A phobia is a form of anxiety disorder which causes an person to experience intense, irrational fear over a situation, living creature, place, or object.
If an individual has a phobia, they will sometimes shape their lives in order to escape what they consider as harmful. The threat envisaged is greater than any real danger presented by the terror source.
Phobias are mental disorders which are diagnosable.
When confronted with the cause of their phobia the individual may experience extreme distress. It can keep them from working properly and leads to panic attacks at times.
Around 19 million people in the US have phobias.
Important facts about phobias
- Phobias are more serious than simple fear sensations and are not limited to fears of specific triggers.
- Despite individuals being aware that their phobia is irrational, they cannot control the fear reaction.
- Symptoms may include sweating, chest pains, and pins and needles.
- Treatment can include medication and behavioral therapy.
- 19 million people in the United States have a phobia.
What is a phobia?
A phobia is a fear of distortion and of irration.
Also, the term ‘phobia’ refers to a fear of one particular cause. However, the American Psychiatric Association ( APA) does recognize three types of phobia. Including:
Specific phobia: An intense, irrational fear of a particular trigger.
Public phobia, or social anxiety: This is a profound fear of public embarrassment and being called out or criticized in a social situation by others. For someone with social anxiety the idea of large social gatherings is terrifying. It’s not exactly the same as shyness.
Agoraphobia: It is a fear of conditions from which it would be hard to escape if a person suffered intense panic, such as being in a lift or outside the house. This is often misunderstood as a dislike of open spaces but may also be attributed to being trapped in a restricted room, such as an elevator, or being on public transport. Individuals with agoraphobia are at greater risk of developing panic disorder.
Specific phobias are known as simple phobias, as they can be linked to an identifiable cause that may not occur frequently in an individual’s everyday life, such as snakes. Therefore, these are unlikely to greatly impact daily life.
Social anxiety and agoraphobia, since their symptoms are not readily identified, are known since complex phobias. It can also be harder for people with complex phobias to avoid triggers such as leaving the house or being in a large crowd.
Once a person starts planning their lives around avoiding the source of their fear, a phobia becomes diagnosable. This is worse than a normal reaction of fear.
A person with a phobia will experience the symptoms below. They are common across the majority of phobias:
- a sensation of uncontrollable anxiety when exposed to the source of fear
- a feeling that the source of that fear must be avoided at all costs
- not being able to function properly when exposed to the trigger
- acknowledgment that the fear is irrational, unreasonable, and exaggerated, combined with an inability to control the feelings
When exposed to the object of their phobia a person is likely to experience feelings of panic and intense anxiety. These perceptions may have physical effects including:
- abnormal breathing
- accelerated heartbeat
- hot flushes or chills
- a choking sensation
- chest pains or tightness
- butterflies in the stomach
- pins and needles
- dry mouth
- confusion and disorientation
Actually thinking about the source of the phobia will create a feeling of anxiety. In younger children , parents may observe that they cry, become very clingy, or attempt to hide behind the legs of a parent or an object. Also, they can throw tantrums to show their distress.
A complex phobia is much more likely than a simple phobia to affect a person’s wellbeing.
Of example, those suffering agoraphobia may also have a variety of other related phobias. These could include monophobia, or a fear of being left alone, and claustrophobia, a fear of feeling trapped in closed spaces.
A person with agoraphobia will rarely leave his / her home in extreme cases.
The most common specific phobias in the U.S. include:
- Claustrophobia: Fear of being in constricted, confined spaces
- Aerophobia: Fear of flying
- Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders
- Driving phobia: Fear of driving a car
- Emetophobia: Fear of vomiting
- Erythrophobia: Fear of blushing
- Hypochondria: Fear of becoming ill
- Zoophobia: Fear of animals
- Aquaphobia: Fear of water
- Acrophobia: Fear of heights
- Blood, injury, and injection (BII) phobia: Fear of injuries involving blood
- Escalaphobia: Fear of escalators
- Tunnel phobia: Fear of tunnels
They are far from being the only common phobias. People can develop a phobia of practically everything. The number of possible phobias also varies as society changes. Nomophobia, for example, is the fear of missing a mobile phone or computer.
It’s “the obsessive fear of being out of touch with technology” as defined in one paper.
