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Anxiety Disorders: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Anxiety Disorders affect everyone in many ways. These uncomfortable, hard-to-regulate, out-of-proportion sensations of worry and panic interfere with our routine lives.

To safeguard from it, we avoid certain locations or circumstances. With avoidance, the sensations of dread and panic worsen over time. 

Let’s understand the types of Anxiety Disorders along with symptoms, causes, and effective treatment options to help you easily cope with anxiety.

What is Anxiety?

When an individual faces potentially harmful or worrying triggers, feelings of anxiety are not only normal but necessary for survival.

Since the earliest days of humanity, the approach of predators and incoming danger sets off alarms in the body and allows evasive action. These symptoms include raised heartbeat, sweating, and increased sensitivity to surroundings.

This causes a rush of adrenalin, a hormone in the brain, which in turn triggers these anxious reactions in a process called the fight-or-flight response. This prepares humans to physically confront or flee any potential threats to safety.

Running from larger creatures and immediate danger is a less pressing issue for many individuals than it would have been for early humans. 

Anxiety today revolves around the job, money, family life, health, and other critical matters that require a person’s attention without necessitating the ‘fight-or-flight’ response.

The apprehensive emotion before an important life event or amid a challenging situation is a natural echo of the original ‘fight-or-flight’ response. 

It might nevertheless be necessary for survival; for example, fear of being hit by a car when crossing the street causes a person to look both ways to prevent danger.

Everybody has occasional anxiety. When faced with a challenge at work, before a test, or before making a crucial choice, for instance, you could worry.

But sometimes people get anxious or have panic episodes for no apparent cause. An anxiety disorder might be present if you struggle to manage your worries and if these persistent sensations of worry interfere with your ability to carry out your regular activities.

What is Anxiety Disorder?

An anxiety disorder is a particular type of mental illness. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, you could experience fear and dread in response to specific things and circumstances. 

Additionally, anxiety can cause physiological symptoms like perspiration and heart palpitations.

The presence of some anxiousness is common. But, an anxiety disorder goes beyond the normal apprehension and mild panic that we sometimes experience.

Our capacity to function is hampered. When anything sets off our emotions, we frequently overreact. Even our reactions to events are beyond our control. It gets tough to get through the day if we suffer from an anxiety disorder.

They are a collection of mental disorders that bring on persistent, intense worry and fear. You might avoid activities like work, school, family gatherings, and other social events since your excessive worry might make your symptoms worse or exacerbate them.

You could cease engaging in activities you like to do. For instance, it could stop you from using the elevator, crossing the street, or in the worst scenarios, even leaving your house. 

The anxiety will only continue to worsen if it is not addressed. Everyone is prone to anxiety disorders, which are the most common type of psychological disorder. 

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder

Each person who experiences anxiety will perceive it differently. Between stomach aches and a speeding heart are possible emotions. The connection between your mind and body could seem to be broken, leaving you feeling out of control.

It is hard to tell when anxiety turns into anxiety disorder because everyone has anxiety sensations. You should consult a mental health professional for guidance if your feelings of concern and dread have a long-lasting, incapacitating impact on you.

Different anxiety disorders have different symptoms. 

We have categorized these symptoms into 3 different categories. Physical, Mental, and Behavioral Symptoms Anxiety disorders generally feature the following symptoms:

Physical Symptoms

  • Hands that are cold or sweaty.
  • The mouth is dried.
  • Palpitations in the heart.
  • Dizziness.
  • Hand or foot numbness or tingling
  • Tension in the muscles.
  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling exhausted or feeble
  • Having gastrointestinal (GI) issues

Mental Symptoms

  • Feel fear, panic, and unease.
  • Nightmares.
  • recurring memories or flashbacks of traumatic events.
  • intense, uncontrollable thoughts.
  • Feel worry, sorrow, or imminent danger.
  • difficulty focusing or thinking about anything but the current issue

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Inability to remain calm and quiet.
  • Ritualistic behaviors like continuously washing your hands, cleaning homes, or repeatedly covering body parts.
  • Insomnia or difficulty in falling asleep.

Causes of Anxiety Disorder

We have tried to define a few major factors that are responsible for causing anxiety disorders. 

Anxiety Disorder Causes

Genetics

Anxiety problems can be passed down via families. People with a family history of mental health concerns are more likely to struggle with anxiety. Anxiety Disorders like OCD are passed on via bloodlines.

Stressful events

Anxiety symptoms might be triggered by stressful events like workplace stress, the death of a loved one, or difficult relationships. 

When you have a health problem or a serious disease, you might be concerned about your treatment and your future. A major incident or a series of lesser stressful life events might cause excessive anxiety. 

For example, a death in the family, occupational stress, or continuing financial concern. This refers to distressing situations that you have witnessed or experienced. 

