Anxiety disorders are a form of mental health problem. People who have an anxiety condition may experience fear and dread in response to particular things and circumstances. They can also have physical symptoms of anxiety, including a racing heart or sweating. This makes it challenging to get through the day.
It's natural to experience some anxiousness. If you have to deal with a problem at work, attend an interview, take an exam, or make a major decision, you might feel anxious or tense. Anxiety, on the other hand, can be good. For example, it aids in recognizing dangerous circumstances and focusing attention, allowing us to remain safe.
Anxiety disorders, however, go beyond the normal worry and fear you might experience occasionally. Anxiety disorders occur if anxiety makes it difficult for you to function. It can also arise when something provokes your emotions making you overreact and having little control over your reaction to things.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
The following are the common examples of anxiety disorders;
Panic disorder: This is characterized by recurrent panic attacks that occur at inconvenient times. An individual suffering from panic disorder may live in constant worry of having another panic attack.
Phobia: This is an abnormally strong fear and aversion to a certain thing, place, or activity.
Social anxiety disorder: This is an intense fear of judgment by other people, especially in social circumstances.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): This is characterized by reoccurring illogical beliefs that lead to the repetition of specific behaviors.
Separation anxiety disorder: The fear of being away from home or your loved ones.
Illness anxiety disorder: This is characterized by worry about one's health (previously known as hypochondria).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): An anxiety that occurs after a traumatic experience.
Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can manifest in a variety of ways, and symptoms might range from person to person. This is because anxiety's many symptoms don't affect everyone, and they might change with time.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by the following symptoms:
- Restless, tense, or nervous sensation
- Feelings of impending danger, terror, or tragedy
- An elevated heart rate
- Rapid breathing (hyperventilation)
- Feeling tired or weak
- Having difficulty focusing or thinking about anything apart from your current concern
- Having difficulty sleeping
- Having troubles with your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract)
- Having trouble managing your worries
- Having a strong desire to avoid situations that cause uneasiness
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
There are many causes of anxiety disorders. Many things might happen at once; some things can lead to others, while others don't always lead to anxiety disorders. The following are some of the possible causes:
- Environmental stressors, including workplace pressures, relationship concerns, and family problems
- Genetics: Anxiety is genetic and sometimes run in families. Therefore people who have a family member with one are more likely to develop the condition.
- Medical conditions, such as signs of another disease, medication side effects, or the stress of major surgery or a lengthy recuperation
- Brain chemistry: Most anxiety disorders are defined by psychologists as misalignment of hormonal and electrical signals within the brain.
- Withdrawing from certain illicit substances has the potential to amplify the consequences of other plausible triggers.
Risk Factors of Anxiety Disorders
The following factors could increase the possibility of developing anxiety disorders in children and adults;
Trauma: Some children who have been subjected to abuse or trauma or who have witnessed terrible events are more likely to develop anxiety disorders later in life. Anxiety problems can also develop in adults who have been through a traumatic incident.
An illness caused by stress: When you have a health problem or a severe illness, you may be worried about your treatment as well as the future.
The accumulation of stress: Excessive anxiety can occur due to a major incident or a series of less stressful life events, such as a loss in the family, occupation stress, or continuing financial worries.
Personality: Anxiety disorders are more common in some personality types than in others.
Other types of mental illnesses: Anxiety disorders are common in people who have other mental health issues, like depression.
Having close relatives who suffer from anxiety: Anxiety disorders can be passed down through generations.
Alcohol or drugs: Anxiety disorders can occur or aggravate due to drug or alcohol use, misuse, or even withdrawal.
Anxiety Disorders Diagnosis
To determine if your anxiety disorder is linked to your physical health, consult your primary care provider. He or she can look for indicators of an underlying medical problem that requires to be addressed.
If you have major anxiety, you may need to contact a mental health professional. A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. On the other hand, a psychologist or other mental health practitioner diagnoses an anxiety disorder, treats it, and offers counseling services (psychotherapy).
Your mental health professional may do the following to assist in the diagnosis of an anxiety disorder:
Perform a psychological assessment: This entails talking about your feelings, thoughts, and behavior in order to narrow down a diagnosis and rule out any potential issues. Anxiety disorders can coexist with other mental health issues, including depression or abuse of a substance. This could make diagnosis more difficult.
Compare the symptoms to the DSM-5 criteria: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) enables most doctors to identify anxiety disorders.
Anxiety Disorders Treatment Options
The doctor can recommend one or ac combination of the following treatment;
The doctor can recommend certain drugs to ease the associated symptoms. This usually depends on the type of anxiety illness you have or other mental or physical health problems you have. Examples of these medications include;
- Buspirone, an anti-anxiety medicine
- Other drugs, such as sedatives, sometimes known as benzodiazepines, or beta-blockers, may be prescribed in certain instances. These drugs are only meant to be used for short-term treatment of anxiety symptoms and should not be used indefinitely.
Psychotherapy, often referred to as talk therapy or psychological counseling, entails working with a therapist to alleviate anxiety symptoms. It has the potential to be an effective anxiety treatment option.
For anxiety disorders, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective type of psychotherapy. CBT is a short-term treatment that aims to teach you particular strategies to help you improve the symptoms and eventually resume activities you were avoiding due to anxiousness.
CBT incorporates exposure treatment, which involves gradually exposing yourself to the object or circumstance that causes your anxiety. This helps you gain confidence in your ability to deal with the situation and anxiety symptoms.
Self-treatment at home:
In certain circumstances, an anxiety disorder can be treated at home without the need for therapeutic supervision. However, for serious or long-term anxiety disorders, this may not be beneficial.
There are a variety of exercises and activities that can help someone manage milder, more concentrated, or shorter-term anxiety disorders. They include;
Managing stress: Learning to handle stress can assist in reducing the number of potential triggers. Organize any forthcoming deadlines and pressures, prepare lists to make big jobs more achievable, and schedule time off from school or work.
Exercises to help you replace negative ideas with good ones: This includes making a note of the negative thoughts that are likely to cycle due to anxiety, and next to it, make a list of positive, plausible thinking to replace them. If anxiety symptoms are related to a particular cause like phobia, developing a mental picture to successfully face and conquer a certain fear might also help.
Relaxation methods: Some simple activities might help alleviate anxiety's mental and physical symptoms. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, resting in the dark, long baths, and yoga are some of these practices.
Support group: You can consider talking to individuals you know who will be supportive, like a family member or a close friend. In addition to local and online support groups, there may be resources accessible in your region you may want to consider.
Physical exercises: Exercise can help you feel better about yourself by releasing hormones in your brain that make you feel good.
Preventing Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be prevented in some cases. Generally, anxious feelings are a normal part of life, and that having them does not always mean you have a mental health problem. To manage anxious feelings, consider the following steps;
- Avoiding or reducing caffeine, cola, tea, and chocolate intake
- Check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking over-the-counter (OTC) or any herbal medicines for compounds that could exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
- Maintain a nutritious diet.
- Maintain a regular sleeping schedule.
- Quit using alcohol, cannabis, or any other recreational drugs
It can be hard to get through the day if you have an anxiety disorder. Panic, nervousness, and fear are all signs of anxiety disorder. Physical symptoms such as a racing heart and sweating are also possible. However, you don't have to live this way. There are a variety of effective anxiety disorders therapies available that can help with the condition.
Consult your doctor to determine your diagnosis and the best treatment option. Medications and therapy are frequently used in treatment. Anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs, together with CBT, may also help you feel better.