Handling Anxiety Can Require Numerous Efforts
Anxiety is a very common condition among Americans, with an estimated 25 percent of American adults suffering from some type of anxiety at some point in their lifetimes.
Women are more likely to experience an anxiety disorder than men. While generalized anxiety disorder is quite common, anxiety can contribute to a number of other conditions. Anxiety disorder can be broken into different forms of anxiety disorders, including social anxiety (a feeling of dread or worry with social situations), separation anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, hypochondria, PTSD, phobia and panic disorder. Anxiety may come and go in a person's life, but it's important to seek treatment if the symptoms begin to interfere with work, school, or social activities.
Causes of Anxiety
In most patients, anxiety doesn't have a root cause. It's more than likely a mix of genetic and environmental factors that put a person at risk, along with some brain chemistry. Certain environmental factors that could impact anxiety include:
- Work or career stress
- Death of a family member or friend
- Stress over finances
- Drug use
- Health anxiety
- Personal issues like the end of a relationship or friendship
- Medical illness with anxiety as a symptom
- Medication side effect
- High altitude sickness
- Stress over world events
- Emphysema or pulmonary embolism, which is caused by a lack of oxygen
Many people who show up at the ER or doctors' offices complaining of heart issues actually have panic disorder, so it's important to rule out other conditions before diagnosing anxiety.
Symptoms and Effects of Anxiety
Depending on the type and severity of anxiety you have, your symptoms may differ from other anxiety sufferers. One symptom that most anxiety patients have in common is excessive fear or worry depending on the situation that they're in. For example, some patients may only fear public speaking or social situations, while some patients are plagued with worry about leaving their home. Some other anxiety symptoms may include:
- Heart palpitations
- Nausea or stomach upset
- Dry mouth
- Focus issues
- Avoiding certain locations or activities
- Disassociation- not feeling connected to yourself or within your own body
- Insomnia and other sleep issues
- Tingling or numb hands
- Inability to stay still
- Muscle tension
Since anxiety is such a common disorder, there are many resources and treatments for those suffering. Medications are often the first line of defense. There are a wide variety of different medications that can be prescribed based on the severity of anxiety. Some calm the heart, others fight depression and some work as antipsychotics or anticonvulsants.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered the best form of psychotherapy to combat anxiety symptoms. This form of therapy focuses on changing negative thoughts into positive ones through behavioral change and adaptation.