Childhood abuse and neglect, the death of a loved one, or being attacked or seeing violence are all common triggers for anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder also is more likely if you have another mental health issue, such as depression.

Medical Issues

Thyroid issues, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease can all create anxiety. People who are depressed might develop signs of anxiety disorders.

For example, someone who has been depressed for a long time might begin to underperform at work. This might subsequently result in work-related stress, which can cause anxiety. 

Some heart, lung, and thyroid diseases might induce symptoms that are comparable to or worsen anxiety symptoms. 

When discussing anxiety with your doctor, it’s critical to undergo a comprehensive physical check to rule out any medical disorders.

According to several studies, dysfunctional brain circuits that regulate emotions and fear is responsible for anxiety disorders.

Substance Use

Certain medicines can be used to mask or reduce anxiety symptoms. Anxiety disorder is frequently associated with alcohol and drug abuse. 

When the effects of drugs, alcohol, and other substances begin to wear off, heavy users experience anxiety difficulties as withdrawal symptoms. 

The use of alcohol and illicit substances increases your chances of developing an anxiety condition. Some people take these medications to mask or alleviate anxiety symptoms. 

Trauma

Children who experienced abuse, trauma, or observed horrific events are more likely to eventually develop an anxiety condition. Anxiety disorders can also manifest in adults who had traumatizing experiences. 

Childhood sexual, emotional, or physical abuse or neglect has been related to anxiety disorders in adults. A stressful experience raises the likelihood of developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can result in panic episodes.

Personality

Anxiety disorders are more likely to affect some personality types than others. Certain personality types, such as control freaks or perfectionists, might occasionally experience anxiety-related problems. 

Social anxiety in teenagers and adults is associated with early shyness and retreat from strange people and environments. A social anxiety disorder might be intrigued by negative self-perceptions.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are several types of Anxiety disorders. Let’s have a brief understanding of them.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

People with GAD have excessive anxiety and worry about a wide range of things. They struggle with managing their anxiety, concern, restlessness, and constant sensation of agitation or alertness. Such folks don’t have a specific concern, and there isn’t a known cause. 

Patients suffering from GAD worry a lot about several things on most days, including their health, job, studies, and relationships. It keeps moving from one item to another.

Physical symptoms of GAD are agitation, trouble focusing, and sleep issues. GAD is one of the most prevalent anxiety disorders. People suffering from it find it difficult to pinpoint the source of their concern.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is one of several anxiety disorders that involve obsessive thinking and repetitive behaviors.

A person’s quality of life and well-being can be greatly impacted by having OCD. OCD patients have nervousness, continuous thoughts, and fears.

They repeat certain actions to calm their nervousness. For instance, a person afraid of germs and pollution frequently will wash his hands and the objects in his house.

This indicates that you frequently have illogical beliefs that cause you to engage in particular, recurrent actions. 

OCD is a mental health problem that includes an obsession or compulsion, upsetting behaviors, and repetitive thoughts. Regular tasks become difficult for someone who has OCD.

A person with OCD frequently has uncontrollable thoughts, visions, or desires. These bothersome thoughts and sensations are not what they desire to experience. 

Additionally, they feel a lot of discomfort, sometimes mixed with dread, contempt, uncertainty, or the conviction that something should be done a specific way.

Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder 

High degrees of anxiety, dread, and avoidance of social settings are symptoms of social anxiety disorder or social phobia. They are brought on by emotions of humiliation, self-consciousness, and worry about being evaluated or perceived adversely by others. 

Social and performance-related circumstances where they are going to be judged by others terrify people with social anxiety disorder. 

They live in constant anxiety that whatever they say or do will make them look foolish or embarrassing. These people find it difficult to deal with commonplace settings like small chat or simply dining in public.

Such people constantly worry and feel uncomfortable in social situations. They are concerned that people will judge, disgrace, or ridicule them. People who have social anxiety disorder could completely shun social events. 

Specific Phobias

People who have phobias, which are unjustified fears, might go to tremendous lengths to avoid the thing or circumstance that makes them feel anxious.

Their anxieties include everything from being in an airplane to being in a crowded area to innocuous objects like spiders and tall structures. 

Anxiety aggravates when they are exposed to a particular object or scenario and an intense desire to avoid arises.  

Some people experience panic episodes due to phobias. They have severe dread of a certain thing or circumstance, like heights or flying. 

The dread is excessive and could make people avoid routine situations. An overwhelming and ongoing fear of a particular thing, circumstance, or action that is typically not dangerous is referred to as a specific phobia.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

People who have gone through or observed a traumatic incident, such as a natural catastrophe, a catastrophic accident, a terrorist attack, combat, rape, death, sexual assault, or significant injury, might develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

The incident might be harmful, perhaps fatal, shocking, or even frightening. It evokes nasty, fearful feelings. 

Some PTSD patients repeatedly go through the incident even years after taking therapy and medicines. Life, career, and relationships are all hampered by PTSD. 

