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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query anxiety. Sort by date Show all posts

Aspergers Adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Aspergers adults with Generalized Anxiety Disorder go through the day filled with exaggerated worry and tension, even though there is little or nothing to provoke it. They anticipate disaster and are overly concerned about health issues, money, family problems, or difficulties at work. Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when an individual worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months. Adult Aspies with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can’t seem to get rid of their concerns, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. They can’t relax, startle easily, and have difficulty concentrating. Often they have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

Physical symptoms that often accompany the anxiety include:
  • difficulty swallowing
  • fatigue
  • feeling out of breath
  • having to go to the bathroom frequently
  • headaches
  • hot flashes
  • irritability
  • lightheadedness
  • muscle aches
  • muscle tension
  • nausea
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • twitching

When their anxiety level is mild, adult Aspies with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can function socially and hold down a job. Although they don’t avoid certain situations as a result of their disorder, Aspies with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can have difficulty carrying out the simplest daily activities if their anxiety is severe.

Other anxiety disorders, depression, or substance abuse often accompany Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which rarely occurs alone. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is commonly treated with medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy, but co-occurring conditions must also be treated using the appropriate therapies.

Treatment—

In general, anxiety disorders are treated with medication, specific types of psychotherapy, or both. Treatment choices depend on the problem and the individual’s preference. Before treatment begins, a physician must conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine whether an individual’s symptoms are caused by an anxiety disorder or a physical problem. If an anxiety disorder is diagnosed, the type of disorder or the combination of disorders that are present must be identified, as well as any coexisting conditions, such as depression or substance abuse. Sometimes alcoholism, depression, or other coexisting conditions have such a strong effect on the person that treating the anxiety disorder must wait until the coexisting conditions are brought under control.

Adult Aspies with anxiety disorders who have already received treatment should tell their current physician about that treatment in detail. If they received medication, they should tell their physician what medication was used, what the dosage was at the beginning of treatment, whether the dosage was increased or decreased while they were under treatment, what side effects occurred, and whether the treatment helped them become less anxious. If they received psychotherapy, they should describe the type of therapy, how often they attended sessions, and whether the therapy was useful.

Often Aspies believe that they have “failed” at treatment or that the treatment didn’t work for them when, in fact, it was not given for an adequate length of time or was administered incorrectly. Sometimes people must try several different treatments or combinations of treatment before they find the one that works for them.

Medication—

Medication will not cure anxiety disorders, but it can keep them under control while the individual receives psychotherapy. Medication must be prescribed by physicians, usually psychiatrists, who can either offer psychotherapy themselves or work as a team with psychologists, social workers, or counselors who provide psychotherapy. The principal medications used for anxiety disorders are antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and beta-blockers to control some of the physical symptoms. With proper treatment, many Aspies with anxiety disorders can lead normal, fulfilling lives.

Anti-Anxiety Drugs: High-potency benzodiazepines combat anxiety and have few side effects other than drowsiness. Because people can get used to them and may need higher and higher doses to get the same effect, benzodiazepines are generally prescribed for short periods of time, especially for people who have abused drugs or alcohol and who become dependent on medication easily. One exception to this rule is people with panic disorder, who can take benzodiazepines for up to a year without harm. Clonazepam (Klonopin®) is used for social phobia and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, lorazepam (Ativan®) is helpful for panic disorder, and alprazolam (Xanax®) is useful for both panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Some people experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking benzodiazepines abruptly instead of tapering off, and anxiety can return once the medication is stopped. These potential problems have led some physicians to shy away from using these drugs or to use them in inadequate doses. Buspirone (Buspar®), an azapirone, is a newer anti-anxiety medication used to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Possible side effects include dizziness, headaches, and nausea. Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone must be taken consistently for at least 2 weeks to achieve an anti-anxiety effect.

Antidepressants: Antidepressants were developed to treat depression but are also effective for anxiety disorders. Although these medications begin to alter brain chemistry after the very first dose, their full effect requires a series of changes to occur; it is usually about 4 to 6 weeks before symptoms start to fade. It is important to continue taking these medications long enough to let them work.

Beta-Blockers: Beta-blockers, such as propranolol (Inderal®), which is used to treat heart conditions, can prevent the physical symptoms that accompany certain anxiety disorders, particularly social phobia. When a feared situation can be predicted (such as giving a speech), a physician may prescribe a beta-blocker to keep physical symptoms of anxiety under control.

MAOIs: Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are the oldest class of antidepressant medications. The MAOIs most commonly prescribed for anxiety disorders are phenelzine (Nardil®), followed by tranylcypromine (Parnate®), and isocarboxazid (Marplan®), which are useful in treating panic disorder and social phobia. People who take MAOIs cannot eat a variety of foods and beverages (including cheese and red wine) that contain tyramine or take certain medications, including some types of birth control pills, pain relievers (such as Advil®, Motrin®, or Tylenol®), cold and allergy medications, and herbal supplements; these substances can interact with MAOIs to cause dangerous increases in blood pressure. The development of a new MAOI skin patch may help lessen these risks. MAOIs can also react with SSRIs to produce a serious condition called “serotonin syndrome,” which can cause confusion, hallucinations, increased sweating, muscle stiffness, seizures, changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm, and other potentially life-threatening conditions.

SSRIs: Some of the newest antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. SSRIs alter the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which, like other neurotransmitters, helps brain cells communicate with one another. Fluoxetine (Prozac®), sertraline (Zoloft®), escitalopram (Lexapro®), paroxetine (Paxil®), and citalopram (Celexa®) are some of the SSRIs commonly prescribed for panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, and social phobia. SSRIs are also used to treat panic disorder when it occurs in combination with OCD, social phobia, or depression. Venlafaxine (Effexor®), a drug closely related to the SSRIs, is used to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder. These medications are started at low doses and gradually increased until they have a beneficial effect. SSRIs have fewer side effects than older antidepressants, but they sometimes produce slight nausea or jitters when people first start to take them. These symptoms fade with time. Some people also experience sexual dysfunction with SSRIs, which may be helped by adjusting the dosage or switching to another SSRI.

Tricyclics: Tricyclics are older than SSRIs and work as well as SSRIs for anxiety disorders other than OCD. They are also started at low doses that are gradually increased. They sometimes cause dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and weight gain, which can usually be corrected by changing the dosage or switching to another tricyclic medication. Tricyclics include imipramine (Tofranil®), which is prescribed for panic disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and clomipramine (Anafranil®), which is the only tricyclic antidepressant useful for treating OCD.

Taking Medications—

Before taking medication for an anxiety disorder:
  • Ask your physician to tell you about the effects and side effects of the drug.
  • Ask your physician when and how the medication should be stopped. Some drugs can’t be stopped abruptly but must be tapered off slowly under a physician’s supervision.
  • Be aware that some medications are effective only if they are taken regularly and that symptoms may recur if the medication is stopped.
  • Tell your physician about any alternative therapies or over-the-counter medications you are using.
  • Work with your physician to determine which medication is right for you and what dosage is best.

