Anxiety is a disease in which the person affected suffers from irrational fear for a prolonged amount of time.
In this article, there is going to be an in-depth explanation of what anxiety disorder is, its symptoms, types, and how to prevent it from getting worse. Also, we are going to discuss some of the treatments that we have available in the world today
By reading this article, you will obtain insight from a doctor in one of the most common diseases. Please continue reading to get the knowledge everybody needs about this condition.
Is anxiety a mental illness?
Yes, in fact, anxiety is one of the most common psychiatric disorders there is at the moment. It is characterized by irrational and intense fear that can last hours or even days, making daily tasks difficult.
Although it is not as simple as just ¨anxiety¨ since several types and ramifications of this disease exists. Also, doctors often associate it with other mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder.
How anxiety works, it’s still not well known by health care professionals, but there are a few theories. Evidence suggests that when something worrying happens, parts of the brain that relates to thinking are repeatedly activated. Other similar studies also show that genetic and environmental factors cause erratic brain activity in particular situations.
The number of aspects determines if the patient has to get help from a mental health professional, for example:
- The severity of the stress by the symptoms
- If it affects the daily basis of the anxious patient life’s on diverse areas
- The setting on which the anxiety symptoms occur
Are there types of anxiety?
Doctors describe anxiety disorders depending on what the causes are, when it happens and which symptoms are.
- Panic disorder: when a patient has a sudden feeling that they are going to die, we call it a panic attack. It is a sensation they cannot control, reaches its peak at 10 minutes, and can last longer. Usually, the person also has agoraphobia, which is the fear of going outside because they might suffer another attack. The first time someone has a panic attack, they can get to emergency departments because they believe they’re dying.
- Social anxiety: also known as social phobia, is when a person has a consistent fear of suffering a crowded accident. This fear goes from big performance situations to chats in small groups, disrupting the patient’s life at every moment.
- Specific phobia: The fear is to an exact situation or thing that the person can come across. It could be fear of animals, environmental circumstances, or situations, like separation anxiety.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): The person gets intrusive anxious thoughts, which the person can’t stop thinking in certain situations. Then they compulsively practice ¨rituals¨ to get rid of those thoughts, but it only perpetuates the cycle.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): After an extremely traumatic event, the person suffers from this disease’s symptoms. It can develop years after the event, and the traumatic event is re-experienced through dreams and flashbacks.
- Generalized anxiety disorder: The person has anxious thoughts regularly through a long period about quotidian activities. It affects anxious patients by evading the day to day, not to confront all possible situations that can present.
What does anxiety physically feel like?
Anxiety can present itself in a wide range of just physical symptoms of a whole sphere that wraps this disease. It depends on the type of anxiety, the severity of it, and the body of the patients themselves.
Beforehand it is important to recognize that these symptoms are completely real and not ¨made up¨ as some people believe. There are connections from the brain to the body and vice versa, all through nerves and specific molecules. These molecules can generate chemical reactions on the body and brain, leading to physical symptoms.
Some of the physical symptoms present are:
- Restlessness, low energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscular tension, disquietude. These symptoms are for most disorders, but some may have slight differences.
- Palpitations, sweating, accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath, shuddering, dizziness, cold or hot sensation in the body, nausea, chest pain, etc. Most of these symptoms fit for panic disorder. However, they could also mean social anxiety disorder, depending on the context of an anxiety attack.
Other diseases have similar symptoms to the previously described, for example, a heart attack, asthma, hyperthyroidism. Also, substances like caffeine, alcohol, legal and illegal drugs can produce as well anxious feelings. That’s why it is essential to have a clinical evaluation from a doctor since the cause can vary.
Can anxiety come on for no reason?
Anxiety has its triggers, but the patient not always recognize them, and with a specialist help’s they could identify them. Firstly let’s remember that the cause of anxiety is the disease itself, but with every type, there are different prompts.
For people with panic disorders, there are specific parts of the brain that are dysfunctional on this disease. Professionals relate it to high levels of stress or traumatic situations, the fear itself of having one can trigger it. Sometimes it might seem like a panic attack came for no reason, but most times, these can relate to a thought, a sound, or even a smell.
In other types of anxieties, social situations or anxious labor maintain the disease constant in the patient’s life. Again, if the patient doesn’t recognize that being anxious comes from certain circumstances, they might be blindsided by them.
In a patient with PTSD, intense anxiety can begin if something related to the traumatic event happens. Although they already live their lives with constant fear and mistrust if they don’t treat it
How common is this disorder?
Anxiety disorders are far more common than it is popularly known. The stigmatization of the disease makes people not talk about it and increase the isolation it carries. This also results in fewer people seeking professional help from a doctor or a psychologist, causing long-lasting distraught.
In fact, anxiety isn’t only a partner to psychiatric illnesses, but it’s common in patients with chronic diseases as well. Investigation says that one in four people will suffer anxiety at least once in their lifetime, women being the foremost.
Is anxious the same as anxiety?
No, being anxious is not the same as having anxiety. It is essential to know that there is also normal anxiety that all humans have on different levels.
Being anxious is a defense mechanism we have to deal with stressful situations in which we need some push. For example, presenting a test, having a remarkable day at your job, or doing something life-threatening like skydiving. Who wouldn’t get anxious about that? Nevertheless, these worries are slight and go away when trouble is over, marking a big difference with anxiety.
In anxiety disorders, a person can be anxious, but what separates it from being a problem in the context, duration, and severity.
How do you calm down anxiety?
Primarily the most significant step toward decreasing anxiety is recognizing it is there. Not all patients readily acknowledge they have a disease for fear of the stigma it conveys. In fact, most need help from specialists to truly understand their problems and get help to stop it.
When you understand that what you have is a disease, at the moments of symptoms, this consciousness can decrease its fear.
There are easy things you can do to prevent anxiety from going on, like cutting caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol consumption, getting more sleep and doing physical activities.
What treatments are available for it?
The good thing is there is a diverse spectrum of treatments available for anxious patients, such as:
- Psychotherapy: The primary psychological approach to treat the disease is through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy consists of various sessions given by a specialist in CBT throughout several weeks. In this, the person is taught to understand their problems and is given tools and skills to resolve them efficiently. If there is a particular scenario in which the person feels most anxious, exposure therapy also applies to the case. For it, the patient has to face the specific fear or trigger of their symptoms in a safe environment. Correspondingly the therapist also treats underlying problems that may be a risk for a setback in the patient’s progress.
- Mindfulness: is a stress reduction form of therapy that consists of meditation for relaxation. It focuses attention on every day instead of the future or the past and on one’s mental state. It takes practice and constancy on a daily basis for the best results possible.
- Medication: There are several types of medication to treat anxiety, so finding one that fits the person best isn’t hard. Most of them act on the molecules that are in charge of the moods a person has. They work directly on circuits of the brain that prone to anxiety showing improvement in just a few weeks. Side effects can happen depending on the tolerance of the person. The augmented quantity of molecules also activates other places of the body. Most of the medication most remain 12 months after the anxious symptoms get better to avoid a relapse. It is essential to mention that these treatments enhance if they are done together.
Are you having symptoms of it?
This tool is an anxiety symptoms checker. It gathers the most important signs, symptoms, and risk factors for this disorder. Hence, it will help in determining for anybody the likelihood of having anxiety.
Do not get caught off guard. By using this tool, you will be gaining valuable information either for you or someone you know.