You have concerns regarding anxiety, such as what causes it. What are the most effective treatments? Leading doctors respond to them here. Find peace — and lots of solutions — to keep you going.
Anxiety symptoms include fear, dread, and uneasiness. It can make you sweat, feel tense and unpleasant, and cause your heart to race. That could be a normal stress response. When faced with a challenging situation at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision, you may experience anxiety. It could help you cope. Anxiety might give you greater energy or help you focus. But, for persons suffering from anxiety disorders, the worry is not passing and can be overwhelming.
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are separated from normal uneasiness or anxiety symptoms by the presence of excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most frequent type of mental illness, afflicting about 30% of adults at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders, on the other hand, are treatable with a range of effective medications. The majority of people can live normal, productive lives thanks to therapy.
Anxiety is defined by muscle tension and avoidance behavior in reaction to an impending problem.
Fear is an emotional reaction to an impending threat that is more closely related to a fight or flight response – either fighting or running to avert danger.
People who suffer from anxiety disorders may try to avoid situations that trigger or worsen their symptoms. Work performance, schoolwork, and personal relationships might all suffer as a result. An individual’s fear or anxiety must meet the following criteria in order to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder:
- Be out of proportion to the situation or be improper for the age group
- Limit your ability to perform properly.
Anxiety disorders are classified into numerous kinds, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, particular phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.
The Six Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): is defined by constant and excessive anxiety about everything. Individuals suffering from (GAD) may be unduly anxious about money, health, family, work, or other difficulties. People suffering from GAD have a tough time controlling their anxiety. They may be too anxious about actual events or anticipate the worst even when there is no reason to be.
2. Agoraphobia. Theoretically, this is described as severe fear and anxiety of any location or scenario from which escape may be difficult. The fear of being alone outside of one’s home, traveling in a car, bus, or airplane, or being in a crowded area is known as agoraphobia. You may imagine it as folks who are terrified to leave their homes.
3. Panic Disorder. People who have panic attacks that appear to come out of nowhere and are fixated on the fear of another episode. Panic attacks can strike at any time, even when you are sleeping. It’s not like you’re thinking about anything specific and your anxiety turns into a panic attack.
4. Phobias are intense, illogical fear reactions triggered by the presence or anticipation of a specific object, place, or circumstance. A fear of heights is one example.
5. Separation Anxiety is defined as an extreme concern or worry over being apart from home or from someone very close to you.
6. Social Anxiety Disorder is a state marked by severe anxiety caused by the dread of being assessed, adversely evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance context. It is also known as a social anxiety disorder.
What Symptoms Does Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Have?
GAD is not the same as having a phobia. People who have phobias are afraid of anything specific, such as spiders, heights, or speaking in public. You have an unpleasant sensation about life in general if you have GAD.
It’s frequently connected with emotions of dread or unease, and you’re always worried about everything. For example, if a buddy does not return your call within an hour, you may begin to suspect that you did something wrong and that the friend is displeased with you. If you are waiting for someone to pick you up and he is a few minutes late, you may begin to suspect the worse, that he was in an accident, rather than thinking that he was merely caught in traffic.
The distinction between concern and GAD is that those who do not have GAD can rationalize and address their fears. There is no “off” button with GAD. If you have GAD, you are in a permanent state of concern – and you can’t get rid of it because simply being causes you anxiety.
GAD can manifest psychologically as well as physically. Here are some of the symptoms and warning indicators to look out for:
- A constant state of worry. Your mind is stuck in a loop of “what could go wrong?” Almost usually, you’re looking for potential issues.
- Inability to relax or enjoy alone. Like when you go on vacation and it takes three or four days to relax and enjoy yourself.
- I am constantly tense. Quick examination: Where are your shoulders right now? Tight and pointing towards your ears? That is the conflict we are discussing. It’s as though your body is always in a ready position.
- Muscular tension or aches and pains. This is similar to the previous point but may additionally entail jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
- Avoiding high-stress situations. It’s hardly surprising that you opt not to undertake certain activities when you’re continuously running over the list of things that could go wrong. The danger ahead sign is always on.
