Anxiety is a very normal emotion and it’s healthy too but when a person feels abnormal levels of anxiety it becomes problematic. Anxiety is a mental health disorder which leads to excessive worry, fear, and nervousness about different situations. When a person faces extreme anxiety it becomes difficult for him to process emotions in a normal way. Anxiety also causes physical symptoms. Mild anxiety could be unsettling where as severe anxiety May affect day to day life. Anxiety affects millions of people around the world and is the most common group of mental illness but a very small percentage of people actually seek help and get treated.
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” Proper psychological assessments needs to be done to identify the difference between normal anxiety and anxiety disorders.
What are the signs which tell us that we need treatment for anxiety?
Anxiety is not only normal but necessary for survival in the day to day life. When an individual faces any form of danger the body prepares itself for fight or flight movement. In the process the heartbeat of the person increases, there is sweating and increased sensitivity to the surroundings. This prepares humans to physically confront or flee any potential threats to safety.
The nervous feeling before an important life event or during a difficult situation is a natural emotion. But when the duration or severity Of anxious feeling goes out of proportion, that too without the presence of a dangerous situation, physical symptoms such as increased blood pressure, nausea, palpitations, etc may arise and this leads to anxiety disorders. The person has recurrent and intrusive thoughts and concerns which goes out of proportion.
Symptoms of anxiety disorders:
There are different types of anxiety disorders. And each of which consist of different symptoms. Some common symptoms of anxiety disorders are:
- restlessness, and a feeling of being “on-edge”
- uncontrollable feelings of worry
- increased irritability
- concentration difficulties
- sleep difficulties, such as problems in falling or staying asleep
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart rate
- Digestive problems
Types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder: like the name suggests this disorder is characterized by excessive worry and anxiety about day to day, non specific life events, objects and situations. It’s also called free floating anxiety. The person is always anxious about the next task in hand, from small to big. This is the most common form of anxiety disorder yet people with this disorder are not able to identify the cause of anxiety.
- Panic disorder: again as the name suggest here the person experiences sudden attacks of intense fear or terror and apprehension and worry. The attacks leads to physical symptoms of shakiness, confusion, dizziness, nausea and difficulty in breathing. Because the onset of panic attacks are sudden and out of blue, the person suffering from this is always anxious and worried that when he might get the next attack and where. The individual misinterprets panic attacks to be life threading and may avoid places and situations where he might get panic attacks. It may range from 10 minutes to hours.
- Phobia: the person has irrational fear of a particular situation, animal or day to day object. The fear is irrational because the trigger might be something which is absolutely not dangerous to anyone. The person with phobia acknowledge the fact that the fear is irrational but is unable to control the anxiety when faced with that particular object or situation.
- Social anxiety disorder: social anxiety disorder includes stage fright, fear of intimacy, performance anxiety and others. Here the person feels anxious around other people, and is very anxious that he will get judged by others in a negative way or he may end up doing something embarrassing in public. He is very scared of humiliation and rejection. This disorder can cause people to avoid public situations and human contact to the point that everyday living is rendered extremely difficult.
What are the causes of anxiety?
There are different causes of anxiety disorders. Anxiety could happen due to a single cause and sometimes due to many small causes coming together.
Some of them are:
- environmental stressors, such as difficulties at work, relationship problems, or family issues
- genetics, as people who have family members with an anxiety disorder are more likely to experience one themselves
- medical factors, such as the symptoms of a different disease, the effects of a medication, or the stress of an intensive surgery or prolonged recovery
- brain chemistry, as psychologists define many anxiety disorders as misalignment of hormones and electrical signals in the brain
- withdrawal from an illicit substance, the effects of which might intensify the impact of other possible causes
How can we treat anxiety?
Even though the causes of anxiety disorder are various and complicated the good thing is anxiety is treatable. There are different ways in which a person can be treated who is suffering from any kind of anxiety disorder. Treatments will consist of a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and medication:
- Psychotherapy and counselling: it is always advised that the person who is suffering from any kind of anxiety disorder seek the help of a professional as a person can treat an anxiety disorder at home without clinical supervision but this may not be effective for severe or long-term anxiety disorders. Psychotherapy and counselling involves cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT), relaxation exercises, mindfulness, systematic desensitisation and also meta cognitive therapy. The therapy aims to recognize and change harmful thought pattern of the patient which leads to his anxiety. Exposure to fears and triggers can be a part of therapy. For best anxiety treatment in Kolkata you could reach out to us at +919073372300.
- Stress management: learning stress management can help the patient to cope up better with the triggers which are present in his environment. Patient is made to have a balanced life between work and leisure. And better coping mechanisms are taught.
- Relaxation techniques: mind and body both are connected. The mind first gives the signal to the body of the danger present which prepares the body for the fight or flight movement. And this the body again gives the signal back to the body about being anxious or stressed. If at the time of a trigger, we can command our body to stay relaxed, the mind will automatically get relaxed too. Different techniques are used as relaxation techniques like body scanning, muscle relaxation, mindfulness etc.
- Supportive groups: Support group services may be available in the local area and online which consist of people who are going through similar experiences in life and can help each other to overcome such difficulties, together.
- Exercise: Physical exertion can improve self-image and release chemicals in the brain that trigger positive feelings.
- Medications: medications like anti-depressants, benzodiazepine, beta blockers may also help the patient control some of the symptoms of anxiety. But a combination of medication and therapy works for the patient suffering from chronic and severe anxiety disorder.
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