Many many ordinary people suffer from anxiety or when in passing conversation say that they suffer regularly from anxiety. But what is anxiety? Anxiety is a term used for different disorders that can turn into physical symptoms that are caused by being tense, nervous and worry. There are different levels of anxiety where you can have mild anxiety which can be unsettling to more severe symptoms that cause mental and physical health problems.
Anxiety usually develops when someone is facing something that is out of their comfort zone and therefore can be many challenging situations. For example, if you were to take an exam, attend an interview or give a speech. It affects people in different ways because for some, these situations can be considered normal yet to many others, it can affect your whole life such as being unable to sleep, cause mistakes at work or being unable to eat properly. In general, anxiety happens when a reaction is exaggerated with what is usually expected. Anxiety disorders can be categorised into more specific types. Below are the most common forms of anxiety.
G.A.D - Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a severe form of anxiety categorised by excessive long term anxiety and are afraid of nonspecific events and situations. These sufferers of G.A.D worry about allsorts of issues. This can be family life, work related issues, health, money worries but have trouble identifying the controlling their fears. This fear is often looked at by outsiders as sometimes a little trivial and overblown of what is normally expected from these situations. This can sometimes be looked as a little unfair as they are unable to emphasis and being too critical on the individual who has difficulty handling somewhat trivial but distressing everyday problems, like social activities, relationships and work related issues.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is anxiety that is brought on from a previous situation that was particularly distressing. These can be severe cases such as if someone was attacked or burgled to very severe cases such as hostage situations, rape cases or for a soldier who has fought in military combat. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder involves flashbacks to that particular event and can cause stress behaviour when the situation is recalled.
What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is disorder of anxiety that can be irrational and repetitive but the sufferer alleviates their compulsive disorder by acting on performing a certain pattern with an insistence such as obsessively washing their hands, checking the door locks, oven light switches and constantly cleaning personal items.
Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social Anxiety Disorder is a social phobia that is a fear of public humiliation and by being judged by people with a negative attitude. Examples of this are possibly a fear of being intimate or if a performer gets severe stress from stage fright. This can have a serious affect on the person by becoming reclusive and avoids appearing in the public reaching critical circumtstances that leaves having a normal life almost impossible.
Panic Disorder? Panic Disorder is a type of anxiety categorized by short, sudden attacks of severe terror and apprehension that leads to breathing difficulties, dizziness and nausea. Panic attacks can happen very quickly and peak after 15 minutes, but they can last for hours. Panic disorders sometimes occur after terrifying experiences or prolonged stress, but they can be spontaneous as well. A panic attack may lead a person to be quite aware of any change in normal body function, interpreting it as a life threatening illness - hypervigiliance followed by hypochondriasis. Also, attacks lead a sufferer to expect further panic attacks, which could cause drastic behavioral changes in order to avoid these attacks.
What is a Phobia?
A Phobia is an indescribable fear of an object, event or situation that causes the person to have a panic attack or an uncontrollable reaction where the action is very difficult to control. Phobias such as flying or particular animals such as reptiles are quite common and experienced by many people, but there are many, many phobias of objects that can be seen as quite strange yet still result in the person having irrational anxiety attacks. There is a programme on Uk tv that is called "Freaky Eaters" where there are people who are only able to eat certain foods and any other food can create minor panic attacks. Generally most people have a phobia and find it no problem to avoid these situations but those who come in contact with their phobia on many occasions change their behavior instantly and feel the need to escape.
What is Separation Anxiety Disorder?
Separation Anxiety Disorder is a disorder that places a person with feelings of panic and irrational behaviour when they are far away from a particular object, person or place. Particular cases of when people leave home to another city or country or if a family is separated find it difficult to cope with their new surroundings leading to excessive or inappropriate behaviour.
The common symptoms of anxiety? People with anxiety disorders present many different physical symptoms as well as non-physical symptoms that characterize the disorders such as excessive, unrealistic worrying. Many of these symptoms are similar to those exhibited by a person suffering general illness, heart attack, or stroke, and this tends to further increase anxiety. Below is a list of the physical symptoms associated with Generalized Anxiety Disorder:
Trouble sleeping Easily startled Tense Muscles Irritated Concentration problems Tiredness Headaches, Migraines Shaking Stomach ache Nausea Pins and needles Faster Heart Rate Sweating Itching or scratching. Those suffering from panic disorders may experience similar physical symptoms to those with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. They also may experience breath shortness, feeling faint, and a sense of choking.
Post-traumatic stress disorders have also different symptoms that are unique to this form of anxiety. The More Frequent symptomatic behaviors include: Nightmares or flashbacks of re-experiencing the trauma Avoiding things associated with the disorder, avoiding people. Difficulty concentrating Being unable to sleep Closely watching surroundings (hypervigilance) Diminished or irritability of feelings or aspirations for the future
So, what Causes Anxiety? Most common causes of anxiety can be triggered by ourselves telling us negative thoughts and the worst case scenario will happen. Have you ever gone for an interview thinking you'll do badly, and that is exactly what happens? There are other factors such as medical, brain disorder, genetics, early childhood experiences or a combination of all. The most common anxiety comes from the stress in our lives and feeling a lack of confidence when others around them are being successful.
Environmental and external factors Environmental factors that are known to create different sorts of anxiety include: Trauma from events such as a death of a close relation or friend, mental or physical abuse or victimization. Stress in a personal relationship, marriage, friendship Stress at work Stress at school, college or university Stress about money and financial issues Lack of oxygen in areas of high altitude.
Medical factors Anxiety is associated with medical factors such as anemia, asthma, infections, and several heart conditions. There are some medically-related causes of anxiety such as: Symptoms of a medical illness or operation, Side effects of medication, A lack of oxygen from pulmonary embolism or emphysema, Substance use and abuse. Many people who are dependent on alcohol or medication suffer from mental health problems for certain anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social phobia or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
More generally, anxiety is also know to result from: Intoxication from an illicit drug, such as cocaine or amphetamines If the person stops taking an illicit drug, such as heroin, or from prescription drugs like barbiturates, Vicodin or benzodiazepines.
Possibly the most unfortunate reasons are suggested that if there is a history of anxiety in the persons family, there is a good chance they could develop it. Some people have a genetic predisposition which will give them more of a chance of getting anxiety disorders.
Researchers have discovered that people with abnormal levels of certain neurotransmitters in their brain have a greater chance to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. When neurotransmitters are not functioning properly, the brain's internal communication network breaks down, and the brain may behave in an inappropriate and different way in certain situations. This can lead to anxiety.
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