Everything You Need To Know About Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders are a very serious issue. Sadly, they aren’t taken very seriously in our society these days. Some people devalue them by referring to their nervous energy as anxiety attacks. In this article, we’re going to break down anxiety disorders and hopefully help you overcome them.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or fear about an event or situation. The nervous energy (aka anxiety) developed in humans as an evolutionary response. Homo sapiens wouldn’t have been where we are today if it wasn’t for anxiety.
Did you know – anxiety is your body’s normal response to stress. Anxiety can help you cope with your day-to-day life. It can keep you alert for a challenging situation at work, studying harder for an exam, or keeping up with your kids.
Anxiety switches from being an enabler to a disabler as soon as it turns into a disorder. It can interfere with everyday activities like riding the bus, watching TV, working on deadlines or talking to a coworker.
For people who don’t have an anxiety disorder – it can feel like a sudden attack of terror even when there is no threat. If you’re thinking that this might be a rare condition – you’re wrong. Anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States. Women are more than twice as likely as men to get an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.
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Types of Anxiety Disorders
Generalized Anxiety Disorders or GAD
People suffering from GAD usually stress about every minute detail of their life. Ordinary issues like health, money, work, and family are a major source of anxiety for them. Something as small as bad weather could stress them out.
People with GAD take the saying “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” too seriously. With generalized anxiety disorders, the mind often jumps to the worst-case scenario even when there is little-to-no reason to worry.
Victims of panic attacks are always in a state of fear. They are always thinking about what’s going to happen next. Sometimes it gets so bad that they have panic attacks thinking about their next panic attack. Individuals with this condition experience recurring panic attacks at unexpected times.
A research conducted in 1994 proved that panic disorders are twice as common in women as in men. Panic attacks can cause a fear of impending doom or a fear of losing control. A fear of one’s own unexplained physical conditions is also a symptom of a panic disorder.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Some people have an extreme fear of being judged by others in social situations. They refrain from attending any gatherings or events. Body, sexual-orientation, and online shaming are some of the major sources of social anxiety disorder.
Social phobia is diagnosed when people become very anxious and self-conscious in everyday social situations. It’s no-incidence that social anxiety disorder is also known as SAD. SAD can further lead to panic attacks if the individual is exposed to social gatherings.
No matter who you are, what you do, where you live, if you’re like most normal people, you’ll have at least one type of phobia. The phobias in today’s age have gone out of hand. Don’t believe us? There’s a phobia called ‘Geliophobia’. Google it if you don’t know what it means.
But the intensity of the phobias of a person with an anxiety disorder is far worse than a normal individual’s fears. If not contained, phobias can turn into SADs. SADs can then develop into panic attacks or GADs.
Some other conditions that are technically not anxiety disorders but are similar include:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a form of anxiety following a traumatic event. It usually starts after a scary event that involves physical harm or a threat of it. The person who gets PTSD is usually the individual who was harmed. In some cases, the harm may have happened to a loved one or even a stranger.
Veterans who serve in the war zones can also be the victims of PTSD. For these veterans, their everyday life turns into a battlefield and they can’t stop believing that their or others’ lives are in danger.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorders or OCDs are probably the most underplayed form of anxiety disorders. A girl who can’t get her wardrobe in order rants about how her OCD won’t let her focus on anything else until she puts her dresses according to their color.
People with OCD have unwanted thoughts (obsessions) or behaviors (compulsions) that cause anxiety. These people tend to perform the same routine over and over to control the anxiety these thoughts cause. Often, the rituals end up controlling the person.
Anxiety Disorders Treatment
Although a long and strenuous task, fixing anxiety disorders is possible. The treatment for the disorder depends on the person, the type of anxiety disorder they have and their history of health problems, violence, or abuse (if any).
Once diagnosed with anxiety, you can explore treatment options with your doctor. The treatments usually fall into three categories –
- Counseling (called psychotherapy)
- Self Treatment
- Stress Management
- Support Network
- A combination of counseling and medicine
For some people, medical treatment isn’t necessary, and lifestyle changes may be enough to cope with the symptoms. In moderate or severe cases, talking to a psychotherapist can help you overcome the symptoms and lead a more manageable day-to-day life.
Several types of medicines can treat anxiety disorders. Antianxiety (benzodiazepines), beta-blockers, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are some of the common anti-anxiety medications.
Tip – we have listed these medicines for educational purposes only. All medicines have risks and as a result, you should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of all medicines. You should consult a doctor before using these products.
Medications typically used to treat anxiety include antidepressants and sedatives. They work to balance brain chemistry, prevent episodes of anxiety, and ward off the most severe symptoms of the disorder.