Anxiety is an expected reaction to stressful situations that happens almost to every individual. Anxiety is a fear or unease about something that is expected to happen. Some people, for instance, are anxious and tense before important social situations like job interviews or public speeches.
You may have an anxiety disorder if your worries are chronic (lasting more than six months) and severely impact your daily life.
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a category of psychological conditions. Individuals suffering from an anxiety disorder may react to particular events and circumstances with fear and dread. Physical symptoms of anxiousness include a racing heart and excessive sweating.
Having some healthy fear occasionally is useful. Anxiety, for instance, might alert us to potential threats and help us focus our attention to avoid harm. Anxiety disorders, however, go well beyond the occasional feelings of worry and mild panic that everyone experiences. Indicators of an anxiety disorder include:
- Finding difficulty in carrying out daily tasks.
- Overreacting in triggering situations.
- Losing control over your physical response
Types of anxiety disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by constant and overwhelming distress about anything, even the most mundane things. The anxiety is disproportionate to the situation at hand, hard to overcome, and manifests itself physically.
- Social anxiety disorder
This type is also known as social phobia and is characterized by high levels of anxiety, stress, and avoidance of social interactions, like family gatherings, parties, and public speeches, due to emotions of shame, self-consciousness, and fear of being evaluated or perceived adversely by others.
- Panic disorder
Those who suffer from panic disorder experience recurrent, unexpected periods of extreme fear, dread, and anxiety that climax within minutes. Patients may have feelings of approaching catastrophe, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or a pounding heart. The fear of having another attack or avoiding similar settings can result in having one.
Individuals suffering from agoraphobia fear and frequently avoid locations or situations that could induce panic and make them feel imprisoned, powerless, or ashamed.
- Specific Phobias
A phobia is extreme distress upon encountering the feared stimulus and a subsequent determination to avoid it at all costs. Some people experience panic attacks whenever they are confronted with their phobia.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a mental health condition that develops after a dreadful experience and creates apprehensive, negative emotions. Frequent examples are soldiers returning from war, or surviving a car accident, rape, kidnapping or a scandal. Some individuals with PTSD repeatedly relive the traumatic incident.
- Separation anxiety disorder
This is a childhood disorder characterized by severe anxiety in response to separation from parents or people with parental roles.
- Medication-induced anxiety disorder
Some anxiety disorder symptoms can be triggered by using specific prescriptions such as sleeping pills or illegal drugs or severe alcohol or nicotine dependency especially if the withdrawal is not under the supervision of an expert physician.
- Selective mutism
Children suffering from selective mutism are unable to speak in certain environments, such as school, but are able to speak in others, such as at home with close relatives. This can hinder academic, occupational, and social performance.
Causes of anxiety disorders
- Genetics: Anxiety disorders can be inherited in some cases.
- Brain chemistry: Some studies have found a link between anxiety disorders and malfunctions in the brain’s circuits responsible for processing stress and emotion (lack of enough serotonin for example).
- Environmental stress: Anxiety disorders are commonly associated with your exposure to or experience with traumatic situations. Living above your means and falling victims to bad financial advisers or living with an abusive spouse or abusive supervisor at work are common triggers.
- Withdrawal or drug abuse: Some medications might mask or lessen the effects of anxiety. Consuming substances, such as alcohol, is commonly observed in people with anxiety disorders which comounds the problem and may lead to severe depression or suicide.
- Health problems: Conditions affecting the heart, lungs, and thyroid can produce or exacerbate symptoms similar to those of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
Excessive fear or stress is the primary indicator of an anxiety disorder. Additionally, anxiety problems can make it difficult to breathe, sleep, remain calm, and focus. The specific signs and symptoms you experience with an anxiety disorder are condition-specific; some of them include the following:
- Stress, panic, and unease
- Feelings of fright, despair, or danger
- Sleep difficulties
- Inability to maintain calm and composure
- Cold, sweaty, numb, or tingly hands and feet
- Deﬁciency of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Stiff muscles
- Blurry vision or fainting
- Constantly dwelling on a subject and being unable to stop
- Lack of concentration
- Strong or compulsive avoidance of scary items or locations
Latest Options for Anxiety Disorder Treatments
Once it’s established that your anxiety is not caused by a physical ailment or a negative reaction to a medicine, it’s time to start thinking about your mental health therapy options.
Many individuals suffering from anxiety disorders have found that a balance of psychotherapy and medication is the most helpful treatment. However, your input into the treatment process is vital, so be sure to have this conversation with your healthcare providers about the best solutions and possibilities.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on how your emotions, beliefs, and attitudes influence your thoughts and behavior and teaches you problem-solving techniques.
- Exposure therapy addresses the concerns underlying the anxiety disorder. It facilitates participation in activities or events that you may have been evading. With exposure treatment, your practitioner may also use relaxation techniques and visualizations.
Anxiety disorders cannot be treated medically. However, some prescriptions can alleviate symptoms and enhance functionality.
- Anti-anxiety medications could help you feel less anxious, panicked, and worried. They’re effective rapidly, although tolerance can develop. Due to this, they will become less efficient in the long run. Your doctor may recommend a short course of anti-anxiety medication followed by a cooling-off period, or they may prescribe an additional antidepressant.
- Antidepressants can modify the brain’s utilization of specific neurotransmitters to enhance mood and lessen stress. Unlike anti-anxiety medications, anti-depressants are not addictive and can be stopped gradually when the treating doctor feels that you are ready for that step. The treatment course is usually for at least six months and results take 2-3 weeks to be appreciated. We use a saliva test to determine through a DNA test (Pharmacogenomic or personalized targeted medications) the most likely medication that suits your body with the least side effects. Our psychiatrists have the unique experienced required to interpret the test results which are sent overseas. This is the most advanced method for treatment instead of depending on the traditional repeated and frustrating trials. This test is done once and does not need tobe repeated and can give other physicians what is best drug to use now or in the future for your high blood pressure or blood thinners or pain killers etc.
- Beta-blockers, typically prescribed for hypertension, can relieve some physical symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as rapid heartbeat, trembling, and shivering.
Increasing numbers of individuals are choosing complementary and alternative treatments in addition to traditional treatment to aid in their recovery.
Breathing exercises and concentration are frequently employed in stress and relaxation techniques. These methods may be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including panic attacks.
Moreover, Many people have found that yoga’s blend of physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation makes it a useful tool for coping with the symptoms of anxiety.