Anxiety is defined as a “feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome”. Anxiety is caused by stress, and there are many synonyms for stress such as worry, uneasiness, angst, or jitters and we have all gotten those feelings at one time or another. However, most of us get over feelings like that and get on with our lives. That is because we learn how to cope with the stresses of everyday life. Common causes of stress include work, financial problems, and personal or family relationships. More serious stress causing situations include a serious illnesses or drug abuse.
People deal with stress in different ways and how they deal with it is important. Do they handle it in normal ways and react to it without letting it take over their lives, or do they let it get the best of them and lose control. Just imagine what it would be like if you could not get over feelings of stress, or if you experienced intense feelings of stress or anxiety on a regular basis. People that find themselves in these situations may have an anxiety disorder. A person is deemed to have an anxiety disorder when they have intense feelings of fear, nervousness or worry on a regular or frequent basis. Anxiety disorders can affect how a person gets along with their peers or handles their daily activities. An anxiety disorder can make it difficult for a person to engage in simple daily activities such as paying bills, attending social gatherings, or grocery shopping.
Signs that an Individual has an Anxiety Disorder
There are emotional signs and physical signs of anxiety disorders.
Some of the emotional signs of a disorder include:
- A persistent state of apprehension
- Catastrophic thinking
- Irritability or crankiness
- Constantly checking for signs of danger
- Sleeping problems
- Fears of losing control or going crazy
Some of the physical signs of an anxiety disorder include:
- Excessive sweating
- A Pounding heart or rapid heartbeat
- Muscle tension
- Frequent urination or diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Hot Flashes or chills
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are many types of anxiety disorders, but the most common are listed below:
- Panic disorders are when people have feelings of terror and experience symptoms such as extreme sweating, chest pains or palpitations.
- Social anxiety disorders are when a person experiences overwhelming, self-consciousness when in day to day situations.
- Specific anxiety phobias are when a person has an abnormal fear of objects such as of certain types of animals like dogs or cats or of situations such as flying or being in a small room.
- Generalized anxiety disorders involve excessive fear or worrying about things or events that are not dangerous of little consequence.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorders involve feelings such as paranoia that come about as a direct result of drug abuse.
Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
There are several types of treatments for anxiety disorders. The most common treatments are done through the use of prescription medicines. There are four major types of medicines that are used to treat anxiety Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSR’s), Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRO’s), Tricyclic Antidepressants and Benzodiazepines. The most commonly prescribed medicines such as Xanax (alprazolam) Valium (diazepam) Ativan (lorazepam) and Klonopin (clonazepam) are part of the Benzodiazepines class of anti-anxiety drugs. They address the physical symptoms that accompany anxiety attacks such as headaches, chest pains, and muscle tightness. They are fast acting, and typically bring about relief within half an hour.
However, there are drawbacks that come with the use of these drugs, such as reduced brain activity that makes it difficult to drive or concentrate. There are also side-effects such as clumsiness, dizziness, blurred or double vision, memory loss, confusion and depression. Users of these drugs sometimes appear to be drunk or intoxicated. In addition, these medicines block feeling of pleasure and pain and can make users emotionally blunt or numb. The final drawback is that these drugs can be addictive.
Understandably taking anxiety medicines is not for everybody. Fortunately, there are other treatments. For instance, there are biofeedback and neurofeedback treatments, which are used to improve brainwave activity and have proven useful in the treatment anxiety disorders. There are also natural anxiety medicines that people claim are effective.