Anxiety is part and parcel of life. Anxiety and nervousness are common feelings when facing a problem at work, attending an interview, taking a test, or making a big decision. It’s normal to have some anxiety. And anxiety can be beneficial. As an example, anxiety alerts us to dangerous situations and helps us focus on staying safe. But anxiety disorders are more than just temporary anxiety or fear. Anxiety does not diminish and worsens over time for a person with the condition. Anxiety disorder symptoms negatively interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.
TYPES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS AND THEIR SIGNS
GENERALIZED ANXIETY DISORDER
A person with a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) displays excessive anxiety or worry about several things such as personal health, work, social interactions, school, and work most days for at least six months.
GAD symptoms include:
- Feelings of restlessness, being wound-up, or on-edge
- Getting fatigued easily
- Having trouble
- concentrating, or mind going blank
- Always being irritable
- Having muscle tension
- Difficulty controlling feelings or worries
- Sleep-related issues include difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep
A panic attack is a sudden burst of intense fear that suddenly reaches its peak in minutes. These attacks can occur unexpectedly or be brought on by a trigger, such as a feared object or situation. Individuals with panic disorder have recurrent unanticipated panic attacks.
During a panic attack, individuals may experience:
- Heart palpitations
- Trembling or quivering
- Sensations of shortness of breath or choking
- Feelings of impending doom
- Feelings of being out of control
People with panic disorder are often concerned about the next attack and actively try to prevent such attacks in the future by avoiding places, situations, or behaviors they associate with panic attacks. An individual’s effort to avoid attacks results in significant disruptions in various aspects of life, including the development of agoraphobia.
Phobia refers to the intense fear of, or aversion to, specific objects or situations. Although it is okay to be anxious in some instances, the fear individuals with phobias sense are out
of proportion to the actual discomfort they may experience.
People suffering from phobias:
- May have an irrational or somewhat excessive concern about an object or situation.
- Feel immediate, intense anxiety when encountering the feared object or situation. Actively try to take steps to avoid the fear of a situation or object.
- Survive unavoidable things and conditions with extreme anxiety.
According to researchers, developing an anxiety disorder is influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Although risk factors for each type of anxiety disorder may vary, there are some general risk factors for all kinds of anxiety disorders:
- Behavioral inhibitions or dispositions of shyness since childhood.
- Experiencing stressful and adverse life events as a child or adult.
- History of anxiety or other mental issues in biological relatives.
- Physical health problems, such as thyroid problems or heart arrhythmias, caffeine or other substances or medications, can cause or aggravate anxiety symptoms. A physical examination can help determine whether the patient has other factors contributing to or causing anxiety.
TREATMENT AND THERAPIES
- Psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavior Therapy)
- Medications (Anti-anxiety Medications, Antidepressants, Beta-blockers, etc.)
- Support Groups
- Stress Management Techniques
For more information about anxiety disorders, here are some resources that can help:
Anxiety and Depression Association of America: https://adaa.org/
National Institute of Mental Health: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders
Well Coast Medical providers can assess and treat anxiety disorders of all types. If you or a loved one are experiencing distress or problems related to anxiety, contact us today at (833) 931-1716 to find out how we can help!