Psychotherapy—

Psychotherapy involves talking with a trained mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor, to discover what caused an anxiety disorder and how to deal with its symptoms.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is very useful in treating anxiety disorders. The cognitive part helps Aspies change the thinking patterns that support their fears, and the behavioral part helps people change the way they react to anxiety-provoking situations.

For example, CBT can help Aspies with panic disorder learn that their panic attacks are not really heart attacks and help people with social phobia learn how to overcome the belief that others are always watching and judging them. When people are ready to confront their fears, they are shown how to use exposure techniques to desensitize themselves to situations that trigger their anxieties.

Aspies with OCD who fear dirt and germs are encouraged to get their hands dirty and wait increasing amounts of time before washing them. The therapist helps the person cope with the anxiety that waiting produces; after the exercise has been repeated a number of times, the anxiety diminishes. People with social phobia may be encouraged to spend time in feared social situations without giving in to the temptation to flee and to make small social blunders and observe how people respond to them. Since the response is usually far less harsh than the person fears, these anxieties are lessened. People with PTSD may be supported through recalling their traumatic event in a safe situation, which helps reduce the fear it produces. CBT therapists also teach deep breathing and other types of exercises to relieve anxiety and encourage relaxation.

Exposure-based behavioral therapy has been used for many years to treat specific phobias. The person gradually encounters the object or situation that is feared, perhaps at first only through pictures or tapes, then later face-to-face. Often the therapist will accompany the person to a feared situation to provide support and guidance.

CBT is undertaken when Aspies decide they are ready for it and with their permission and cooperation. To be effective, the therapy must be directed at the person’s specific anxieties and must be tailored to his or her needs. There are no side effects other than the discomfort of temporarily increased anxiety.

CBT or behavioral therapy often lasts about 12 weeks. It may be conducted individually or with a group of people who have similar problems. Group therapy is particularly effective for social phobia. Often “homework” is assigned for participants to complete between sessions. There is some evidence that the benefits of CBT last longer than those of medication for people with panic disorder, and the same may be true for OCD, PTSD, and social phobia. If a disorder recurs at a later date, the same therapy can be used to treat it successfully a second time.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Struggle with that daily diagnosed
•    Anonymous said... Remember that everyone doesn't fit every profile of aspergers syndrome....some have some characteristics and others may have different ones....
•    Anonymous said... My son who is 11 was diagnosed with Aspergers and I am without doubt that my partner also does although he has not been diagnosed. I however was diagnosed with GAD, it doesn't take much to cause an anxiety attack, some days it is unbearable from the moment I wake!
•    Anonymous said... I have it.
•    Anonymous said... I don't think I ever had GAD. It was certainly never diagnosed. Is it common in people with ASD?
*   Anonymous said... I am a GADS lady and Asperger's .. Diagnosed at age 45 now 52.. My whole life makes sense now!

•    Anonymous said...I was experiencing a lot of anxiety and depression and panic attacks. My first reaction to my anxiety was to drink alcohol. Since alcohol is a depressant, that made everything worse.
*    Anonymous said...Have you ever been nervous before making an important presentation? Has "presentation anxiety" ever gotten in the way of presentation success? Would you like to know how the control your anxiety?

Post your comment below…

Aspergers Adults and Anxiety Prevention


Anxiety is very difficult for many grown-ups with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism to over-come. It can affect an individual psychologically and physically. Anxiety can happen for a range of reasons, and adults with Aspergers can vary in their ability to cope with it.

Emotions are abstract. To understand emotion, you need an imagination. One of the areas of difficulty for adults with Aspergers is not being able to imagine things, so understanding emotions can be difficult for them.

Anxiety can affect both the mind and the body, and produce a range of symptoms. The psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety are closely linked and so can lead to a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break. The psychological symptoms of anxiety are:
  • becoming preoccupied with or obsessive about one subject
  • depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • easily losing patience
  • thinking constantly about the worst outcome

Its physical symptoms include:
  • dizziness
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urinating
  • headaches
  • loose bowel movements
  • muscle aches
  • periods of having gas
  • periods of intensely pounding heart
  • pins and needles
  • stomach upsets
  • tremors

If you do experience any of these symptoms, it is important to also get medical advice to rule out other medical conditions.


==> Anxiety-Reduction: Quick Tips for People with AS [audio excerpt from Mark Hutten's lectures]


Once you understand anxiety and identify the things and situations that make you anxious, you can then take steps to cope with it. Strategies for managing anxiety include the following:

1. Any activities that are pleasant and calming such as taking a bath, listening to relaxing music, aromatherapy, playing on a computer may also help reduce anxiety. Some Aspies may find lights particularly soothing, especially those of a repetitive nature, such as spinning lights or bubble tubes.

2. Keep a diary. Try to understand the anxiety symptoms you display when you are anxious – and to look at the causes of your anxiety. Keeping a diary in which you write about certain situations and how these make you feel may help you to understand your anxiety and manage it better. Use the diary also to think about the physical changes linked to anxiety. Aspies often retreat into their particular interest if they are anxious about something. Use the diary to monitor this as well.

3. Create an “anxiety plan.” An anxiety plan is a list of things and situations that cause anxiety as well as solutions and strategies you can use to help manage your anxiety levels. The plan can be adapted, depending upon how well you understand anxiety.

4. Physical activity can often help to manage anxiety and release tension. Using deep breathing exercises to relax can be helpful, as can activities such as yoga and Pilates, which both focus on breathing to relax. Use a visual timetable or write a list to remind yourself when you need to practice relaxation.

5. Aspies can find it very difficult to relax. Some adults with Aspergers have a particular interest or activity they like to do because it helps them relax. If they use these to relax, it may help to build them into their daily routine. However, this interest or activity can itself be the source of behavioral difficulties at times, especially if they're unable to follow their interest or do the activity at a particular moment. Some Aspies may need to be left alone for short periods of the day to help them unwind.

6. Some adults with Aspergers find direct confrontation difficult. They may therefore be unable to say they don’t like certain things or situations, which will raise their anxiety levels. If they identify they are anxious, they could use a card system to let family or friends around them know how they are feeling. They could also carry a card around with them to remind themselves of what they need to do if they start getting anxious. Devise a stress scale that you can use whenever you find something particularly stressful.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's


Comments:

