Everything You Need to Know About Anxiety

Everyone comes across the feeling of worry, fear, and anxiousness, but that doesn’t always indicate a mental disorder. Anxious feelings are a natural factor of daily life, although more often than not, it can get too overbearing for some people and turn into Anxiety.

Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Definition

The Different Types of Anxiety

There are six types of anxiety disorders:

  1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAP)– a person feels anxious on most days, worrying about a lot of different things for 6 months or more.
  2. Social Anxiety– an intense fear of being criticized, being embarrassed, or humiliated in everyday situations, speaking publicly, eating in public, being assertive at work, or making small talk.
  3. Specific Phobias– fearful of specific objects or situations, go to great lengths to avoid it.
  4. Panic Disorder– if a person has recurrent panic attacks or persistent fear of having one for more than a month.
  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)– ongoing fear of unwanted/intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety. The person may often try reveling anxiety with certain behaviors and rituals. (Ex. Fear of germs lead to constant washing of clothes and hands).
  6. Post-Traumatic Disorder (PTSD)– tends to give anxiety to those who experience traumatic events (e.g. war, assault, accident, disaster). Symptoms of PTSD include:
    • difficulty relaxing.
    • upsetting dreams.
    • flashbacks of events.
    • avoidance of anything related to the event.

Signs of Anxiety

  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Overthinking
  • Need Reassurance
  • Insomnia
  • Desire to Control People & Events
  • Disqualify any positive
  • Constant Worry
  • Panic Attacks
  • Over Planning
  • Procrastination
  • Feeling Angry or Agitated
  • Lightheaded
  • Avoidance
  • Lack of Patience
  • Headaches
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Always on edge

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety, caused by a combination of things such as personality factors, painful life experiences, and physical health.

  • Family History of Mental Health: Some people who experience anxiety may have a Genetic Predisposition that can sometimes run in the family. However, having a close relative experience mental health disorder doesn’t mean you’ll automatically develop anxiety.
  • Personality Factors: Perfectionists, people who are easily flustered, timid, inhibited, lack self-esteem, or want to control everything. All examples of personality factors that are likely to experience anxiety.
  • Ongoing Stressful Events: Common triggers caused by one or more stressful life events.
    • Work or job change
    • Change in living arrangements
    • Giving birth or pregnancy
    • Family and relationship problems
    • Major emotional shock caused by traumatic events
    • Emotional or Physical abuse or trauma
    • Death and loss of loved ones
  • Physical Health Problems: Chronic physical illness can cause anxiety symptoms or impact treatment. Common chronic anxiety conditions are:
    • Diabetes
    • Asthma
    • Hypertension
    • Heart Disease
    • Over Active Thyroid
  • Substance Abuse: Alcohol and drugs tend to be mistaken for coping methods that people abuse, which aggravates anxiety conditions making things incredibly worse.
  • Depression: Another mental illness that often occurs with anxiety.

Treatment

There is a range of information about getting support and treatment for anxiety conditions, along with tips on ways you can help yourself. Treatment offers you the tools to control your anxiety, so it’s not controlling you. Varieties of treatment depend on the person’s experiences with anxiety.

Self-Treatment

For mild symptoms, a health professional might suggest lifestyle changes, physical exercises, to help reduce and maintain stress levels. Examples include:
Stress management- manage your stress to help limit potential triggers. (e.g make a list to help manage tasks, commit to time off of work and other duties).
Relaxation Techniques- meditation, deep breathing exercise, long baths, resting in a dark, quiet place, yoga
Be Positive- replace negative thoughts with positive ones by making a list of all the negative thoughts that cycle in your head. On the other side, record the convincing positive thoughts that contradict the negative thoughts. Doing this helps create a mental image of conquering your fears and anxiety head-on.

Counseling

Psychological counseling is the standard way of treating anxiety the most popular method therapists use to treat anxiety is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- a type of psychotherapy in which negative patterns of thought about the self and the world are challenged to alter unwanted behavior patterns or treat mood disorders such as depression.

Definition

In other words, CBT recognizes and changes the harmful thought patterns that form the anxious feelings. Therapists who use CBT hope to limit distorted thinking and change the way people react to triggers of anxiety. They also encourage people to confront their fears, as a result, to reduce usually sensitive triggers that would activate anxiety.

Medications

Antidepressants, Benzodiazepines, Tricyclics, and beta-blockers are just a few medicines that help control some physical and mental symptoms.

  • Antidepressants- target depression but commonly help with anxiety.

People often use (SSRI) Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, which have fewer side effects than older antidepressants but still cause nausea, jitters, sexual dysfunction when beginning treatment.

Other antidepressants include Fluoxetine, Prozac, Citalopram, and Celexa.

  • Benzodiazepines- class of psychoactive drugs

Side effects include drowsiness, possible dependence, and are highly addictive.

  • Tricyclics- another class of drugs but this one happens to be older than SSRI but provide benefits for most anxiety disorders other than OCD.

Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and weight gain. Two examples of Tricyclics include Imipramine, Clomipramine.

Additional drugs that help treat anxiety:

  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Buspirone

Prevention

Anxious feelings are a natural. Experiencing anxiousness doesn’t always indicate a mental health disorder, but there are ways to reduce the risk of getting anxiety disorder.

  • Reduce intake of Caffeine, tea, soda, and chocolate.
  • Before using herbal remedies or any over-the-counter, check with a health professional for any chemicals that may make symptoms worse.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Exerciser or any physical movement helps to improve self-image and releases chemicals in the brain that trigger positive vibes.
  • Keep at a regular sleep schedule.
  • Avoid Recreational Drugs such as alcohol, and cannabis.

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