Anxiety is a natural hazard reaction. The automatic fight-or-flight response of the body is activated when you feel threatened, under pressure, or face a challenging situation, such as a job interview, test, or first date. Anxiety isn’t always a negative thing in moderation.
It will enable you to stay alert and focused, encourage you to act, as well as inspire you to solve issues. However, when anxiety is persistent or debilitating, you have possibly crossed the line from mild anxiety into the territory of an anxiety disorder if worries and fears interfere with your relationships and everyday life.
Since anxiety disorders are not a single disorder but a group of similar conditions, symptoms can vary from person to person. One person can suffer from extreme attacks of anxiety that occur without warning, while another becomes panicky at the idea of mingling at a party.
Someone else can suffer from a debilitating fear of driving or uncontrollable repetitive thoughts. Yet another can live in a state of constant tension, worrying about anything and everything. But all anxiety disorders regardless of its forms, can trigger serious fear or worry out of proportion to the situation at hand.
Although it can be disabling to have an anxiety disorder, preventing you from enjoying the life you want, it is vital to know you’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are among the most severe mental health conditions but are extremely treatable. There are certain things you can do to reduce the symptoms and regain control of your life once you understand your anxiety disorder, and they include therapy and many more.
Do I have an anxiety disorder?
You can suffer from an anxiety disorder if you agree with any of the following seven diagnoses, and they won’t go away:
- Are you stressed, anxious, or on the verge constantly?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your obligations at work, school, or family?
- Are you afflicted with fears that you know are irrational, but that you can’t shake?
- Do you assume that if those things aren’t done in a certain way, anything negative will happen?
- Do you avoid daily circumstances or events because they trigger your anxiety?
- Do you face sudden, unexpected, heart-pounding panic attacks?
- Do you feel like there are dangers and disasters around every corner?
Signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders
In addition to the primary symptoms of intense and irrational fear as well as anxiety, other prominent depressive problems of an anxiety disorder include:
- Feelings of dread or apprehension
- Observing the symptoms of danger
- To expect the worst
- Problems concentrating
- The sensation of being nervous and jumpy
- Feeling as if your mind went blank
There is more to anxiety than just a thought. Anxiety often includes a broad spectrum of physical symptoms as a result of the body’s fight-or-flight response, including:
- Heart racing
- Upset stomach
- Frequent urination or diarrhoea
- Shortness of Respiration
- Tension in the muscles or twitches
- Trembling or shaking
People with anxiety sometimes confuse their condition for a medical disease due to these physical signs. Before their anxiety disorder is finally understood, they can see several doctors and make several visits to the hospital.
What is an anxiety attack?
Anxiety attacks, also regarded as panic attacks, are episodes of extreme panic or fear. Typically, anxiety attacks happen unexpectedly and without warning. There is often an apparent cause, for instance, getting trapped in an elevator or thinking about the big speech you have to deliver. Nonetheless, in other situations, the attacks come out of the blue.
Generally, anxiety attacks occur within 10 minutes and rarely last more than 30 minutes. But you may face fear so intense during that short period that you feel as though you’re about to die or lose control altogether. In themselves, the clinical signs of anxiety attacks are so scary that so many people think they have a heart attack. You may worry about getting another one after an anxiety attack is over, especially in a public place where support is not available, or you can’t escape easily.
Symptoms of an attack of anxiety include:
- Overwhelming panic rush
- The sensation of losing control or going mad
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Feeling like you are going to pass out
- The sensation of difficulty breathing or choking
- Chills or hot flashes
- Shaking or trembling
- Nausea or stomach pain
- Feeling disconnected or unreal
It’s essential to seek help if you start avoiding certain activities because you’re afraid of getting a panic attack. The fact is that panic attacks are incredibly treatable, and within only 5 to 8 therapy sessions, several individuals are panic free.
Types of anxiety disorders and their symptoms
Anxiety disorders and conditions that are nearly similar to anxiety disorders include the following:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Suppose you are distracted from your day-to-day activities by endless worries and fears, or you are plagued by a persistent feeling that something unpleasant will happen. In that case, you may be suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD individuals are chronic worrywarts who almost all the time feel anxious, though they may not even know why. GAD-related anxiety also occurs in physical symptoms such as insomnia, disturbed stomach, restlessness, and exhaustion.
