Do pacifiers help with anxiety? (+downsides?)

This article will discuss how pacifiers can help people manage anxiety. For that, the article will explain what anxiety is, what are the benefits of using pacifiers, and what is the downside of using pacifiers to soothe yourself. Along with that, the article will discuss what are other ways to cope with anxiety.

Can pacifiers help with anxiety? 

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There is still very little information about the benefits of an adult using a pacifier to calm themselves from their anxiety.  There have been some articles about adults that, in trying to improve the quality of their sleep, are looking for many strategies they used as kids. 

For example, some people are having warm milk bottles to calm themselves before going to bed. They are also looking for heavyweight blankets to remind them of the sense of security they felt when going to bed as children.

It can be that the use of pacifiers can offer a momentary relief for anxiety, especially when it is preventing people from sleeping. That can be because people that use it have an oral fixation.

That term, created by Sigmund Freud, determines the period in the life of a child, around their first year of life, in which they develop an oral fixation. That is why kids that age usually put everything in their mouths. 

So when a grown-up has an oral fixation, they can feel a sense of well-being by sucking on the pacifier, the same way they feel by nail-biting, or chewing the cap of a pen. What is important to say is that the benefit of the pacifier on anxiety is only momentary. 

So to look for long-term treatment for anxiety, people should learn more about the condition. Let’s explain what anxiety is.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a common condition that everyone experiences. It is what makes us avoid dangerous situations. It can also appear when a person is dealing with an unknown situation such as a first date, or a job interview. 

But to some people, anxiety starts to take another level. They can begin to feel worried, fear, and concerned too strongly, even when there is no concrete threat insight. This is when it is possible to say a person has an anxiety disorder.

A person with an anxiety disorder will have a constant fear of the worst happening, what is called the fear of impending doom. And those thoughts start to harm the person’s life, causing them to stop doing things they enjoy. 

Anxiety has many symptoms, they can be physical and emotional ones. The physical symptoms of anxiety are:

  • Heart beating fast
  • Fast breathing
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Numbness on the hands and feet
  • Tense muscles
  • Feeling tired
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea, and vomiting

The most common emotional signs of anxiety are:

  • Feeling nervous
  • Inability to relax
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Wanting to avoid a  situation that triggers anxiety

What is the downside of using a pacifier? 

There might be some downsides to using a pacifier to cope with anxiety. They can bring some damage to your teeth, although there is not a lot of research about how pacifiers affect the teeth of adults. But the use of pacifiers are usually related to these teeth conditions:

  • Malocclusion 
  • Changes in the shape of the jaw
  • Changes in the roof of the mouth
  • Oral infections
  • Speech problems

The use of pacifiers can also bring a risk of infection due to the germs in the pacifier. If you don’t keep it clean, you can have surface bacteria, and the porous surface of the pacifier can grow bacteria from the inside out.

And as for a mental health risk, the use of pacifiers can make you look for adequate help to treat your anxiety right away. Which can cause your condition to get worse. 

When should you look for more support? 

You might need to look for extra support, besides the use of the pacifiers, if you start to feel a negative effect of anxiety in your life. It can also be that you realize, over time, that the pacifier doesn’t work as well as it used to. And that can also be a sign you need professional help.

What are the other ways to cope with anxiety? 

If you are using a pacifier to feel better from your anxiety, know that there are also some other ways you can do that. So here are other ways you can cope with anxiety.

Learn about it 

The first thing to do, when dealing with anxiety, is learn everything you can about it. In this situation, knowledge is power. You will learn better about what causes it, what are the main symptoms, and consequently, how you can cope with it. 

Discover what triggers you 

When you have an anxiety disorder, it can be that you are triggered by something. It can be an external event that causes you to feel the symptoms of anxiety. Once you discover your triggers, it will allow you to work on the root of them, and how to handle them.

Keep active 

Exercising is a great way for you to cope with anxiety. It keeps your body active, gives you a sense of well-being, and makes you focus on something else besides the anxiety of the negative thoughts brings to you. You don’t need to start big, start with a short walk, and little by little increase the intensity.