- Concentration problems. Worrying might cause you to move from one work to the next, which is poor for concentration. There could also be a physiological reason: when you’re worried, you breathe differently (shorter breaths), which may affect the flow of oxygen to your brain, making you less able to focus.
- Inability to handle ambiguity. You must understand what will occur and how it will occur.
- Feelings of dread or apprehension persist. It’s normal for anxious people to say things like, “I’ll be able to relax right after (fill in the blank).” The idea is that there is always something on the horizon that you are dreading.
- Always feeling overwhelmed. There’s a long list of worries that go along with everything you have to accomplish, and it can be rather stressful.
- Intrusive thoughts about things that make you nervous. Even when you attempt to avoid thinking about things that bother you, they come back to haunt you.
- Not being able to sleep comfortably or at all. This is because you are constantly worried.
- Feeling jittery, tense, or restless. It’s almost as if your entire body is reacting.
Anxiety Quiz (Self-Assessment)
A generalized anxiety disorder may be indicated by unmanageable and persistent anxiety that impairs daily functioning (GAD). Take this test to determine whether you exhibit common anxiety disorder symptoms.
Long and Short-term Physical Effects of Anxiety
How can anxiety influence the body? As providers of anxiety disorder therapy in Boca, we understand that, while anxiety is a mental health issue, it also has numerous physical manifestations. These symptoms can change from person to person, resulting in varying levels of moderate to severe anxiety. The emotional toll of worry, combined with the physical symptoms, can be overpowering. For many people, an anxiety attack is followed by a sequence of severe and apparent physical repercussions.
The following are the short-term impacts of anxiety on the body:
- Muscle pain
- stomach ache
- Palpitations in the heart
- Breathing difficulties
- Blood pressure has increased.
Many persons who suffer from chronic anxiety disorders may also have major health issues. When you are anxious, your body can release huge levels of hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine, just as it does when you are stressed. If left unchecked, the prolonged and frequent release of these hormones might lead to serious health concerns.
Following are some long-term causes of anxiety’s impact on the body:
- Memory problems
- Migraines that occur frequently
- Heart disorders and the risk of heart disease
- Several diseases are caused by a weakened immune system.
- Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common gastrointestinal illnesses.
The toll anxiety takes on your body can be alarming, especially when anxiety can cause discomfort. One of the most typical symptoms of an attack is chest pain. The discomfort is described as sharp or stabbing. Putting pressure on the chest might sometimes make the pain worse. Unlike a heart attack, where the pain is felt throughout the body, pain is only felt in the chest.
If you’re wondering what anxiety feels like, it’s not pleasant. Aside from chest pain, back pain is another physical indication of worry. While headaches and joint pain are common side effects of anxiety, understanding how it affects the body is particularly interesting. Anxiety can also develop when a person is in discomfort from another source.
Who Is At Risk for Anxiety Disorders?
The risk factors for various forms of anxiety disorders can differ. GAD and phobias, for example, are more common in women, while social anxiety affects both men and women equally. Here are some general risk factors for all sorts of anxiety disorders:
- Some personality qualities, such as being timid or distant in new settings or meeting new people, are undesirable.
- Traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood
- There is a genetic link to anxiety and other mental disorders.
- Some physical health disorders, such as thyroid issues and arrhythmia, are prevalent.
What Are The Treatments for Anxiety Disorders?
Psychotherapy (talk therapy), medicines, or a combination of the two are the most prevalent treatments for anxiety disorders:
- CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a type of psychotherapy used to treat anxiety disorders. CBT teaches you new ways to think and act. It can help you change your reaction to things that make you anxious or worried. Exposure therapy may be employed. This focuses on helping you overcome your fears so that you can undertake the things you’ve been avoiding.
- Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines are among the pharmaceuticals used to treat anxiety disorders. Some drugs may be more effective in treating specific types of anxiety disorders. To discover which medicine is best for you, talk with your doctor. You may have to try numerous drugs before you find the right one.