Anxiety is ever persistent and always brimming to the surface when it is least welcomed which is what makes it such a royal pain. An individual with a disorder can almost never count on the anxiety response totally going away even if it may fade into the background temporarily. Working on one’s coping strategies and medication approach will lessen the effect during those turbulent times but an anxiety disorder at its core is a cyclical beast.
Anxiety, like so many other mental health problems, is a persistent and unwieldy psychological trauma. And for those with anxiety flavored disorders such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, the fight is never finished. There are always new obstacles to face and one must always seek to advance their coping strategies. One such obstacle that an individual with this type of disorder might face is anxiety symptoms that last all day.
What does this call for? How is an anxiety sufferer to approach this particular problem? In this article we will get to the bottom of this predicament and suggest different courses of action that have worked for others.
Different Degrees of Intensity
Something that is rather important to acknowledge as far as anxiety symptoms lasting all day is that there are always going to be different degrees of intensity. Anxiety symptoms lie on a spectrum and you aren’t always going to be experiencing them at the same level at different times.
If you have anxiety, especially if it’s a full blown disorder, you can’t expect to fully get rid of or eliminate anxiety symptoms entirely. There will always be stressors and triggers throughout your day. It could be something as simple as a mere memory or projection of the future but the point is that they will always exist.
So in a relative sort of way anxiety that lasts all day can actually be quite normal for someone who struggles with this particular mental health problem. Your treatment, medications or otherwise, should be about minimizing these symptoms to the point where they don’t interfere with the quality of your daily life.
What shouldn’t be accepted are symptoms that lie on the extreme end of the spectrum. If you are in a constant panic, your mind is racing out of control, you’re shaking uncontrollably, you can’t catch your breathe, and you feel sick to the point of vomiting throughout the entire day, then this is obviously a problem that needs to be corrected.
It is true that total and complete emancipation from anxiety is a dead end pursuit for most people but this doesn’t mean that individuals suffering from anxiety disorders shouldn’t work to bring their symptoms down to a manageable level. This is absolutely attainable through working with a psychiatrist and focused vigilance in the way of constant use of coping techniques.
The natural ebb and flow of anxiety states is also something worth taking into consideration when analyzing the broad strokes of the disorder. Anxiety is rather cyclical in nature and it is normal for a more perverse form of anxiety to come about out of nowhere.
These seemingly unusual bursts of anxiety, sometimes lasting the entire day, usually have some sort of trigger and finding the root cause should always be kept in the pocket of your treatment plan, but it is also possible to experience bad days just someone without anxiety would.
All of us are equals in our experience of off days, a proverbial rain falling to our minds, but there is always something that can be done to soften the anxiety ridden blow.
Managing Anxiety that Lasts All Day
Symptoms that last all day are a matter that cannot be mistaken as they are a convoluted mess that is experienced and felt to heightened degree. Recognizing the all day ordeal isn’t what’s most difficult but rather how to cope and minimize the damage.
Triggers can many times be likened to the unhealthy change in posture that occurs on a slow timeline of progression when sitting at a computer chair day after day at an office job. The end result is always witnessed without fail but it’s hard to engage how it came to be on a conceptual level. And this is why triggers can be so sinister; they are so subtle that backward analysis on its own isn’t enough to identify them.
This is why trigger identification and finding the root causes of your anxiety is so important in standing a fighting chance. With anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder there is always going to be the organic component (brain chemistry) but this hardly calls for discounting the psychological side of things.
Working with a psychiatrist and therapist is always your best bet when it comes to making sense of your individual triggers and root causes of your anxiety. A therapist will allow you to make note of any triggers you have and formulate coping strategies that make the most sense for said triggers.
Everything we do, think, and feel is a result of cause and effect, and anxiety is under this umbrella. The majority of the time your heightened stress response will have a cause or trigger.
If you cannot afford to see a therapist on a regular basis then you need to document or journal your daily moods and actions (you should do this even if you can). If you are feeling anxious at a certain time or all day then write down the exact time that symptoms were felt and anything you may have done preceding the anxiety or anything you may have been thinking about.
Coping techniques in general, those in addition to medication, are also things that need to be incorporated into daily life. Yes, you need to constantly work with your psychiatrist or doctor in order to find the right medication(s) for you by expressing that your symptoms are lasting all day but you also need to work on general treatment strategies so that you can minimize heightened symptoms on your own volition when they do arise.
Read our article about treatment techniques that don’t involve medication for more guidance.
A Combined Effort
Dealing with a seemingly inescapable daily struggle of anxiety can be done but it requires a lot of work on the individuals part. By combining the right medication approach with the assistance of a psychiatrist, daily journaling, alternative coping techniques, and therapy an individual will stand a must better chance of lowering the intensity of all day anxiety than his or her counterparts.
Put in the work and you will start living your life as opposed to constantly being chewed and spit back up by the gluttonous mouth of anxiety in due time.
Anxiety as an emotional state is an natural occurrence and something that an individual should expect to experience on a relatively regular basis throughout his or her life. Constant daily anxiety symptoms pertaining to the most trivial affairs and relentless rumination should not be accepted as a normal occurrence.
In cases like these it’s advised that the individual seek out professional treatment which usually involves medication.
But what if an individual still suffers from anxiety symptoms even when on medications like benzodiazepines or SSRI’s? What steps should an individual take if this is the case? In this article we will cover why this happens and how cope with this residual anxiety.
The Cause of Anxiety Symptoms Even When on Medication
Effectively managing your anxiety in a way that’s personalized for you can be a confusing pursuit which is why it’s important to make sense of any variables that you can.
