Anxiety is a feeling of fear or nervousness. You may feel anxious without exactly knowing why. Or you may worry and become anxious about making too many mistakes, being criticized, or “failing” at a task.
Some people may have sudden onset of anxiety that can be overwhelming (panic attacks). Anxiety may be related to a very stressful situation— sometimes the situation that caused the injury—that gets “replayed” in the person’s mind over and over and interferes with sleep (post-traumatic stress disorder). Since each form of anxiety calls for a different treatment, anxiety should always be diagnosed by a mental health professional or physician.
What causes anxiety after concussion?
- Anxiety often happens when you face too many demands (e.g., returning to employment, time pressures/deadlines, caregiving duties).
- Situations that require a lot of attention and information-processing can make you anxious (e.g., crowded environments, heavy traffic or noisy children).
What can be done about anxiety?
- Try to reduce the environmental demands and unnecessary stresses that may be causing anxiety.
- Add structured activities into the daily routine, such as exercising, volunteering, church activities or self-help groups.
- Anxiety can be helped by certain medications, by psychotherapy (counseling) from a mental health professional who is familiar with brain injury or a combination of medications and counseling.
Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of loss, sadness, or anger that interferes with a person’s everyday activities. People can become depressed when something unpleasant happens to them. Concussions are unpleasant injuries. People tell themselves unpleasant things all the time out of habit, not because those things are really true. Here are some strategies to help you feel better.
- Do something that you enjoy every day. Make a plan to do this and stick to it.
- Find things to look forward to every day.
- Try to tell yourself positive things daily. If you’re thinking sad or depressed thoughts, just say “STOP”. Simply stopping this thought can help make you feel better.
- Think of things you are thankful for.
- Picture yourself doing your favourite things.
- Ask yourself questions to try and think of things in a different way:
- “Is this fact or opinion?”
- “What would be a more helpful way of looking at things?”
- “I feel bad now, but if I do something anyway—will I feel better?”
- “It’s okay to feel sad about this situation. What can I do to get through it?”
- “What would I say to a friend in this situation?”
Rate your mood (learn from the video)
Irritability is a feeling of agitation. When you are irritable you become frustrated or upset more easily. Irritability starts to be a problem if it’s harming your relationships and how you communicate with people. Some strategies to manage irritability include:
- Get more rest.
- When you start to get angry ask yourself why?
- Count to ten before reacting to a situation.
- Try to stay calm and explain your point of view.
- Try to think of different ways to solve the problem. Knowing there are many ways to solve the problem may ease your mind.