Anxiety Disorder

Everybody experiences some level of anxiety from time to time, and it is completely normal. It’s your body’s way of preparing for the fight-or-flight response. According to scientists, there was a time in our distant past when we were just as likely to be the prey as were to be the predator. When faced with dangerous situations, the body would release chemicals that would give us a burst of speed and strength as needed. The modern anxiety disorder has its roots in this ancient struggle.

While such a response was necessary early in our development, the truth is that we are not often chased by cave bear or saber-toothed cats anymore. Yes, we can face situations where our life is in danger; the fight-or-flight response makes perfect sense under such conditions. However, we can still get them same response when faced with things that won’t harm us at all, and that’s what anxiety is.

Most people will experience anxiety when flying for the first time, speaking publicly or while proposing marriage. Again, being anxious in these situations is normal. People with an anxiety disorder go much further. They not only get anxious before events like those mentioned, but they can also get anxious about things that may never even happen. For example, if they are out for a walk, they may worry about getting hit by a car, even though the streets are empty. That may sound extreme to most people, but anyone that suffers from the condition can relate to such a situation.

The symptoms of an anxiety disorder are quite varied, and range in their intensity. Here are a few of the more typical symptoms: shortness of breath, heart palpitations, fatigue, headaches, stomach pain, nausea and pain in the chest, sweating, and feeling shaky. Those symptoms can also be signs of other problems, and that’s one reason why a lot of people don’t know they have anxiety. For example, people may think they ate some bad food or have heartburn, when in reality it’s anxiety.

Anxiety is usually treated with medication, therapy, or both. People with mild anxiety may not need any medication at all if they are able to learn techniques for coping with their anxiety. These techniques can include desensitizing, learning how to identify the onset of anxiety, interrupting the thought process and then refocusing those thoughts in a more positive manner.

Medication may be prescribed if therapy doesn’t work on its own, or if it’s an extreme case of anxiety. There are several medications available, but it may take some trial and error before the right one and the right dosage.

The main thing is to realize that an anxiety disorder is a treatable condition. It’s simply a matter of receiving the right diagnosis and then finding the treatment options that work best for you.

Anxiety disorder affects many people around the world and is particularly common in Western and other industrialized countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe. In the US, anxiety disorders rank highly in the long list of mental health problems experienced by many individuals on a daily basis. Medical studies show that there are about 28 million persons who suffer from anxiety disorder every year. This condition may interfere with an individual’s work, studies, or family life. In America, these mental health conditions have been closely linked to high rates of alcohol and substance abuse.

Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorder tend to tire easily, lack concentration, depression, and sleep disorder. Physical symptoms may include sweating, nausea, dizziness, stomach upset stomach, trembling, frequent need to urinate, muscle tension, and many more. About 90 percent of individuals who suffer from anxiety disorder have histories of depression, social anxiety, alcohol or drug abuse.

Medical studies suggest that there are six types of anxiety disorders in the adult population:

· Panic Disorders – The primary symptom of panic disorder is the occurrence of panic attacks combined with fear of developing them again.
· Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – This disorder is characterized by unwanted, interfering thoughts or repetitive behaviors that reflects a patient’s attempts to control it.
· Phobias – It is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain, objects, activities, or persons. The primary symptoms of this condition is excessive, unreasonable, intention to factors that bring fear.
· Stress Disorders – This condition is centered on negative reactions to traumatic events in a patient’s life.
· Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). This condition is characterized by irrational worry about everyday, normal things like work, health, money, and other daily concerns. People who suffer from GAD are often irritable and suffer from fatigue, headaches, and muscle tension.
· Anxiety disorder due to physical causes. These include general medical conditions or developed because of substance abuse.

The causes and symptoms of anxiety vary from person to person and may produce physical, cognitive, emotional, or behavioral symptoms. An individual’s ethnic or cultural background may also play a key role in the development of certain forms of anxiety. Genetic factors that may lead to biochemical imbalance in the brain also influence the development of this condition. Medical researchers suggest that individuals who are exposed to abuse, violence, and poverty may lead to the development of anxiety disorder.