•    I think there are many Aspies, self included, that have an abundance of imagination AND empathy...the issue with understanding emotion is just that, and being uncomfortable or overwhelmed... As well as plagued or struggling with how we even sort through the feelings and reactions we are having to them...it can be linked to earlier past negative experiences, and fear...thus the "fight or flight" response/anxiety kicks in as a defense mechanism, or others freeze and shut down. I still don't believe that is about imagination, but coping and reconditioning in many cases, developing skills too...because some take a long time to develop a more "mature" way of acting/coping, as one might be just reacting. Just my take...
•    I have lots of empathy but I just don't know how to show it very much. I also rarely read fiction because I can't follow it.
•    I`m HFA and now 50 years old, and through my life, I have developed a wide variety of coping strategies that help me deal with all kinds of situations.The one thing that still has a serious impact on my life is anxiety linked to not being able to control my surroundings. I tend to mask it by portraying myself as happy-go-lucky, but inside, situations that others find mundane, fill me with dread and quite literally make my stomach churn. The physical symptoms of my anxiety are still the biggest thing that stops me enjoying life to the full. Situations that take me out of my "comfort zone" are made far worse by the thought that my increased anxiety may cause my bowels/bladder to let me down at the wrong moment. Boarding a train or bus with no toilet is something I will avoid wherever possible, and I dread when I`m flying somewhere and the seat-belt light stays on for ages....People laugh at me when they see me use the bathroom several times in a short period of time. As a consequence, events that should be fun and enjoyable send my anxiety levels through the roof. Recently, I won an award that required me to travel to London and go on stage in front of thousands of people to receive it. Just the thought of my body letting me down at the critical moment led me to decline the invitation. Still kicking myself over that one...
•    My daughter is 19 and struggling so bad with anxiety at the moment. She has been in a great private clinic for the past 2 weeks but she never seems to be able to put all the strategies they them into practice. They say cbt is hard for aspies as they are so rigid in the way they think??? 10 years of CBT and she is getting worse by the year. I am so desperate now to find answers. 

Anxiety-Reduction Techniques for Adults with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Anxiety can be a real problem for many grown-ups with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism, and can affect the individual psychologically and physically. Anxiety can happen for a range of reasons, and Aspergers adults vary in their ability to cope with it.

Emotions are abstract. To understand emotion you need an imagination. One of the areas of difficulty for many Aspergers adults is not being able to imagine things. Thus, understanding emotions can be difficult for them.

Anxiety can affect both the mind and the body, and produce a range of symptoms. The psychological and physical symptoms of anxiety are closely linked and can lead to a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.

The psychological symptoms of anxiety are:
  • becoming preoccupied with or obsessive about one subject
  • depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • easily losing patience
  • thinking constantly about the worst outcome

The physical symptoms include:
  • dizziness
  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urinating
  • headaches
  • loose bowel movements
  • muscle aches
  • periods of having gas
  • periods of intensely pounding heart
  • stomach upset
  •  tremors

If you do experience any of these symptoms, it is important to also get medical advice to rule out other medical conditions.

Strategies for Managing Anxiety—

Once you understand anxiety and have identified the situations that make you anxious, you can then take steps to cope with it:

1. Consider carrying a reminder card— Sounds rather silly, I know. But many Aspergers adults carry a card around with them to remind themselves of what they need to do if they start feeling anxious. You can also use a stress scale whenever you find something particularly stressful (e.g., “On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most stressful, this current situation is only about a 4”).

2. Find some peace and quite— Any activities that are pleasant and calming (e.g., taking a bath, listening to relaxing music, aromatherapy, playing on a computer, etc.) help reduce anxiety. Some Aspergers adults find lights or running water to be particularly soothing, especially when it is of a repetitive nature (e.g., spinning lights, bubble tubes, waterfalls, etc.).

3. Get physical— Physical activity can help to manage anxiety and release tension. Using deep breathing exercises to relax can be helpful as can activities such as yoga and Pilates, which both focus on breathing to relax. Use a visual timetable or write a list to help remind yourself when you need to practice relaxation.

4. Get specialist help— Some Aspergers adults are not able to identify their anxiety or to put in place strategies to manage it on their own. A specialist or a counselor with experience of ASDs may be able to help you.

5. Keep a diary—Understand the symptoms you display when you are anxious, and try to look at the causes of your anxiety. Keeping a diary in which you write about certain situations and how these make you feel may help you to understand your anxiety and manage it better. Use the diary also to think about the physical changes linked to anxiety. Aspergers adults often retreat into their particular interest if they are anxious about something. Use the diary to monitor this as well. Here’s an example of a diary entry:

Time and date: 12:00 PM on 3/17/12
Situation: Applied for a job
How I felt: Extremely nervous and self-conscious
How anxious I was (on a scale of 1 to 10): Probably about an 8

6. Have a meltdown prevention plan— Create an anxiety plan when you are feeling positive about things. An anxiety plan is a list of things and situations that cause anxiety as well as solutions and strategies you can use to help manage anxiety levels. The plan can be adapted, depending upon how well you understand anxiety. Here’s an example:

Situation: Getting on the bus
Symptoms of anxiety: Hearts beats fast; sweat and feel sick
Solution: Have stress ball in pocket; squeeze the ball and take deep breaths; listen to my iPod

7. Seek personal accounts— It may help to read the personal accounts of other people who also have Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism, and to see how they dealt with certain situations and managed any anxiety they experienced.

8. Use relaxation techniques— You may find it very difficult to relax. Some Aspergers adults have a particular interest or activity they like to do because it helps them relax. If they use these to relax, it may help to build them into their daily routine. However, this interest or activity can itself be the source of behavioral difficulties at times, especially if they're unable to follow their interest or do the activity at a particular moment.

9. Locate various support groups— Going to a support group for adults with ASDs means meeting other people with ASDs, which can be helpful in some cases. Different support groups will offer different activities, from going on outings to discussion groups about particular topics.

10. Talk about your anxiety to someone you trust— Some Aspergers adults find direct confrontation difficult. They may therefore be unable to say they don’t like certain things or situations, which will raise their anxiety levels. Thus, developing “assertiveness skills” is very important for people with ASDs. You can research how to develop such skills on the Internet, so we won’t go into that here.

Good luck!

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

The Deceptiveness of Anxiety

The reason that most people with Aspergers (AS) have chronic anxiety is because anxiety can be so deceptive. If you are the type of person with high-anxiety, you are constantly getting fooled into believing that there’s something to be afraid of in the absence of real danger.

Fear is when you’re afraid of something and you know what it is, anxiety is when you’re afraid of something but you don’t know what it is.

A lot of people with AS have panic disorder, social phobia, a specific phobia, OCD, or generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Those who have generalized anxiety disorder get deceived into thinking they are about to be driven mad by constant worrying.
  • Those with OCD get deceived into believing that a terrible calamity is in the near future. 
  • Those with a specific phobia (e.g., the fear of elevators) get deceived into believing that they’re going to be trapped. 
  • For those with social phobia, they get deceived into thinking that other people are looking down on them and will humiliate them. 
  • Panic disorder causes people with AS to get deceived into thinking that they’re about to die or go crazy.



Anxiety is deceiving because when we feel discomfort we get tricked into treating it like a real threat. But as the rational part of your mind knows, discomfort is not dangerous. When there is true danger at hand, we either freeze up, run, or fight back. If the threat looks faster and stronger than you, you may freeze up. If the threat looks stronger than you - but slower - you may run away from it. If the threat looks weaker than you, you may fight back. If people are your source of major “discomfort” - but your body gets tricked into believing that certain individuals are truly “dangerous,” you will either argue with them (fight), avoid them (flight), or be intimidated by them (freeze).

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Your natural instinct to protect yourself is what leads you to get deceived by anxiety. So, why haven’t you been able to see the pattern of repeated episodes of anxiety that never actually lead to the feared outcome? Since your worst-case scenarios never come to fruition, why don’t you gradually lose your unreasonable anxiety around those scenarios? There’s several reasons why.

