3 Strategies for Coping with Anxiety

by Christina Bruni Patient Expert

This month's SharePost is about schizophrenia and anxiety. A significant number of individuals diagnosed with this illness also have co-occurring anxiety.

Emotional symptoms include trouble focusing, irritability, restlessness, depression. Physical symptoms include sweating, headache, dizziness, trembling or shaking, racing heart beat, muscle tension, and chest pain. Eight anxiety symptoms are characteristic across the board for phobias, panic, GAD, OCD, health anxiety and PTSD.

Three techniques for coping with anxiety:

Get support from peers and a therapist.

See my SharePost with Robin Cunningham (the former Health Guide here) about living with anxiety every day. We talked about our different yet common versions of anxiety. Consider treating anxiety with therapy.

Explore different treatments that might be effective.

Using writing as therapy could benefit those of us who experience anxiety. I've long been a fan of journaling to express feelings and come to terms with the events in your life. It's my number-one tool for coping with everyday stress and fine-tuning mood management. Formal exposure treatment for anxiety can help as well.

Consider appropriate use of medication.

Except for BuSpar which is an anxiolytic the other anti-anxiety drugs or benzodiazepines can be addictive. Consult with your doctor to determine what might be an effective medication routine to treat your anxiety.

Two important takeaways about experiencing anxiety when you have schizophrenia:

Having schizophrenia symptoms can cause anxiety.

Strategies for coping with paranoia might help lessen the severity of your reaction to it. Strategies for coping with hearing voices can also help.

Interacting with people who don't have mental illnesses can bring on stress.

They might be prejudiced or stereotype those of us with a diagnosis, which can add to stress because it's extra hard to express ourselves and how we feel: in short we fear risking being vulnerable.

Yet stuffing down our feelings can cause ill health. Joining a support group can help. Call (800) 950-6264 to find a Connections peer support group in your city or town.

Christina Bruni
Meet Our Writer
Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni wrote about schizophrenia for HealthCentral as a Patient Expert. She is a mental health activist and freelance journalist.