Feeling anxious, nervous or fearful is a part of life. You may experience anxiety when you are out late at night and all alone or you may feel the same when you have an exam. This kind of anxiety is actually useful because it makes you careful and alert. Once you are out of that situation, it will automatically end, but for millions of people it doesn’t go away. In fact, it ends up getting worse at times so much so that they are unable to sleep, eat or function and have to deal with nightmares, chest pain, headaches and what not. It gets so bad that you may not be able to leave home.
There are different kinds of anxiety disorders that you may experience such as post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias like fear of heights or crowds, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. You can start taking medications instantly when you suffer from anxiety, but the fact is that all treatments are useless until you understand the cause of the problem.
What causes anxiety?
It is not a single factor that causes anxiety to develop; usually, it is a combination of several factors that play a role in its development. People who have a family history of mental health conditions are said to have a genetic disposition to it, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. Personality traits can also make you susceptible to anxiety like those who are timid, easily flustered, perfectionists or those who lack self-esteem.
Ongoing stressful events such as job change or work stress, loss of a loved one, emotional, physical, sexual or verbal abuse or even family problems can cause anxiety. Moreover, there are also physical health problems including asthma, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension and mental conditions like depression that lead to anxiety. In some cases, substance abuse can also be responsible. It is essential to bear in mind that the causes can vary for everyone.
What are anxiety symptoms?
There are three categories for anxiety symptoms, which are:
Physical: Tightening of your chest, a racing heart, hot and cold flushes, panic attacks, restlessness, edgy, wound up or feeling tense and rapid breathing.
Psychological: Obsessive thinking, excessive worry, fear and catastrophizing.
Behavioral: Avoiding situations that can flare up feelings of anxiety and impact your work and personal life.
These are only the basic symptoms of anxiety. Lots of people experience other symptoms as well, but they vary according to their disorder and condition.
What are the treatments available?
There are generally two types of treatments that have been known to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Firstly, certain types of medications such as benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Etizolam, which is a different class of drug, but very effective in relieving anxiety and even insomnia, and tricyclic anti-depressants like Anafranil. Other than medicines, cognitive behavioral therapy, a psychologic treatment is also beneficial not only identifies the causes and triggers of anxiety, but also teaches you skills for coping with anxiety in the future and facing your fears.