Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious or nervous when faced with a problem, anxiety disorder however is different. It can cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. Anxiety disorder is a mental illness. For people with anxiety disorder, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming.
There are several types of anxiety disorders such as;
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Social anxiety disorder
- Specific phobias
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Feelings of panic, fear and uneasiness
- Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
- Flashbacks of traumatic experiences
- Problems sleeping
- Cold and sweaty hands and feet
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to be still and calm
- Dry mouth
- Numbness in the hands or feet
- Muscle tension
Anxiety, like other forms of mental illness, is not the result of personal weakness, character flaw or poor upbringing. Anxiety disorder is caused by a combination of factors such as changes in the brain and environmental stress.
Like other brain illnesses, anxiety disorders may be caused by problems in the functioning of brain circuits that regulate fear and other emotions. Severe or long-lasting stress can change the way nerve cells within these circuits transmit information from one region of the brain to another. It is also found that people with a certain anxiety disorder have changes in certain brain structures that control memories linked with strong emotions. Certain environmental factors such as trauma or a significant event may trigger an anxiety disorder in people. Anxiety disorder begins in childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, it is also more common in women than in men.
The treatment depends on the type of anxiety disorder.
Medication can be used to reduce the symptoms like anti-depressants.
Psychotherapy may help to address the emotional response.
Dietary and lifestyle changes may also be need.
Anxiety disorder cannot be prevented although there are some things you can do to reduce the symptoms. Seek counseling and support after a traumatic or disturbing experience.