In our life, we have experienced a different kind of feelings in different situations. It is absolutely normal that we have feelings of fear, happiness, sadness, grief, nervousness, guilt in different conditions. When we are supposed to go for an interview we may experience fear and when we hear good news, we may experience feelings of joy. Similarly, when in many situations we also feel anxious. Everyone has felt the feeling of anxiousness at some point in their life so there is nothing abnormal about that. Most people may feel nervous and anxious when they are going to appear for a test, interview or preparing for something important. It may also happen while we are facing an unknown person, a crowd, giving a speech or in any new situations. While feelings of anxiety are totally normal and it can happen to anyone but anxiety disorder is quite different. Anxiety may become anxiety disorder when it disrupts our normal lifestyle as well our personal and professional growth. It may cause severe tension and doesn’t let us enjoy our normal happy life.
Anxiety disorder is a type of serious mental disorder in which there are feelings of overwhelming fear and anxiety. Fear is the feeling or reaction to something which is happening at present while anxiety is to worry about something which will happen in future. People who have anxiety disorder feel a certain kind of disability because of a constant feeling of fear and worry. The person may have symptoms of fast heartbeat and shakiness because of anxiety disorder. There are different types of anxiety disorder like social anxiety disorder, specific phobia, separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. A person may suffer from two or more types of disorders at once. There is much other disorder with which anxiety disorder may occur which include substance abuse disorder, personality disorder and major depressive disorder. The symptoms should be present for more than six months and they should hamper the overall functioning of a person to be diagnosed with anxiety disorder. Medical problems like hyper thyroids, caffeine, heart disease, alcoholism or cannabis, or drug withdrawal may also lead to symptoms of anxiety disorder.
With treatment, Anxiety treatment can be well managed to lead a normal life. Change in lifestyle, medications or psychiatric counselling can be helpful in treating Anxiety disorders. According to researchers, in a given year around 12 percent, people suffer from anxiety disorder while 5-30 percent people face anxiety disorder some time in their life. The occurrence rate in females is double than males and it is mostly noticed before the age of 25. It is mostly diagnosed in people from the age between 15-35 years and it is less seen in adults past the age of 55.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be divided into several types depending on its symptoms. Some of them are as listed below.
- Panic Disorder
Any person with panic disorder feel terrorized at sudden moments and it can happen again and again without any noticeable reason or warning. The person who has panic disorder may display symptoms like chest pain, dizziness, excessive sweating, strong and irregular heartbeat or scary feeling of choking. It may also feel like a heart attack. Panic attacks are triggered by fear, excessive stress or other factors. It can begin at any time and it reaches its peak stage within ten minutes. A panic attack can last for several hours.
- Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia in which the person gets worried and overly worried about social conditions. They are continuously worried about the way people may judge them. They are anxious about their behaviour is a subject of ridicule for people. They fear social interaction, humiliation, public embarrassment or even public speaking. Its symptoms involve blushing, unnecessary sweating or speaking difficulty. People who suffer from this kind of situation try to avoid social encounters that often lead to isolation.
Many people have intense kind of fear for certain things like height, water or some kind of objects. The fear is of abnormal level which causes difficulty in everyday affairs. According to reports, around 5-12 percent of people in the world are phobic to certain things. It mostly happens that the person usually knows well about the object or situation not being threatening to them but they still experience fear because of Phobia.
- Generalized anxiety disorder
In this kind of anxiety disorder, the person has a long time span of anxiety but it is not focused on any particular situation or object. The person becomes unnecessarily concerned with everyday affairs. A generalized anxiety disorder may have 3 or more multiple symptoms like fatigue, concentration problems, restlessness, irritability, sleep disturbance and muscle tension. This kind of anxiety usually affects the adults.
- Situational anxiety
If new conditions, situations or change in events causes a high level of an uncomfortable situation with anxiousness then it is known as situational anxiety. It often happens to people but certain situations which cause anxiety to some people may not cause a similar level of anxiety to another person. Many people face extreme anxiety or panic attack in different situations like standing in a line, at a bank, while entering a college, office etc.
