Anxiety disorders are mental disorders which come with the person being fearful and anxious. A person suffering from this disease has the tendency to worry about the future events and in addition he has fear in his mind about the current events. The result of such feelings is not good as it can lead to symptoms like faster heart rate and trembling. There are several kind of anxiety disorders such as social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, etc.
1. What are Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress which comes with nervousness and sudden fear. It may also be beneficial in certain situations as it can alert you about the dangers and you can be prepared and focus on the problem. Anxiety disorder is totally different from normal feelings of anxiousness and includes excess of fear or anxiety. As a matter of fact more than 30% of adults are affected by anxiety disorder which makes them the most common mental disorders in the society. But the good news is that anxiety disorders can be treated and there are good numbers of effective treatments available. These treatments help the people to lead a normal and happy life.
A person suffering from anxiety is more concerned with the future and it leads to tension in the muscles accompanied by ignorant behavior. It leads to fear which eventually makes the person fight or leave. A person suffering from this disease tends to avoid situations which could affect his performance on job, school and even have a negative impact on his personal relationships.
2. Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Most of the people have anxiety due to issues related to health. In some people the signs and symptoms of anxiety act as the indicators of medical illness. If you anxiety is caused by a medical problem you may be asked to undergo certain medical tests.
There are number of medical problems which can be associated with anxiety. Some of the common problems which can lead to anxiety are:
- Heart diseases,
- Respiratory diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),
- Drug abuse,
- Withdrawal from alcohol and medications of anti-anxiety,
- Chronic pain or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS),
- Tumors which make the person adopt ‘flight or fight’ hormones,
Children who were abused or who had experienced trauma are at higher risk of developing anxiety disorders. This is not limited to children and even adults who had some kind of traumatic experience in life can have anxiety disorders.
- Stress due to illness
If you have serious illness it can make you worry about issues related to treatment and your future.
There are certain personality types that are more prone to anxiety disorders as compared to others.
- Mental health disorders
People with mental health disorders like depression often suffer from anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders can be found in families if blood relatives have this problem.
- Drugs and alcohol
The use of drug or alcohol can worsen the condition of anxiety in people.
3. Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are mainly seven types of anxiety disorders
3.1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD or generalized anxiety disorder is associated with the following problems.
- Constant restlessness and irritation,
- Fatigue of low energy levels,
- Muscle tension on the back, neck and shoulders,
- Lack of concentration,
- Obsession about negative thinking,
3.2) Social Phobia
This situation is also known as irrational fear of social situations. However some degree of social phobia is normal which includes shyness or uneasiness while speaking in public. But if this fear disrupts your personal life it is an indication of social phobia. This situation occurs when the shyness is very deep and you hesitate from socializing with public, strangers or even with your friends. This is accompanied with fear and anxiety.
3.3) Panic Disorder
This type of anxiety disorder is different from GAD. Surprisingly panic disorders does not involve you to panic but it take place when you get severe feelings of fear which may result in the physical and mental symptoms. These symptoms can be so deep that people can be admitted in hospitals as they are worried about their health. This type of anxiety disorder involves panic disorder and fear of getting panic attacks.
Panic disorder comes with mental stress but they also certain physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat, excess of sweating, numbness, trouble in breathing, Chest or stomach pain and digestive problems.
This type of anxiety disorder involves the fear of going in public. These can be open spaces of unfamiliar places. People suffering from Agoraphobia would never leave their home and would do anything to avoid travelling. These people would only travel to their home and office. Most of the people suffering from this type of anxiety disorder also complain of having panic disorder.
Agoraphobia is mostly found in adults. The common symptoms related to this anxiety disorder are severe stress, obsessive stress and feelings of stress and tension.
3.5) Specific Phobias
Phobias are actually condition of suffering from fear which may be due to objects, animals, situations etc. Phobias are accompanied with negative thinking or making you do something which will avoid phobia. Phobia can lead to constant fear, sudden feeling of terror, not able to control your fears and going out of the way to avoid situation that causes fear.
3.6) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This type of anxiety disorder involves physical and emotional feelings which are due to the experience of trauma in your life. This situation occurs due to the traumatic event that has taken place in your life. The common symptoms which are found in PTSD are reliving the trauma, responding to triggers, and anxiety over recurrence and emotional trouble.
3.7) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This type of anxiety disorder is considered to be very disturbing and is confusing for the patient as well as for the people around him. The main symptoms of OCD are obsessions and compulsions.
4. Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD)
This type of anxiety disorder is the most common type of anxiety found in the society. There are several millions of people who have been affected by this disease. GAD involves as the current state of mental or physical tension along with nervousness. This could be without a special cause or you are not able to take a break from this situation of anxiety.
You can also say that if you are in a constant state of anxiety or stress and it is affecting your life then you may have generalized anxiety disorder of GAD. You should also remember the fact that some degree of anxiety in your life is normal and should not be taken seriously.
4.1) Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
People who suffer from generalized disorder symptoms or GAD are known to worry a lot about common situations and incidents. A person suffering from GAD is known to show some or all of the following symptoms:
- Difficulty in concentration,
- Sleep disorders,
- Fatigue or exhaustion of the body,
- Tension in the muscles,
- Frequent stomach aches and lose motions,
- Sweat in the palms,
- Increased heart beat,
- Numbness of tingling in different parts of the body,
4.2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatments
Psychotherapy is also known as psychological counseling or talk therapy. This treatment is used to reduce the symptoms of anxiety by working with a therapist. This treatment has proved to be very effective in GAD.
The most effective form of Psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy. This treatment is short and teaches you skills to enable you to return to those activities which have been avoided by you because of anxiety.
There are many types of medications which are used in the treatment of GAD.
Antidepressants along with medications in SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and SNRI (Serotonin–Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor) are used in the treatment of GAD. Some of the popular anti depressants used in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders are escitalopram, venlaxifine, duloxetin and paroxetine.
Buspirone gives better results if used on ongoing basis. This may take many weeks to show its full effect in the treatment of GAD.
Your doctor may advise you to take this sedative in selected situations. Some of these sedatives are alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam and chlordiazepoxide. Benzodiazepines are commonly used to overcome acute anxiety for a short time. These medications are more likely to get you addicted due to which it is not a good choice especially if you had problems in the past with the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Thus we see that anxiety disorders can be treated as there are many effective methods. The person suffering from anxiety disorders requires counseling which has been very effective. However there are certain disorders of anxiety which requires medication.
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