awaken from sleep and you can’t go back to sleeping again. Get up and quietly do something to keep your mind busy and diverted from thinking of getting sleep when you cannot.
  • Keep a regular waking up time. Regardless if it’s weekend or holiday, wake up at the same time every single day. Don’t spend longer time lying on bed once you have awakened.
  • Keep the bed for sleeping. Avoid doing your reading, crossword puzzles or hand-held video gaming on the bed. They tend to tell the brain that the bed is not for sleeping.
  • Don’t nap. For people with normal sleeping habits, nap is good. Not for people with insomnia. Not having naps during the day will make your body feel tired as the day comes to an end, thus, forcing your brain to send signals for sleeping.
  • Keep your room dark. Don’t use illuminated wall clock as this will not help you get sleep if you have awakened in the middle of the night.

Insomnia is not a disorder and there are certain lifestyle changes which can help relieve the sleeping difficulty. Sleep aids like beddings, mattress, pillows and sound machines can also induce the mood for sleeping. In severe cases, sleep medication is advised. Some sleep medication drugs include sleeping pills, non-prescription sleep aids, OTC antihistamines and antidepressants. The use of medication should be monitored by your doctor to avoid any complication or risk of addiction.

General Facts about Stress Sat, 03 Aug 2013 10:53:23 +0000 People experience stress at some point in time. Others recover from it, some don’t. Since people have different coping mechanism and capability, the level or degree of stress that they can tolerate vary as well.

Everyone’s life is faced with problems, challenges, hassles and pressures. No one is exempted from that. For some, these experiences help them respond well to stressful situations. Unfortunately, there are those who couldn’t respond well to problems or situations that warrant stress, fear or anxiety.

Stress, like fear is a normal human response when faced with events or situations that make you upset or threatened. Technically, it is defined as the way the brain responds to any stimulation. If the situation presents some kind of danger or uncertainty, the stress caused by such will let the body and mind respond in a protective way. One becomes alert and focused, ready for any eventuality. In some cases and situations, the stress response could even be life-saving.

Types of Stress

Stress is generally categorized in three groups :

  • Good stress or Routine Stress – this is when stress is used to rise to the challenges. This kind of stress usually have good outcome and can be helpful in one’s learning and growth. This usually stems from pressures derived from work, family and other daily responsibilities.
  • Tolerable stress – this is the person’s response to some bad events like losing a job, but one has the inner strength to hold up and contain the emotion. A support network can also help in one’s coping with the bad situation.
  • Toxic stress – this stress is elicited when something bad happens and one does not have the strength and inner resources to deal with the situation. This may cause major emotional and physical crisis.

People respond to stress in different ways. It is important that a person understands the level of stress he can tolerate and respond to well, and what level of stress can cause uncontrollable situations. Generally, people respond to stress in three ways:

  • Angry or agitated response. Your emotions are high, restless, disconcerted, tense and jumpy.
  • Withdrawn or depressed response. Low energy and no significant reaction or emotion. You shun people and isolate yourself.
  • A tense and frozen response. It’s a concealed agitated response, showing no violent reaction. You may look paralyzed but underneath is extreme distress.

Symptoms of Stress Overload

There are signs and symptoms which indicate if your stress level is overboard.

  • Cognitive Signs – The warning signs include failing memory, lack of focus or concentration, poor judgement, racing thoughts and endless worrying.
  • Emotional Signs – The warning signs may range from frequent mood swings, irritability, extreme nervousness, overpowering feeling, severe loneliness, feeling of isolation and depressed mood.
  • Physical Signs – The warning signs evident are constant bodily pains and aches, bowel movement problems, nausea, vomiting, palpitation or hyperventilation, tightness of chest, loss of sexual desire and frequent bouts of cold.
  • Behavioral Signs – Stress is manifested by poor eating habits, bad sleeping habits, isolation from other people, forgetting about responsibilities, alcohol and drug consumption to relieve stress, constant jittery gestures like nail-biting, cracking of knuckles, etc.

Common Stressors

Factors that contribute to the onset of stress symptoms are called stressors or triggers. These factors may be external or self-generated, such as:

  • Big life changes
  • Work, business or profession
  • Difficulties in relationships (family members, wife, children, friends, associates, etc.)
  • Financial crisis
  • Hectic schedule
  • Pessimistic attitude
  • Unrealistic projections and expectations
  • Perfectionism
  • Passiveness
  • Negative value on self

Managing and Coping with Stress

If stress is not addressed and resolve, the effects it may have on a person might lead to an uncontrollable emotional outburst. One needs to undertake practical measures to maintain one’s physical and mental health . and help cope with stress. Learn how to:

  • Maintain a good support group or network of people who can help you talk through the situations.
  • Recognize signals sent out by your body about overwhelming feeling of stress like sleeping problems, increase in alcohol or drug consumption, etc.
  • Focus on positive thoughts like accomplishments for the day and not dwelling on failures or disappointments
  • Set priorities according to urgency. Don’t get yourself overwhelmed with numerous tasks
  • Keep a regular 30-minute exercise regimen to help improve mood and get rid of stress.
  • Explore and engage in relaxation activities
  • Consult with a professional mental health specialist when feeling overpowered by stress, rendering you unable to function well and resorting to alcohol and drugs as coping mechanism. If you are entertaining suicidal thoughts, it’s time to seek professional help.

One’s ability to cope with stress is largely dependent on one’s lifestyle choices. Keeping it to the basics : healthy and balanced diet, good sleeping habit, regular physical and mental exercise and strong social networking, will help you get the inner strength and cope with stress.

