Anxiety Disorders: Types,symptoms, risk and treatment
Cynthia: hey Grace, I don’t feel too well please can you help me handle tomorrow’s presentation?
Grace: Ah😮! you know I don’t do too well with public speaking, you remember the stage fright thing I told you about
Cynthia: I know, but I need someone to help me and you are really good with this topic, meanwhile you know you have to overcome this stage fright one day..
Grace: I know but its not that easy.
Cynthia: I understand, just keep trying. you’ve got this!!!💪🏽
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear, that can be mild or severe. I believe this is one thing we all have experienced at some point in our lives. Feeling anxious once in a while is normal but when it begins to affect your everyday activity, it becomes a disorder that needs to be evaluated. Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause persistent and overwhelming fear.
types of anxiety disorders
- Agoraphobia This is a type of anxiety disorder in which you are afraid of and often try to avoid places or situations that make you to panic, feel trapped, or embarrassed.
- Health related Anxiety disorder : This is a situation where you are worried about getting a serious medical condition.
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): In this case you are continuously and excessively worried about things that you do not necessarily need to be worried about.
- Panic disorder: Involves repeated episodes of intense anxiety and fear when there is no real danger. Symptoms like increased heart rate , sweating, shortness of breath, peak within minutes and are called panic attacks.
- Selective mutism: This is a condition where a child refuses to speak in certain social settings like school but speak normally when in places where they feel more comfortable eg at home. This can interfere with school, work and social functioning.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia): Involves high levels of anxiety, fear and avoidance of social situations due to feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and concern about being judged or viewed negatively by others.
- Separation anxiety disorder: Is mainly a childhood disorder but can happen to anyone. It occurs when a person is afraid of being separated from family, friends or even pets.
- Specific phobias: Feeling anxious when you are exposed to a particular object or situation.
- Substance-induced anxiety disorder: This type of anxiety disorder is linked to the misuse of drugs, medications, being exposed to toxic substances or withdrawal from drugs.
symptoms and causes of anxiety
Causes of Anxiety
The main cause of anxiety is unknown but it has been established that it occurs as a result of a variety of factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, environmental stress, drug misuse, lifestyle choices and certain medical conditions.
Symptoms of Anxiety
This can differ depending on the individual involved; some of which include:
- Increased heart rate
- Fast breathing (hyperventilation)
- difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Panic, fear, and uneasiness
- Extremely avoiding feared objects or places
- Feelings of panic, doom, or danger
- Sweating and numbness in the hands and feet
- Diarrhea & nausea
- Dry mouth
- Thinking about a problem over and over again (rumination).
risk factors for anxiety disorders include:
- History of mental health issues: Having another mental health disorder, like depression, raises your risk for anxiety.
- Low self-esteem: Negative thoughts about yourself may cause social anxiety disorder.
- Severe health condition: or caring for someone who is sick, can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious.
- Abuse/ Neglect: Any form of abuse or neglect as a child is associated with anxiety disorders later in life.
- Traumatic experiences: Experiencing a traumatic event like rape, increases the risk of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) , causing repeated panic attacks.
- Negative life events: Painful or stressful life events, like losing a loved one early in life increases your risk for anxiety disorder.
- Being shy as a child: Shyness and withdrawal from people and places during childhood is linked to social anxiety in teenage years and adulthood.
- Substance abuse: The use of alcohol and illicit drugs increases your risk of anxiety. Some people use these substances to ease the anxiety symptoms.
Complication: Anxiety disorders and mental health
Anxiety can pose a lot of treat to both our physical and mental health. Some of its complications includes:
- Isolation from friends and people who care
- Substance abuse
- Poor quality of life
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Depression as well as other mental health disorders
- Difficulty concentrating which will eventually lead to poor performance at school or work.
- Severe pain
treatment of anxiety disorders
Treatment falls into two categories
In this case, you meet with a psychologist or therapist who will teach you some techniques to cope with the anxiety symptoms each time they occur.
These therapies are aimed at helping patients regulate their emotions, manage stress, and understand patterns in behavior. They include some evidenced-based therapies such as counseling, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are some of the most effective at treating anxiety.
Some of the medications that can be used include:
- Buspirone: Is a drug prescribed for the treatment of anxiety mainly GAD. Buspar and Vanspar are some brand names
- Benzodiazepines: Are sedatives used for anxiety, epilepsy, alcohol withdrawal, and muscle spasms. Some famous brand names are Librium, Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.
- Antidepressants: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) some brand names are fluoxetine (Prozac or Oxactin), fluvoxamine (Faverin), paroxetine (Seroxat) and selective norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors (SNRI) like venlafaxine (Effexor XR) are the major class of antidepressant used to treat anxiety.
natural remedies used for anxiety
Some lifestyle changes can help relieve some stress and anxiety. Most of the natural “remedies” involve living a healthy life and relaxing more often. They include:
- Getting adequate sleep and good sleep hygiene
- Meditation/ yoga exercises
- Regular exercising/ working out
- Doing enjoyable activities and doing things that make you feel good about your self
- Eating healthy meals
- Avoiding alcohol
- Avoiding caffeine
- Quit smoking
- Avoid negative and unhealthy environment
Seek help early: Delaying treatment can make anxiety difficult to treat
Please see a doctor if you are experiencing frequent anxiety attacks.