Sessions of psychotherapy may be enough to treat mild anxiety disorders. Many health professionals however encourage the use of medications coupled with psychotherapy to treat patients with severe cases of anxiety disorders. Because of many medications and treatment for anxiety disorders doctors may not be able to predict which combination is beneficial for a certain individual. There are cases that doctors may try a different medication or treatment over a period of six to eight weeks in order to assess their effectiveness.

Many health professionals encourage individuals affected with anxiety disorder to engage in physical activities like weight training, cardiovascular exercises, yoga, and other physical activities. These activities may help relieve anxiety and emotional tensions. In addition, these activities promote the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. These substances are produced by the brain and may help promote a state of bliss and relaxation. Individuals who are affected by anxiety disorders should seek the help of health professionals so that they can develop a treatment plan for their condition.

Take a look at the tabloid scene today and, chances are, you’ll see nothing but second-guesses and armchair diagnoses of Britney Spears’ mental health problems. Everything from anxiety disorder to depression, from bi-polar disorder to schizophrenia have been blamed for her recent (and not so recent) behavior. Just a few months prior, the tabloids were doing the exact same thing to Tom Cruise, especially after that infamous moment where he jumped up and down Oprah’s couch like a hyperactive, spoiled brat on a sugar high. However, according to the American Psychoanalytic Association, this act of “armchair psychoanalysis” may do more harm than good for Britney Spears, or pretty much anyone that is subjected to the same treatment.

One of the many things that the ASA, along with several other mental health professionals, finds disturbing is the fact that most of these diagnoses are invalid. In a number of cases, assigning problems like anxiety disorder or bi-polar disorder to someone other than the therapist or psychiatrist whom one has never met personally is unprofessional and dangerous. Even with the comprehesive coverage by news media, it still can’t detail everything that goes on in a person’s life, and even if it could, it still couldn’t reveal what exactly was going on in a person’s head. The ASA is also worried that these diagnoses showing up on the tabloids are being made by uninformed laymen, who have no idea how to properly discern the signs and symptoms of a mental illness. They contend that while Britney’s behavior might show “classic” signs of being bi-polar, it might actually be some rare form of anxiety disorder.

The ASA is concerned not only with the impact such accusations might have on Spears’ mental health (which they have declined to speculate on), but also on the public perception of psychology and psychiatry as a whole. According to them, a proper diagnosis emerges from several consultations and meetings with the patient, and not merely the observations of “ridiculous” behavior that the tabloids were making. Even licensed, experienced professionals cannot create a final diagnosis without having spent quite a bit of time with the patient. They also state that the behavior displayed by the media, which is selected to entice the largest reaction out of people, is limited and, thus, impossible to develop a proper diagnosis from.
Another problem that worries the ASA is the possibility that these diagnoses will be taken by the general public as fact. This stems from the fact that Britney Spears’ celebrity status, combined with the incorrect diagnoses and outright “labeling” by the tabloids, can give the general public drastic misconceptions on the nature of mood and anxiety disorders. It might also cause people to mistakenly attempt to “self-diagnose” their problems and attribute them to one disorder or another.

The ASA, along with the National Institute of Mental Health is concerned that this might lead to the general public developing a viewpoint that over-simplifies mental illnesses, which is not the case. The human mind, as well as all disorders or illnesses that it contracts, is a complex structure. They also point out that attempting to diagnose any mental illness when the patient might have a substance abuse problem is highly improbable during the best of circumstances, let alone under media-controlled scrutiny.

Worry, fear, and anxiety are a normal part of our life. Have you experienced feeling anxious before taking an exam and later find out that you got a higher result more than what you’ve expected? Or, feeling anxious for a job interview and ended up getting hired, or feeling frightened walking down an alley where bad things often happened? Normal anxiety helps us cope in any stressful situation, it also keeps us watchful.

Mental health professional are not concerned with normal anxiety. But, if your anxiety suddenly occur without apparent reason and lasts for weeks to months and happens in most days than not, that is another issue. If anxiety persists in most days than not, and takes longer than six months, it has become an immobilizing disorder.

