Anxiety disorder is the most prevalent mental illness globally, meaning that this disorder surpasses other common mental illnesses like depression. In the year 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that approximately 280 million people had an anxiety disorder. Additionally, recent research has revealed that 40% of the adults in the US suffer from this disorder at a point in their lives. Professionals attribute this disease to stress, life events, personality, and genetics. However, they also say that people mistake diseases like diabetes, heart disease and asthma for anxiety disorder. This article will give you insights on anxiety disorder, take a close look.
What is an Anxiety Disorder?
While anxiety is a normal feeling of fear when one is threatened or going through a challenging situation or event, anxiety disorder goes beyond normal anxiety. Anxiety disorder refers to a mental illness in which one suffers excessive fear, which does not go away. It, therefore, becomes detrimental to an individual’s life since it disrupts their healthy living and activities.
Various Types of Anxiety Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
This disorder entails having excessive worry about everything. You know you have GAD if you have been experiencing excessive worry for a prolonged period, ideally six months. A variety of things triggers GAD, including work, personal health, life circumstances, and social interactions.
Symptoms of GAD: Individuals experiencing GAD often experience difficulty in sleeping and concentrating. Additionally, they get tired quickly, are very irritable and can hardly control their feelings of excessive fear.
- Social Anxiety Disorder
People suffering from a social anxiety disorder, become excessively afraid while among and in front of people. They have the fear that people might view them as inadequate, weak or notice that they have an anxiety disorder. They are also afraid that they might embarrass themselves and thus avoid attending social events and going to public places. Additionally, People with social anxiety disorder have a fear of public transportation, crowded places, enclosed spaces, and very open spaces.
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Individuals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder usually have repeated unwanted thoughts which they can’t seem to control. To try to stop the unwanted thoughts, individuals put in place efforts, known as compulsions. Even with these efforts, they still can’t avoid these thoughts. For example, a man may have an obsessive thought that robbers will come to his house at night. To prevent this from happening, the man will put in place a compulsive habit like constantly checking the door the whole night.
Symptoms: People suffering from OCD may have an excessive fear of sickness, unreasonable fear that they will lose things. Additionally, they will have compulsive habits, including always counting things and regularly cleaning specific parts of their bodies.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This disorder occurs to individuals who have been through very traumatic events. Traumatic events could be wars, tragic accidents, terrorist attacks, natural disorders and many more. Though some who have been through such traumatic events recover; individuals, with PTSD hold the thoughts of the events in their minds. These thoughts are what cause excessive fear, mental illness and lack of control.
Symptoms: Individuals with PTSD are easily frightened and have constant flashbacks about traumatic events. Additionally, they are irritable, have trouble concentrating and sleeping, experience nightmares on occasion, and have feelings of hopelessness.
- Panic Disorder
Individuals with panic disorder have repeated panic attacks lasting for a few minutes or longer. Additionally, these individuals have the fear that the panics attacks might kill them, make them faint or even crazy. To avoid such awful circumstances, they put in place measures that will help them avoid a future panic attack. You find that people with panic disorder will avoid going to places like the supermarket, grocery, and even to work. They will also avoid carrying out certain activities.
Symptoms: An individual with this anxiety disorder experience symptoms like trembling and shaking, lack of control, rapid sweating and heart rate, and are short of breath.
- Specific Phobia
Phobia refers to excessive fear. People with specific phobia disorder tend to have excessive fear about an object, activity or situation. Such phobias include fear of certain animals, fear of heights, and fear of flying. In the quest to avoid these fears, individuals put in place multiple measures which unfortunately end up causing more fear.
Symptoms: Individuals with this disorder have an irrational worry about a situation or event. They experience rapid sweating and heart rate, avoid the objects and situations they fear and experience a shortness of breath.
General signs and symptoms of Anxiety Disorders
Individuals with anxiety disorders have psychological symptoms such as feeling uneasy, restless, and irritable and have obsessive thoughts. Additionally, they have physical symptoms like headaches, insomnia, dizziness, increased heart rate, and sweating.
Relationship between Hypertension and Anxiety
Patients with pulmonary hypertension tend to have anxiety disorder and depression. Pulmonary hypertension refers to arterial high blood pressure beginning from the heart and toward lungs. It takes a lot of time to diagnose and adjust to pulmonary hypertension, and this causes anxiety to patients.
Medication for Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders can be treated using exposure therapy and cognitive-behavior therapy. Cognitive-behavior therapy focuses on behavior and tries to change the patients negative thinking. Exposure therapy helps patients confront their fears.
While going through therapy, patients also take anti-anxiety medication; this medication helps to relieve the disorder’s symptoms. They also have an exercise routine which allows them to burn the stress chemicals produced by the body and in turn help in relaxation.
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness globally. Though most people don’t seek medication, anxiety disorders are treatable through a combination of therapies, anti-depression medication, and an exercise routine.