In people with anxiety disorders, feelings such as anxiety and depression become so serious that they interfere with daily life. These people become unable to continue their normal lives because of the anxiety they feel. While anxiety is a temporary state in healthy people, it can become permanent in people with anxiety disorders. A general feeling of intense anxiety or having had an anxiety problem for more than 6 months can be a sign of an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety disorders are quite common in society. These disorders can affect people of all ages.
Who is at risk for anxiety disorders?
A mix of genetic and environmental factors can increase a person's risk of developing anxiety disorders. You may be at higher risk for an anxiety disorder if you have:
- You have certain personality traits, such as shyness or being uncomfortable with and avoiding unfamiliar people, situations, or environments.
- If you have experienced stressful or traumatic events in early childhood or adulthood.
- If you have members of your family with an anxiety disorder or other mental health problems.
- If you have certain diseases, including thyroid problems and unusual heart rhythms.
Anxiety disorders are more common in women. Researchers are still investigating the reasons for this. Hormonal changes in women are thought to be the cause.
What are the types of anxiety disorders?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Repetitive obsessive and obsessive behaviors. People are always in a state of fear because of involuntary and developing thoughts. To suppress these thoughts, people constantly wash their hands, check the lock of thedoor,rand checkd whether the stove is turned off. Although this situation is consideres an "obsession" in society, it is actuallyae psychologicaldisease. Anxiety may worsen if people do not perform these rituals, called obsessions. Because of these time-consuming obsessions, people cannot do what they need to do and get more tired.
Panic attack: Although it is not a vital situation, it is a discomfort that makes the person feel strong anxiety and fear. Because panic attack symptoms are so severe, people who have panic attacks may feel as though they are having a stroke or heart attack. When a panic attack situation occurs, the heartbeat and heart rate accelerate.
Although anxiety and panic attack symptoms are similar, they are different problems. Anxiety has constant restlessness, and it makes itself felt subconsciously. In a panic attack, the person feels attacked and in danger, thinks they will pass out, their heart beats fast, and their breath stops. Attacks can last a few minutes or hours.
Post-traumatic stress disorder: fears and bodily reactions felt after a traumatic event. People relive these terrible events by reimagining them. Physical pain and insomnia are conditions that can occur due to post-traumatic stress.
Generalized anxiety disorder: It is the person's feeling uneasy and anxious about everything. Worrying about uncontrollable situations such as burglars breaking into the house, earthquakes, sick loved ones, and not being able to pay debts can make a person restless and unable to sleep at night.
Agoraphobia: Fear of not being able to get help quickly if one experiences anxiety. People with this disorder do not want to be in places far from the doctor, such as movie theaters, nature activities, or public transport.
Social phobia: It is the fear of being humiliated or stupid in crowded environments. People with this disorder are reluctant to speak loudly in public, to eat, and to attend parties.
What are the symptoms that occur with anxiety disorder?
The main symptom of generalized anxiety disorder is excessive and persistent worry about everyday situations. This ongoing anxiety and tension may be accompanied by some physical symptoms, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Don't get tired easily
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Muscle pains
- Stomach ache
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
What are anxiety symptoms?
Temporary anxiety about certain situations is considered normal. Anxiety before an important exam or interview or stress before a major change is classified as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorder happens when people have trouble controlling their feelings of anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person, but certain effects occur in all patients. These;
- Panic, restlessness, increased fear and anxiety,
- Sweating, cold hands and feet
- Shortness of breath,
- Tachycardia (heart rhythm disorder),
- Dry mouth,
- There are symptoms, such as difficulty concentrating.
Anxiety can also increase a person's risk of developing diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This is thought to be caused by changes in the stress hormone. At the same time, anxiety can be accompanied by eating disorders, and in such cases, people may choose to overeat for relaxation.
The effects of chronic stress on the body can also lead to physical problems. Chronic stress, which means prolonged and high stress, is a situation that the body is not used to evolutionarily. Increased stress in the face of immediate danger releases the hormone cortisol in the body and can suppress certain functions along with it. One of them is the immune system. In the case of chronic stress, the immune system, which is constantly suppressed in the body, can also increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
How does anxiety feel?
People with anxiety may feel nervous, awkward, and distressed. By entering into value judgments, self-confidence can be shaken. Anxiety makes the body feel tense and can affect your breathing.
Who has the most anxiety?
Anxiety is more common in women than men. It is possible to encounter anxiety in children who are raised with protective behaviors and in people who value anxiety.
Generalized anxiety disorder can be treated with the support of a psychiatrist or psychologist if it is not caused by another underlying medical condition. Treatment is a combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. Methods used to treat generalized anxiety disorder include:
Medicines: Medicines do not cure the disease; they can only help control the symptoms. For this purpose, a group of drugs called anxiolytic drugs can be used. Benzodiazepine group anxiolytic drugs can be preferred in patients whose symptoms need to be controlled immediately; however, they should be used with caution as they can be addictive. Anxiolytic medications with antidepressant properties can also help relieve anxiety symptoms. However, it can take several weeks for antidepressants to take effect. Antidepressants are safer and more suitable for long-term treatment. Antipsychotics, on the other hand, may help some patients, especially those with behavior problems associated with the condition.
Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is a speech therapy that aims to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that cause anxiety. This type of therapy helps the person limit their distorted thoughts by approaching their concerns in a more realistic way.
Alternative Treatments: By making some lifestyle changes and adopting habits, anxiety disorders can be dealt with more easily. These lifestyle changes and habits can include:
Exercise: You can develop a routine for doing physical activity most days of the week. Exercise is a good stress reliever and can lift your mood. Gradually increasing the amount and intensity of exercise will be good for your body to get used to.
Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can help relieve anxiety.
A healthy diet: Consuming healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains may be linked to reduced anxiety. However, more research is needed to support this issue.
Adequate and quality sleep: You can create a sleep routine to get enough sleep and feel rested. If you can't get quality sleep, you can get help from your doctor.
Avoiding cigarettes and coffee: Nicotine in cigarettes and caffeine in coffee can trigger anxiety.
Anxiety and alcohol
Alcohol is a sedative that acts on the central nervous system, providing temporary relief. People with anxiety problems may see alcohol as a solution to feeling good or not losing control by relaxing in a social environment. But anxiety is a long-lasting condition. Regular use of alcohol or other drugs by patients with chronic anxiety problems can be addictive. For these patients, it is necessary to treat the alcohol or drug problem before the anxiety is relieved.
Anxiety and depression
Anxiety disorders often trigger depression. Anxiety can be a symptom of major depression. Likewise, severe depression can cause anxiety. The symptoms of both conditions can be managed with psychotherapy, medications, and lifestyle changes.
How can I best cope with an anxiety disorder?
There are several steps you can take to deal with anxiety disorder symptoms. These strategies can also make your treatment more effective:
- Explore stress management: Learn ways to manage stress, such as meditation.
- Join support groups: These groups are available in person and online. They encourage people with anxiety disorders to share their experiences and coping strategies.
- Get educated: Learn about the specific type of anxiety disorder you have so you'll feel more in control of your anxiety. Help your friends and loved ones understand this problem as well, so they can support you.
- Limit or avoid caffeine: Many people with anxiety disorders find that caffeine can worsen their symptoms.
- Talk to your doctor: Your doctor is your partner in your treatment. If you think treatment isn't working or you have questions about your medication, contact your doctor. Together, you can discover how best to move forward.