Beginning after age 30 is rare for a phobia and most begin during early childhood , adolescence, or early adulthood.
These can be triggered by a traumatic situation, a frightening incident, or by a parent or member of the household with a phobia that a child can ‘Learn.’
Those grow usually before 4 to 8 years of age. For certain cases, this may be the result of an early traumatic experience. One example would be the development of claustrophobia over time when a younger child has an uncomfortable experience inside a confined space.
Phobias that begin during infancy can also be triggered by experiencing a family member’s phobia. For example, an infant whose mother has arachnophobia is far more likely to develop the same phobia.
Further work is needed to clarify exactly why agoraphobia or social anxiety develops in an individual. Actually researchers agree that complex phobias are caused by a mixture of life experiences, brain chemistry and genetics.
These may also be an echo of early human behaviors, leftover from a time when open spaces and unknown individuals usually posed a much greater danger to personal security than in the world today.
How the brain works during a phobia
Many brain regions store and reminisce of dangerous or potentially fatal incidents.
Earlier in life, if a person experiences a similar occurrence, certain areas of the brain recall the traumatic memory, often over once. That triggers the same reaction on the body.
In a phobia, brain regions associated with anxiety and stress tend to improperly recover the terrifying occurrence.
Researchers have found that phobias are often associated with the amygdala which lies behind the brain’s pituitary gland. The amygdala can cause the release of hormones called “fight-or-flight.” Which placed the body and the mind in a state of high alertness and tension.
Phobias are easily treatable, and people who have them are almost always conscious of their condition. This helps much in the diagnosis.
Speaking to a psychologist or psychiatrist is a useful first step in the treatment of an already identified phobia.
If the phobia doesn’t cause serious problems, most people find that avoiding the source of their fear simply helps them stay in control. Many individuals with serious phobias are not likely to seek help, because such concerns are always convenient.
The causes of certain phobias can’t be prevented, as is also the case with complex phobias. In these situations, the first step towards rehabilitation might be to talk to a mental health professional.
Most phobias can be treated with appropriate treatment. For every person with a phobia there is no single treatment that works. Treatment needs to be personalized to the patient to make it effective.
The doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist may recommend conduct therapy, drugs, or a combination of both. The therapy aims to alleviate symptoms of fear and anxiety and to help people control their responses to their phobia object.
The following medications are effective for the treatment of phobias.
Beta blockers: These can help reduce the physical signs of anxiety that can accompany a phobia.
Antidepressants: Inhibitors of serotonin reuptake (SSRIs) are widely prescribed for people with phobias. We affect brain serotonin levels, and this can lead to better moods.
Initially, SSRIs can cause nausea, sleeping problems and headaches.
If the SSRI does not succeed, a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) may be prescribed by your doctor for social phobia. People on an MAOI may need to avoid those types of food. Initially, side effects may include dizziness, an irritated stomach, restlessness, headaches, and insomnia.
Additionally, taking a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA), such as clomipramine, or anafranil, was found to improve symptoms of phobia. Sleepiness, blurred vision, constipation, urination problems, irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, and tremors can be the main side effects.
Tranquilizers: Benzodiazepines are an example of a tranquilizer for a phobia. Those can help to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. The sedatives should not be given to people with a history of alcohol dependence.
There are a variety of methods for treating a phobia with therapy.
Desensitization therapy, or relaxation therapy: It may help people with a phobia improve their reaction to fear. Over a series of escalating steps, they are gradually exposed to the cause of their phobia. A person with aerophobia, or a fear of flying on an airplane, for example, may take the following steps under guidance:
- They will first think about flying.
- The therapist will have them look at pictures of planes.
- The person will go to an airport.
- They will escalate further by sitting in a practice simulated airplane cabin.
- Finally, they will board a plane.
Cognitive behavioral therapy ( CBT): The physician, therapist, or psychologist helps the individual with a phobia learn new ways to interpret and respond to the cause of their phobia. This may promote coping. Most significantly, CBT will help a person who is experiencing phobia to control their own thoughts and feelings.
Phobias can be an individual’s source of genuine and continued distress. In most cases, however, they are treatable, and the source of fear is very often avoidable.
