Awareness of anxiety is increasing. It might seem like more people have it, but that will be because more people are willing to talk about it. Some insurance providers are being proactive by offering wellness incentives with their insurance for expats. There is also an increase in expat medical insurance policies that offer benefits for mental health in the way of psychological counselling and treatment. If you are curious about what is covered in your policy, call Expat Insurance Singapore or your health insurance broker to find out more.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the way that our bodies respond to stress. It shows itself in a feeling of fear. Moving home, public speaking and deadlines are everyday stressors that can cause us to feel anxious. These feelings should come and go. When there is an anxiety disorder, these feelings don’t go away, even if the stressor has been removed. People who suffer from anxiety feel apprehensive and fearful all the time, even if there is seemingly nothing to worry about.
How anxiety appears varies in each person and can be triggered by different things. It can show itself in many ways, which is why it is important to understand how it presents itself.
Anxiety symptoms could be:
- difficulty concentrating
- trouble going to sleep
- increased heart rate
With an anxiety disorder, these feelings will stay for six months or more and negatively impact everyday life. If you feel like you suffer from anxiety, check your expat health cover to see what is included. If you need some help, let us know.
What can I do?
If you think that you might have anxiety, a good starting point is to talk about it. Talk to your partner or friends and let them know how you are feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, contact a GP and talk to them. IMC has some amazing doctors on staff who are very easy to talk to.
Start with some lifestyle adjustments that could help make a difference. These could be:
- Get more sleep by going to bed earlier and at the same time each night. Avoid looking at your phone for an hour before bed.
- Exercise regularly by trying to get at least 30 mins a day. Here’s a piece that we wrote about helping you to achieve this – Blog
- Look at reducing your drinking. Alcohol is a depressant which can exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
- Try meditation apps like Headspace or Calm. Meditation teaches the brain how to focus and come back from distraction. This is a very useful tool to help with anxiety.
- Try yoga and massage to help you focus and relax.
Some expat health cover policies have wellness benefits built into them which may help with some of these points. Check with our team today if any of these are included in your plan.
Counselling and psychology
If you feel like you need some professional help, check to see if your expat medical insurance covers counselling or psychologist visits. Talking to an expert who understands what is happening physically and emotionally will be of great benefit. They will be able to give you tips and coping strategies to use to help you move forward. The doctors at IMC have a list of mental health care professionals that they recommend. Make an appointment with one of the GPs at IMC, tell them that you are interested in getting counselling and they can give you some recommendations.
Medication is a useful and cost-effective way of managing anxiety. It helps in balancing brain chemistry and minimises the more severe symptoms. The correct medication and dose can make life manageable and enjoyable for anxiety sufferers. It takes around 6 weeks for the medication to work properly and the course should be taken for at least six months to two years. There can be some side effects and you should discuss these with your doctor.
Your GP will talk to you about what your symptoms are and the best course of action to take for your anxiety.
If you think that you need a more comprehensive policy, let our team know today and we will help you with some options.
Many people manage to live either short or long term with anxiety. With the right information and the right help, it can be treated and managed successfully.
If you need to talk to someone but aren’t ready to have that conversation with anyone that you know, here are some numbers here that will be helpful:
Singapore Association for Mental health: 1800 283 7019
MON – FRI 0900 – 1800
Healthline: 1800 223 1313
MON – FRI 0900 – 1700 SAT 0900 – 1300
Samaritans of Singapore: 1800 221 4444 24 HOURS