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Bismarck

  Sanford Downtown Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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  Sanford North Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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  Sanford Children's Walk-in Clinic
Serving children
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Dickinson


  Sanford Health Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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Minot


  Sanford Health Walk-in Clinic
Serving all ages
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Sanford North Mandan Clinic

How do I know if my anxiety is normal?

Some level of anxiety is normal for everyone. When you encounter a situation that makes you fear for your safety, it’s normal to experience reactions such as a fast heartbeat, sweaty palms and difficulty controlling your thoughts. Even during times when you’re particularly busy, anxiety can provide positive energy to complete a task. But when you begin your days dreading them for no apparent reason and you live with constant fear or worry, you may have anxiety disorder.

What is anxiety disorder?

Ongoing worry or fear that is unrelated to a particular situation or that is completely out of proportion is characteristic of anxiety disorder. For instance, if you worry every day about a loved one dying when that person is in good health, your worry is excessive. If you have anxiety disorder, that worry is likely to be accompanied by symptoms that include shortness of breath, muscle tension, trembling, sleep loss, fast heartbeat, nausea, irritability and not being able to concentrate.

Why do I feel so anxious?

Even when there is no danger, your body is triggering the alarm system inside you. Several factors can contribute to anxiety disorder, including a chemical imbalance, medication side effects, illness and unresolved memories.

What can I do?

Several lifestyle management measures can help you control your worry. Deep breathing and relaxation techniques are helpful. Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol, drugs, caffeine and over-the-counter medications containing a decongestant.

How does anxiety affect my overall health?

The feelings you get when you are anxious are uncomfortable and frightening, but they wonít hurt your overall health. However, as anxiety progresses, many people quit socializing, canít sleep at night and sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs for relief. The isolation, insomnia and addiction that may result can lead to major health concerns. If you think you may have anxiety disorder, call your family medicine doctor. Family medicine doctors are trained to diagnose and treat primary care and mental health needs for people of all ages. Your doctor can provide counseling that will help you deal with your anxiety better. Your doctor can also work with you to develop lifestyle management and relaxation techniques that will help you control your anxiety. Medication to help reduce your anxiety level may also be prescribed. Taking that first step and calling your doctor is an important step in helping you gain control over your anxiety.

Dr. Gretchen Belzer-Curl is a board-certified family medicine physician at Sanford North Mandan Clinic. A graduate of the UND School of Medicine, Dr. Belzer-Curl specializes in womenís medicine, preventative health, abnormal Paps and colposcopies. She enjoys music, skiing, running and time with her husband and four children.

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