Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Health

December 7, 2013

Hope for the Holidays: Tips for coping with mental illness and addiction this time of year

A mile-long gift list, a shrinking wallet, too much to do and not enough time to do it - these are just a few of the holiday challenges that do not bring good cheer. Add battling mental or emotional issues to the mix, and what should be a joyful time of year can quickly become a nightmare.

One in four American adults will have a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Anxiety, depression, and addiction are three common, yet treatable, illnesses that do not take a break during the holidays. If you or someone you know recognizes the symptoms of one of these issues, there is still hope to successfully survive this hectic time of year. Below are a few simple tips to help you face the holidays without fear!

Anxiety beyond picking the perfect gift

If you have generalized anxiety, you likely dread the gift shopping dilemmas, the budget busting, and the overload of activities more than most this time of year. Experiencing worry and irrational fears for hours a day and not being able to sleep or perform usual tasks are signs that you may have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety becomes unhealthy when it stops motivating you to act. This can happen either because you are concerned about things that are out of your control, worried about things that have not happened yet or paralyzed by the stress and anxiety you feel, rather than being inspired to act. People with anxiety disorders may experience constant worry, anticipation of danger, lack of control, difficulty concentrating and physical restlessness.

5 ways to face the holidays with an anxiety disorder:

• Pinpoint the cause of worry

• Recognize if your reaction is irrational

• Put stress in perspective

• Purge the pressure to do it all

• Look forward to doing only what you really want to do

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