You took protective steps - and there was no disaster. Therefore, you started believing that these steps that you took “saved” you from disaster. But these steps that you take that save you from disaster also cause you to worry more about the next dangerous episode. It convinces you that you were very vulnerable and must always protect yourself.

The real reason you didn’t experience a disaster is that such disasters are not part of fear or phobia. We are talking about anxiety disorders, not disaster disorders. You get through the experience because the experience isn’t actually life-threatening. But, it’s justifiably hard for you to recognize that at the time. You may be more likely to think that you just had a “narrow escape.” And this leads you to redouble your self-protection steps.

It’s the self-protection steps that actually maintain and strengthen the deceptiveness of anxiety. If, for example, we think we just escaped a disaster because we went back and checked the stove 10 times, then we’re going to continue to feel vulnerable and continue to feel the need for self-protection. When this happens over and over, we are going to get stuck in the habit of protecting ourselves by certain means. This is when chronic anxiety gets in entrenched into your life.

We think we’re actually helping ourselves, but we’re actually getting tricked into making things worse. That’s how deceptive anxiety is.

For those of us who have chronic anxiety, we have noticed that the harder we try to escape the anxiety - the worse it gets. Thus, if the harder we try the worse it gets, then what we need to do is take another look at the protective steps we’ve been using. With high-anxiety, we’ve been deceived into trying to protect ourselves against something that isn’t dangerous, and this makes our anxiety worse over time.

Let me repeat: the harder you try, the worse it gets. Thus, it would make sense to NOT try so hard to avoid anxiety when it comes. Instead, allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, as uncomfortable as it is. Know that this feeling of "uncomfortable-ness" will be short-lived -- and it will not be life-threatening! Simply allow yourself to feel that emotional pain. Because running from it makes it worse -- it will chase after you and bring out even more fear as you “run for your life.”

==> Strategies for self-care in people on the autism spectrum can be found here...

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples
 

Acute Anxiety in Adults with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism

Many individuals find it very difficult to deal with anxiety if they have Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autism (HFA). Coping with acute anxiety uses many different cognitive functions, for example:
  • formulating a coping strategy
  • identifying causes
  • maintaining control of emotions 
  • recognizing the symptoms

Having AS or HFA can make it difficult to balance all these processes to manage acute anxiety.

Here are some tips for managing acute anxiety for adults on the autism spectrum:

1. Apply slow breathing techniques. Proper breathing habits are essential for good mental and physical health. Focus on your breathing pattern. Identify whether you breathe mainly through the chest or through the stomach. Short, shallow and rapid breaths from the upper chest should be avoided. Breathe deeply and slowly through the nose. You should feel greater movement in the stomach than the chest as you inhale and exhale. Practice breathing exercises every day. Learn to apply slow breathing as needed (e.g., when feeling anxious or angry).

2. Become aware of the major sources, or triggers, of acute anxiety in your life. First, keep an awareness diary for a few weeks that notes the date, time, event, severity, symptoms, and coping strategies you used to ease the situation. Second, categorize different acute anxiety situations as follows: unimportant, uncontrollable, important, or controllable. This can help you to stand back from your situation in order to view it more clearly and objectively.

3. Adopt a small set of coping skills, and then test them to see if they actually work. Identify what changes you can make to control the situation and reduce acute anxiety levels (e.g., using positive self-talk to develop an up-beat outlook toward a job interview, and then practicing this technique to gauge its effectiveness).

4. Gain some acceptance skills. This is acknowledging the acute anxiety and being realistic about its effects (e.g., what aspects are controllable/uncontrollable or important/unimportant).

5. Make use of visualization techniques. Use imagination (e.g., pleasant daydreams or memories) to move yourself into a relaxed state. Here’s how:
  • Get comfortable, and scan the body for tension.
  • Begin to relax the uptight muscles.
  • Then pick a favorite peaceful place which is real or imagined.
  • Next, focus the imagination using all five senses.
  • Lastly, use affirmations (e.g., repeating “I am letting go of tension and feeling peaceful”). 

Practice using visualization three times a day for about five minutes. This is usually easiest in the morning and at night in bed. Eventually, with practice you can use visualization in everyday situations when feeling anxious.

6. Use some action skills. This is actively making changes to counteract or reduce the level of acute anxiety. Follow through with an anxiety management plan and monitor acute anxiety levels (e.g., after a job interview, find a relaxing and enjoyable activity to wind down).

7. Utilize progressive muscle relaxation. This is where you learn to identify muscle groups and the difference between tension and relaxation in the muscles. Focus on four main muscle groups:
  • chest, stomach and lower back
  • hands, forearms and biceps
  • head, face, throat and shoulders
  • thighs, buttocks, calves and feet

Tense muscles for 5-7 seconds and relax for 10-15 seconds.

8. Work on your awareness skills. This is getting a clearer understanding of the situation and how it affects you (e.g., finding out what a job interview involves and what is required).

9. Start doing Yoga. Stress and anxiety are everywhere. If they're getting the best of you, you might want to hit the mat and give yoga a try. Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function – and anyone can do it! Yoga is considered a mind-body type of complementary and alternative medicine practice that brings together physical and mental disciplines to achieve peacefulness of body and mind, helping you relax and manage stress and anxiety.

Yoga has many styles, forms and intensities. Hatha yoga, in particular, may be a good choice for stress management. Hatha is one of the most common styles of yoga, and beginners may like its slower pace and easier movements. But most individuals can benefit from any style of yoga — it's all about your personal preferences.

The core components of hatha yoga and most general yoga classes are:
  • Breathing: Controlling your breathing is an important part of yoga. In yoga, breath signifies your vital energy. Yoga teaches that controlling your breathing can help you control your body and quiet your mind.
  • Poses: Yoga poses, also called postures, are a series of movements designed to increase strength and flexibility. Poses range from lying on the floor while completely relaxed to difficult postures that may have you stretching your physical limits.

The potential health benefits of yoga include:
  • Improved fitness: Practicing yoga can lead to improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you're less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.
  • Management of chronic conditions: Yoga can help reduce risk factors for chronic diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Yoga might also help alleviate chronic conditions, such as depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia.
  • Stress reduction: A number of studies have shown that yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also enhance your mood and overall sense of well-being.

10. The effectiveness of whatever strategies are used to manage acute anxiety will be improved if after each strategy is used, it is evaluated. This can be done by (a) noticing the physical, mental and behavioral signs of acute anxiety, (b) selecting a coping strategy for reducing acute anxiety, (c) evaluating whether or not the strategy worked by reassessing the level of severity, and (d) maintaining the use of the strategy. If there has been no change or an increase in acute anxiety levels, try using other strategies.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Aspergers Adults and Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), also called social phobia, is diagnosed when individuals become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. Aspergers (high functioning autism) adults with SAD have an intense, persistent fear of interacting with others (especially in groups). They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends.

It's normal to feel nervous in some social situations. For example, going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. But in SAD, everyday interactions cause irrational anxiety and self-consciousness.

