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Anxiety is an emotional reaction to stress. It’s how we mentally react to stressful situations and events in our lives. People get anxious when faced with a problem they probably have been avoiding, when they over-stress, over worry, or feel out of control in their personal lives. Notwithstanding the drawbacks, a controllable amount of anxiety is occasionally helpful. For example, it’s beneficial when it pushes you to complete a task, meet deadlines, or help you prepare for emergency events. It is possible to get anxious when celebrating an achievement or move into a new apartment, which is fine, unlike an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by constant fear, worry, and excessive anxiety. This disorder can make you avoid social gatherings, family reunions, work, and any other events that have the potential to trigger anxiety.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are different types of anxiety disorders, and the most prevailing ones are:
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD): PTSD happens after a traumatic event. These events might lead to flashbacks, hallucinations, and sometimes nightmares.
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD): SAD is also called Social Phobia, and it is attributed to the overwhelming fear of being judged in social gatherings or events.
- Panic disorder is an instant fear that leads to a panic attack. It may cause an increase in heart rate (palpitation), chest pain, and sweating. An individual experiencing a panic disorder or panic attack may feel like experiencing a mild heart attack.
- Separation anxiety: This is when a person becomes excessively afraid of losing a loved one or even a pet. Separation anxiety disorder is mainly associated with children; however, adults can display its symptoms.
- Medication-induced anxiety disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is caused by the use of or withdrawal from certain drugs.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This is when a person feels unrealistically worried about their everyday life. It is the fear of what is to come.
- Agoraphobia: This is the fear of being in a situation where getting help is almost impossible. An example is being afraid of leaving your home.
Symptoms and Diagnosis of an Anxiety Disorder
Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder are:
- Increase in heart rate
- Numb, cold, or tingling hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to focus
- Sleeping problem
- Tense muscles
Diagnosis of an Anxiety Disorder
There are no lab tests that outright diagnose an anxiety disorder. However, they might run tests to cancel out other physical medical conditions that might be giving you the same symptoms. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should seek your doctor’s advice and consultation. Your doctor may send you to a psychiatrist or psychologist if there are no physical reasons for your symptoms. Let your doctor know how this disorder affects and disrupts your daily life and activities. Talking with your doctor or a counselor is the best way to diagnose an anxiety disorder.
Treatment for an Anxiety Disorder
Anyone with an anxiety disorder can get help through:
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy is a therapy that helps you learn how your emotions affect how you behave in situations. The therapist will further suggest ways for you to understand and manage your anxiety disorder. This therapy session can help you turn negative and fearful thoughts into positive ones.
- Medication: You will have to talk to your doctor to know which drug best suits your anxiety disorder. Some of the medications include:
- Bupropion: It is for treating chronic anxiety disorders. It is a form of antidepressant.
- Benzodiazepines: Alprazolam (Xanax) is an example of Benzodiazepines used for lowering anxiety. They work very quickly.
- Antidepressants: They are for depressive disorders but are usually the first drug prescribed to people with an anxiety disorder. Escitalopram and Fluoxetine are examples of antidepressants.
- Beta-blocker: It is helpful for those who have physical symptoms of anxiety-like shaking or palpitation.
- Buspirone: This is similar to Bupropion. It is for treating chronic anxiety.
How to Manage an Anxiety Disorder
There are several ways of managing an anxiety disorder and preventing it from getting the best of you. The following tips can help you live a very fulfilling life with or without an anxiety disorder. These tips are:
- Restrain from drug abuse: Consult your doctor before taking any drug that can trigger anxiety or anxiety-like symptoms.
- Know your type of anxiety disorder: It will help you identify what events and situations you should avoid.
- Meditation: A consistent meditation routine can help achieve calmness and relax the mind/body to reduce both stress and anxious tendencies.
- See a psychotherapist more frequently: Speaking with your therapist more often will help you build confidence. In addition, you become more self-aware.
- Get together with family and friends: Going to a social event every once in a while also helps increase interactive behavioral patterns.
- Listen to calm music: Calm songs and sounds help train the mind to be still even when situations don’t go our way.
- What are the causes of anxiety disorders? There are an immense number of reasons why an individual may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This ailment is quite vast and can’t be attributed to just a singular cause.
- Can a pregnant woman take these medications? The risk and benefits of anxiety disorder medication vary for each woman; seek your doctor’s advice before taking any drugs.
- How long do I take my medication? This is determined by your doctor and your level of responsiveness to your treatment.
- What are the side effects of these drugs? Each treatment method will come with its own individual side effects. For the most up-to-date list of side effects pertaining to a specific medication, please consult with your doctor.
- Are these medications safe for children? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in October 2004 that some antidepressants have increased suicidal thoughts in some adolescents and children. It is helpful to seek your doctor’s advice before giving medication to your children.
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!