When you have a phobia you should never be afraid to seek assistance. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers a useful resource to locate a therapist. We also deliver a variety of discussions about how to conquer common phobias.
What’s the link between anxiety and high blood pressure?
Anxiety and high blood pressure might also be signs of something else. High blood pressure can be caused by anxiety, and anxiety can be caused by high blood pressure.
Anxiety is defined by the American Psychological Association (APA) as feelings of worry or stress. It might induce physical symptoms, including perspiration and an elevated heart rate. Anxiety, according to the APA, can raise a person’s blood pressure.
Furthermore, long-term high blood pressure, often known as hypertension, can make people worry about their health and future. Anxiety can also be caused by severe hypertension, according to Trusted Source.
Continue reading to learn more about the connection between anxiety and high blood pressure, as well as treatment options for both.
Is it possible for anxiety to trigger high blood pressure?
The body’s natural response to stress is anxiety. Anxiety might arise before an exam or when awaiting important information.
Anxiety is caused by the production of stress hormones by the body. These hormones cause a rise in heart rate as well as a constriction of blood vessels. Blood pressure can rise as a result of either of these changes.
According to a 2015 study, people who have high levels of anxiety have a greater risk of hypertension than those who have lower levels of worry. Early diagnosis and treatment of anxiety are especially important in people with hypertension, according to the researchers.
Worry-induced blood pressure rises are generally just temporary and disappear as the anxiety subsides. High amounts of worry on a regular basis, on the other hand, can harm the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels in the same way as long-term hypertension can.
Anxiety-related hormone changes can lead to increased fat accumulation in the long run, particularly around the belly. Anxiety can also cause behavioral changes in people, such as stress eating, which can lead to hypertension indirectly.
Additionally, certain anxiety drugs might raise blood pressure. Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which are used to treat anxiety disorders, have been found to raise blood pressure, according to research published in 2017.
Is it possible for high blood pressure to trigger anxiety?
Some people may experience anxiety as a result of having high blood pressure. When a person is diagnosed with hypertension, they may be concerned about their health and their future.
Furthermore, hypertension symptoms might trigger fear or worry. Hypertension can cause the following symptoms:
- vision changes
- irregular heart rhythm
- buzzing in the ears
Anxiety can also be a side effect of severe hypertension. If a person has severe anxiety and other symptoms like a headache or shortness of breath, they should seek medical help right away.
Low blood pressure and anxiety
There is no proof that anxiety reduces a person’s blood pressure at this time. Low blood pressure, on the other hand, might make a person uneasy or concerned.
Low blood pressure symptoms are often confused with anxiety symptoms. The following are symptoms of both low blood pressure and anxiety:
- difficulty concentrating
Anxiety or changes in blood pressure?
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between worry and variations in blood pressure. The majority of the time, hypertension does not create any symptoms. This suggests that a person’s blood pressure should be examined on an important basis.
Low blood pressure can cause symptoms that are comparable to those of anxiety. If a person isn’t sure if their symptoms are caused by worry or low blood pressure, they should consult a physician.
People with severe or repeated symptoms of either should also contact their doctor. A doctor will be able to determine the underlying cause of the symptoms and prescribe any therapies that are required.
Anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. It’s possible that a person will need a mix of these therapies.
Anxiety symptoms can be alleviated with a variety of medications. For various people, different medications will work. Among the possibilities are:
- buspirone, an anti-anxiety drug
- certain antidepressants
- benzodiazepines, which are sedatives used to treat anxiety for a brief period of time
- beta-blockers, It helps the heart to beat more slowly and gently.
People can control their anxiety symptoms by working with a psychotherapist.
One of the most successful kinds of psychotherapy for anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT teaches people how to adjust their thinking habits in order to minimize anxiety and worry.
Individuals acquire anxiety-management methods and are gradually exposed to events that provoke it throughout CBT. In these instances, the person will feel less afraid and worried as a result of this.
Changes in your way of life
An individual can adopt lifestyle modifications to assist lessen anxiety. To aid alleviate anxiety, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends the following:
- eating a nutritious balanced diet
- exercising at least 20 minutes per day
- setting goals and rewards
- avoiding alcohol and drugs
- getting a good night’s sleep
- learning a new skill
- having a support system
- practicing mindfulness
- trying to reduce negative thoughts, countering them with positive ones
High blood pressure treatment
A doctor may prescribe a treatment plan for someone with hypertension. This treatment approach may include dietary modifications, medication, or a combination of the two.
