What is anxiety?
Anxiety is very difficult to describe. It is like a small, but growing and persistent fear that nags at the back of your mind, pokes around at your internal organs, and distorts your rational perception of things. When it first begins it is just a small annoyance, almost just a slight nervousness. But at its worst, anxiety can completely grip your body, debilitating you from most voluntary movement. Everybody experiences anxiousness to some degree every once in a while. It is when you become overwhelmed by it that you have a anxiety disorder.
It is not uncommon for people to experience an anxiety disorder along with other disorders. Such an example would be somebody with an eating disorder. You can only imagine the thoughts racing through their mind such as: did I eat too much today? What will happen if I eat one more bite? Will I gain an extra pound by drinking this? These thoughts constantly create only more stress and anxiety about the situation, making it much more complicated to learn how to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. The same could apply for people experiencing a chemical dependency- worrying too much about the future and ultimately leading to depression and diving deeper into their dependency.
The symptoms of an anxiety disorder
There are two types of symptoms for anxiety: physical and emotional (or psychological). Here are some basic warning signs:
– Fast heartbeat
– Numbness in the arms
– Tense muscles
– Cold or damp hands
– Upset stomach
– Excessive sweating
– Dizziness or shortness of breath
– Extreme exhaustion
– Lack of sleep (insomnia)
– Irritable/Easily confused
– Insecure and self-conscious
– Wanting to escape
– Worrying that you are going to die or are going crazy
Common anxiety disorders
There are some of the most common types of anxiety disorders. Each one has its own characteristics.
– Generalized Anxiety Disorder (G.A.D.)
: This disorder is explained by the name. When you experience a lot of anxiety, along with the typical physical symptoms constantly, you are likely to have G.A.D., although to be diagnosed, you need to have had the symptoms for six months.
– Panic Attacks/Panic Disorder:
Having a panic disorder involves experiencing numerous, unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are like a sudden attack of terror that can make you dizzy, considerably speed up your heart rate, make you short of breath, and give you a very unsettling and frightened feeling. These attacks usually last for about 15-30 minutes.
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.):
This disorder constantly forces thoughts into your mind and even behaviors that you can’t seem to control. These compulsive thoughts usually drive the person to find some behavior to try and make the worry go away- for instance if it was persistent in their mind that their hands were totally dirty and had millions and millions of germs, they would try to wash their hands to relieve the thought, but as they were repetitively worried that their hands were still dirty, they would wash their hand over and over to attempt to relieve the fear.
– Social Phobia:
This type of phobia is a constant anxiety caused by the fear of what others will think of you. This can vary from mild cases of stage fright, to somebody who will not enter a social event at all to avoid the situation.
Treating an anxiety disorder
Along with the methods of treating other problems that may be existent (such as eating disorders), there are other ways to treat specific anxiety disorders as well. One of the best ways is to learn how to relieve the number one cause of anxiety: stress.
Learn how to manage stress in your life. There are many treatments and programs designed to teach you how to manage stress.
Learn relaxation techniques. It is important to take time out and learn to take a break from your worries.
Take care of your physical body. Exercising, eating healthy, and getting regular amounts of sleep is important.
Think positively. Thinking negatively feeds anxiety and never makes a situation better than it is.
If dealing with anxiety on your own seems too much of a task, look into getting professional help and find treatment that works for you!