Most people experience anxiety every now and then, but this is a normal physiological event with no adverse effects. However, there are some individuals who experience moderate to severe anxiety regularly. They may start to fear and fret about minute things that may be of no importance. Often the anxiety can result in severe symptoms of panic and fear within minutes, leading to complete loss of control.
In these individuals, anxiety can occur at any time, even a small trigger can set off the symptoms.
When moderate to severe anxiety occurs on a regular basis and causes panic attacks or leads to intense fear, it often leads to a poor quality of life. People with severe anxiety will try to avoid any situation that causes the symptoms and consequently often lead to sheltered life or become socially isolated. People typically seek medical advice or alternatively seek the comfort of an infused weighted blanket.
There are many cases of anxiety including medications, certain disease states, mental health disorders and in many cases no cause is ever found.
Some common anxiety disorders include social phobia (eg afraid to speak in front of people), specific phobias (eg afraid of snakes, heights) or separation anxiety disorder (often seen in children).
What are risk factors for anxiety?
Common risk factors for anxiety include the following
- Trauma; especially individuals who have been physically or emotionally abused. Individuals who have witnessed traumatic events like the death of a family member are at a risk for developing anxiety at some point in their lives.
- Illness is a common cause of anxiety; people who have been diagnosed with cancer or a chronic disorder can develop anxiety.
- A common risk factor for anxiety is stress; For example, one may worry about their financial situation or the thought of losing a job.
- Some personalities are more at risk than others for developing anxiety
- Having a mental health disorder like depression
- Finally, excessive abuse of alcohol and illicit drugs can trigger anxiety
When anxiety affects the quality of life, one should seek treatment.
What are treatments for anxiety?
The two traditional treatments for anxiety include medications and psychotherapy. Medications can control the symptoms but they also have side effects, are expensive and have to be taken for a long time. Similarly, psychotherapy sessions are not cheap and one has to undergo many sessions before any benefit is seen.
What about weighted blankets to treat anxiety?
Luckily another treatment option for anxiety is weighted blankets. The application of weighted blankets is similar to acupressure. The weighted blankets compress the skin and underlying tissues and trigger release of chemicals, which then act on the brain to modulate mood, behavior and anxiety. The weighted blanket is best applied at night since it also produces excellent sleep. The hugging effect generated by the weighted blanket produces a sense of calm, relaxation and diminished anxiety. The benefits of a weighted blanket are not immediate and may take a few days. To get the maximal benefit of weighted blankets one should also change lifestyle.
This means discontinuing alcohol and use of illicit drugs, developing good sleep hygiene, participating regularly in exercise, interacting with online self-help groups, and participating in a variety of social activities.
Last but not least, one needs to be really careful when using weighted blankets on kids because the weight of the heavy blankets can rarely interfere with the child’s breathing.
Conclusion on using weighted blankets to combat anxiety
It is important to understand that the use of a weighted blanket does not always cure anxiety but it will reduce the symptoms over time. In some cases, weighted blankets can be combined with anti-anxiety medications to get the most benefit.