The first thing to establish here is that anxiety is perfectly normal, and it can also turn out to be a medical disorder. Anxiety therefore is a feeling of apprehension and fear that is characterized by sweating, palpitations, irritability, and feelings of stress. Over 20 million American adults suffer from anxiety, and it is noted to be a significant cause of mental illness in the United States. To this end, anxiety is often caused by stressors, and sometimes by fear of things that do not exist.
We all experience anxiety or nervousness as a result of stressors from our work, romantic or marital relationships, health fears, and financial problems, but anxiety caused by these stressors often disappears when the stressors are resolved. However, chronic anxiety can lead to a form of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) where bad moods or non-specific worries can cause phobias, panic disorder, and even mental illnesses.
Types of anxiety disorders
- Panic disorder: Here people feel a sense of terror that might be opened on them. It might be real or imagined terror, and a heightened concern for personal security and well-being.
- Social anxiety disorder: Here people are often self-conscious and withdraw from others out of a feeling of being inadequate or unsecured. Such people withdraw from social situations and their relationships suffer as a result.
- Specific phobias: This class of people fears spiders, snakes, heights, or even flying in airplanes. The extent of their fear is often out of proportion with the reality on ground.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): Here people fear for just no obvious reasons. They just fear that something might happen or is happening, when there is actually nothing to support their feelings.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders
The following are some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders:
- Senseless feelings of fear, panic, and uneasiness
- Insomnia or sleeplessness
- Sweaty hands and feet, and increased perspiration
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeats
- Dry mouth
- A desire to always use the toilet
- Tingling sensations and numbness in the limbs
- Choking lumps in the throat and chest
- Restlessness and uneasiness
- Nausea and dizziness
Causes of anxiety disorders
It is often difficult to pinpoint what is causing anxiety in people, sometimes a few stressors can be identified, and sometimes nothing can be seen to cause anxiety disorders.
- Work-related problems and challenges
- Monetary and financial problems
- Romantic and marital challenges
- Academic and educational difficulties
- Fear over failing health, or incurable medical conditions
- Traumatic incidents
- Fear of forthcoming situations like divorce, dismissal, failure, bankruptcy, etc
- Other unknown factors that predispose people to mental illness
Diagnosing anxiety disorders
There is actually no specific medical procedure for diagnosing anxiety disorders, but a trained doctor would often evaluate your condition based on interview results. The doctor will ask about medical history and then check if you have any underlying illness that is compromising your health. You may even be examined by a psychologist or psychiatrist for help, and the medical expert would study you for particular behaviors and attitudes that might give you away as suffering any particular anxiety disorder, or as mentally unstable.
Treating anxiety disorders
A combination of the following might be used to treat you for anxiety disorders depending on your particular instance.
- Anti-depressant drugs and other anxiety-reducing medications
- Psychotherapy where medical experts help patients talk through their problems in order to relieve their minds of their concerns
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy where medical experts help patients to change the way they think and behave in relation to causes of their problems
- Relaxation therapies that is aimed at soothing the nerves and relieving the minds of patients
- Enrolment in support groups and other therapist centers
- Lifestyle changes that might include work changes, prevention of family problems, and dieting changes to caffeine, smoking, and alcoholism among others.