Why Does One Get Anxiety Disorder?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry or fear. We are all aware of this feeling, and depending on what is causing the anxiety, it can be mild or severe. However, when anxiety becomes long-lasting and one is unable to get rid of it, it can impact a person’s daily functioning.
While we all experience anxiety occasionally, in case of an anxiety disorder, the individual’s anxiety seems to be exaggerated and very hard to control. People with an anxiety disorder will generally go to great lengths to avoid situations that may trigger or worsen their anxiety symptoms.
Generalised anxiety disorder is a disorder in which an individual experiences long-term anxiety, which is not specifically related to a particular situation but usually stems from several situations or triggers. Therefore, individuals with generalised anxiety disorder tend to feel anxious on most days and often cannot remember the last time they were happy. More women are affected with this disorder than men.
What are the symptoms and types of anxiety disorder?
The symptoms of anxiety disorder differ based on the type of anxiety disorder. However, the most commonly reported symptoms are:
- Constant worrying
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling dizzy
- Racing heartbeat
Some of the different types of anxiety disorders are:
- Generalised anxiety disorder (excessive worrying related to multiple causes and accompanied by physical symptoms)
- Panic disorder (experiencing excessive physical and mental distress with symptoms such as a racing heartbeat, trembling and chest pain)
- Phobias (having an excessive and irrational fear of a particular object, situation or activity)
What can cause anxiety disorder?
The exact cause behind anxiety disorder is not yet known; however, probable causes could be:
- Experiencing traumatic or stressful events, such as bullying, abuse, or violence.
- It could also be a symptom of other conditions such as panic disorder or social phobia or other types of phobias.
- Family history of anxiety disorder. Individuals with a family history of this disorder are 5 times more likely to be affected with generalized anxiety disorder.
- History of drug or alcohol abuse.
- Being affected with painful conditions such as arthritis for a prolonged period.
- Hypersensitivity and overactivity in areas of the brain associated with behaviours and emotions.
- Imbalance of chemicals in the brain that control and regulate mood, namely, noradrenaline and serotonin.
- Sometimes generalised anxiety disorder may affect a person with no apparent reason.
Generalised anxiety disorder is closely linked to the development of depression. Those that are constantly worried find that it is difficult to sleep in the night. Over a period of time, fatigue and listlessness set in, leading to low mood and lack of interest in activities that were previously exciting. This is a major concern.
Anxiety disorder can prevent you from carrying out your daily tasks. Even simple tasks such as brushing your teeth and having a bath can become ones that you ignore. Hence, seeking help from registered professionals is the best step you can take to help yourself.
Treatment options available for anxiety disorders include psychological therapy and medications. Psychological therapy includes cognitive behavioral therapy and other similar strategies such as talk therapy, according to some experts. These are structured over a course of weeks to months, and require regular visits to a psychologist. Medication is only required if the anxiety levels are severe, or if an element of clinical depression is evident. Occasionally, multivitamin supplements may be needed to increase energy levels and alleviate fatigue.
You can help the treatment effort by exercising regularly, cutting down on caffeine and alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and undergoing a self-help course. Learning stress management techniques and meditation and joining support groups could be helpful in providing you with some coping strategies for your anxiety disorder.
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