Let’s Talk About Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety, or feeling nervous and worried, is normal. It’s usually temporary, but there are those who experience extreme fear, worry and stress that it disrupts their everyday lives.
Types and Symptoms of Anxiety
1. General Anxiety Disorder is characterized by the following symptoms: irritability, fatigue, inability to or difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, problems sleeping, restlessness, difficulty in controlling worry.
2. Social Anxiety Disorder manifests by feeling too self-conscious with other people and having a difficult time talking to them. It’s not simple shyness. Instead, you worry about upcoming events involving a lot of people, you avoid people purposefully, and you feel very sick around other people.
3. Panic Disorder symptoms include the following: sudden and recurring attacks of intense fear, worrying about the next attack, feeling out of control of the situation, and fear of places of panic episodes.
4. Phobias are irrational fear of objects or situations that trigger strong reactions which are often debilitating. The person might experience nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, palpitations and shaking.
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD is caused by physical or emotional trauma. It occurs after the traumatic event happened. People with PTSD usually respond to triggers related to the trauma with intense fear or stress. They are also prone to reliving the event and have a fear of the next attack. Some become detached and have a difficult time coping emotionally.
6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is composed of two types. Obsession refers to a preoccupation of a thought that will not go away easily. No matter how you try to forget those thoughts, they don’t disappear even if you try to distract yourself. Compulsion is the need to do something that is difficult to stop. This activity becomes an outlet to relieve anxiety.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Those who are prone to anxiety disorders according to various studies, are economically-challenged, female, widowed or divorced and have experienced traumatic events in the past. They have behavior problems including shyness and had family members with mental and behavior disorders. People with high levels of cortisols also have a higher risk of developing anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can be confused with other illnesses and it can also be a symptom of other mental health conditions like depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/ADHD, substance abuse, and eating and sleeping disorders.
The first line of treatment given to patients is usually in the form of psychotherapy. This involves stress management and cognitive and behavioral therapy. Sometimes support groups can help because the patients will be able to talk to other people dealing with the same problems.
Medication is only given to relieve some of the symptoms especially if the patient is not responding to psychotherapy. Antidepressants can be given to some patients. That is perhaps why some people confuse both depression and anxiety as the same illnesses. Other medications that may be prescribed are Beta-blockers and anti-anxiety medicine.
These medications have side-effects so the patient and the doctor will have to work closely to monitor the progress.
The patient will also be required to change some of their habits. Family support is of great help.