Anxiety disorders are more common than you can imagine. It is typical to experience worry and nervousness in the face of everyday stressors. For example, if you are stuck in traffic while entering the examination hall, it is natural to feel anxious. However, this mechanism can sometimes fail and backfire. For some of us, this disruption can be for a few minutes, for others, it can even be for a day.
When excessive anxiety makes it difficult to carry out daily tasks like going to work or school or spending time with friends or family, you may be experiencing an anxiety disorder. These are severe mental illnesses that are the most common in the country, with women being more than twice as likely as men to suffer from them.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Researchers have shown that the likelihood of getting an anxiety condition is influenced by both hereditary and environmental variables. Each type of anxiety disorder has a different set of risk factors. However, a few common risk elements are as follows:
- Childhood shyness or embarrassment or anxiety in unfamiliar situations
- Exposure to difficult and detrimental events in one's life or environment
- Biological relatives with a history of anxiety or other mental illnesses
Anxiety symptoms can be aggravated by a few physical ailments, like thyroid issues or cardiac arrhythmia. Caffeine and other substances may also exaggerate the symptoms.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety doesn't exist in isolation. Every type of anxiety has its own set of signs, causes, and remedies. While certain symptoms may overlap, it is crucial to keep in mind that each anxiety disorder is distinct. The following are some major types:
1) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Technically, OCD consists of two parts: compulsions and obsessions. Obsessions can range from an extreme fear of germs to worrying over where items should go in the house and many other things in between.
The patient uses their compulsions to get rid of their intrusive thoughts. Someone who has a fixation with germs would wash their hands ritualistically or always carry a hand sanitizer. Someone who is preoccupied with object placement may rearrange their possessions numerous times until it seems exactly perfect. These compulsions and obsessions can seriously interfere with a person's daily life and become highly intrusive.
2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Compared to the other anxiety disorders on this list, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) patients occasionally struggle to provide an explanation for their symptoms. In fact, a general sense of restlessness or ease is one of the symptoms.
Worrying could also be one of the symptoms. Everybody worries occasionally, but those who have GAD tend to eternalize their fears and elevate them to a whole new level.
3) Social Anxiety Disorder
Panic attacks associated with social circumstances are common in people with social anxiety disorder. They may experience stage fright or a fear of public speaking as a result, which might be so severe that they avoid being in public at all.
Severe self-consciousness and a generalized fear of being among people are further signs of social anxiety. When there are other people around, a person with social anxiety may find it difficult to talk, even if they aren't speaking to the group as a whole.
4) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
You probably hear about PTSD most often when someone talks about veterans or soldiers. Although PTSD is more common in particular professions, anyone can be given a diagnosis. After a particularly traumatic event or set of events, people can develop PTSD.
This causes flashbacks and night terrors in which the victim feels as though they are returning to the original event. Additionally, the patient may experience panic episodes and phobias related to individuals, places, or even sounds.
Treatments of Anxiety Disorders
It's important to understand that you don't have to constantly experience fear, whether you struggle with obsessive thoughts, panic attacks, or irrational fears. Therapy can assist, and the condition is treatable. You can learn to relax, comprehend your fears, and improve your coping mechanisms with treatment.
Treatment options for anxiety disorders include medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Cognitive behavioral therapy is incorporated into the psychological methodology. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) are first-line pharmacotherapy drugs.
A treatment strategy for your anxiety is planned while taking into account your preferences, potential side effects, and drug combinations. It is recommended to use particular therapies to reduce overall stress levels and to achieve emotional balance. To reduce general stress and achieve emotional balance, specific alternative therapies are advised:
Exercise: 30 minutes of daily exercise can significantly reduce anxiety. You can get the desired results by engaging in aerobic activity every day.
Meditation: It is a wonderful method of relaxation that, when used frequently, can improve your emotional health.
Group therapy: The support groups provide a place to talk about anxiety-related issues. Making connections with others who struggle with anxiety helps you to feel less alone and gives you the motivation to battle it.
Weeks may pass before you see any progress in your anxiety after starting treatment. Discuss any adverse effects with your doctor and continue taking your medication. With the aid of medical professionals, you can reduce the side effects and live a better life. Anxiety can't be removed from our lives, but we can stop it from disrupting it.
Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.
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