A loud noise or an unintentional touch can trigger powerful negative emotions in those with PTSD. They avoid circumstances or people who remind them of the traumatic occurrence.

Having experienced or seen a very stressful incident, such as an accident or an attack, might subsequently result in PTSD. Due to frequent flashbacks of the incident, the person will have trouble relaxing or falling asleep.

Panic Disorder

Uncontrollable panic episodes, which involve a variety of physical symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and heavy sweating, are common signs of panic disorder. 

The person then lives in continual terror of experiencing another such incident because these attacks seem to occur for no apparent reason. 

Repeated bouts of acute anxiety, dread, or terror that peak in intensity in a matter of minutes are symptoms of panic disorder. They have palpitations, shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or thoughts of approaching doom. 

These panic episodes cause concern that will happen again or a desire to stay away from circumstances where they happened.

A strong, unexpected panic episode is a symptom of panic disorder. Compared to other forms of anxiety disorders, these episodes frequently contain more potent, acute sensations.

A trigger, such as going into a scenario you fear, might cause the sensations of panic to start quickly and unexpectedly. Many times, panic attacks resemble heart attacks. Go to the emergency hospital if you think you could be having a heart attack. It is best to be cautious and have a medical expert examine you.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

A childhood disorder called separation anxiety disorder is characterized by excessive worry for the child’s developmental stage and anxiety associated with separation from parents or other adults who play parental duties. 

Children and teenagers are most commonly affected by this disease, as they worry about being apart from their parents. 

Children who suffer from separation anxiety disorder worry that their parents will suffer some sort of harm or that they won’t return as promised. Not just young children experience fear or anxiety when a loved one departs. 

Older kids and adults who go through stressful situations also suffer from separation anxiety disorder. When someone close to them disappears from their line of sight, they experience intense anxiety or worry that something horrible will happen to them.

Selective Mutism

Although they talk in other contexts, children with selective mutism do not communicate in specific social settings where it is expected that they do, such as school. 

They will talk while their family is present at home, but they frequently keep quiet when others, such as close friends or grandparents, are there.

Although children with this illness might employ nonverbal or nonspoken modes of communication, the lack of speech hinders social interaction. 

In addition to hurting communication skills, silence can cause social isolation and intellectual difficulties in the classroom. 

Numerous kids who have selective mutism also have significant levels of social anxiety, social shame dread, and extreme shyness. However, they frequently possess conventional verbal abilities.

Usually starting before the age of five, selective mutism might not be properly recognized until the kid starts school. 

Selective mutism is a condition that many kids outgrow. Selective mutism in kids who also have a social anxiety disorder might go away, but the symptoms of social anxiety disorder might still be present.

Possible Treatments For Anxiety Disorders

These treatment options can help you decrease the ill effects of anxiety or can be useful to help your loved ones or someone suffering from anxiety.

We have compiled seven proven ways to help someone suffering from anxiety. Click the link below to read the full article:

How to Help Someone with Anxiety: Seven Proven Ways

Although anxiety problems are common, one should not minimize how severe the issue is. 

The best course of action is to get expert guidance and treatment if you experience any of the aforementioned symptoms. 

Usually, Treatment for anxiety disorders includes psychotherapy, anxiety medication, or a combination of the two.

There are multiple ways that can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Let’s understand each of these in brief.

Treatments For Anxiety Disorders

Psychotherapy

Any method of treatment for psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues in which a trained individual develops a connection with one or more patients with the aim of altering or eradicating symptoms and fostering personality growth is known as psychotherapy, often known as counseling.

There are many types of therapies but these three have produced significant results.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a sort of psychotherapy that is widely used. You work in an organized manner with a mental health counselor (psychotherapist or therapist), attending a restricted number of sessions. 

CBT assists you in being aware of incorrect or negative thinking so that you can perceive difficult circumstances more clearly and respond to them more effectively.

It is a highly useful technique in treating mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an eating disorder, either alone or in conjunction with other therapies. 

CBT is a useful method for teaching people how to deal with stressful events in their lives.

Music Therapy

Music therapy is a part of expressive arts therapy that uses music to enhance and maintain a person’s physical, psychological, and social well-being. It includes a variety of activities, such as singing, playing an instrument, and listening to music.

In the definition of music therapy, we also include that it is a natural way to boost your mood through music. 

Certified persons who have a deep knowledge of music might become music therapists. They use their knowledge to find the specific music that helps patients with autism, insomnia, or other diseases. 

Listening, communicating, and comprehending are all part of music therapy. It is a well-liked technique that applies to calm and relax patients in clinics, educational facilities, and other healthcare services.

All parts of the mind, body, brain, and lifestyle are affected by music therapy. The body’s rhythms can be slowed down by music, and it can also change our mood, which can affect our actions.

