What is anxiety? Here’s what you need to know about the world’s most common mental disorder.
We have all felt anxious at one point or another. It’s our body’s way of preparing us for a challenge. Our heart pumps more blood, and we receive more oxygen. We are instantly alert and perform effectively.
It is also normal to feel anxious when things are not going well. However, when we worry too much, it becomes an anxiety disorder.
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What Is Anxiety?
It is an intense, excessive worry about everyday situations. Anxiety disorders usually involve repeated bouts of intense fear. These feelings of anxiety and panic are difficult to control, can be dangerous, and interfere with daily life.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
- Increased heart rate
- Inability to relax
- Having a sense of doom
- Fainting or dizziness
- Thoughts of death
Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Panic disorder involves feelings of fear that come repeatedly and suddenly. You might feel like you can’t breathe. You will experience chest pain, a pounding heartbeat, or nausea. The anxiety rate here is high because no one knows when the next one will occur.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD) includes exaggerated worry about events. This is something most people experience in their daily lives.
Agoraphobia is the fear of open places or crowds. This can be due to embarrassment or fear of negative judgment.
Phobias. A particular object or situation that you want to avoid can trigger panic attacks. Common situations include fears of heights, water, enclosed spaces, animals, and public speaking.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This affects people after terrifying incidents. People with PTSD may experience nightmares or flashbacks of the event. Anything that reminds them of their trauma triggers a panic attack.
Selective Mutism. It happens to children when they fail to speak in certain situations. This can interfere with their learning process.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
- Heart Disease
- Respiratory Disorders
- Drug misuse or withdrawal
- Stress Buildup
- Mental Disorders
- Substance misuse
- Social Isolation
- Depression and chronic headaches
- Poor lifestyle
When Do You Need Help?
You might need to seek medical help urgently if:
- You keep having suicidal thoughts.
- You think the worrying is affecting your life greatly.
- You start misusing drugs or turning to alcohol for solace.
- Self-treatment. This involves you practicing mindfulness. You also need to practice:
- relaxation techniques
- stress management
- support systems
Medications like antidepressants can help.
Anxiety is a natural emotion needed for survival. Anxiety disorders occur when these emotions go out of proportion.
A healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, self-care routines, and family care can help keep anxiety within healthy limits.