Changes in your way of life
To reduce blood pressure, a person can undertake a variety of lifestyle modifications, including:
- avoiding or limiting alcohol
- reducing salt intake
- eating a heart-healthy diet, which is rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
- exercising regularly
- quitting smoking, if they smoke
- maintaining a moderate weight
- managing stress
- getting good-quality sleep
High blood pressure can be treated with a variety of medications. These are some of them:
- angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, which prevent blood vessels from narrowing as much
- angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), to stop blood vessels from narrowing
- calcium channel blockers, which allow blood vessels to relax
- diuretics, which remove excess water and sodium from the body
A person’s pharmaceutical needs are determined by a number of factors, including their overall health and the severity of their hypertension. To keep their blood pressure under control, some people may require more than one type of medicine.
When should you seek assistance?
Individuals who believe they may be suffering from anxiety, hypertension, or both should consult a physician. Severe symptoms should be treated right once since they might suggest a medical emergency.
Observe the following signs and symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- back pain
- difficulty speaking
- chest pain
- numbness or weakness
- muscle tremors
Both hypertension and anxiety are conditions that can be effectively treated. Hypertension does not always occur in people who suffer from anxiety.
However, receiving care as soon as feasible can help people with either condition have a better outcome and lower the chance of consequences.
Is it possible for high blood pressure to be caused by stress?
Anxiety is a stress reaction. Hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released in response to stress. The “fight-or-flight” response is triggered by these hormones, which prepares the body to either run or confront the perceived threat.
A person’s fight-or-flight hormones might lead them to:
- increased blood pressure
- increased heart rate
The bodily systems of a person should return to normal once they have coped with their stress. Long-term stress, on the other hand, can lead to health issues such as:
- stomach pain
- inability to made decisions
- memory issues
- increase in blood pressure
- increased heart rate
- increase in fats in the blood
- weight gain
- weakened immune system
- lack of sleep
Anxiety and high blood pressure have been linked. Anxiety can lead to hypertension, especially if the anxiety is severe on a frequent basis.
Having high blood pressure might cause anxiety in certain people.
When one condition is treated, the chances of the other improving are high.
Individuals who believe they have one or both of these conditions should seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment.
Globus pharyngeus: What are the causes?
Globus pharyngeus, also known as “globus sensation” or “globus,” is a sensation of something being lodged in one’s throat. Globus can be a sign of a variety of illnesses.
Healthcare practitioners used to think of globus as mostly a psychological condition, according to a 2017 report in the journal Frontline Gastroenterology. However, studies have shown that it can be a sign of both psychological and physical problems.
Although globus is not painful, it can be inconvenient and have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life.
This page explains what a globus sensation is, how to treat it, and what produces it. The article also discusses what else could be generating the sensation and when to seek medical help.
What exactly is the globus sensation?
Despite the absence of a physical blockage, Globus can make a person feel as if they have a chronic lump in their throat.
People may describe the sensation as something constricting their throat, according to the National Health Service (NHS) of the United Kingdom.
It is, however, exceedingly common and is not a reason for concern.
Globus can also cause a person to have the following symptoms:
- itches in their throat.
- The swelling of the throat
- Persistence clearing of the throat
- Chronic cough
- Catarrh, which is a build-up of mucus in the nose, throat, or sinuses,
During times of stress, the symptoms may worsen.
The actual cause of globus is unknown at this time.
It can, however, happen as a result of stress and anxiety, especially when people are suppressing intense emotions.
According to a 2015 article, up to 96 percent of people with globus noticed that symptoms exacerbated during periods of high emotional intensity.
In addition, gastroesophageal reflux disease is a common reason (GERD). According to the authors of the article, 23–68% of people with globus also have GERD. The globus sensation might be caused by GERD symptoms such as heartburn.
Other medical problems that might produce globus include the following:
- cricopharyngeal spasm, which is a type of muscle spasm that happens in the throat
- hiatus hernia, which is when a part of the stomach moves up into the chest
- sinusitis, which is inflammation of the sinuses
- post-nasal drip, which occurs when the glands in the throat and nose continually produce mucus
- a swollen thyroid gland, or goiter
Hypopharyngeal cancer may be the cause in extremely uncommon situations.
