What you need to know about autism and anxiety (part 2)

We follow up with the second part of this important topic about autism and anxiety. These two conditions affect adults as well as children. That’s why it is good to be informed about them, to learn more details about their symptoms and possible therapies. 

Luckily, biofeedback is here to help and if you have access to your own biofeedback device (one such as NUCLEUS or ED.X and NUCLEUS), you can learn how to access its matrix and see the diagnosis for yourself. 

Let’s start with some basic information. Since the last time we’ve spoken about autism, in this part two, we’ll share some important knowledge on anxiety. 

About anxiety

First of all, you should know that anxiety is a normal emotion. It’s your brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead. Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

In casual discourse, the words anxiety and fear are often used interchangeably. In clinical usage, they have distinct meanings: anxiety is defined as an unpleasant emotional state for which the cause is either not readily identified or perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable, whereas fear is an emotional and physiological response to a recognized external threat.

Occasional anxiety is OK. But anxiety disorders are different. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear.  Excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms. 

With treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can manage their feelings.

What are the symptoms of anxiety? 

The main symptom of anxiety disorders is excessive fear or worry. Anxiety disorders can also make it hard to breathe, sleep, stay still, and concentrate.  Your specific symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have. 

Common symptoms are: 

  • Panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Feelings of panic, doom, or danger
  • Sleep problems
  • Not being able to stay calm and still
  • Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingling hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breathing faster and more quickly than normal (hyperventilation)
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Thinking about a problem over and over again and unable to stop (rumination)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Intensely or obsessively avoiding feared objects or places

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of anxiety disorders, and these are:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder. You feel excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.
  • Panic disorder. You feel sudden, intense fear that brings on a panic attack. During a panic attack, you may break out in a sweat, have chest pain, and have a pounding heartbeat (palpitations). Sometimes you may feel like you’re choking or having a heart attack.
  • Social anxiety disorder. Also called social phobia, this is when you feel overwhelming worry and self-consciousness about everyday social situations. You obsessively worry about others judging you or being embarrassed or ridiculed.
  • Specific phobias. You feel intense fear of a specific object or situation, such as heights or flying. The fear goes beyond what’s appropriate and may cause you to avoid ordinary situations.
  • Agoraphobia. This happens when you have an intense fear of being in a place where it seems hard to escape or get help if an emergency occurs. For example, you may panic or feel anxious when on an airplane, on public transportation, or standing in line with a crowd.  
  • Separation anxiety. Little kids aren’t the only ones who feel scared or anxious when a loved one leaves. Anyone can get separation anxiety disorder. If you do, you’ll feel very anxious or fearful when a person you’re close with leaves your sight. You’ll always worry that something bad may happen to your loved one. 
  • Selective mutism. This is a type of social anxiety in which young kids who talk normally with their family don’t speak in public, like at school.
  • Medication-induced anxiety disorder. Use of certain medications or illegal drugs, or withdrawal from certain drugs, can trigger some symptoms of anxiety disorder.

Do you feel like you might find yourself in some of the above descriptions? Don’t worry, anxiety is treatable and we have a solution for you. 

How can biofeedback help?

Biofeedback is a mind-body technique that involves using visual or auditory feedback to teach people to recognize the physical signs and symptoms of stress and anxiety, such as increased heart rate, body temperature, and muscle tension.

During biofeedback, you’re connected to electrical sensors that help you receive information about your body. This feedback helps you make subtle changes in your body, such as relaxing certain muscles, to achieve the results you want, such as reducing pain.

Did you know that anxiety relief is one of the most common uses of biofeedback?

Biofeedback therapy, especially when combined with another form of neuro-feedback that involves breathing slowly (called Heart Rate Variability training) can be quite effective for reducing symptoms of both anxiety, depression, and autism.

It also teaches awareness, profound relaxation skills, and ways to manage an anxiety attack, as well as ways to recognize, reduce, and control stress responses. It also teaches the individual how to control the brain’s activity and maintain the proper brainwave levels to achieve a calm and focused state.

To see how to practically use a biofeedback device produced by QUANTUM MEDICAL and learn more about the matrix of NUCLEUS for example, which can help relieve symptoms of autism and anxiety during several biofeedback sessions – check out part 2 of this webinar.