Anxiety Disorders: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Understanding Anxiety Disorders 

The lifestyle we have created has favored the appearance of new disorders that our parents or grandparents could not even have imagined years ago.

Anxiety is one of these psychological conditions which can easily turn the lives of entire families’ upside down when a member is suffering from it.

In small amounts, anxiety as the body’s natural answer to dangerous and threatening and pressuring events is not necessary a bad thing to experience, as it can help give you an adrenaline boost and motivate you to get the work done before the deadline.

On the other hand, if the level of anxiety is too high, anxiety can end up becoming an overwhelming feeling which can have a huge negative impact on your emotional and physical health in the long run.

As a disorder, anxiety can be described as a disturbing, constant state of inner turmoil, an exaggerated feeling of worry, unease and/or nervousness regarding a situation with an uncertain outcome.

Even though anxiety is a normal feeling to experience in small measures, if it takes over your life, it will be difficult to maintain a normal routine.

However, even when that happens, with proper treatment, most people who suffer from this are able to reduce the anxiety levels, manage their fears and regain control over their life.

When suffering from anxiety and/or panic attacks, people often describe the state as being: irrational, overwhelming moments of pure, debilitating panic, when one is faced with a variety of exhausting physical and emotional symptoms which prevent you from acting, talk or even stand up all at moments when all you want to do is run and escape.

In more severe cases of anxiety attacks, people hyperventilate, feel like they can’t breathe and can even go so far as to throw up in the middle of the experienced distress.

Right now there are hundreds of millions of adults who are suffering from anxiety disorders and debilitating anxiety attacks all around the world. s

Causes are uncertain

As of today, the exact causes of chronic, high levels of anxiety is still a mystery to the medical world. So far, despite the advancement of medicine, scientists have not yet been able to establish a clear cause of this disease.

Just like most mental disorders, anxiety is the result of a variety of factors, including stress and changes in the brain activity. One thing which has been made clear however that this disorder is not caused by poor upbringing or personal weaknesses.

Medical researchers discovered that high levels of stress which are experienced over a long period of time may affect the way in which brain and nerve cells work when transmitting the information.

Studies also revealed that anxiety disorders might run in the family for generations and the risk of passing this health problem to your child is the same as passing on genes that favor cancer or heart diseases.

There are also quite a number of external factors which may generate anxiety. Some of the most widely known are trauma or major life events. But, in order for that to happen, one must inherit a certain susceptibility to develop such a disorder.

Anxiety can also be triggered by certain substances like alcohol, cannabis, sedatives or other medical treatments that are taken over the counter without consulting a doctor first. Sometimes, other medical conditions apparently unrelated to anxiety such as asthma, heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes, cancer or stroke might start or aggravate this disorder.

Confusing symptoms

Anxiety is different from one person to another, but if you experience some of the following emotional and/or physical symptoms, try to schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible in order to avoid losing control over your normal life.

Some of the emotional indicators of anxiety are:

  • Dread and apprehension feelings
  • Troubles concentrating
  • Feeling particular jumpy and/or tense
  • Being constantly worried
  • Feeling constantly pessimistic and expecting the worst things to happen in all situations
  • Experiencing increased irritability and the feeling of constant restlessness
  • Being tormented by panic moments
  • Being on the constant lookout for any signs of possible danger

Some of the physical symptoms of the anxiety disorder are:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Losing sleep over the most trivial of things
  • Experiencing excessive sweating and increased fatigue
  • Having cold and sweaty palms
  • Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
  • Experiencing shortness of breath
  • Episodes of unexplained nausea
  • Sudden dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension

Types of anxiety

Each person has a different reason for turning anxious, a fact which doesn’t only make anxiety hard to diagnose, but also as a consequence anxiety has many different forms and types:

  • Panic disorder. It is dangerous as it strikes without warning and causes chest pains, palpitations, and feeling of choking.
  • Social disorder. A person worries too much about being judged or ridiculed by everyone else and thinks that its behavior is reason for embarrassment
  • Specific disorder. Certain things or situations can make a person feel intense fear, although it is not fully justified like heights, tests, flying and so on.
  • General disorder. It is caused by an overreaction in situations that are quite normal and it is due to excessive worry for unrealistic reasons

Diagnoses established by doctors

There is no lab test that can reveal the disorder. The doctor must perform a full medical evaluation based on the personal history and physical examination.

Certain lab tests might be recommended by the doctor in order to rule out other possible illness. If there is no physical sign that can justify the symptoms, then you will be referred to a psychologist or a psychiatrist who is specialized in treating this kind of disorders.

Personalized treatment

The treatment of mental disorders has known great progress over the past twenty years as far as its effectiveness goes.

Even though the treatment of anxiety has progressed significantly, a standard treatment of anxiety is not possible as it must be adapted to the type of manifested symptoms and it usually includes a combination of the following therapies:

  • Medication
  • Psychotherapy sessions
  • Diet and lifestyle change
  • Relaxation therapy sessions

Unfortunately, no one can prevent disorders, but there are certain things one can do in order to prevent an anxiety attack or ease its symptoms:

  • Although it is not easy, try to stop or at least reduce the consumption of any kind of products which contain a high dose of caffeine. The most popular drinks containing caffeine are coffee, cola, green tea, energy drinks as well as chocolate.
  • Do not buy medicine or any herbal supplements without asking your doctor or pharmacist first. Before taking any over-the-counter medicines verify the composition as they might contain certain types of chemicals that will increase your disorder symptoms.
  • Do not be ashamed to ask for counseling and support if you experience constant symptoms of anxiety with no apparent cause.

Anxiety disorders and panic attacks affect millions of people of all ages, cultures, and social environments every day. It is a serious disorder which can, however, be managed with the correct, long-term treatment.

If you think that anyone of your loved ones is suffering from a disorder get them help from an expert today. With the right treatment, there s no reason why they could not experience a happy, balanced life.

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