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A Brief Guide on Anxiety Disorder

A guide on anxiety

About Anxiety

Anxiety is the brain’s reaction to stress and fear. It is one of the ways of the mind to remind a person about the potential danger ahead. Everyone has a feeling of anxiousness from time to time. There is no need to worry about occasional anxiety.

People feel anxious about various things, such as moving to a new house, taking a test, or starting to work at a new place. This kind of anxiety is not pleasant, but it can encourage a person to work hard and do a better job. Usually, the feeling of anxiousness comes and goes with specific events and did not interfere with other aspects of life.

The anxiety disorder is different from a feeling of general anxiety, as people having an anxiety disorder always feel anxious. When the sense of dread lasts for more than six months and starts to interfere with the daily functioning of life, it is considered an anxiety disorder.

Causes of Anxiety

The exact cause of anxiety is still unknown, but researchers believe that a combination of factors is responsible. These factors include brain chemistry, environment, and genetics. Additionally to these causes, it is also possible that anxiety is a result of a defect in the part of the mind responsible for controlling fear.

Some other factors might also increase the risk of a person’s developing anxiety disorder; these include:

  • Trauma
  • Substance abuse
  • Negative life events
  • Low self-esteem
  • Childhood sexual abuse
  • Being shy as a kid
  • History of mental health disorder

Types & Symptoms

Types of anxiety disorders

Several disorders can be classified as anxiety disorder, as anxiety plays a significant role in all of these:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Illness anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Phobia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Symptoms of anxiety

The primary symptoms of anxiety disorders are excessive worry and fear, making it hard for a person to concentrate, breathe, stay still, or sleep. But, a host of other symptoms often accompany these signs of anxiety.

Some of the common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Restlessness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Panic and fear
  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cold, tingling, or sweaty feet or hands
  • Feeling of numbness
  • Tense muscles
  • Thinking about a problem again and again
  • Increased irritability

Though these are the things that one might typically experience at some point in their life, people with anxiety disorders face these symptoms all the time and at an extreme level.  

Types of Anxiety

Treatment and medication

Many treatments are available for treating the symptoms of anxiety disorder. Based on the severity of the symptoms, a doctor can either prescribe medications or psychotherapy. 

Medical treatment

Different types of fo medications help treat anxiety disorder. Before deciding which drug to take, talk with a doctor about the positive and negative effects. Working closely with a doctor ensures that you will get the best treatment for your condition.

Some of the conventional medicines for anxiety disorder treatment include:

  • Benzodiazepines: These drugs help lower the feeling of anxiety and are particularly useful when you are panicking. Benzodiazepines like Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam) are the most popular medications, but using them too much can create dependency.
  • Anticonvulsants: These medicines are helpful for people with epilepsy, as using them helps prevent the onset of a seizure. It can also provide relief from various anxiety disorder symptoms.
  • Bupropion: This medication is useful in treating chronic anxiety symptoms, and it works similarly to an antidepressant.
  • Buspirone: It is also a type of drug that is more effective on chronic anxiety, but it takes a few weeks before showing its effects.
  • Antipsychotics: This drug, when used with other treatments in low dosage, helps speed up the relief process.
  • Antidepressants: Doctors usually prescribe modern antidepressants such as SSRIs and SNRIs to someone showing signs of anxiety disorder. The common SSRIs used for anxiety treatment include Prozac (fluoxetine) and Lexapro (escitalopram). SNRIs like, Effexor (venlafaxine) and Cymbalta (duloxetine) are also helpful in treating anxiety disorders. 
  • Beta-blockers: Doctors typically prescribe these drugs to people having problems with high blood pressure.These are also effective in providing relief from symptoms of anxiety disorder, such as increased heart rate, shaking, or trembling. This medicine helps a person get calm during an anxiety attack.

Psychological treatment

Doctors recommend psychological treatment as an additional resource along with the medications. It is also known as talk therapy and conducted by a trained mental health specialist. The specialist listens and talks to the patient about their feelings and thoughts, and recommend ways to understand and take control of the emotions to manage the anxiety disorder.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is the most common type of psychological treatment used for patients with anxiety disorders. In this procedure, a mental health expert will teach the patient how to convert the negative thoughts that might cause a panic attack into positive ones. During this therapy, patients will learn how to approach and carefully manage the worrisome or fearful situation without getting too anxious.  

Managing symptoms of anxiety disorder

The following habits can make it easier for a person to manage the symptoms of anxiety disorder:

  • Eat right and exercise
  • Stick to the treatment plan
  • Get better sleep
  • Don’t consume alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Learn to relax
  • Get information about your disorder
  • Keep a journal
  • Minimize the consumption of foods and drinks which contains caffeine
  • Manage negative thoughts
  • Seek out for help

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