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Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are classified as a mental health problem. Anxiety makes it difficult to go about your day. Nervousness, panic, and terror are among the symptoms, as are sweating and a fast heartbeat. Medication and cognitive behavioral therapy are among the treatments available. 

What is anxiety disorder?

Anxiety disorders comprise various conditions characterized by excessive worry, fear, or apprehension. While it is natural for individuals to experience occasional anxiety, anxiety disorders involve persistent and disproportionate levels of distress. This distress interferes with daily functioning. Common types of anxiety disorders include:

1.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): Persistent and excessive worry about various activities, even routine ones, that is out of proportion to the actual circumstances. It is difficult to control. It affects physical well-being, often coexisting with other anxiety disorders or depression.

2.  Panic Disorder: Involves recurring episodes of sudden, fear and intense anxiety, known as panic attacks. It peaks within minutes. Symptoms may include:

a.  shortness of breath

b.  feelings of impending doom

c.   chest pain, or a rapid, fluttering heart

These episodes may lead to ongoing worry or avoidance of situations where they have occurred.

3.  Social Anxiety Disorder: Characterized by high levels of fear, anxiety, and avoidance of social situations. This is due to concerns about self-consciousness, embarrassment, and fear of being negatively judged by others.

4.  Specific Phobias: Involve intense anxiety and a desire to avoid specific objects or situations. Exposure to phobias can provoke panic attacks in some individuals.

What are the causes of anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders are similar to other types of mental illness. They are not the result of personal weaknesses, character defects, or parenting issues. However, researchers do not know exactly what causes anxiety disorders. They believe a mix of factors plays an impact.

·      Chemical imbalance: Severe or prolonged stress can disrupt the chemical balance that regulates your mood. Chronic stress can lead to an anxiety condition.

·      Hereditary: Anxiety disorders are often passed down through families. Eye color, for example, might be inherited from one or both parents.

·      Environmental factors: Experiencing a traumatic event may precipitate an anxiety disorder. This is very particular in someone who has a higher risk of developing it.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders manifest through a spectrum of symptoms that can be both physical and psychological. Common symptoms include:

1.  Excessive Worry: Persistent and uncontrollable worry about various aspects of life. This includes event with no apparent reason for concern.

2.  Physical Symptoms: These may include restlessness, muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping.

3.  Panic Attacks: Intense periods of fear or discomfort. This is often accompanied by palpitations, sweating, trembling, and a sense of impending doom.

4.  Social Avoidance: Individuals may avoid social situations due to fear of judgment or embarrassment.

5.  Specific Phobias: Intense and irrational fears of specific objects or situations. This can lead to avoidance behaviors.

Medications for Anxiety Disorders

1.  Antidepressants: SSRIs are commonly prescribed to alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorders. They work by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

2.  Anti-anxiety medications: Doctors may prescribe benzodiazepines. These medications have a rapid onset of action. They are effective for short-term relief of severe anxiety. However, they carry a risk of dependence and are generally prescribed cautiously.

3.  Beta-Blockers: Primarily used to manage physical symptoms of anxiety such as shaking and trembling. They are often prescribed for performance anxiety or specific phobias.