Everyone feels anxious every now and then. However, anxiety can become much more than a feeling of nervousness if it develops into a mental health disorder. When living with an anxiety disorder, day-to-day activities can become difficult, and when left unattended, these feelings of anxiety and nervousness can become overwhelming and impact our quality of life.
Anxiety, though, can be treated. Usually, through medication and therapy, someone who is dealing with an anxiety disorder can find a method that’ll allow them to overcome their illness. However, to first be able to win the battle of anxiety, you need to know the symptoms and what causes you to become anxious.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
When you are anxious, you become fearful and tense. You are usually unable to go about your daily life, and you can be left trying to battle physical symptoms. Physical symptoms include:
- An increased heart rate
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Increased and irregular breathing
- Dry mouth
While anxiety is normal in certain stressful situations, an over-excessive amount of anxiety that disallows you to complete the simplest of tasks is, in fact, abnormal and can cause other mental health issues such as depression. Anxiety is classified as abnormal if:
- The threat does not warrant the response.
- Anxious feelings persist well after the situation has gone.
- A person feels anxious for no apparent reason.
What are the Different Types of Anxiety?
There is no single entity of an anxiety disorder. Rather, there are different types of anxiety which fall under the umbrella of ‘anxiety disorder.’
- Social anxiety disorder.
- Panic attack and panic disorder.
- Generalized anxiety disorder.
- Depression and anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder is more than being shy; it is much more severe. Sometimes referred to as ‘social phobia,’ a person suffering from social anxiety disorder will fear social situations, avoid certain social situations, and if they are in a social situation, will undergo the symptoms of an anxiety attack. It’s vital that people understand that social anxiety disorder is more than being afraid of people and certain social situations; it can impact a person’s school and work life, and can even make a person alienate themselves. For someone who is afraid of social interactions, it could, in some severe cases, stop a person from visiting their local coffee shop because they’re afraid of the staff starting a conversation with them.
Panic attacks and a panic disorder is when a person has a panic attack without warning, for no apparent reason. Although at least 1 in 10 people has the occasional panic attack, if you have a panic disorder, you’re likely to undergo repeated panic attacks; it is estimated that about 1 in 50 people have panic disorder.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects a person on most days, where they have a lot of anxious feelings that don’t seem to settle or disappear. Someone dealing with GAD may be feeling fearful, worried and tense for no real reason, and these anxious feelings persist long-term. The smallest of things can cause someone with GAD to become stressed and anxious, and sometimes, the person may not even know they are anxious because they’re used to the symptoms of anxiety. People with GAD may also experience the following symptoms of:
- Feeling restless and on edge
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty with concentration
Depression and anxiety commonly go hand-in-hand, and can greatly affect a person’s day-to-day life while also being distressing for someone to deal with. About 5 in 100 adults have depression every year, where sometimes the symptoms of depression are mild and last a couple of weeks, while on the other hand, it can linger and become a long-term issue. Sometimes, people may not know they are depressed; to help diagnose people so that they can recognize their symptoms and seek help and treatment, there are many legitimate quizzes online to help diagnose depression.
What Causes Anxiety?
When it comes to anxiety, the cause is not always clear. Sometimes, it can come down to your genetic ‘makeup,’ other times it can be caused by past experiences. Childhood traumas can lead to people becoming more anxious when they get older, and major stress in life can also trigger the condition.
How Can You Treat an Anxiety Disorder?
The main aim of treating anxiety is to reduce the symptoms so that anxiety no longer impacts your life as much as it used to. There are many treatment options, however, so you need to be patient when exploring your options as one treatment may not be as effective for you as it was for someone else. Your options are, but are not limited to, as follows:
Counseling: Sometimes, being able to speak about your problems can be enough to recognize what’s causing you anxiety and the best way to deal with it. Counseling focuses on problem-solving skills, so if you were ever to have a panic attack or experience symptoms, you’re able to implement the tools you’ve been taught.
Anxiety management courses: Courses include learning how to relax, problem-solving skills, group support and being to utilize coping strategies.
Medical marijuana: If it’s legal in your state, then being able to medicate with marijuana can be a viable option. Marijuana can act as a replacement for anti-anxiety medication, for those who do not like being medicated and who are looking for alternatives. The therapeutic results of CBD can offer therapeutic effects through a more holistic approach. You can grow your own for your own personal stash easily, by using a weed light bulb, the right soil, or through aeroponics (no dirt, just air).
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Ideal for those who suffer from persistent anxiety disorder and phobias, CBT is a therapy that focuses on your current thought process with the aim of changing them.
Antidepressant medicines: Through Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), you can reduce symptoms of anxiety while also tackling depression. SSRIs work by interfering with a person’s brain chemicals (also known as neurotransmitters) such as serotonin and increasing the amount a person may have. Low serotonin levels are often linked to anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders and even alcohol abuse.
Benzodiazepines: Diazepam is a common benzodiazepine when it comes to the treatment of anxiety, however, such medication is known for its serious side effects. They are also addictive, and you can build a tolerance to the medication, making it easier to overdose accidentally.
Living with an anxiety disorder isn’t easy, and for many who suffer from one, it can seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. However, with the proper treatment, anxiety is very much treatable, whether it’s to help you cope with the symptoms or to overcome your anxiety disorder completely. Medication and non-medicated options are all viable, but also remember that although alcohol may ease your symptoms temporarily, in the long run, it only makes things worse. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to see a doctor as soon as possible.