While many Aspergers adults with SAD realize that their fears about being with others are excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome them. Even if they manage to confront their fears and be around others, they are usually very anxious beforehand, are intensely uncomfortable throughout the encounter, and worry about how they were judged for hours afterward.

SAD can be limited to one situation (e.g., talking to others, eating or drinking, writing on a blackboard in front of others, etc.) or may be so broad that the individual experiences anxiety around almost anyone other than close family members.

Symptoms—

Emotional and behavioral SAD signs and symptoms include:
  • Anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to others out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Difficulty talking
  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself

Physical SAD signs and symptoms include:
  • Blushing
  • Cold, clammy hands
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Shaky voice
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Upset stomach

Worrying about having symptoms:

When Aspergers adults have SAD, they realize that their anxiety or fear is out of proportion to the situation. Yet they’re so worried about developing SAD symptoms that they avoid situations that may trigger them. This type of worrying creates a vicious cycle that can make symptoms worse.

When to see a doctor:

See your doctor or mental health provider if you fear and avoid normal social situations because they cause embarrassment, worry or panic. If this type of anxiety disrupts your life, causes severe stress and affects your daily activities, you may have SAD or another mental health condition that requires treatment to get better.

Feelings of shyness or discomfort in certain situations aren't necessarily signs of SAD, particularly in kids. Comfort levels in social situations vary from individual to individual due to personality traits and life experiences. Some people are naturally reserved and others are more outgoing. What sets SAD apart from everyday nervousness is that its symptoms are much more severe, causing the Aspergers adult to avoid normal social situations.

Common, everyday experiences that may be difficult to endure when the Aspergers adult has SAD include:
  • Being introduced to strangers
  • Entering a room in which individuals are already seated
  • Initiating conversations
  • Interacting with strangers
  • Making eye contact
  • Ordering food in a restaurant
  • Returning items to a store
  • Using a public restroom or telephone
  • Writing in front of others

SAD symptoms can change over time. They may flare up if you're facing a lot of stress or demands, or if you completely avoid situations that would usually make you anxious, you may not have symptoms. Although avoidance may allow you to feel better in the short term, your anxiety is likely to persist over the long term if you don't get treatment.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Causes—

Like many other mental health conditions, SAD likely arises from a complex interaction of environment and genes. Possible causes include:
  • Brain chemistry: Natural chemicals in your body may play a role in SAD. For instance, an imbalance in the brain chemical serotonin may be a factor. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and emotions, among other things. Individuals with SAD may be extra-sensitive to the effects of serotonin.
  • Brain structure: A structure in the brain called the amygdale may play a role in controlling the fear response. Individuals who have an overactive amygdala may have a heightened fear response, causing increased anxiety in social situations.
  • Inherited traits: Anxiety disorders tend to run in families. However, it isn't entirely clear how much of this may be due to genetics and how much is due to learned behavior.
  • Negative experiences: Kids who experience teasing, bullying, rejection, ridicule or humiliation may be more prone to SAD. In addition, other negative events in life, such as family conflict or sexual abuse, may be associated with SAD.

Risk factors—

SAD is one of the most common mental disorders. It usually begins in the early to mid-teens, although it can sometimes begin earlier in childhood or in adulthood. A number of factors can increase the risk of developing SAD, including: 
  • Environment: SAD may be a learned behavior. That is, the Aspergers adult may develop the condition after witnessing the anxious behavior of others. In addition, there may be an association between SAD and moms and dads who are more controlling or protective of their kids.
  • Family history: You're more likely to develop SAD if your biological moms and dads or siblings have the condition.
  • Having a health condition that draws attention: Facial disfigurement, stuttering, Parkinson's disease and other health conditions can increase feelings of self-consciousness and may trigger SAD in some individuals.
  • New social or work demands: Meeting new individuals, giving a speech in public or making an important work presentation may trigger SAD symptoms for the first time. These symptoms usually have their roots in adolescence, however.
  • Temperament: Kids who are shy, timid, withdrawn or restrained when facing new situations or individuals may be at greater risk.

Complications—

Left untreated, SAD can be debilitating. Your anxieties may run your life. They can interfere with work, school, relationships or enjoyment of life. You may be considered an "underachiever," when in reality it's your fears holding you back, not your ability or motivation. In severe cases, you may drop out of school, quit work or lose friendships. SAD can cause:
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism
  • Low self-esteem
  • Negative self-talk
  • Poor social skills
  • Trouble being assertive

SAD can also result in:
  • Excessive drinking, particularly in men
  • Isolation and difficult social relationships
  • Low academic achievement
  • Poor work record
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicide

Preparing for a doctor’s appointment—

You may start by seeing your family doctor. After your initial appointment, your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider who can help make a firm diagnosis and create the right treatment plan for you.

What you can do:
  • Ask a trusted family member or friend to be present for your appointment, if possible. Sometimes it can be difficult to soak up all the information provided to you during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
  • Write down all of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you've been diagnosed. Also write down the names of any medications you're taking.
  • Write down any symptoms you've been experiencing, and for how long. SAD often first appears in your teens. Your doctor will be interested to hear how your symptoms may have waxed or waned since they began.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.
  • Write down your key personal information, especially any significant events or changes in your life shortly before your symptoms appeared. For example, your doctor will want to know if your social anxiety seemed to be triggered by a promotion, meeting new individuals, or another new work or social demand.

Questions to ask your doctor at your initial appointment may include:
  • Are there any other possible causes?
  • How will you determine my diagnosis?
  • Should I see a mental health specialist?
  • What do you believe is causing my symptoms?

Questions to ask if you are referred to a mental health provider include:
  • Am I at increased risk of other mental health problems?
  • Are effective treatments available for this condition?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?
  • Is my condition likely temporary or chronic?
  • With treatment, could I eventually be comfortable in the situations that make me so anxious now?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared in advance, don't hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.

A doctor or mental health provider who sees the Aspergers adult for possible SAD may ask:
  • Do you avoid activities in which you are the center of attention?
  • Do you drink alcohol or use illegal drugs? If so, how often?
  • Do you ever have symptoms when you're not being observed by others?
  • Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?
  • Does fear of embarrassment cause you to avoid doing things or speaking to individuals?
  • Have any of your close relatives had similar symptoms?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?
  • Have you been treated for other psychiatric symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most beneficial?
  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself or others?
  • How are your symptoms affecting your life, including your work and personal relationships?
  • When are your symptoms most likely to occur?
  • When did you first notice these symptoms?
  • Would you say that being embarrassed or looking stupid is among your worst fears?


When you decide to seek treatment for SAD symptoms, you may have a physical exam and your doctor will ask a number of questions. The physical exam can determine if there may be any physical causes triggering your symptoms. Answering questions will help your doctor or mental health provider find out about your psychological state.

There's no laboratory test to diagnose SAD, however. Your doctor or mental health provider will ask you to describe your signs and symptoms, how often they occur and in what situations. He or she may review a list of situations to see if they make you anxious or have you fill out psychological questionnaires to help pinpoint a diagnosis.

