Anxiety is a healthy emotion that is crucial for survival in the presence of potentially hazardous situations. This is due to the ‘fight or flight’ response triggered by the adrenaline hormone. However, it becomes a disorder when an individual manifests disproportionate instances of anxiety including worries about nonspecific life events, objects, and situations. Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by excessive fear, extreme nervousness. Apart from significantly disrupting how a person handles emotions, it can also cause physical signs.
Most of these symptoms are common experiences in daily life, people with anxiety issues may experience them to such a high level that it halts their activities of daily living
- Obsessive fear of people, places and things
- Inability to stay calm and still-panic
- Cold and sweaty hands or feet
- Shortness of breath and hyperventilation
- Heart palpitations
- Tense muscles
- Constant over-thinking of a problem until sleep is lost
- Lack of concentration
- Uncontrollable irritability
- Difficulty sleeping
Risk factors for anxiety disorder
- History of mental health disorder
- Childhood neglect or sexual abuse
- Physical Trauma
- Stressful or negative life events. Such as loss of loved ones
- Low self-esteem ( common in adolescent)
Some causes of anxiety disorders are:
- Genetics: if anxiety runs in the family
- Brain chemistry: anxiety disorder has been linked to faulty circuits in the part of brain which regulates fear and emotions.
- Environmental/physical/emotional stress.
- Drug withdrawal or misuse
- Medical conditions: certain heart, and thyroid conditions can trigger symptoms of anxiety and make it worse.
Identification and diagnoses of anxiety disorder is crucial to treating the condition.
Based on symptoms, doctors examine, and ask questions that helps in diagnosis. They may carry out test(s) to rule out other medical conditions that might be causing the symptoms. Nevertheless, the result of their findings will determine if the diagnosed individual will be referred to a psychiatrist or mental health specialist.
Types of anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Separation anxiety disorder
- Illness anxiety disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Managing Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
- Cut down on caffeine, it may worsen the symptoms
- Recreational substances and alcohol increases the risk of anxiety disorders
- Eat right and exercise
- Get better sleep. Inform your doctor if you have trouble sleeping.
- Practice rest, relaxation, and stress management
- Manage your negative emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy can guide you to manage that
- Get together with friends and families
- Adhere to your treatment plan. A sudden non-compliance in the use of prescribed drugs can trigger and worsen the symptoms.
There are many classes of drugs that are used to treat this disorders. They include:
- Antidepressants, such as SSRIS, SNRIS, bupropion, tricyclics and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
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