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Those who have suffered from anxiety can list many unpleasant, even painful, symptoms. Feeling pressure in the head is a symptom that can be very hard to deal with. It is often described as if a belt has been tightened around your head. When you struggle with this symptom, and the other symptoms of anxiety, you just want relief.
If you have an anxiety disorder and feel this intense pressure in the head you can try the tips below. These are simple actions that may help relieve the pain. If these do not help you, you should seek the advice of a health professional.
What Causes Pressure in the Head?
The head pressure is often the result of a tension headache. When stressed, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are released. This stress response triggers a wide range of symptoms, one of which may be the head pressure. The symptoms of head pressure include:
- Feel dizzy
- Feels like a tight band around the head
- Head feels heavy
- Feels like the head will explode
- Tightness in the head
A tension headache may be caused when the muscles tighten in the scalp and neck when we are stressed. Some tension headaches even progress to a migraine.
How to Relieve Pressure in the Head
There are some simple steps you can take to reduce the pain caused by head pressure. Consider trying these tips if you are feeling pressure in the head from your anxiety:
- Hydrate. Sometimes just the act of drinking a glass of water will help reduce stress. Also, being dehydrated can cause many symptoms, like feeling light headed, dizzy, fatigue, or confusion. If you are feeling head pressure, try to consume enough water.
- Massage the head. A gentle self-massage can be soothing. With they eyes closed, try massaging the temples in a circular motion. Also massage the neck behind the jaw. This may help relax you and ease the head pressure somewhat.
- Go for a walk. Walking is a good action to take when you feel pressure in the head. The motion of walking can help you breath more deeply while releasing hormones that calm the mind.
- Dim the lights. Bright lights only intensify the tension headache. Turn off any bright overhead lighting, and even sit in the dark for a while.
- Find quiet. Loud sounds and noise can also provoke the head pain. Try to find a quiet place to lie down and rest.
Of course, if none of these measures help improve the feelings of pressure, you should see a doctor.
Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety
Finding relief for the anxiety is key to stopping the head pressure. Anxiety and stress activate the stress hormones that lead to the many symptoms. Anxiety symptoms include:
- Clinched jaw
- Shallow breathing
- Racing heart
- Sense of dread or fear
To reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as head pressure or pain, engage in some actions that lower stress levels. Learning some relaxation techniques can be very handy when a wave of anxiety rushes over you. Here are some ideas:
- Try deep breathing. Our breathing pattern can have a big effect on how our body handles stress. When you feel stressed, try deep breathing. breathe in deeply to a count of 5, hold the breath for 5, then slowly expel the breath to a count of 5.
- Take a yoga class. Yoga helps reduce stress through the slow poses and movements. Also, yoga has us focus on our breathing and our present mind state. Yoga classes are available online at no cost.
- Meditate. Taking some quiet time to reduce the noise in your head can help relax the mind and body. Find a spot where you can practice guided meditation, mindfulness, or prayer.
- Stretch. Gentle stretching is also helpful when stress rears up. Grab your yoga mat and do some slow stretches to relieve tension in the muscles.
The hope is that by using these natural methods to reduce stress and anxiety you can avoid taking meds. But for serious anxiety, it may be helpful to see a mental health worker who can prescribe a drug that helps.
Treatment for Anxiety Disorder
Treatment for an anxiety disorder will focus first on the features of the disorder you are experiencing. There are many forms of anxiety, each with its own unique profile. The treatment plan will align with the type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders include:
- GAD. This is the most frequent type of anxiety. It features extreme worry, fatigue, sweating, trembling, increased heart rate, shallow breathing, and irritability.
- OCD. This type of anxiety features an irrational fear of something or a situation. To manage the stress caused by the fear, the person begins doing repetitive acts, or compulsions.
- Social anxiety. This form of anxiety is centered on the fear of being judged or ridiculed in public.
- Phobia. A phobia is an intense fear of a thing, place, or situation.
- Trauma. PTSD features anxiety caused by a traumatic event. Nightmares and flashbacks of the event can lead to isolating and self-medicating with a substance.
- Panic disorder. This type of anxiety features repetitive panic attacks, often without a trigger or warning
Treatment for the anxiety disorder will include therapy and maybe meds. Therapy is centered around changing how you react to a stress trigger. Again, each type of anxiety has a different type of stress trigger, and that helps to shape treatment.
CBT: This is a short-term therapy that helps you change the thought distortions that you are responding to. Through the therapy process you will learn new thought-behavior patterns that will become your coping skills.
Anxiety meds: For some people, drugs can help manage the condition. These might include antidepressants or benzodiazepines.
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