To be diagnosed with SAD, an individual must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

Criteria for SAD to be diagnosed include:
  • Persistent fear of social situations in which the Aspergers adult believes he/she may be scrutinized or act in a way that's embarrassing or humiliating.
  • These social situations cause you a great deal of anxiety.
  • You avoid anxiety-producing social situations.
  • You recognize that your anxiety level is excessive or out of proportion for the situation.
  • Your anxiety or distress interferes with your daily living.

SAD shares symptoms with other psychological disorders, including other anxiety disorders. Your mental health provider will want to determine whether one of these other conditions may be causing your social anxiety, or if you have SAD along with another mental health disorder. Often, social anxiety occurs along with other mental health conditions, such as substance abuse problems, depression and body dysmorphic disorder.

Treatments and drugs—

The two most common types of treatment for SAD are medications and psychotherapy. These two approaches may be used in combination.

Psychotherapy:

Psychological counseling (psychotherapy) improves symptoms in most individuals with SAD. In therapy, you learn how to recognize and change negative thoughts about yourself. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common type of counseling for anxiety. This type of therapy is based on the idea that your own thoughts — not other individuals or situations — determine how you behave or react. Even if an unwanted situation won't change, you can change the way you think and behave.

Cognitive behavioral therapy may also include exposure therapy. In this type of therapy, you gradually work up to facing the situations you fear most. This allows you to become better skilled at coping with these anxiety-inducing situations and to develop the confidence to face them. You may also participate in skills training or role-playing to practice your social skills and gain comfort and confidence relating to others. Your mental health professional may help you develop relaxation or stress management techniques.

First choices in medications:

Several types of medications are used to treat SAD. However, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are often the first type of medication tried for persistent symptoms of social anxiety. SSRIs your doctor may prescribe include:
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, others)
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) venlafaxine (Effexor) also may be an option for SAD.

To reduce the risk of side effects, your doctor will start you at a low dose of medication and gradually increase your prescription to a full dose. It may take up to three months of treatment for your symptoms to noticeably improve.

Other medication options:

Your doctor or mental health provider may also prescribe other medications for symptoms of social anxiety.
  • Anti-anxiety medications: A type of anti-anxiety medication called benzodiazepines may reduce your level of anxiety. Although they often work quickly, they can be habit-forming. Because of that, they're often prescribed for only short-term use. They may also be sedating. If your doctor does prescribe anti-anxiety medications, make sure you try taking them before you're in a social situation so that you know how they will affect you.
  • Beta blockers: These medications work by blocking the stimulating effect of epinephrine (adrenaline). They may reduce heart rate, blood pressure, pounding of the heart, and shaking voice and limbs. Because of that, they may work best when used infrequently to control symptoms for a particular situation, such as giving a speech. They're not recommended for general treatment of SAD. As with anti-anxiety medications, try taking them before you need them to see how they affect you.
  • Other antidepressants: The Aspergers adult may have to try several different antidepressants to find which one is the most effective and has the fewest unpleasant side effects.

Don't give up if treatment doesn't work quickly. The Aspergers adult can continue to make strides in psychotherapy over several weeks or months. And finding the right medication for your situation can take some trial and error. For some individuals, the symptoms of SAD may fade over time, and medication can be discontinued. Others may need to take medication for years to prevent a relapse. To make the most of treatment, keep your medical or therapy appointments, take medications as directed, and talk to your doctor about any changes in your condition.

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

Lifestyle and home remedies—

Although SAD generally requires help from a medical expert or qualified psychotherapist, the Aspergers adult can try some self-help techniques to handle situations likely to trigger symptoms.

First, consider your fears to identify what situations cause the most anxiety. Then gradually practice these activities until they cause you less anxiety. Begin with small steps in situations that aren't overwhelming.

Situations to practice may include:
  • Asking a retail clerk to help you find an item
  • Calling a friend to make plans
  • Eating with a close relative, friend or acquaintance in a public setting.
  • Getting directions from a stranger
  • Giving someone a compliment
  • Making eye contact and returning greetings from others, or being the first to say hello
  • Showing an interest in others — ask about their homes, kids, grandkids, hobbies or travels, etc.

At first, being social when you're feeling anxious is challenging. As difficult or painful as it may seem initially, don't avoid situations that trigger your symptoms. By regularly facing these kinds of situations, you'll continue to build and reinforce your coping skills. The following techniques can help the Aspergers adult begin to face situations that make him/her nervous:
  • Adopt stress management techniques.
  • Focus on personal qualities you like about yourself.
  • Pay attention to how often the embarrassing situations you're afraid of actually take place. You may notice that the scenarios you fear usually don't come to pass.
  • Practice relaxation exercises.
  • Prepare for conversation. For instance, read the newspaper to identify an interesting story you can talk about.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • When embarrassing situations do happen, remind yourself that your feelings will pass, and you can handle them until they do.

Avoid using alcohol to calm your nerves. It may seem like it helps, but in the long run it can make you feel more anxious.

Alternative medicine—

Certain supplements may help relieve anxiety, although it isn't clear about how much they help or what possible side effects they might have. Some supplements used to treat anxiety include:
  • Vitamin B and folic acid: These nutrients may relieve anxiety by affecting the production of chemicals needed for your brain to function (neurotransmitters).
  • Valerian: Most commonly used as a sleep aid, valerian has a sedative effect and may also relieve anxiety.
  • Kava: This herb is reported to relax you without making you feel sedated. Some studies have linked kava to liver problems, so it isn't a good idea to take it if you have a liver condition, drink alcohol daily or take medications that affect your liver.

Talk to your doctor before taking herbal remedies or supplements to make sure they're safe for you and won't interact with any medications you take.

Coping and support—

Some coping methods that may help ease your anxiety include:
  • Doing pleasurable activities, such as exercise or hobbies, when you feel anxious
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Joining a group that offers opportunities to improve communication and public speaking skills, such as Toastmasters International
  • Joining a local or Internet-based support group
  • Reaching out to others with whom you feel comfortable

Over time, these coping methods can help control your symptoms and prevent a relapse. Remind yourself that you can get through anxious moments, that your anxiety is short-lived, and that the negative consequences you worry about so much rarely come to pass.

Prevention—

There's no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder in the first place, but the Aspergers adult can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if anxious:
  • Avoid unhealthy substance use. Alcohol and drug use and even caffeine or nicotine use can cause or worsen anxiety. If you're addicted to any of these substances, quitting can make you anxious. If you can't quit on your own, see your doctor or find a support group to help you.
  • Get help early. Anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.
  • Keep a journal. Keeping track of your personal life can help you and your mental health provider identify what's causing you stress and what seems to help you feel better.
  • Prioritize your life. You can reduce anxiety by carefully managing your time and energy.



Best Comment:

This is very true, other people can't see that it's a constant battle before, during and after. THis is totally draining. However I think it's vital that Aspergers be diagnosed for a person first before SAD can be addressed. I was treated for SAD which made it worse because they made out I was behaving irrationally, had I known I had Aspergers it would have been OBVIOUS why I feel and act like I do. The reason we suffer from SAD is because of people who don't accept us and don't tune in to our needs.