To know how music therapy can be helpful click the link below:

A Complete Guide to Music Therapy

Sound Therapy

There are differences between music therapy and sound therapy (or sound healing), and each approach has its own objectives, procedures, resources, and environments. 

Sound therapy is founded on old Tibetan cultural practices, whereas music therapy is a relatively recent field of study. 

Tools are used in sound therapy to produce certain sound frequencies. These therapists provide their services as a supplemental or alternative form of healthcare. The use of sound therapy as a supplemental or alternative medical treatment is possible. 

Sound healers work to slow down rapid breathing, improve circulation, and regulate blood pressure. 

The rate at which a person’s synaptic connections are developing increases when they listen to classical music. In addition to addressing physical illnesses like high blood pressure, anxiety, and muscular strain, it also fosters creativity.

Self-Treatment

There are several methods that might assist you in managing anxiety disorders if you have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

Warning: In other severe forms of anxiety, psychiatric intervention is necessary.

Meditation

The practice of meditation dates back thousands of years. It is employed for stress relief and relaxation.

Considered a kind of supplementary medicine for the mind and body, meditation. Deep relaxation and mental calmness are two effects of meditation.

You concentrate during meditation and get rid of the constant stream of disorganized ideas that might be stressing you out. The approach leads to improved mental and emotional health. 

Your experience of calm, peace, and balance that meditation provides you can improve your physical and mental health. 

By concentrating your attention on something peaceful, you can unwind and manage stress. You learn to keep your focus and maintain inner serenity by practicing meditation.

Support Networks

People who have or are now going through comparable experiences are brought together in support groups.

People might discuss their own stories, thoughts, coping mechanisms, or direct knowledge of illnesses or treatments in a support group. It serves as a link between physical and psychological requirements.

You can get tips from support groups on how to deal with your anxiety. They’re a great method to meet folks who have shared experiences. 

Face-to-face gatherings where you can discuss your struggles and challenges with others are frequently arranged by support groups. 

Numerous support organizations also offer assistance and direction by email or in writing. You might look online or ask your doctor about nearby support groups for anxiety.

Exercise

Exercise serves to distract you from the source of your anxiety. Muscle tension is reduced through movement, which lessens the body’s contribution to anxiety. 

Increasing heart rate alters brain chemistry and makes key anti-anxiety neurochemicals including serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and endocannabinoids more readily available.

The exercise engages executive function-related frontal brain areas, which help manage the amygdala, our body’s natural reaction mechanism to threats to our survival, whether they are real or imagined.

Regular exercise increases resources that strengthen resistance against turbulent emotions.

Apps To Cope With Anxiety Disorders 

Apart from the above, if you are willing to get some external help in managing your anxiety you can install these applications that can provide guidance and support.

WellHeal

The WellHeal App is designed after combining two effective methods of psychotherapy: CBT and Music Therapy. A proven solution to physically, mentally, and psychologically stabilize your life. An App focused on Your Healing, Wellness & Mindfulness. 

#1 Therapeutic Experience to help individuals address Physical, Emotional, Cognitive, and Social needs. An effort to transcend the compulsive cycles of life and define an ultimate process to attain mental freedom and liberation.

Uncover your True Potential and Enhance your Productivity. Find and Fix the Unresolved Emotions that hinder your Health.

MindShift CBT

MindShift CBT

The MindShift CBT app was designed to give anxiety treatment by utilizing CBT strategies to change one’s thoughts and behavior. The app promises to aid in the treatment of anxiety, panic, perfectionism, social anxiety, and phobias.

Short meditations, thinking journals, coping cards, and exercises to face anxieties, shift beliefs, and establish healthy habits are among the features.

Download App: Google Play Store ButtonApp Store Button

Talkspace

Talkspace

The most expensive choice on this list is Talkspace, but it provides you with direct access to a mental health specialist. This online treatment option is likely less expensive than seeing a therapist in person, and you have access to assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

You can message your therapist in the Talkspace chat area at any time. You can also plan live video sessions with your therapist.

Download App: Google Play Store Button App Store Button

MoodKit

MoodKit

MoodKit was created by two clinical psychologists and is based on cognitive behavioral therapy concepts and procedures (CBT). It has over 200 tasks to assist you to improve your mood and modify your negative thoughts.

A journal component is included to help you track your mood, negative thoughts, and stress management.

Download App: App Store Button

Final Words

Often, it is challenging and frustrating to live with an anxiety disorder. The constant worry and fear can make you feel tired and scared. 

If you’ve talked to a doctor about your symptoms, then you’ve taken the first step toward letting go of the worry. 

It can take some time to find the right treatment that works for you. If you have more than one anxiety disorder, you might need several kinds of treatment. 

For most people with anxiety disorders, a combination of medicine and counseling is best. With proper care and treatment, you can learn how to manage your symptoms and thrive.

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