Cancer is alarming for many people due to its reputation for being a potent and relentless disease. The symptoms of anal cancer, which includes recurring pain and discomfort, and the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy can further reduce the quality of life. Constant exposure to these stressors can lead to unmanageable levels of anxiety, which can progress to anxiety disorders. However, there are ways to fight back.
This article will help you understand better what anxiety disorders are, how they relate to anal cancer, and how people can manage anxiety.
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety is part of the flight-or-fight response, which helps the human body prepare for dangerous situations. If encountered occasionally and in manageable amounts, anxiety is harmless and can even be helpful.
However, these feelings of anxiousness can reach crippling levels for people who have anal cancer, preventing them from doing what they want and from living life as they please. Such unmanageable anxiety is the hallmark of anxiety disorders, which are defined as a group of conditions characterized by excessive and persistent feelings of dread and fear.
These conditions share common symptoms such as the following:
- difficulty in concentrating
- sleep problems
- excessive sweating
- heart palpitations
There may be panic attacks, which are recurring episodes of intense emotional distress which may occur suddenly and without warning. Although triggers can initiate them, they can also happen spontaneously.
Like many mental conditions, these disorders are influenced by a myriad of factors, including genetics and environmental causes. The imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain regulating the moods is usually implicated. The traumatic events may cause or worsen anxiety disorders.
Presence of stressors, including diseases like anal cancer, can generate and worsen anxiety.
While anal cancer is an uncommon disease, anxiety disorders affect a more substantial number of people, with an estimated 18% of people in the United States living with these conditions every year, and with only a third receiving treatment.
Treatment And Management
Unlike many diseases, no magic pill can completely cure anxiety disorders. However, several treatment options can readily be used to control and manage symptoms. Medical professionals specializing in mental health are the ones who prescribe treatment, which can include counseling, medication, or both.
Counseling such as psychotherapy can help people intimately understand their relationship with anxiety. Aside from being an outlet for discussion, counseling also helps people learn coping strategies and guides them towards identifying and avoiding triggers, which can otherwise worsen the anxiety.
Medication, on the other hand, attempts to correct chemical imbalances in the brain to bring improvements in mood and feelings. While they may have side effects, specialists usually specify treatments regimens that optimize for efficacy and minimize any negative effects.
You can read more about counseling services for anxiety here: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/anxiety/.
Aside from these treatment routes, people should also practice fundamental health habits, including a well-balanced diet, enough sleep, regular exercise, and adequate social interaction. A healthy body nourishes a healthy mind. These habits complement the more formal treatment routes for anxiety disorder mentioned earlier. Keeping your body healthy also increases your ability to fight cancer, and it supplements other anti-cancer treatments you may be receiving.
For people who have anal cancer, adhere to your prescribed treatment programs, communicate regularly with your doctor, and maintain a strong support system with your friends and family. The feelings of helplessness from having both cancer and anxiety disorders can be overwhelming, but it can be controlled if you know that you are doing your best to fight back. With proper treatment and support, cancer patients who suffer from anxiety disorders can expect to achieve control over anxiety, giving them a better shot at surviving and at living a good life.