Asperger's and That Damn Anxiety Problem

"Why is it that people with Asperger syndrome seem to have more than their fair share of anxiety? I have suffered with this damn thing my entire life – as far back as I can remember. And it doesn’t get any better with age by the way. Suggestions!?"

People with Asperger’s (high-functioning autism) are particularly vulnerable to anxiety. This vulnerability is a basic trait of the disorder due to (a) the breakdown in circuitry related to extinguishing fear responses, (b) social skills deficits, and (c) specific neurotransmitter system defects.

Reasons for anxiety include the following:
  • Lack of displayed empathy (another Asperger’s trait) significantly limits skills for self-directed social problem solving.
  • Limitations in generalizing from one situation to another contributes to repeating the same social errors.
  • Social skills deficits related to Asperger’s make it difficult for “Aspies” to develop coping techniques for calming themselves and containing difficult emotions. 
  • Their inability to grasp social cues and their highly rigid style act together to create repeated social mistakes (e.g., saying the wrong thing at the wrong time). 
  • In the workplace, it is not uncommon for the Aspie to be bullied and teased by his coworkers, yet he can’t mount effective socially adaptive responses, which often results in both anxiety and learned helplessness.



Several medications have been tried for treatment of anxiety. SRIs, buspirone, and alpha-adrenergic agonist medications (e.g., clonidine or guanfacine) have been tried. The best evidence to date supports use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. One relatively new drug that seems to be having remarkable success in alleviating anxiety is Fetzima.

As a side note, people on the autism spectrum may be more vulnerable to side effects – and may exhibit unusual side effects. For example, disinhibition (i.e., a temporary loss of inhibition) is particularly prominent and can be seen with any of the serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Also, excessive doses may produce “amotivational syndrome” (i.e., a psychological condition associated with diminished inspiration to participate in social situations and activities).

Self-help strategies to reduce anxiety include the following:
  • avoid “what if” thinking (e.g., ‘What if I fail?’ … ‘What if I get sick?’)
  • avoid black-and-white (all-or-nothing) thinking 
  • avoid talking in absolutes (i.e., using words such as always, never, should, must, no one and everyone)
  • develop a daily log to plan out your days (include healthy activities)
  • develop a sense of self-trust (i.e., the ability to believe that you can handle what life throws at you)
  • don’t be a “people-pleaser” (e.g., when do you say ‘yes’ to someone when you really want to say ‘no’)
  • practice yoga
  • realize and accept that you can’t control life, you can only control yourself
  • realize that you’re responsible for your happiness and your life
  • reduce your perfectionistic tendencies
  • stop relying on others for approval

Lastly, but most importantly, distinguish fact from fiction. Fear is being afraid of something, and you know exactly what it is that you’re afraid of (e.g., heights). Anxiety is being afraid of something, but you’re NOT sure what it is. Anxiety is fiction. It’s an anticipation of things going wrong in the future. But since the future doesn’t exist (except as a mental construct), then anxiety about a future event is fiction.

==> Do you have more than your fair share of anxiety? Here's a bunch of additional information to help you...

==> Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples



COMMENTS:

Anonymous said… All part of autism? Get used to it and fight it best you can! This is where the tiredness and long sleeps are relevant!
Anonymous said… as long as autistics are perceived and treated as diseased toys, they`re going to have a much higher rate of mental health issues. as long as autistics try to live like people who aren`t autistic, they`re going to have a higher rate of mental health issues. it`s really pretty simple. the solutions are more complex, however.
Anonymous said… Easier said than done. The adult Asperger want to achieve some balance and sometimes accumulative PTSD feeds into the situation, too, with triggers that appear out of left field. Overwhelming.
Anonymous said… I can only speak for myself, but my anxiety is "out there" so fast, I can never "control" it; it's too dam quick, damage done, and I'm already in wtf-mode before realizing I'm palpitating and acting like an idiot. Which makes me more anxious! I don't know how to forewarn myself to try to stop it; it just happens
Anonymous said… I love how when I went to a doctor all they wanted to do was treat the anxiety and when I asked "what about the other symptoms like innattention and sensory issues and social issues" they just ignored even trying to get me a diagnoses suggesting that anti anxiety meds would be "the cure" instead of what it really did - make me suicidal
Anonymous said… It is a hard question to answer,, but the best thing is to try and find an outlet.. to not let the anxiety spiral and take hold.
Anonymous said… Ive warned all of people around me to get away when i get angry because i really cant stop my rage 
Anonymous said… Meditation helps
Anonymous said… right it's like a nightmare coming true times 100.
Anonymous said… Why do we have anxiety? Because from birth we have been being told we aren't normal. Don't do that, dont say that, look here, go there, sound like this, look like that. When you have to think about everything just to comprehend what's going on around you, and then add in being the best actor/actress everyone has seen, because otherwise you make them uncomfortable, go figure we have anxiety!
•    Anonymous said… as long as autistics are perceived and treated as diseased toys, they`re going to have a much higher rate of mental health issues. as long as autistics try to live like people who aren`t autistic, they`re going to have a higher rate of mental health issues. it`s really pretty simple. the solutions are more complex, however.
•    Anonymous said… Have any of y'all tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? I'm looking into it for my 22 years old son. His meltdowns are so violent and I'm terrified he's going to end up in jail one day. Any thoughts?
•    Anonymous said… it might help, if the therapist is experienced and knowledgeable enough about autistics. but his meltdowns at this point are probably ptsd. that`s very hard to recover from. i have a similar issue myself. what he needs to learn are appropriate personal and social boundaries for himself, and how to live like an autistic. cbt might help with boundaries. it won`t help much with living like an autistic.
•    Anonymous said… My anxiety is off the hook! My doc put me on some med that I will need to purge off of but it isn't helping me stop biting my nails and having bad dreams...is anyone here having the same symptoms?
•    Anonymous said… The push for uniformity of human beings in our world is most disturbing. The simple frustration of growing up with people always trying to change your fundamental personality and the stress of trying to fit in ... and failing ...

