- Anxiety disorder is a serious type of mental health condition. When a person suffers from this disorder, he or she responds to certain situations with fear or worry.
- Some physical anxiety symptoms are sweating, increased blood pressure, stomach aches, nausea, muscles twitching, and pounding heart. These symptoms may start in childhood, and teen years, and continue into adulthood.
- Anxiety attacks can interfere with daily activities, are difficult to handle, and last for a long time.
- Anxiety is treated with psychotherapy i.e., cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication. Combination of the two may also be beneficial.
- It is okay to experience anxiety occasionally. But in case of severe anxiety, you need to consult a specialist immediately.
You may feel anxious when facing any problem at work, before appearing in an exam, or before an imperative discussion. You may avoid specific situations or places to avoid these feelings. Anxiety symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into childhood. If your feelings of anxiety are extreme and last for more than six months, you may have an anxiety disorder.
What Are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders are circumstances in which you face anxiety that doesn't end and can get even worse over time. The symptoms can interfere with regular activities such as job performance, schoolwork, and relationships. Anxiety disorders affect approximately 30% of adults at some point in their lives. The most common type of anxiety disorder is specific phobias that affect nearly 9% of the US population.
Anxiety Disorders Symptoms
The level of anxiety depends on the person who is experiencing it. Feelings can range from butterflies in your stomach to a racing heart and disconnection between your mind and body.
Some other ways people suffer from anxiety are nightmares, panic attacks, and painful memories that they can’t control. You may also have a feeling of worry or fear, or you may fear a specific event or place.
Some general symptoms of anxiety are:
- Rapid breathing
- Trouble concentrating
- Increased heart rate
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Dry mouth
- Inability to concentrate
- Tense muscles
Who is at risk for anxiety disorders?
A combination of genetic and environmental factors can increase a person’s risk for developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk if you have or had:
- Specific personality traits include shyness or behavioral inhibition — feeling uncomfortable with and avoiding unknown people, environments, or situations.
- Stressful events in early childhood or adulthood.
- Anxiety or other mental health conditions and family history.
- The use of alcohol and other illegal drugs increases the risk of anxiety disorder.
- Constant stress about your or your loved ones' health can make you feel anxious or overwhelmed.
- Physical conditions, including thyroid problems and unusual heart rhythms.
- Negative perceptions about your personality may also lead to social anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders occur more often in women than men. It may come from women’s hormones, especially those that fluctuate throughout the month. The hormone testosterone may play a role, too — men have more, and it may ease anxiety.
Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorder
Some conditions make you more likely to get an anxiety disorder, called risk factors. Some of them you can’t change, but others you can.
Risk factors for anxiety disorder include:
- Mental health disorder history
Having another mental health illness, such as depression, increases your chances of anxiety disorder.
- Childhood sexual abuse
Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse or neglect during childhood are some causes of anxiety disorders later in life.
Living in a traumatic event increases the risk of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which causes panic attacks.
- Substance abuse
The use of alcohol and other illegal drugs increases the risk of anxiety disorder.
- Negative life events
Negative life events increase your risk for anxiety disorder, such as losing a close family member in childhood.
- Severe illness
Constant stress about your or your loved ones' health can make you feel anxious or overwhelmed.
- Low self-esteem
Negative perceptions about your personality may also lead to social anxiety disorder.
Types of Anxiety
There are different types of anxiety disorders. You may suffer from one or several at a time. Only a specialist can diagnose what types of anxiety disorder you are suffering from and what are the possible treatments.
|Type||What it Entails|
|Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)||Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Feel excessive, unrealistic worry with little or sometimes no reason|
|Panic Disorder||Sudden fear that brings a panic attack|
|Social Anxiety Disorder||Feel overwhelming worry and self-consciousness in social situations|
|Specific Phobias||Extreme fear of a specific object or situation, such as flying or height|
|Agoraphobia||Fear of being in a place where difficult to escape or get help|
|Separation Anxiety||Constant fear or worry of separating from a loved one|
|Selective Mutism||Unable to speak in certain social situations|
|Medication-included Anxiety Disorder||Use of or withdrawal from alcohol or certain medications that trigger anxiety disorder symptoms|
There are many anxiety treatments available to alleviate and handle the symptoms of anxiety, such as:
1. Anxiety Medication
Different types of drugs are used to treat anxiety disorders. Consult your psychiatrist before deciding which one is best for you.
SSRIs and SNRIs are the common drugs prescribed to a person with anxiety disorder.
