Feelings of anxiety are common and they affect every one of us at one time or the other. It is considered a normal emotion and a majority of people experience nervousness and anxiety at work, before taking tests or when making important decisions in their lives. However, you must be careful not to confuse nervousness with anxiety disorders because the latter can cause distress and interfere with your normal life functions. Anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by fear and worry, which can be overwhelming and at times disabling. Learning how to manage these feelings through treatment can enable you to live a fulfilling life.
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are a number of anxiety disorders some of which include:
Panic Disorder – People suffering from this condition experience feelings of terror that tend to strike repeatedly and suddenly without a preamble. Other symptoms include sweating, palpitations, chest pains, and feelings of choking.
Social Anxiety Disorder – This is also referred to as social phobia and involves overwhelming instances of self-consciousness and worry about day to day situations. The worry is often centered around the fear of being judged by other people or behaving in a manner likely to cause embarrassment or ridicule.
Specific Phobias – This refers to intense fears of a particular situation or object such as fear of heights or flying. The level of fear is normally inappropriate to the situation and when it persists, can cause you to avoid every day situations.
Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Just as there are different types of anxiety disorders, so are the symptoms. That being said, there are general symptoms that can indicate the existence or risk of anxiety disorders. Some of these signs include:
Sweaty feet and hands
Shortness of breath
Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
The Causes of Anxiety Disorders
The main cause of anxiety disorders is largely unknown, but scientists are still doing research to determine the combination of factors that result into anxiety disorders. Up until now, we know that anxiety disorders are linked to environmental stress and changes in the brain. The mind contains circuits that regulate emotions including fear. Where these circuits are interfered with, anxiety may result.
For instance, severe or long lasting stress can change the manner in which nerve cells transmit information from one part of the brain to the other and this can cause anxiety. A few studies have managed to trace anxiety disorders along family lines which have brought into the open the possibility of genetic transmission and inheritance.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders
When you exhibit symptoms of anxiety disorders, the doctor may evaluate your situation by asking questions touching on your medical history as well as perform a physical examination. There are various tests other than lab tests that specialists resort to in a bid to diagnose anxiety disorders.
Psychiatrists and psychologists are better placed to evaluate your condition using assessment tools and interviews. The intensity of your condition and the duration of the symptoms are a pointer upon which the medical practitioner basis his or her diagnosis.
The treatment approach to be used for anxiety disorders depends on the type of disorder you are suffering from. The practitioner may recommend therapies such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even drugs. Psychotherapy is a type of counseling which helps in addressing the emotional response to mental conditions. The health professionals will take you through a number of strategies that will help you understand and deal with your disorder.
Though anxiety disorders cannot be prevented, there are things you can do to lessen or control the symptoms such as reduction in consumption of certain foods and drinks such as chocolate, energy drinks, coffee, cola, and tea. Ensure you seek counseling and support if you have any reason to believe your anxiety is overboard.