Please post your comment below…

40 Ways to Reduce Your Anxiety: Tips for People on the Spectrum

If you use a few of the steps below to manage your anxiety, you may reduce the risk of negative health effects. Here are some tips that may help you to cope day-to-day:
  1. Ashwagandha is an herb used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat anxiety and anxiety; several studies suggest that it's effective
  2. Aside from the obvious health risks of cigarettes, nicotine acts as a stimulant and brings on more anxiety symptoms
  3. Ask for help from friends, family, and community or religious organizations
  4. Assert yourself; you do not have to meet others' expectations or demands
  5. Biofeedback 
  6. Chew Gum
  7. Counseling, to help you recognize and release anxiety
  8. Cuddle with a pet (or a lover)
  9. Decide what must get done now and what can wait
  10. Deep breathing exercises
  11. Eat and drink sensibly; drugs and alcohol and food abuse may seem to reduce anxiety, but it actually adds to it
  12. Examine your values and live by them; the more your actions reflect your beliefs, the better you will feel
  13. Get regular exercise; just 20 minutes a day is plenty
  14. Green tea contains many polyphenol antioxidants which provide health benefits - it may lower anxiety and anxiety by increasing serotonin levels
  15. Journaling
  16. Kava kava is a psychoactive member of the pepper family’ long used as a sedative in the South Pacific, it is increasingly used in Europe and the US to treat anxiety
  17. Keep in touch with people who can provide emotional support and practical help
  18. Laugh
  19. Learn to Avoid Procrastination
  20. Learn to say “no” to new tasks if you start to feel like you’re taking on too much 
  21. Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects 
  22. Light a Candle
  23. Listen to Soothing Music
  24. Masturbate
  25. Meditation
  26. Mental imagery relaxation
  27. Once a week, have a cheat meal (e.g., pizza, ice cream, pastry)
  28. One study showed that medical students who received omega-3 supplements experienced a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms
  29. Practice Mindfulness
  30. Prayer
  31. Progressive muscle relaxation
  32. Recognize the signs of your body’s response to anxiety, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcohol, being easily angered, depressed, and low energy
  33. Reduce Your Caffeine Intake
  34. Set realistic goals and expectations; it's okay, and healthy, to realize you cannot be 100% successful at everything at once
  35. Take a Yoga Class
  36. Take responsibility; control what you can and leave behind what you cannot control
  37. Try to be mindful of what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do
  38. Use calming scents: Bergamot, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Neroli, Orange or orange blossom, Roman chamomile, Rose, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Ylang ylang
  39. Valerian root is a popular sleep aid due to its tranquilizing effect; it contains valerenic acid, which alters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors to lower anxiety
  40. When you are feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself of what you do well





==>Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples

==> Skype Counseling for Struggling Individuals & Couples Affected by Asperger's and HFA

Aspergers Employees and Workplace Anxiety


Many Aspergers and high-functioning autistic employees experience work-related stress. The possible stressors include: social, task-related, and environmental. Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Social Stressors—

Many employees with Aspergers experience some level of anxiety in social situations they encounter on the job. For example:

• Employers— A good experience with a caring employer can cause a lasting impression on an employee’s life. A bad experience can also make a lasting impression! While many employers do their best to provide their workers with a positive workplace experience by coaching and advising them on how to perform at their peak, many people with Aspergers are better suited for certain coaching styles and work-related tasks. If there's a mismatch between employer and employee in this regard, the “Aspie” can form lasting negative feelings about work and his/her own abilities.

• Workplace Bullies— Many places of business have anti-bullying policies. Though bullying does still happen in the workplace even with these policies, help is generally more easily accessible than it was years ago. The bad news is that workplace bullying has gone high-tech and may not necessarily happen on the job-site. There are some people who use the Internet (e.g., Facebook) to target a fellow employee that they have a “beef” with. One reason for this is that they don't have to face their target, so it's easier to shed any empathy that they may otherwise feel in face-to-face interactions.

• Workplace Ostracization— There are many reported cases in which the individual with Aspergers didn’t necessarily get bullied in the fullest sense of the term, but he or she - for whatever reason - has a “bad” reputation in the workplace (possibly for being too quirky or self-absorbed in the eyes of others). As a result, fellow employees purposefully ignore and reject the Aspie (a form of bullying with no repercussions).

Task-related Stressors—

The following are some of the main sources of task-related stress for Aspergers employees:

• Work That's Too Easy— Just as it can be stressful to handle a heavy and challenging workload, some Aspergers employees can experience stress from work that isn't difficult enough. Unfortunately, many Aspies are given job assignments that are significantly beneath their potential and capabilities. As a result, they run the risk of developing a cynical, bitter attitude about their employment, which can lead to poor performance, mask the root of the difficulty, and perpetuate the problem.

• Task Anxiety— Many of us experience work-related anxiety when we are moved to a different department or are given a new job assignment. Unfortunately, change is very difficult for people with Aspergers, as they prefer to maintain a consistent routine. Studies show that greater levels of task anxiety hinder performance on the job.

Environmental Stressors—

Certain aspects of an Aspergers employee’s environment can also cause anxiety that can spill over and affect performance. The following are some stressors that Aspies may not realize are impacting them:

• Lack of Sleep— Many Aspies report having sleep problems (often related to chronic anxiety issues). As schedules pack up with overtime, extracurricular activities, and family time, they often get less sleep than they need. Operating under a sleep deficit doesn’t just mean drowsiness, it also leads to lack of coordination, moodiness, poor cognitive-functioning, and other negative effects.

• Noise Pollution— Many people with Aspergers have sensory sensitivities. Noise pollution in the workplace has been shown to cause stress that impacts some employees’ performance on the job.

• Poor Diet— With the surplus of convenience food and the time constraints many people experience these days, the average person’s diet has more sugar and less nutritious content than is recommended. This often leads to mood swings, lack of energy, and other negative effects that impact anxiety levels. This is magnified in the individual who is already experiencing undue stress in other areas of life.

Signs of workplace anxiety include:

•    Withdrawal
•    Excessive shyness
•    Stomachaches
•    Meltdowns
•    Frequently calling in sick
•    Nightmares
•    Negative attitude
•    Cynicism
•    Anger control problems
•    Shutdowns
•    Headaches
•    Feeling unsafe in the workplace
•    Fear of getting laid off or fired
•    Excessive worry and fear about job performance
•    Difficulty going to sleep
•    Loss of appetite
•    Increased appetite
•    Excessive alcohol consumption
•    Drug use

You can’t eliminate or escape anxiety that may occur in the workplace. It’s a fact of modern life. Nonetheless, workplace anxiety is a serious subject. More than one third of American workers experience chronic work-related stress, which is costing American businesses billions of dollars a year in medical bills and lost work hours.



Here are a few simple, yet highly effective suggestions for those who may be experiencing workplace anxiety:
  1. Schedule quality social time. Each week, schedule some time with a friend to just hang out and laugh.
  2. Meditate regularly. Even 5 minutes a day can help lower blood pressure, and can help you control the thoughts that trigger anxiety. 
  3. Learn to say “no.” Being overworked and over-committed leads to anxiety. Don’t feel obligated to say “yes” to everything for fear you won’t be liked.
  4. Reconnect with your spiritual roots. When you’re chronically stressed, it’s easy to forget about your place in the bigger picture. Prayer, meditation, chanting, or other rituals are great ways to get perspective on what’s stressing you – and relieve that pressure. 
  5. Get enough sleep. Work-related anxiety is magnified when you’re sleep-deprived and foggy-headed. 
  6. Get creative. Carve out some time to tap into your inner child (e.g., cooking dinner, handwriting a card to a friend, creating a vision board, etc.).
  7. Exercise regularly. Physical activity releases stress-relieving chemicals. 
  8. Eat whole foods. Processed food can cause you to feel even more stressed than you already are.
  9. Cultivate a grateful attitude. You can take the sting out of negative events by focusing on what’s good in your life. 
  10. Engage in appropriate sexual activity. Sex increases the production of oxytocin (often referred to as the “love hormone”). Before achieving an orgasm, oxytocin levels in the brain surge and are accompanied by a release of endorphins.

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