- Separation anxiety
An excessive amount of unnecessary panic related to fear of getting separated from any person or place is known as separation anxiety. It is most common in small children but if it crosses its limits then it becomes a disorder.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
There are many types of anxiety disorders and certain symptoms are associated with particular types of the disorder. However, there are some general symptoms which are linked up with Anxiety disorder. They are as follows.
- It can cause feeling of fear, uncomfortable and uncontrolled panic.
- The person may suffer from insomnia or develop sleeping disorders.
- The hands and feet turn cold and sweaty.
- It can cause difficulty and shortness of breathing.
- The person won’t be able to sit calmly.
- The hands and feet may feel numb and there can be a tingling sensation.
- It may cause nausea, dizziness and muscle tension.
- The person may have Heart palpitations and dryness of mouth.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Various studies and researchers have been conducted on Anxiety disorder till date but exact reason or cause behind its occurrence is not yet known. It is a form of mental illness and it is not caused by poor upbringing or personal weakness. However such studies have proven to the certain extent that anxiety disorders are caused by stress in the brain and environmental factors. When there are problems in the circuits of the brain which controls the emotions like fear then anxiety disorder may occur. It has been revealed that high level of stress on a particular matter can change the way the brain reacts to certain objects or situations. The nerve cells will transmit the information from one region of the brain to another in a different manner than in normal situations. They may also experience a change in the way the brain controls and relates memories with emotions. Anxiety disorder can also run down from parents to children just like some sort of heart problems or diabetes. Any sudden trauma or environment reason can be a triggering factor to develop the disorder though they have inherited conditions.
Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety Disorders can be diagnosed by a certified medical practitioner or a doctor. The medical history needs to be studied carefully before making a final call. Physical tests may be conducted and questions may be asked by the doctor to confirm anxiety disorder. There are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose a condition of anxiety disorder but the doctor can test and make a diagnosis on the basis of other methods. A medical professional specializing in mental health like a psychiatrist or psychologist can diagnose and treat anxiety disorder. The diagnosis is made by the doctor on the basis of the time duration of the symptoms and intensity of disorder. The doctor will check the behaviour and attitude of the person to observe if that is affecting the normal lifestyle. Several questions may be asked and keeping all these things under consideration, the doctor can make a diagnosis if the symptoms indicate any form of anxiety disorder.
Treatment of Anxiety Disorder
Researchers and studies on Anxiety disorder have resulted in progress related to its treatment in the past many years. The treatment of Anxiety disorder depends on the exact type of the disorder. The following types of treatment will be recommended by the doctors in case of anxiety disorders.
Psychotherapy is a type of counselling treatment to the affected person in which the trained psychiatrists of psychologists speak with the patient. The patient can share their problems and the doctor advises on ways to deal with the disorder. It helps to find out different methods of understanding and facing the anxiety disorder.
Mostly antidepressant medicines are used to treat symptoms of anxiety disorder. Antipsychotic drugs of low dose, anticonvulsant medicines and other drugs to reduce stress can be used and prescribed for its effective treatment. They can reduce the symptoms of the disorder.
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy
This is also a type of psychotherapy. In this type of therapy, the patient is taught to recognize the thought pattern leading to anxiety disorder. In that process, they can try to control and change the thought process that leads to anxiety and uncomfortable situations.
- Dietary and lifestyle changes
Change in lifestyle and maintaining a healthy food habit also can be crucial to treat anxiety disorder. Smoking and drinking should be quit immediately. Caffeine intake should be reduced and focus should be made on daily workouts. Eating healthy food and maintaining strict sleeping routine is helpful to reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder.
- Relaxation therapy
Relaxation therapy is another useful medium to treat anxiety disorder. Meditation is one powerful medium to train and control the mind. Similarly listening to music with a relaxation of the mind can make the symptoms of anxiety disorder milder.
There are no exact ways to prevent Anxiety and disorder related to Anxiety but there are certainly some ways which can be of help to reduce the symptoms and effects. Some of those methods are as follows.
- High caffeine-containing products should not be consumed. It is better to totally stop or reduce the intake of drinks like chocolate, coffee, tea, energy drinks etc.
- It is important to seek consent from the doctors or medical practitioners before using medicines or resorting to herbal medicines. Any careless step may increase the symptoms can cause worse conditions.
- Proper counselling and medical advice are necessary if an anxiety disorder is causing a disturbance on a day to day life.