Similar and related conditions
There are a number of illnesses that are comparable to globus. These are some of the conditions:
The term “dysphagia” refers to difficulty swallowing. This could indicate that a person is completely unable to swallow, or that they are having difficulty safely ingesting food or drink.
Dysphagia can cause the following symptoms:
- clearing the throat
- the sensation that food is stuck in the throat or chest
- weight loss
- preference for liquid and semisolid food
Odynophagia is a condition in which a person has pain during swallowing.
Odynophagia is a condition that happens when the esophagus or oropharynx, which is the region of the throat directly behind the mouth, becomes infected or inflamed.
Achalasia is a rare condition in which a person has trouble swallowing. Achalasia is a condition in which a person’s esophagus has difficulty transporting food into their stomach. This means that food can get stuck in the esophagus, resulting in:
- mild chest pain
- intense pain
- coughing during the night
- significant weight loss
How common is globus pharyngeus?
Globus is a prevalent medical complaint that accounts for about 4% of new referrals to ear, nose, and throat clinics, according to Trusted Source.
According to research from 2017, 12.5 percent of otherwise healthy people in the United States have globus. Furthermore, among those under the age of 50, globus appears to affect females more frequently than males. It affects both men and women over the age of 50, according to the authors.
According to researchers, up to 75% of people with globus may endure symptoms for years. It’s possible that this is due to the difficulty in diagnosing globus. It can be difficult for a doctor to discover a suitable treatment if the reason of a person’s globus cannot be determined.
When should you see a doctor?
The sensation of a big lump in the throat might be terrifying. Globus, on the other hand, is not a significant condition with no long-term health repercussions.
A person who is concerned about globus can benefit from speaking with a medical practitioner.
If you have globus and the following symptoms, you should see a doctor very away.
- neck or throat pain
- bleeding from the mouth or throat
- weight loss
- pain or difficulty swallowing
- muscle weakness
- a physical mass in the throat or mouth
- a progressive worsening of symptoms
There are no particular therapies for globus because there is no identified cause. When globus is caused by another medical condition, addressing that condition may help to cure it.
To help ease the discomfort and relax the throat muscles, the NHS recommends that you do the following:
- Swallow when the throat feels uncomfortable, with or without water.
- Yawn with the mouth wide open often.
- Move the jaw up and down and open the mouth at least two fingers wide.
A person can also try the following steps a few times a day:
- Sitting or standing, a person should shrug the shoulders up to the ears, hold the position, release, and repeat.
- Turn the head to the left, slowly and gently. Bring the head to the center and lower the chin to the chest. Raise the head, turn it to the right, and then bring it back to the center. A person can repeat this four times.
- Drop the head to the chest, and keep the mouth open. Gently roll the head in a circle and repeat in the other direction.
People should also:
- take antacids if they experience regular acid indigestion
- avoid clearing the throat as this can aggravate it further, and drink some water instead
- try to yawn if the desire to clear the throat is strong
A healthcare professional may recommend the following treatment options:
Proton pump inhibitors (PPI)
PPIs work by lowering a person’s stomach acid levels. PPIs are prescribed by a doctor to treat heartburn and acid reflux.
Those with globus, on the other hand, may require more vigorous and extended PPI medication, which can have undesirable side effects. In addition, 55.6 percent of people with GERD and globus were resistant to PPI treatment, according to researchers in a 2015 study.
Other acid blockers, such as H2 blockers, may be prescribed by a healthcare practitioner.
According to research, globus can be efficiently treated with speech therapy that involves relaxation techniques.
According to a 2017 study, 72 percent of people with globus who had speech therapy experienced complete remission. However, because of the limited sample size in this study, more research is needed.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy used to address psychological disorders that might manifest as physical symptoms.
Antidepressants may be helpful as well. Therapy with serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors can be an useful treatment option for patients with mild symptoms, according to a study published in 2021.
The sensation of having something trapped in one’s throat is known as globus. Despite the fact that it is usually not serious, it can cause concern and lower a person’s quality of life.