Everything You Need to Know about Anxiety Disorder Sun, 21 Jul 2013 11:46:54 +0000 Worrying, nervousness, uneasiness – these are all normal human responses and emotions to certain things or situations like work or family-related problems, making critical decisions, taking an exam, etc. Anxiety is a person’s natural reaction when in a seemingly dangerous situation; an automatic alarm activated when threatened.

While it is normal to get worried or scarwhen facing a stressful circumstance, it is no longer normal if that anxiety escalates to a level where it disrupts your usual activities and normal functions. If anxiety overwhelms a person that it restricts his ability to lead a normal and functioning life, it is approaching the bounds of anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorder is a serious mental condition which occurs along with other related conditions which share a common major symptom – unrelenting or extreme fear or agonizing over situations where other people would normally not feel threatened or endangered.

Types of Common Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety can manifest in different forms and levels of fears or dread interfering with one’s performance of daily functions. According to DSM-5, the categorized types of anxiety disorders are:

Seperation Anxiety Disorder

It is usually seen in school aged children. The child experience recurrent excessive distress when he or shee need seperation from home or from major attachment figures.

Selective Mutism

Selective mutsim is usually seen in children as well. The child fails to speak in specific social situation although he or she can speak in other situations where she or he feels comfortable such as home.


Panic Disorder

This is characterized by recurring and unforeseen panic attacks without any warning. Panic attacks manifests with pounding heart, shorthness of breath, shaking, feeling of choking, chest pain, nausea, dizziness, chills, numbness, fear of ‘going crazy’, and fear of dying.


Agarophobic people have increased fear or anxiety in open spaces (parking lots, bridges, or marketplaces), in closed spaces (shops, theaters, cinemas), standing in line or being in a crowd, being outside of home alone or when they use public transportation.

Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)

This is the fear of being embarrassed in public or in front of people. It is also thought of as extreme introversion where social events or situations are avoided for fear of being judged or humiliated.

  • Specific Phobia

This is anxiety manifested due to an exaggerated fear of specific situation or objects such as animals, natural environment (heights, storms, water), blood-injection-injury (needles, invasive medical procedures), situational (airplanes, elevators, enclosed places)

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

This is characterized by a persistent thought or feeling that something bad is about to happen for no apparent reason . People who suffer from GAD,find it difficult to control the worry. They complain of feeling restless,and keyed up,having concentration problems, fatigueness, irritability and sleep disturbance.

Substane/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder

Usage of some susbtances such as alcohol,caffeine, cannabis, PCP, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedative, hypnotics, stimulnats and cocaine present with severe anxiety.

Causes of Anxiety Disorders

Like other mental condition, the exact cause of anxiety disorder cannot be pinpointed to a single reason or factor. Medical researches indicated that anxiety disorder may be caused by a combination of chemical imbalance in the brain and environmental factors like stress. There are studies that proved that severe stress for a long period can alter the chemical behavior in the brain which control mood or memory. Genetic link is also a factor that is believed to cause anxiety disorder. Additionally, traumatic events or situations can also trigger the disorder.

Anxiety disorder usually becomes evident in childhood. Some may have the symptoms worsening in adolescence and early adulthood. Statistics have shown that the disorder is more common in women than in men.

Treatment Options

Before starting the treatment, your physician need to rule out the medical causes. Hyperthyroidism, anemia, or heart problems such as mitral valve prolapse may manifest with typical anxiety symptoms. After ruling out the medical causes, one needs to seek help from mental health care provider.

Similar to other mental illnesses, the type of treatment for anxiety disorder will largely depend on the severity of the condition. It can be one or a combination of the following medication and non-drug treatment approach or options :

  • Medication. Doctors or mental health specialists may prescribe drugs which can help reduce and control the symptoms of anxiety disorder. These drugs include antidepressants and anxiety-reducing drugs.
  • Psychotherapy. This is a non-drug treatment which involves counselling or talk therapy aimed to help the patient understand, accept and deal with the disorder.
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy given by mental health specialists to help the patient recognize and accept the thought patterns and specific behaviour which contribute to bothering and burdensome emotions or feelings. The end result will have the patient’s willingness to alter the thought patterns in order to avoid the unpleasant feeling that go with those unreasonable thoughts.
    • Exposure therapy is another type of psychotherapy which helps and convinces the patient to confront or face their fears in a safe and controlled structure . This may take repeated activities of exposure to the feared object, place or situation. It will end when the patient has shown significant though gradual sense of control over a certain situation. Realizing that confronting the fear does not cause any harm, the patient’s anxiety symptoms are expected to diminish in time.
  • Relaxation exercises or techniques also help reduce anxiety attacks. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga exercises are some of the relaxation techniques a patient should resort to when they start to feel anxiety build up within them.

Helpful Tips to Avoid Anxiety:

Keep a healthy eating habit and schedule. Start with a good breakfast and continue with small frequent meals throughout the day. Having an empty stomach for a long time will cause your blood sugar level to drop which can result to feeling anxious.

  • Avoid cigarette and alcohol. These can contribute to the feeling of anxiety.
  • Avoid anxiety-causing food and beverages like chocolate, coffee or any caffeinated drinks, cola, tea and sports drinks.
  • Have a regular exercise regimen. This will break down stress and relieves anxiety. A 30-minute aerobic exercise will be a good way to start your day.
  • If taking herbal medicines, make sure your doctor is aware as some herbal medicines may have anxiety-causing ingredients or chemicals.
  • Keep a good sleeping habit. Loss of sleep can aggravate fearful thoughts or feelings. 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep will keep your emotions stable.

It is critical for a person to seek medical attention at the earliest sign of anxiety symptoms. This will help prevent the disorder from worsening and advancing to other related mental illnesses or conditions. If the doctor rules out a medical reason for the symptoms, you may need to see a psychiatrist.