Variables in this context are simply the factors that are allowing your symptoms to “breakthrough” despite taking an anxiety based medication.
Below are the most common causes of residual symptoms while on medication.
Medication can do wonders in terms acting as a tool to cope with anxiety symptoms but finding the right medication for you can be a tricky process. SSRI’s are commonly used to treat anxiety disorders but not all types will work well for all individuals. It’s simply not a one sized fits all approach.
Some popular SSRI’s indicated for anxiety disorders include Zoloft, Lexapro, and Prozac.
A common cause of a flare up of symptoms when on medication like an SSRI is the initial ramp up period. This is the time when a medication is working up to a steady level in the bloodstream in order to reach a therapeutic level (a level that will actually work to one’s benefit).
This ramp up period can subject an individual to additional anxiety but it is important to note that this should go away once a therapeutic level has been reached. How long does it take to reach a therapeutic level? It usually takes a few weeks for SSRI’s to produce their desired effect.
Drugs like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, etc.) on the other hand work almost immediately although you should only rely on this class of medications on an as needed basis.
This class of medication is highly addictive and leaves an individual prone to dependency.
Not only is there a chance for additional anxiety and other side effects when first titrating up but there is also a very good chance that you won’t feel any anxiety relief at all during this period. As mentioned previously this period of time is meant to achieve a therapeutic dosage so you shouldn’t expect to feel any benefits before it has been reached.
Try to exercise patience, voice any concerns to your doctor or psychiatrist, and follow any advice given. Successful anxiety treatment and management is a marathon and not a sprint so by expecting instantaneous results you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
When undergoing treatment that consists solely of a medication regimen it is still likely for your anxiety to rear its ugly head or “breakthrough”. Breakthrough anxiety is anxiety that shows disregard for your medications clinical benefits and takes your symptoms and baseline to a level not usually experienced.
You may feel relatively calm and only mild anxiety symptoms that are very manageable while on medication but still suffer from these breakthrough symptoms on a regular basis.
What does this mean? This means that you should reevaluate your treatment approach as a whole and consult your psychiatrist or doctor about how to introduce techniques in addition to taking medication. We’ll discuss which coping techniques to consider in the section titled “How to Cope with Residual Anxiety”.
The Wrong Fit
The reason for your anxiety symptoms even when on medication could also simply be due to the fact that the medication you are currently on just isn’t the right fit for you.
We mentioned to be patient when just starting a drug like an SSRI but if you’ve been taking a medication for a few months and you aren’t happy with the results it may be time to change things up and/or add a new medication.
By doing this in addition to introducing other treatment options you’ll have a much better chance at reducing your anxiety than by sucking it up and sticking with the drug you are on. You’ll want to convey your unease to your psychiatrist and be specific concerning which symptoms are bothering you the most.
Progress on this front can only be attained if you are completely open with your psychiatrist. Make sure to jot down your troubles on a piece of paper or in a smartphone app so that you don’t forget something during your appointment. It’s very easy to forget a thing or two when relying on memory especially since an appointment can drum up anxiety which leads to a lack of focus and scattered memory.
How to Cope with Residual Anxiety
So you’ve come to realize that one or more of the reasons covered above are the culprit concerning residual anxiety on medication. Now what? It’s great to know a cause but without a solution it’s somewhat useless.
Below we will guide you through solutions tailored to each of the problems above.
Approaches Not to Be Dismissed
The first solution to residual anxiety encompasses several approaches of coping – that is, alternative anxiety treatment. These coping techniques are alternative in the sense that they do not involve medication.
Alternative approaches to anxiety are sometimes referred to as natural or holistic but the only identifier that really matters is that they don’t involve drugs. Four very popular and effective alternatives include talk therapy, exercise, mindfulness, yoga.
More of our anxiety content you might be interested in:
- Read our in depth look at treatment options that don’t involve medication
These approaches can be particularly helpful when it comes to breakthrough anxiety.
Using one or several of these options to your benefit can absolutely help take care of any anxiety while on medication. These are things you need to pursue because if you have a true anxiety disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder then your anxiety will most likely stick with you for the rest of your life.
You need to learn how to live with your anxiety and cope with it so that it stays at a manageable level, a level that will not impede on your quality of life.
Talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy is especially resourceful when it comes to finding the root cause of your anxiety issues and subsequently resolving and coping in an incredibly effective manner.
Dealing with anxiety is about coping in a way that allows you to live your life and methods such as these can bring you one step closer to doing so.
Medications that Work
The two issues discussed above related to medication can be resolved with patience and a strong relationship with your psychiatrist. You will also want to act on the alternatives discussed in the previous section, specifically talk therapy.
Non-medication based techniques should always be included in your treatment plan for the best results.
Finding the right medication(s) is always going to be a matter of trial and error which is why patience and a relationship with your psychiatrist forged on trust and open dialogue are so important.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always an enjoyable process but truth be told when you do find the right medication(s) you will see that the struggle was worth it.
Anxiety disorders will always require an individual to be two steps ahead of the affliction. There are quirks that can pop up from time to time such as anxiety bleeding through even while on medication, but one thing remains constant; a multi-faceted treatment plan will always provide the most benefit and anxiety relief.
If you can work with your psychiatrist to incorporate medication alternatives then you will put yourself far ahead of the pack. It is all too common for individuals with anxiety (and any other mental health problems) to take medication and leave it at that.
True relief and quality of life requires due diligence, hard work, and legitimate coping techniques.