An anxiety disorder is a recurring and excessive anxiety and worry about events or activities without logical reasons at all lasting for more than six moths and it is interfering with everyday activities, such as going to work, and socializing. A person experiencing anxiety condition finds it difficult to control the feelings of worry and fear. The thing about people with anxiety disorder is that they actually know that what they think of feel is not real and that they are just made-up.

The common anxiety disorders are Panic Disorder, Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and Selective Mutism.

A person with anxiety condition may suffer different anxiety disorder symptoms. And because no two individuals are the same, the anxiety disorder symptoms may vary from one person to the other.

The physical symptoms of anxiety disorder are cause by brain sending messages to parts of the body to prepare for the flight-to-fight response. The lungs, heart, and other parts of the body work faster and the brain releases stress hormones, including adrenaline, and that explains that physical symptoms.

Anxiety disorder symptoms may experience physically can include but not limited to:
Abdominal discomfort
Diarrhea
Dry mouth
Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
Tightness or pain in chest
Shortness of breath
Dizziness
Frequent urination
Difficulty swallowing

Anxiety disorder symptoms may experience psychologically can include:
Insomnia
Irritability
Inability to concentrate
Fear of going crazy or dying
Feeling unreal and not in control of your behavior

There are several types of anxiety disorders and sometimes they are associated with physical problem such alcohol and drug abuse. Anxiety is the main symptoms of other mental illness called anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder symptoms may differ from the symptoms of other anxiety disorders, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread.

For people with anxiety condition, cheer up! Your world does not stop there because there is cure for anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are curable and there are two types of treatments available for anxiety disorder- medication and psychotherapy. But, it is said that the proven most effective way to treat anxiety sufferers is psychotherapy.

Anxiety is a state of mind wherein a person experiences a number of emotions at the same time such as nervousness, fear, uneasiness, worry to name a few. This is accompanied by physical symptoms such as palpitation , headache, unsettled stomach, chest pain and the like. This can be triggered off due to a number of reasons such as one’s circumstances, certain traumatic experiences or anything perceived by the person as traumatic. When this anxiety extends for a prolonged period it is time to be warned and seek professional help. This condition of the person is known as anxiety disorder.

Anxiety disorder is a rather common problem especially in today’s stress filled world. But the bigger issue is that we don’t treat it as a problem in the first place. Most people who suffer from anxiety disorders and the people around them tend to consider it just as mood swings and the temperament of the individual and thus, overlook the seriousness of the issue. But the point to be noted here is that the symptoms should not be ignored as timely help can cure the person completely.

Anxiety disorders are of different types. People develop anxiety disorders for various reasons and under various circumstances. One should understand the reasons thoroughly to be able to treat the patient. A good talk with the patient along with a standard questionnaire which could include questions about the family, friends, likes and dislikes of the patients would help in finding out the root cause which has led to the anxiety disorder and thus, would help in the treatment. The various kinds of anxiety disorders include panic disorders, kinds of phobias like agoraphobia (which is the fear of being in a social setting), stress disorder, social anxiety to name a few.

Anxiety disorder symptoms would vary depending upon the individual and also with the kind of disorder that the patient is suffering from. The good thing is that there is treatment for this condition. When in the pursuit of anxiety help, it would be better to know the kind of anxiety that is the cause of trouble. One should also find out the situations which cause the condition to aggravate. This would go a long way in deciding the treatment and making the treatment more effective. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand. People who develop some sort of anxiety disorder tend to undergo a state of depression if timely treatment is not provided. People who suffer from depression tend to be sad, irritable and always have negative thoughts.

People suffering from anxiety disorders need to be made aware of their problem. They need to use self help methods also to curb these issues. One can take prescription drugs from the doctor to treat the problem and if not suitably convinced can opt for alternative treatments for anxiety disorders such as ayurveda, acupuncture , acupressure, aroma therapy, yoga and the like. Many people do try alternative treatment for anxiety disorders even though they are not endorsed by any legal authority. If the anxiety attacks cease to arise it does not necessarily mean that the person is fully cured but there can always be a relapse of these problems. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the patient undergoes a thorough treatment that deals with the root cause of the problem so that the person can continue to lead a quality life.