Research by Medical News today shows that up to 33.7% of people experience some form of anxiety disorder during their lifetime. More than 3 million cases of anxiety are diagnosed in the US every year.

Anxiety and anxiety disorders take a huge toll on one’s mental health and can be crippling to your daily life. We will explore the difference of general anxiety and anxiety disorders.

Below are side-by-side comparisons to help determine if you are just feeling anxious or may have an anxiety disorder.

Normal Anxiety Possible Anxiety Disorder
Feeling sad, depressed, trouble focusing, shaking, accelerated breathing and/or have difficulty sleeping after a minor to moderate life event Recurring nightmares, flashbacks or emotional numbing related to a traumatic event that occurred in the past
Nervousness, accelerated heart rate and/or sweeting before a job interview, business presentation, a school exam or significant life event Out of the blue panic attacks. Preoccupation with the fear of having another panic attack
Realistic fear of a dangerous situation or object Irrational fear of an object, place or situation that poses little or no threat of danger
Worry about life events such as a breakup, money, landing a job, etc. Excess worrying that causes significant distress that interferes with daily life.
Being overly self-conscious in uncomfortable or awkward situations Avoids uncomfortable social situations for fear of being judged, embarrassed or humiliated.

According to psychologist Cheryl Carmin, what makes anxiety a diagnosable condition is that it causes a person to be distressed, or the anxiety interferes with a person’s life.

There are five forms of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
    Severe, ongoing anxiety that interferes with daily activities.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
    A chronic mental health condition in which social interactions cause irrational anxiety.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    A disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.
  • Panic Disorder (PD)
    An anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    Excessive thoughts that lead to repetitive behaviors.

“Experiencing anxiety is normal,” says Dr. Gene Beresin, executive director of the Clay Center for Healthy Young Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. “A certain amount of anxiety can even be helpful. The problem is that sometimes the systems underlying our anxiety responses get dysregulated, so that we overreact or react to the wrong situations.”

What activities might help combat anxiety?
Breathing exercises/Meditation Self-care/Massage/Time-outs
Physical exercise/Yoga Indulge in a hobby or hobbies
Acupuncture Spend time in the outdoors and/or with a pet

 

Can CBD help with anxiety?

A growing number of people are using CBD to help them relieve symptoms of anxiety and anxiety disorders. There are many studies that point to the benefits of taking CBD for anxiety.

Studies show that cannabinoids (a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant), work by reacting with our natural endocannabinoid system to help regulate mood and hormones. While research is still being done on all the ways that CBD can help, one thing that is commonly found is that CBD is thought to boost serotonin signals. Low serotonin levels can lead to depression and anxiety. CBD may also help with insomnia caused by anxiety.

Healthline.com posted a study that was done on CBD’s effects on people with Social Anxiety Disorder. The study found that those given an oral dose of 400 milligrams of CBD experienced overall reduced anxiety levels compared to those who received the placebo.

Another study that was published on Medical News Today points to CBD being helpful:

“Researchers evaluated CBD’s effects in 397 adults living in New Zealand. The study participants received medical CBD prescriptions for a variety of ailments including non-cancer pain, cancer-related symptoms, neurological symptoms, and mental health symptoms. All groups reported improvement in their overall quality of life after 3 weeks of CBD treatment. The individuals who received CBD treatment for anxiety or depression reportedly experienced improvements in their ability to perform daily functions and reduce pain and anxiety or depression symptoms.”

Why CBD instead of traditional prescribed medications?

Most anxiety disorders are treated with antidepressants. Over the last few years there have been an increased number of people taking antidepressants or other medications that are prescribed for anxiety. These medications can harm the body and come with a long list of potential side effects. Some of the common side effect of prescription antidepressants are blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, dry mouth, feeling agitated or restless, sleep problems, headaches, nausea, upset stomach, weight gain, decreased libido and/or erectile dysfunction. They also may increase suicidal thoughts or behaviors, especially in younger adults.

Anyone who is experiencing any type of depression or anxiety disorder should consult with their physician. It is not advised to start treatment on your own. If you feel like prescription medication isn’t the route you want to go, advocate for yourself, and ask about possible alternatives, including CBD. For relaxation, EarthSpring Healing recommends their all-natural, plant-based tincture, Inner Peace. After nearly a year of research and development, Inner Peace combines cannabinoids, essential oils, terpenes, and herbs aimed to provide you with peaceful relaxation and a sense of calm, even on your toughest days!

 

LEGAL DISCLOSURE: The FDA has not evaluated the above statements. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Most work-place drug screens and tests target delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) and do not detect the presence of Cannabidiol (CBD) or other legal natural hemp based constituents. 

Resources:

  1. Medical News Today (medicalnewstoday.com)
  2. Cheryl Carmin, PhD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Gene Beresin, MD at MA General Hospital & professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
  3. Healthline (healthline.com)
  4. NIH (nimh.nih.gov)
  5. EarthSpring Healing (earthspringhealing.com)

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