The actual reason for this is unknown. There are, however, some conditions that are linked to globus. If these disorders are the cause of globus, treatment may help.
There are a number of illnesses that are comparable to globus. It’s not like these conditions in that it doesn’t produce discomfort or make swallowing difficult.
A person should consult a doctor if they are concerned about globus. If you have globus and other significant symptoms, you should consult a doctor very away.
Bruxism or teeth grinding: All you should know
When a person is not chewing, they grind or clench their teeth, which is known as bruxism. It normally happens when sleeping, although it can also happen throughout the day. A lot of the time, a person isn’t even aware that they’re doing it.
Teeth grinding is the act of rubbing the teeth against one other when eating. Clenching occurs when a person clenches their muscles and holds their teeth together without moving them back and forth.
People can clench or grind their teeth at any time of the day or night. According to the Bruxism Association of the United Kingdom, 8–10% of the population suffers from it.
The symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of bruxism are discussed in this article. We also go through the distinctions between bruxism while sleeping and bruxism while awake.
Because it is not a sleep condition, awake bruxism differs from sleep bruxism. It’s more of an unconscious habit.
Teeth grinding is not always the result of awake bruxism. People are more inclined to clench their teeth or strain their jaw muscles instead. Aching around the jaw, dull headaches, and stiffness are all symptoms of awake bruxism. In cases when there is no grinding, however, the condition may not wear the teeth as much.
Awake bruxism occurs involuntarily, much like sleep bruxism. When people are concentrating or stressed, they may notice that they are more prone to it.
A form of sleep disorder is sleep bruxism. When people are awake, they may notice the following signs of sleep bruxism:
- broken or loose fillings
- clicking, popping, or grinding noises when moving the jaw
- worn teeth
- jaw pain and stiffness
- a dull headache
- sensitive, loose, or broken teeth
- facial pain
People can also experience ear pain because the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) — the joint that allows the jaw to open and shut — is very close to the ear. Referred pain occurs when a person feels pain in a location other than the cause of the pain.
People who have bruxism during sleep may not be aware that they are clenching or grinding their teeth, but those who sleep nearby may be able to hear the sounds.
What are the causes of bruxism?
Bruxism may not usually have a single, obvious cause, but it is linked to a multitude of circumstances. Depending on the kind of bruxism, these factors differ.
Primary bruxism is not caused by another ailment and happens on its own. The following are some of the known factors that contribute to it:
- Growing teeth: Bruxism is common in young children, with up to 40% experiencing it, usually when their teeth are growing. However, because the teeth and jaw grow quickly during childhood, the bruxism usually resolves on its own without causing lasting damage.
- Misaligned bite: In some people, bruxism may happen because either a person’s bite is not aligned or they have missing teeth. Irritation in the mouth may also contribute to grinding or clenching.
- Stress: One of the main causes of bruxism in adults, whether it occurs during sleep or when awake, is stress. A 2020 systematic review found that there was a significant association between stress and bruxism, but more research is necessary to understand the relationship.
- Smoking, alcohol, and caffeine: A 2016 review of previous research found that the use of these substances was also associated with bruxism. People who smoked or drank alcohol regularly were about two times more likely to have bruxism, while those who drank more than 8 cups of coffee per day were 1.5 times more likely.
Secondary bruxism occurs as a result of another medical condition or circumstance, such as:
- Mental health conditions: Anxiety and depression are associated with bruxism. This association may be due in part to stress, which can contribute to these conditions.
- Neurological conditions: Conditions such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can cause movement during sleep, which may result in bruxism.
- Medications: Bruxism can be a side effect of certain medications, including some antidepressants and antipsychotics. A 2018 study found a link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and bruxism. Fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft) were the most common culprits out of the studied drugs.
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is a condition that causes breathing to stop temporarily during sleep. It can reduce sleep quality and cause frequent arousals, which may be why it is a risk factor for bruxism. By disturbing sleep, sleep apnea may promote teeth grinding or clenching.
What are the long-term effects of bruxism?