It is another most common type of antidepressant used to treat chronic anxiety. It functions differently than SSRIs and SNRIs.
This high blood pressure drug can make you feel better if you're experiencing anxiety, such as trembling, racing heartbeat, or shaking.
These drugs are used to stop seizures in people with epilepsy and help relieve anxiety disorder symptoms.
This type of counseling helps you to learn how emotions affect your behavior. A specialist listens and talks to you about your feelings and thoughts and recommends ways to manage anxiety disorder.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It teaches how to turn negative or panic-causing thoughts and behaviors into positive ones. You will learn new ways to approach and manage fearful situations without anxiety.
- Exposure Therapy
It focuses on dealing with the fears behind anxiety disorder. This therapy helps you engage with activities or situations you may have been avoiding. Your therapist may also use relaxation exercises and imagery with exposure therapy.
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is another treatment option for anxiety disorders. ACT takes a different approach than CBT to negative thoughts. It uses mindfulness and goal-setting strategies to lower discomfort and anxiety. Compared to CBT, ACT is a newer form of psychotherapy treatment, so fewer data are available on its effectiveness.
In some cases, you can treat an anxiety disorder at home with just a little effort. However, this may not be effective for long-term anxiety disorders. There are some exercises and activities to help you cope with milder, more-focused, or short-term anxiety disorder, such as:
- Stress management
Learning to handle stress can help reduce potential triggers. You can organize all upcoming deadlines, assemble lists to make boring tasks more manageable, and get some time off from work or study.
- Relaxation techniques
Simple activities can help lessen the physical and mental signs of anxiety. These techniques can be meditation, deep breathing exercises, resting in the dark, yoga, and long baths.
- Support network
Talk with your friends or family members who are supportive. Support group services may also be available in local areas and online.
Exercise helps improve self-image and releases specific chemicals in the brain that trigger positive feelings.
You should consult a doctor for anxiety if:
- Your body is in stress or flight mode for long-term
- You are taking drugs or alcohol to cope with it
- It has become difficult to fall asleep
- It is affecting your personal or social life
- It is too distressing for you to control
- You think you're suffering from a mental illness that triggers anxiety
Anxiety is a severe mental disorder, and it should never be left untreated. It may have devastating consequences on you and the lives of your loved ones.
Getting an Online Therapist Consultation through Telehealth Services at Omni Help
Healthcare services are not accessible for many due to the emerging public health situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are afraid to expose themselves to infection with a history of medical issues. But, you should not leave anxiety untreated as it can be destructive to your mental and physical health.
If you have any of the above anxiety symptoms and are unable to visit the therapist due to a hectic routine, we suggest you consult a therapist online. You can discuss prescriptions, renew them, better understand your medications, or freely discuss anything else related to your condition.
You can use our application Omni Help to book an appointment online. We will connect you to the best online therapist within seconds.
It is perfectly normal to feel anxious once in a while but doing it every day over the slightest of problems may be bad for your health. If you are experiencing anxiousness every day, you might have anxiety disorder and you should consult a mental health expert right away.
There is no one thing that triggers anxiety. A person can feel anxious over completely different things than what may worry another. Some people may have such feelings due to pressures of work, personal life, relationship issues, health concerns, and financial difficulties. Others may get anxious over a dirty bedroom or kitchen.
Stress and anxiety are different things. Stress is anything that disturbs the normal functioning of the body and limits its capacity to do its job well. On the other hand, anxiety is the reaction of the body in response to this stress.
There are several steps you can take to cope with anxiety disorder. Strategies such as exploring and learning ways to manage stress, joining support groups to get educated, limiting caffeine usage, and talking to your therapist can also make your treatment more effective: such as through meditation.
Triggers for anxiety can differ for different individuals. Some people may start to feel anxious after they encounter something that reminds them of the trauma they suffered. They are also more likely to be triggered due to social events, conflict, caffeine, skipping meals, certain medications, and concerns regarding health or finances.
It may be difficult to discuss anxiety with a doctor. You may even get triggered during the conversation. It may be easier to write down what you feel during one of such episodes in advance before you see a doctor. You should tell the doctor what triggers your anxiety, how long do the episodes last, what you feel during this time, and what has helped you calm down before.
Anxiety can be difficult to handle especially for those who have developed the disorder quite new. To calm down you can try breathing exercises, counting down from 20 to 1 slowly, exercising, getting enough sleep, and eating balanced meals. Your doctor can help you develop a routine that works best for you.
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