Panic attacks and panic disorder
panic disorder is characterized by frequent sudden panic attacks and fear of having another episode. Agoraphobia can also accompany a panic disorder, the fear of being anywhere where it will be impossible to escape or aid in the event of a panic attack. You are likely to avoid public places like shopping centres, or enclosed spaces like an aircraft if you have agoraphobia.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by undesired thoughts or actions that seem to be difficult to avoid or regulate. You can feel bothered by obsessions if you have OCD, that include a persistent fear that you have forgotten to put off the oven or that you might harm someone. You can also suffer from uncontrollable compulsions, such as washing your hands over
Phobias and irrational fears
A phobia is an exaggerated or unrealistic fear of a particular object, behaviour, or scenario that poses little or no danger in reality and these include fear of flight, and fear of heights, fear of animals (that include snakes and spiders). You might go to extreme lengths in the event of a serious phobia to escape the object of your fear. Sadly, avoidance makes the phobia deeper.
Separation anxiety disorder
Although separation anxiety is a natural developmental stage, your child may have a separation anxiety disorder if anxieties escalate or are persistent enough to get in the way of school or other activities. Children that have a separation anxiety disorder may become upset at just the idea of being away from mom or dad and complaining of sickness to stop playing with friends or going to school.
Social anxiety disorder
You may have a social anxiety disorder, also referred to as social phobia, if you have a crippling fear of being perceived negatively by others and embarrassed in public. It is possible to think of social anxiety disorder as an extreme shyness. Social conditions are avoided entirely in severe cases. The common type of social phobia is performance anxiety (better known as stage fright).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that may arise in the wake of a life-threatening or traumatic incident. It is possible to think of PTSD as a panic attack which rarely, if ever, goes away. PTSD symptoms include hallucinations or nightmares about the incident, hypervigilance, quickly startling, withdrawing from others, and avoiding event-reminding circumstances.
Self-help for anxiety
Not all individuals who worry a lot have an anxiety disorder. You may feel nervous owing to an excessively demanding schedule, pressure at home or work, lack of exercise or sleep, or even from too much caffeine. The bottom line is that you are more likely to feel anxious when your lifestyle is unhealthy and stressful, whether or not you necessarily have an anxiety disorder. These tips can help to alleviate anxiety and to control the symptoms of a condition:
Communicate with others
Loneliness can cause anxiety or exacerbate it, whereas talking face-to-face about your problems can also make them feel less daunting. Make it a point to meet with friends regularly, join a self-help or support group, or share with a trusted loved one your thoughts and concerns. If you don’t have someone you can reach out to, creating new friendships and a network of support is never too late.
Stress management will assist if the stress levels are through the roof. Look at your tasks to see if there are any that you can give up, turn down, or assign to others.
Practice methods to relax
relaxation methods that include mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing can minimize symptoms of anxiety and increase feelings of relaxation as well as mental health.
A potential anxiety buster and anxiety reliever is exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise (split up into short periods if that’s simpler) to achieve the maximum gain. Rhythmic movements that involve moving both the arms and legs are particularly effective. Try running, swimming, walking, martial arts, or dancing.
When to seek clinical help for symptoms of anxiety
Self-help coping mechanisms for anxiety can be very successful. However, it is crucial to seek clinical help if your concerns, fears, or anxiety attacks that can trigger intense distress or interrupt your daily routine.
You should start by going for a medical checkup if you experience a lot of symptoms of physical anxiety. Your doctor will check to ensure that a medical condition, such as a thyroid problem, hypoglycemia, or asthma, is not causing your anxiety.
Since certain medicines and supplements can cause anxiety, the doctor may also want to know about any prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbal remedies, and recreational drugs you are taking.
If the doctor inform you that there is no medical reason, the next move is to meet with a therapist who knows about treating anxiety disorders. The therapist will consult with you to formulate a plan of treatment to identify the source and form of your anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorder management
Anxiety disorders react quite well and sometimes in a brief period to therapy. The precise approach to treatment relies on the type of anxiety disorder and its intensity. However, in general, with counselling, medication, or a combination of the two, most anxiety disorders are treated.
Cognitive-behavioural therapy and Exposure therapy are behavioural therapy types, which means that they concentrate on behaviour rather than on previous psychological conflicts or problems. They will assist with conditions such as panic attacks, generalized depression, and phobias.
Cognitive-behaviour therapy helps you recognize the negative thoughts, habits, and irrational assumptions that drive your anxiety and question them.
In a healthy, monitored environment, exposure therapy helps you to tackle your fears and anxieties. Through gradual exposure to the feared object, either in your imagination or in reality, you obtain a greater degree of control. When you overcome your fear without being hurt, your anxiety will diminish.
If you have anxiety that is serious enough to interfere with your ability to operate, such symptoms of anxiety can be improved by medication. Nevertheless, anxiety drugs may be habit-forming and can cause unpleasant or even harmful side effects, so be sure to scrutinize the choices.
While counselling, exercise, or self-help techniques function just as well or better, many individuals use anti-anxiety medicine, without the side effects and safety issues. It is crucial to consider the benefits and risks of anxiety medication for you to make an informed decision.