We all experience feelings of anxiety at one point of our lives or another. Some people, however, experience these feelings so often or with such severity that it effects their relationships, work, happiness, and overall quality of life. People who experience anxiety with such severity that it negatively impacts their quality of life may be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
When does anxiety becomes a disorder?
An anxiety disorder is characterised by intense, constant feelings of anxiety, worry, or stress. An anxiety disorder is often associated with feelings of fear, panic, and worry that affects one's overall quality of life, from their relationships to their ability to do everyday activities. If you are experiencing feelings of worry or anxiety that are negatively impacting your quality of life, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. An anxiety disorder can look different in different people, but there are a few common symptoms one can watch out for.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Anxiety can look different in different people, but there are a few signs and symptoms that occur in commonly in cases of anxiety. The most common signs and symptoms of anxiety include:
Feelings of nervousness and worry. An anxiety disorder can lead to feelings of excess stress and restlessness.
Constant feelings of danger. An anxiety disorder can leave its victim feeling as though they are never safe and constantly panicked.
An increase in heart rate. Anxiety disorders are often associated with the fight or flight response, triggering the physical reaction of a pounding, racing heart.
Rapid, shallow breathing (hyperventilation): The same fight or flight response that triggers an increased heart rate when experiencing anxiety can cause hyperventilation.
Sweating. The increased heart rate and hyperventilation, along with other physical symptoms of anxiety can cause the sufferer to break out in a sweat.
Struggling to sleep. Anxiety disorders make it difficult to shut your brain off at night, keeping you awake with worries and thoughts.
A cloudy mind. Your worries and anxieties that accompany your anxiety disorder can cloud your mind, making it difficult to think about anything outside of your worries.
Trembling. As mentioned before, anxiety triggers our body's fight or flight mode, which can cause us to tremble and shake.
Fatigue. The physical symptoms of anxiety disorders tend to be taxing on the sufferer's body, leaving the feeling tired and weak from the exertion.
Experiencing stomach issues. Anxiety can cause gastrointestinal problems in sufferers.
Excessive worries. Somebody suffering from anxiety may not be able to contain their worries, excessively thinking about them seemingly all day every day.
Fearing your anxiety triggers. If one is aware of what triggers their anxiety, they may go to extreme lengths just to avoid being faced with their trigger.
What causes anxiety?
There is no solid evidence that pinpoints exactly what causes anxiety, though there has been evidence that points to both internal and external as potential culprits causing anxiety. These potential culprits include brain chemistry, genetics, diet, stress, and the environment one is in. People who are experiencing other health problems like depression or substance abuse, tend to be at a higher risk of developing an anxiety disorder.
What are the different types of anxiety?
Anxiety comes in many different shapes and forms. It is a mental health issue that can look different in everyone. A few different types of anxiety include:
Generalised anxiety disorder: this is characterised by excessive feelings of worry and anxiety regardless of whether there is a reason to feel this way or not.
Phobias: these are characterised by excessive fears toward certain things. For instance, somebody who is excessively afraid of small spaces is referred to as being claustrophobic; and somebody who is excessively afraid of germs is referred to as a germaphobic.
Panic Disorder: this is characterised by repeated instances of suffering from panic attacks, which are feelings of immense anxiety and terror.
Is feeling anxious normal?
Everyone at some point in their life experiences the sensation of feeling anxious or even having a little bit of panic. We can start to feel overwhelmed particularly when faced with an unfamiliar situation or new experience.
It's when these emotions start to dominate our everyday lives and limit our potential that we must take it as a signal that we need help and something has gone wrong. Seeking help and opening up to someone about these feelings is the first step to overcoming them.
Book a therapy session with one of our qualified therapists today.
The 5 warning signs of anxiety
You often feel nervousness or restlessness
You feel the way you would in risky situations like riding a rollercoaster or zip-lining, even if you are participating in a seemingly less risky activity
You experiences physical symptoms of stress and danger
You struggle to focus on anything outside of your worries
You have difficulty falling asleep due to worry
How can I treat anxiety?
If you are experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder, reaching out to a mental health professional can help you form a proper diagnoses, reach the root causes behind it, and develop an effective care plan. There are multiple methods for treating anxiety that have been proven to work in many clients. Sometimes, these methods work alone and sometimes they work best together. Every case is different. The treatments for anxiety include:
Psychotherapy: Often referred to as "talk therapy,", psychotherapy is a form of therapy that involves the client developing a trusting relationship with their therapist and talking through the mental health issues that they are experiencing. The most effective form of psychotherapy for anxiety is known as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This form of therapy hones in on teaching the client the necessary skills needed to work through their anxiety, improving their symptoms and allowing them to begin living life fully once again. At times, CBT can include exposure therapy in order to help the client learn how to manage situations in which they encounter their triggers.
Medications: There are a few different medications available for people who are experiencing anxiety. The different medications are intended for use in various types of anxiety disorders. Finding the right medication involves developing a full understanding of the client's signs and symptoms.