Experiencing fear, distress, worry, or unease is all too familiar to everyone. However, when these feelings get the best of us, anxiety creeps in and starts to disrupt our daily activities on a serious and unneglectable level.
Psychologists usually define anxiety as an unpleasant state of excessive fear and worry without a particularly good reason for it. People who suffer from anxiety constantly anticipate negative outcome and always try to avoid the situations which might trigger the symptoms. The difference in symptoms and their severity has lead experts to believe that anxiety can be divided into five major categories.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder becomes obvious in the form of constant and exaggerated worry about things which otherwise would not seem so life-threatening. People are unable to control their fear and grow fretful.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) manifests through recurring and obsessive thoughts which force the person to be compelled to do something repeatedly. We all worry and obsess over something but this condition becomes serious when compulsions start interfering with the person’s daily activities. Obsessive cleaning, checking, or arranging are only some of the impulses someone might have.
- Panic Disorder occurs when a person experiences sudden panic attack followed by excessive sweating, shortness of breath, trembling, dizziness and general helplessness. The cause of these panic attacks usually doesn’t represent real danger but an irrational fear of an impending danger.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) may develop after a person goes through an agonizing and traumatic experience. This mental condition can lead someone to dread anything which reminds or evokes those horrible memories.
- Social Anxiety Disorder can be defined as any type of excessive fear a person may have when putting into a social context. These fears include the fear of being judged, inadequate, ridiculed or inept when interacting with other people.
- These anxiety disorders vary in severity and treatment because they are triggered by distinct factors.
Sometimes, anxiety can be caused by a physical condition, such as diabetes, heart disease, thyroid gland disorders, drug or alcohol abuse. Risk factors include a family history of the illness, personality type, or childhood traumas.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In order for a doctor to diagnose anxiety, he or she has to perform detailed tests. Two main methods of treating anxiety are psychotherapy and medications, usually combined. Sessions with a psychiatrist aim at reducing the symptoms through analyzing the cause of fear. This method has proved to be highly effective. Through mental exercise, a patient learns how to get back to those activities which he or she neglected because of the constant fear.
Persistence may play a vital role in getting out of the vicious cycle of anxiety. Never give up and ask for help from family members and friends. Learn to know your enemy in order to defeat it.