It is absolutely normal to feel very anxious when you are facing a stressful situation, for instance, a blind date, a tough exam, or a job interview. But if your fears or worries look overpowering and impede your daily life, then there is a likelihood that you may be experiencing anxiety, which experts today classify as a disorder. There are several kinds of anxiety disorders.
Understanding Anxiety Disorders:
Anxiety refers to the natural response of the body to danger. It is an automatic alarm which goes off when one feels that he is under intense pressure, being threatened or being in an extremely stressful situation. When moderated, anxiety is not a harmful thing. As a matter of fact, it can assist you in staying focused and alert, motivate you to solve issues or spur you from inactivity to action, and encourage you to resolve issues. However, when anxiety is crushing or permanent, when it significantly affects your activities and relationships, it hinders you from being fully functional – that is when you are considered to have crossed the line and moved from the normal and productive anxiety to the ground of anxiety disorders.
Symptoms and Signs of Anxiety Disorders:
Since anxiety disorders belong to a group of related conditions instead of a single disorder, they can appear very different from one individual to another person. One person can suffer from very extreme anxiety attacks which strike without any warning while others may get alarmed by just the mere thought of mingling in a party. Others can struggle with the constant incapacitating fear of driving, intrusive, or uncontrollable thoughts. Someone else can live in a continuous state of pressure, tormenting themselves about almost everything in life.
Apart from the main symptoms of excessive and irrational worry and fear, other common emotional signs of anxiety are:
• You will feel like your mind has gone blank.
• Watching for any signs of danger.
• Expecting the worst.
• Feeling jumpy and tense.
• Trouble paying attention.
• Feeling apprehensive and terrorised
Anxiety is not just a feeling. It is a product of our bodies’ fight-or-flight response. It involves a broad range of physical symptoms. Due of the several physical symptoms, those who suffer from anxiety often make the mistake of viewing their disorder as a medical condition. They can go to numerous doctors and visit many hospitals before their anxiety is finally revealed.
The common physical symptoms of anxiety will include the following:
• Muscle tension
• Twitches and tremors
• Shortness of breath
• Recurrent diarrhoea and urination
• Dizziness and stomach upset
• Pounding heart
Anxiety Attack and Its Symptoms:
They are also referred to as panic attacks. They are incidences of extreme fear or panic. They usually occur abruptly and without a single warning. At times, there is an apparent trigger- for instance getting stuck in a lift, or thinking about a big speech that you will have to deliver- however, in other cases, these attacks can appear instantly for no apparent reason.
The attacks usually peak in less than 10 minutes, and can seldom last for more than 30 minutes. However, during within that short time, the fear can be so stark that you can feel as if you just about to totally lose control or die. These symptoms are themselves very terrifying and many individuals will believe that they are having a heart attack. As soon as anxiety attack is gone, one will be worried about getting another one. Especially in a public space, where assistance is not readily accessible, and you cannot certainly escape.
Symptoms of Anxiety Attacks:
The symptoms of anxiety attacks include the following:
• Feeling unreal and detached
• Stomach cramps or nausea
• Chills or hot flashes
• Choking sensation and trouble breathing
• You will feel like you are about to faint.
• Chest pain or heart palpitations
• Feeling of going crazy or losing control
• Surge of overpowering panic
It is essential to seek for assistance in case you have started to avoid specific places or situations because you are experiencing a panic attack.
Kinds of Anxiety Disorders:
There are 6 key kinds of anxiety disorders and each of them has their own special symptom profile: social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobia, anxiety attacks (panic disorder), obsessive compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. We shall look at five of them in this article.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder
If frequent fears and worries disturb you from your daily activities, or you seem bothered by an insistent mood that something bad is going to occur, you can be suffering from a disorder known as GAD (generalized anxiety disorder). Individuals who are suffering from GAF can be described as chronic worrywarts who feel generally anxious almost all the time, although they may really never explain why. Anxiety that is related to GAD usually illustrates physical symptoms such as fatigue, restlessness, stomach upset, and insomnia.
2. Panic Disorder ( Anxiety Attacks)
This disorder is characterized by unexpected and repeated panic attacks and, in addition, the fear of going through another episode. Anxiety attacks can also be followed by agoraphobia- this is the fear of being locations where getting help or escaping will be difficult in the case of any occurrence of a panic attack. In case you have agoraphobia, you will most probably avoid visiting public spaces like shopping malls, or places that are confined for instance airplane.
3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) is characterized by unwanted behaviours or thoughts which seem difficult to control or stop. In case you have OCD, you can be extremely troubled by obsessions, for instance, a recurring fear that you may have forgotten to turn off the oven. You can also suffer from overwhelming compulsions, for instance, washing your hands several times endlessly.
This is an exaggerated or unrealistic fear of a given situation, activity or an object which in reality presents little or no danger at all. Common phobias include the fear of wild animals (for instance spiders and snakes), fear of heights, and fear of flying. In the case of a phobia that is severe, you can go to great lengths so as to avoid the thing that you fear the most. Unfortunately, evasion will only make the fear even stronger.
5. Social Anxiety Disorder
In case you have a devastating fear of being viewed negatively by other people and to an extent disgraced in the public domain, you may be suffering from social anxiety disorder, which is also known as social phobia. This type of disorder can also be considered as extreme shyness. In some of the severe cases, social situations are completely avoided by the person altogether. Stage fright or performance anxiety is the most common known kind of social phobia.
Battling anxiety is not an easy endeavour as it takes a lot of practice and at times stepping outside of your comfort zone. A visit to the doctor can help in diagnosing the type of anxiety that you are suffering from. They are several tips on how you can fight anxiety and get rid of it. For a comprehensive guide on how to combat anxiety in your daily life, you should acquire this book, ‘The 60 Second Panic Solution’, written by Anna Gibson. The book goes at $67.95.
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