Everybody at one point experiences anxiety when faced with a stressful or worrying situation. Anxiety is the feeling of fear, apprehension and worry, accompanied by nausea, palpitations, chest pain, and breathlessness. Sometimes this can interfere with your normal life. Excessive anxiety can be linked with other psychiatric conditions, such as depression.
Anxiety can be in many forms. It may be a fear of snakes, a fear of heights or stage fright, or it could also be nonstop worry about your parenting skills or constant fretting about success at work, etc.
Anxiety is said to have four components:
Cognitive components: This imposes fear of uncertain danger.
Somatic components: When faced with a frightening situation your blood pressure and heart rate are increased, you tend to sweat, and blood flow to the major muscle groups is increased. The somatic signs of anxiety might include pale skin, sweating, trembling, and pupil dilation.
Emotional components: The emotional components of anxiety cause a sense of dread or panic, nausea, and chills.
Behavioral components: This would lead to both voluntary and involuntary behaviors, and you maybe directed at avoiding the source of anxiety which is quite common.
Types of Anxiety and the symptoms:
There are various types of anxiety – Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety and specific phobias. Anxiety Disorder is very common throughout the world. It is a chronically recurring case of anxiety that can seriously affect your life. People with this disorder feel afraid of something but are unable to articulate the specific fear. If you are constantly worrying, and have a hard time controlling your worries then you might be suffering from anxiety disorder.
Some of the common symptoms of anxiety disorder are:
• Muscle tension
• Heart palpitations
• Shortness of breath
• Cold hands
• Difficulty falling asleep
• Hot flashes or chills
• Diarrhea and irritated bowel syndrome
Anxiety can make you cranky and irritable. You may get tired easily and often suffer from insomnia. It is very important that you seek professional medical help. For the initial diagnosis of this problem, a good assessment is required by taking a standardized interview or questionnaire procedure with expert evaluation. There should be a thorough examination to find out the cause that could have triggered this condition. If the patient has a family history of anxiety disorders then this could be a possibility.
You can get help and come out of your fear. There are four types of therapy that have proved to be helpful and they have been used successfully to address the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Behavior Therapy: Here you are made to face your fear in a planned environment, and using different relaxation techniques, you are made to accept and overcome your anxiety and panic. This helps you to become more confident about managing fear and anxiety and also prepares you to face any kind of inducing situations.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This is the most popular and effective type of psychotherapy to overcome your anxiety. The goal is to understand your thinking process and help you to develop coping skills before your anxiety takes over. This helps you:
• Challenge false or self-defeating beliefs
• Think positive
Psychodynamic psychotherapy: This therapy helps those who have fear because of unconscious mental conflict. You are made to uncover the conflict as a means to stop the fear-causing anxiety and panic.
Alternative therapies: Different therapies have been developed for treating anxiety, like EMDR – a therapy that utilizes rapid eye movement, repetitive sounds and tapping to reintegrate an “out of sync” brain. Even acupuncture is being used to treat anxiety.
All these therapies depend on various subjective factors, such as therapist competence. It is advisable to go to only a well known and experienced psychotherapist. Self help and relaxation techniques also play an important role in relieving anxiety symptoms. Improving your eating habits and reduction in caffeine and sugar intake also helps. Exercise and a relaxation technique such as yoga, is also very helpful. Try to reach out to your friends and family and share your troubles; do not let it get accumulated before it hits you hard. Anxiety is very common and you are not the only one, so don’t hesitate to seek help.