Long-term damage from bruxism may cause:
- tooth sensitivity, due to enamel wearing away
- gum inflammation or bleeding
- loose teeth
- damage to dental work, such as crowns and fillings
- flattened or short teeth
- tooth fractures
- TMJ syndrome, which causes pain, tension, and difficulty chewing
A dental examination can help a dentist identify bruxism. It is possible that they will notice:
- worn tooth enamel
- flattened, fractured, or chipped teeth
- loose or damaged crowns and fillings
Tooth wear can also be caused by too vigorous brushing, abrasives in toothpaste, acidic soft beverages, and hard meals, but only a skilled expert can distinguish between the different wear patterns.
Bruxism can be treated using a variety of therapies and strategies. These are some of them:
Mouthguard or mouth splint
To prevent the teeth from injury while sleeping, a dentist may prescribe wearing a mouth splint or mouthguard. These devices can aid by distributing pressure evenly across the jaw, creating a physical barrier between the teeth, and minimizing grinding noise.
Bruxism mouthguards are often made of flexible rubber or plastic. A dentist can custom-make one for a person’s teeth, or they can purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) version. The over-the-counter versions may be less comfortable.
Splints for the mouth are usually composed of a harder plastic and fit over the teeth. Some splints are designed to go over the top teeth, while others are designed to fit over the bottom teeth. A splint may retain the jaw in a more relaxed position or act as a barrier, causing damage to the splints rather than the teeth, depending on the design.
Generic mouthguards are not recommended for sports since they might be bulky and cause severe discomfort.
A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen can help reduce the discomfort and swelling caused by bruxism.
In rare cases, a doctor may prescribe a prescription to relax the muscles and break the cycle of teeth grinding for a brief period of time. This method allows the jaw muscles to relax, which may help to alleviate discomfort.
If bruxism is a side effect of a medicine, a person should talk to their doctor about switching to a different one. Never stop taking a drug or modify the dosage without first visiting a doctor.
Biofeedback is a sort of treatment that helps people become aware of and manage involuntary body processes such as breathing and heart rate.
There isn’t much data on biofeedback’s usefulness in treating bruxism, but a 2018 review found modest evidence that a specific biofeedback tool called contingent electrical stimulation alleviated symptoms after several nights of usage.
In severe cases of bruxism, injections of botulinum toxin, or Botox, can be used to paralyze the muscles that cause tooth grinding while sleeping. Botox, on the other hand, can be costly, and frequent injections are required to maintain the results.
Treatment for underlying conditions
If a person with bruxism also suffers from stress, anxiety, or depression, finding treatment for these issues may help them stop grinding their teeth.
Typically, these mental health disorders are treated with a mix of talk therapy and medicine to alleviate symptoms, but because some SSRIs can produce bruxism as a side effect, a person may choose to start with therapy first.
If a person has a disorder like sleep apnea, for example, discussing with a doctor about it may help them receive a diagnosis and treatment. To reduce sleep interruptions, some people with sleep apnea benefit from utilizing a continuous positive airway pressure equipment.
Self-care may be able to help people with primary bruxism lessen or prevent symptoms. They could, for example, try:
- avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine
- refraining from chewing gum, as this may increase wear and tear or encourage more grinding
- applying gentle heat to the jaw to relieve pain and tension
- reducing avoidable stress and taking steps to manage unavoidable stress
Stress can be caused by external events and situations, but it can also be caused by how people interpret those experiences. In any instance, there are options for dealing with it.
Seeking help, setting aside time for relaxation, and practicing mindfulness can all be beneficial. Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other relaxation people may also be beneficial.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions concerning bruxism.
Can bruxism cause tinnitus?
There’s a chance that bruxism and tinnitus are connected. Tinnitus can develop if the TMJ is injured, according to the American Tinnitus Association. Tinnitus can be caused by bruxism since it directly affects this joint.
Is bruxism inherited?
According to an older analysis of previous research, there is some evidence that bruxism runs in families. However, no study has shown particular genes linked to it, and genetics is most likely just one of many contributing variables.
When a person grinds or clenches their teeth unconsciously, this is known as bruxism. It can happen when you’re awake or asleep, and it can cause face discomfort, jaw stiffness, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause long-term damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw joint.
Bruxism can be detected during a dental exam by a dentist. The goal of treatment is to reduce tooth damage with a mouthguard or mouth splint, as well as to address any conditions that may be contributing to the bruxism. This may entail lowering stress, switching drugs, or addressing coexisting diseases like sleep apnea.