#YHSafetyTips - Anxiety Awareness

Posted by Ashley Bechtel in #YHSafetyTips, Jan 04, 2017

Eighteen percent of American adults have an anxiety disorder. That’s over 40 million people that have some form of anxiety. This can include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and many more. Below we will discuss some of the common disorders as well as some of their symptoms.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Also known as OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder can cause severe anxiety because you are constantly sensing what will happen if you don’t follow through with a specific task or ritual. For example, some people with OCD have an extreme fear of dirt or germs and are over concerned about body smells and/or secretions. Someone who suffers from this will frequently wash their hands, shower, brush their teeth, or overuse products such as deodorant or body spray to cover body smells. Other things that may be a concern to people suffering from OCD can include:

  • Over concern with order, neatness, and exactness
  • Fear of thinking bad thoughts or doing something embarrassing
  • Constantly thinking of certain sounds, words, or numbers
  • A preoccupation with counting or checking
  • Constant need for approval or the need to apologize
  • Fear that something terrible will happen
  • Fear of harming yourself or someone else

Panic Disorder

If a person suffers from panic disorder, they will have a sudden onset of anxiety with no explanation that usually leads to a panic attack. Over time, this can develop into a fear of having a panic attack, in turn causing the panic attack. This can interfere with day-to-day activities and even the persons quality of life. Symptoms of a panic attack can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pounding heart
  • Chest pain, intense feeling of dread
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • A fear that you are losing control or are about to die.

There is no known cause of panic disorder, but from current research it looks as though family history, abnormalities in the brain, substance abuse, and major life stress are all factors that can contribute to it’s onset. Panic disorder is twice as common in women as it is in men.

Phobias

Everyone has heard of phobias, with the most common probably being arachnophobia (the fear of spiders). But what most people don’t know is that in order to have a phobia, it has to be an irrational fear. Let’s take the fear of spiders as an example, if you have arachnophobia you are more afraid of the spider than most people would be. Some of the symptoms you would experience being around your fear can include:

  • Fear of losing control
  • Panicking
  • Feeling physically stressed or afraid
  • Faster heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Also known as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder can happen after experiencing or witnessing a severely traumatic event. This can include, but is not limited to war, a hurricane, rape, physical abuse, or a vehicle accident. Symptoms include:

  • Having flashbacks to the event that triggered your PTSD
  • Feeling like the event is happening again
  • Trouble sleeping or nightmares
  • Feeling alone
  • Angry outbursts
  • Feeling worried, guilty or sad
  • If you are diagnosed with PTSD, your doctor can prescribe medicine to help control your symptoms.

As an employer, it is important that you are aware of any employees who may be dealing with an anxiety disorder.

Some things that you can do to help relieve the stress and anxiety associated with any of these disorders include:

  • Take a time out away from your stressors
  • Eat well
  • Stay away from alcohol and drugs
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise
  • Talk to a friend or confidant
  • Read
  • Do a sport of a hobby that you enjoy

If you or someone you know is experience these symptoms, or think that you may be suffering from any form of anxiety related disorder, go see your doctor. The solutions provided above are not meant to be taken as medical advice.

If you would like to read more on anxiety disorders, check out webmd’s page here.

Check back next week when we discuss the safe use of aerial lifts.

If you missed last week's post on Driving a Company Vehicle, you can view it here.

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