It is vital to understand anxiety and stress, When mental tension becomes a regular feature of ordinary life coping with stress is essential. Medication is not usually seen as the first line of support, although some GPs may prescribe tranquillisers or beta blockers for short periods when a patient is experiencing a crisis. These lower levels of anxiety but are prescribed with caution because of the risk of long-term dependence. If anxiety and stress is causing severe depression than antidepressants may be considered.
However, most doctors would probably prefer to recommend counselling for coping with anxiety and stress. A Dundee University study showed that counselling can reduce anxiety levels in the workplace by more than 50% and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a particularly popular form of therapy as clients are taught ways to challenge negative thoughts and change expectations. Sometimes it can be useful for a friend or relative to get involved in the treatment, perhaps attending some of the therapy sessions, and assisting with any 'homework' that has been given for coping with stress
Many believe that complementary medicine can provide a valuable alternative to conventional treatment. Some people have found hypnotherapy beneficial. It is thought to be particularly useful in breaking habits, encouraging self-confidence, overcoming phobias and dealing with emotions that threaten to overwhelm such as anxiety.
Although evidence is patchy, some studies suggest that acupuncture may ease conditions that develop because of chronic or long-term anxiety. According to Chinese philosophy, the body's natural balance can be restored by inserting fine needles into the channels of energy known as Qi (pronounced 'chee').
Aromatherapy is thought to work at both a psychological and physiological level.
A selection of diluted essential oils are used to calm, nourish and provide a tonic and research seems to indicate that aromatherapy massage is slightly more effective than massage alone.
Biofeedback is a way of controlling blood pressure, muscle tension and other biological functions by monitoring subtle physical changes with computer-based probes or electrodes. Scientific investigation suggests that it may be able to offer relief from some anxiety-related conditions because it trains patients to induce a state of relaxation when coping with a crisis.