Experiencing occasional anxiety is a natural part of life and often a healthy emotion that generally triggers a flight or fight response. It's the body's natural way of responding to stress, and generally, a feeling of fear or apprehension of what's to come, for instance, the first day at school or a new job or working on/ presenting a huge project can cause most people to feel anxious and nervous.
However, intense, excessive, and persistent fear about almost everything, including basic mundane activities, can be symptoms of anxiety disorder.
Such powerful feelings of anxiety are difficult to keep in control and generally out of proportion to the actual crisis, interfering with and disrupting the sufferers' day-to-day lives.
Symptoms of an Anxiety disorder
While a number of different diagnostic factors constitute anxiety disorders, some of the most common symptoms of anxiety disorder often include the following:
- Restlessness or constantly feeling on-edge
- Increased irritability
- Uncontrollable feelings of worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unsettling and often vague worry
- Sleep difficulties, such as falling or staying asleep
While these symptoms are normal to experience in daily life, people suffering from an anxiety disorder experience them to persistent and extreme levels.
Types of Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorder due to an underlying medical condition can induce intense anxiety or panic that is directly caused by the physical health problem.
- Generalized anxiety disorder includes excessive and persistent anxiety and worriment even about ordinary, routine activities or events. The worry is generally blown out of proportion to the actual circumstance and extremely challenging to control. It often arises alongside other mental health issues.
- Panic disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of abrupt and intense feelings of fear, terror, or worriment that reach a peak within moments. You may have feelings of shortness of breath, chest pain, severe heart palpitations, or impending doom.
- Specific phobia is an irrational dread and avoidance of a specific object or situation. Phobias are not akin to other anxiety disorders, as they are triggered only to a specific cause. Being exposed to the trigger of the phobia can cause extreme anxiety and, in some cases, even panic attacks.
- Social anxiety disorder or also known as social phobia, involves high levels of fear, anxiety, and avoidance of social situations induced by feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment, and constant worry about being judged or viewed negatively by those around.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs after a person experiences a traumatic event that causes them to feel shocked, fearful, or helpless. It can have long-term effects, including vivid flashbacks, intense anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.
- Agoraphobia causes fear and often avoidance of places or situations (such as crowded or enclosed places) that might cause the sufferer to panic and feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed.
- Selective mutism is the inability of sufferers to speak in certain situations or people. It usually starts during childhood, and if the condition is left untreated, it may persist into adulthood.
- Separation anxiety disorder is a condition that develops early on in childhood wherein a child becomes overly anxious, that's excessive for the child's development.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder is typically characterized by symptoms of intense anxiety, panic, or restlessness directly resulting from misusing or withdrawing from drugs, medications, or other toxic substances such as alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine.
Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are complicated, and the causes can be difficult to determine. Some might occur together, while others only arise when another mental health condition is present, or one condition may lead to another.
Possible causes include:
- Environmental factors, such as difficulties at work, relationships, or family issues
- Genetics, as blood relatives with an anxiety disorder, are more likely to experience one themselves.
- Brain chemistry, as several medical research studies suggest, many anxiety disorders are misalignments of neurons in the brain or hormonal imbalance.
- Medical factors, such as the symptoms of an underlying health condition or the stress from an intensive surgery or prolonged recovery.
- Misuse and withdrawal from substances like drugs, alcohol, or nicotine can cause or worsen anxiety.
- Trauma is a significantly common cause of anxiety. Individuals who endured any sort of trauma or abuse are at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
- Stress build-up. A major event or a build-up of smaller stressful events or situations may trigger excessive anxiety, such as the loss of a loved one, work or relationship stress, or ongoing worry about finances.
- Personality is another major contributor to the development of an anxiety disorder. Individuals with certain personality types are more prone to anxiety disorders than others are.
- Other mental health disorders. People suffering from other mental health issues, such as depression, often coincide with anxiety disorder.
Treatment for Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are grievous, and turn a blind eye or underestimating the seriousness of the problem will only worsen the problem. Anxiety disorders are treated through therapy, medication, and healthy changes in lifestyle. A combination of all three has proved to be the most effective.
- Natural Remedies
Lifestyle changes are an effective way to relieve stress and anxiety and help you cope with your condition. Most of the natural remedies used for anxiety consist of caring for your mind and body, participating in healthy activities, and eliminating the unhealthy ones.
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a healthy diet
- Staying active and exercising
- Avoiding drugs, alcohol, caffeine, or nicotine.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy aims to recognize and modify negative thinking patterns, emotions, behaviours, and reactions toward the trigger that are often the root cause of anxiety and bothersome feelings.
For instance, a CBT psychotherapist for panic disorder will try to reinforce the fact that panic attacks are not actually heart attacks. The patient may also be exposed to their fears and triggers, encouraging them to confront their fears and helps reduce vulnerability and sensitivity to their usual anxiety triggers.
Medications are an efficient way to manage symptoms of anxiety for the short term. They give people a head start to begin their journey toward recovery. Some of the commonly prescribed medications include:
A doctor may prescribe Benzodiazepines for certain people with anxiety. However, these drugs tend to have few side effects such as drowsiness, potential dependence, and addiction. Valium is a widely used benzodiazepine brand for anxiety. You can buy Valium online using a valid doctor's prescription.
These are useful in treating anxiety along with depression. People often use serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) such as Fluoxetine, Prozac, Citalopram, and Celexa, which have fewer side effects than initial antidepressants but are likely to cause side effects like nausea, jitters, and sexual dysfunction at the beginning of the treatment.
Tricyclics are a class of drugs older than SSRIs that are beneficial for most anxiety disorders except OCD. These drugs might cause more side effects than other drug classes, including drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and weight gain. Clomipramine and Imipramine are two common tricyclics.
Additional medication a person might use to manage anxiety include:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Seek immediate medical advice if the side effects of any prescribed medications become severe.
If you feel like you or your loved one is suffering from any of the above-mentioned symptoms of anxiety, it is best you seek professional help and treatment. Whatever your condition may be, with the help of proper treatment, you can overcome the illness and go on with your life happily and healthily.