Avoid alcohol or drugs 

Alcohol and drugs can seem like a great idea when you are feeling anxious, it can seem like a quick relief, and something that will help you forget about the anxiety. But keep in mind that the next day you will feel a lot worse about your anxiety.

Cut back on coffee 

When you have anxiety, you are usually more agitated, if you drink too much, it can make your anxiety even more intense.

Take care of your health 

Taking care of your eating and sleeping habits is important when you are dealing with anxiety. A good night of sleep can improve your general well-being. 

And as for eating, when you are anxious, you can think about binge eating, which, the same way as the use of alcohol or drugs, will only make it worse. Try to eat healthy and balanced.

Use relaxation or meditation techniques

Breathing exercises and meditations, such as mindfulness are a great way for you to center yourself when anxiety kicks in. It will allow you to focus on the moment, instead of the racing thoughts in your mind.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Do pacifiers help with anxiety? 

What are the types of anxiety? 

When discussing anxiety disorders, one should know that there are many forms of it. There is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, in which a person feels an intense fear or worry even about unrealistic things. 

There is a panic attack that happens when a person experiences intense anxiety, and it starts to manifest in their bodies by shaking, fast heart beat, and even dizziness. There is a social anxiety disorder, in which a person feels extremely anxious around others in fear that they might be judged.

Another form of anxiety disorder is phobias, in which the person has an intense fear, beyond the appropriate amount, about one particular thing, for example, flying. 

There is a form of anxiety that is called separation anxiety, usually common in kids. It causes them to be scared that something bad will happen to their loved ones.

Anxiety can also be caused by the use of some medications, which is known as medication-induced anxiety.

What are transitional objects? 

Transitional objects are ones a kid may choose to feel a sense of security, it can be a blanket, a teddy bear, or a soft toy. They are used as a way for children to make an emotional transition from being completely dependent on their parents, especially the mother, to being independent.

Having that transitional object with them can guarantee them that they are safe and loved, even if their parents are not present at the moment. Since they are usually cuddly objects, it can make them feel good, and since they are always present with the kid, its familiarity can make it easier for them to feel calm.

A kid having a transitional object is not a sign of insecurity, rather than that, it is something that shows how they are learning to create a sense of security that comes from other bonds aside from the ones with their parents.

What are the first two phases kids go through according to Sigmund Freud?

According to Sigmund Freud, for a kid to develop their personality, they will go through 5 stages of psychosexual development. The first one is the oral stage, which goes from birth until around their first birthday.

This means that the baby’s satisfaction will come mostly from their mouth, so being breastfed, pacifiers are sources of pleasure. The second stage is the anal stage, it goes from when the kid is 1 until they are 3. 

In this stage, kids usually are potty trained and it is a great source of pleasure knowing that they can hold something in, and then push it out.

It is followed by the phallic stage that goes on from ages 3 and 6. In this stage, the kid’s pleasure comes from their genital area. It is usually when kids discover that there is a difference between boys and girls which can cause them to feel jealous. During this stage, the Oedipus complex needs to be resolved.

From 6 until the beginning of their teens years they go through the latency period, in which there is no relevant sexual development. And by then, the genital stage starts, and it is when they start to experiment with their sexuality.

 Why do babies like pacifiers?

Pacifiers can have a great soothing effect on children because it reminds them of being in the womb. It lowers their heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level.

Does anxiety have a cure?

No, anxiety doesn’t have a cure. What is possible to say is that you manage its symptoms and can regain confidence in doing things that used to trigger your anxiety. It is impossible to say that someone is cured of anxiety because it has a genetic aspect to it. 

And since genetics is not possible to alter, what you do is treat some of the other causes, and what triggers it. This shouldn’t turn people that suffer from anxiety hopeless. It is possible to manage it, and improve your quality of life by a great deal. 

Conclusion

This article explained how pacifiers can have a soothing property on people, and how they can help them cope with anxiety. Not only that, the article explained what anxiety is, what are the downsides of using pacifiers, and when people should look for help to cope with their anxiety.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.

References

https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/04/194736/sleeping-like-a-baby-lala-kent-baby-bottle
https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/pacifiers-for-anxiety-adults#takeaway

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