Everyone can express anxiety at some point in their lives. This goes for adults and kids alike. Most people’s anxious feelings come and go and don’t last long. Some anxiety times don’t last as long as others. They can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.

But for some people, these feelings of anxiety are more than just worries or a hard day at work. It could be weeks, months, or even years before your anxiety goes away. It can get worse over time and sometimes get so bad that it makes it hard to go about your daily life. People who feel this way are said to have an anxiety disorder. 

The most common type of mental illness, according to the American Psychiatric Association, is anxiety disorder. A lot of people with anxiety disorders feel sick because of their condition, so they go to their primary care providers. Even though these disorders affect a lot of people, they are often not diagnosed or treated properly.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders says that anxiety disorders are a group of conditions that share symptoms like excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral problems. Separation anxiety disorder, selective mutism, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder (also called “social phobia”), panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, anxiety disorder caused by drugs or other medications, and anxiety disorder caused by another medical condition are all examples of these disorders. In the previous version of the DSM, obsessive-compulsive disorder, acute stress disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder were all considered anxiety disorders. In the new version, these conditions are no longer considered anxiety disorders. But these disorders are closely related to these disorders.

These disorders seem to be caused by a mix of biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, such as genetic susceptibility, which interact with situations, stress, or trauma to create clinically significant syndromes.

Depending on the type of anxiety disorder, the symptoms will be different.

Most treatments are a mix of pharmacotherapy and other methods.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Even though the symptoms vary from person to person, the body usually responds to anxiety in a very specific way. When you feel anxious, your body goes on high alert, looking for possible danger and turning on your fight or flight responses. Because of this, some common symptoms are:

Nervousness, restlessness, or feeling tense feelings of danger, panic, or dread rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, or hyperventilation increased or heavy sweating trembling or twitching muscles weakness and lethargy trouble focusing or thinking clearly about anything other than what you’re worried about insomnia digestive or gastrointestinal problems, such as gas, constipation, or diarrhea

A sign of the obsessive-compulsive disorder is a strong desire to avoid things that make you anxious and an obsession with certain ideas (OCD)

Repeating the same things again and again

Anxiety about a past event or experience, especially if it is a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Panic attacks

A panic attack is a sudden, intense feeling of fear that lasts only a few minutes and includes at least four of the following symptoms:

Palpitations

Sweating, shivering, or trembling, feeling short of breath or suffocated, or chest pains or tightness.

Feeling sick or having stomach problems

Feeling dizzy, lightheaded, or faint. feeling hot or cold. feeling numb or tingling (paresthesia).

Depersonalization and derealization are terms for feeling disconnected from yourself or from reality.

The fear of “going crazy” or losing control. The fear of dying.

Some signs of anxiety can also be caused by things other than anxiety disorders. Usually, this is what happens during a panic attack. Panic attacks have symptoms that are similar to heart disease, thyroid problems, breathing problems, and other health problems.

People with panic disorder may go to the emergency room or doctor’s office a lot because of this. They might think that something other than anxiety is making them sick and threatening their lives.

A Brief Look at Adult Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.

At some point in their lives, everyone feels anxious. For example, you might worry and feel anxious about taking an exam, getting a medical test, or going on a job interview.

During times like these, it can be normal to feel worried.

But it’s hard for some people to keep their worries in check. Their anxiety is more constant and often gets in the way of their daily lives.

Anxiety is the main symptom of a number of health problems, including:

Panic disorder

  • Phobias, like agoraphobia or claustrophobia,
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia)

This section is about a specific health problem called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

GAD is a long-term condition that makes you feel worried about a lot of different things, not just one thing.

People with GAD are worried most of the time, and they often can’t remember the last time they felt calm.

As soon as one worry is taken care of, another may come up about something else.

Generalized anxiety disorder signs and symptoms (GAD)

Both mental and physical symptoms can be caused by GAD.

These are different for each person, but they can be:

  • Feeling antsy or anxious
  • Not being able to concentrate or sleep
  • Dizziness or heart palpitations

Causes of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) 

It’s not completely clear what causes GAD, but it’s likely that a number of things work together

Research has shown that some of these may be:

overactivity in parts of the brain that control feelings and actions

an imbalance of serotonin and noradrenaline, two chemicals in the brain that help control and regulate mood.

what you get from your parents’ genes – If you have a close relative with GAD, you are about 5 times more likely to get it yourself.

having had stressful or traumatic events in the past, like domestic violence, child abuse, or being bullied.

having a painful long-term health condition, such as arthritis

who have used drugs or alcohol in the past

But many people get GAD for what seems to be no reason.

anxiety

How Many People Are Affected By GAD?

GAD is a common disorder that may affect up to 5% of the people in the UK.

People between the ages of 35 and 59 are more likely to have this problem than people younger than 35.

How to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

GAD can have a big impact on your daily life, but there are many ways to treat it that can help you feel better.

These include:

Psychological therapies: You can get cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other psychological therapies on the NHS. You don’t need a referral from your doctor, and you can refer yourself to a psychological therapy service in your area.

Medications: like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are a type of antidepressant (SSRIs)

With help, many people can get their anxiety under control. But some treatments may have to be done for a long time, and your symptoms may get worse at times.

Generalized anxiety disorder can be treated on your own (GAD)

You can also do a lot of things on your own to help ease your condition, such as:

  • Taking a course to help themselves
  • Exercising regularly
  • Stopping smoking
  • Reducing how much alcohol and caffeine you drink

Other Types of anxiety disorders

There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders, such as:

Agoraphobia

People with agoraphobia are afraid of places or situations that make them feel trapped, helpless, or ashamed. Panic attacks are brought on by these feelings. People with agoraphobia might try to stay away from these places and situations to keep panic attacks from happening.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD is having unwanted or intrusive thoughts and worries that make you feel anxious all the time. Even if a person knows that these thoughts are silly, they may try to calm down by doing certain rituals or behaviors. This could include things like washing their hands, counting, or checking to see if they’ve locked their house.

Panic disorder

Panic disorder causes severe anxiety, fear, or terror that comes on quickly and keeps coming back. It’s called a panic attack. People who are having a panic attack might:

  • Feelings of looming danger
  • I can’t get enough air.
  • Chest pain
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat that feels like fluttering or pounding (palpitations)

Panic attacks may cause one to worry about them occurring again or try to avoid situations in which they’ve previously occurred.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD happens when a person has been through a traumatic event like:

  • War
  • Assault
  • Natural disaster
  • Accident

Some of the signs are having trouble relaxing, having bad dreams, or having flashbacks to the event or situation that was traumatic. People with PTSD might also stay away from things that remind them of the trauma.

Selective mutism

This is when a child can’t talk in certain places or situations for a long time. For example, a child may not want to talk at school even though they do talk in other places or situations, like at home. Selective mutism can make it hard to do things like go to school, work, or hang out with friends.

Separation Anxiety Disorder

This is a condition that happens when a child is away from their parents or guardians and feels anxious. The fear of being alone is a normal part of growing up. Most kids grow out of it by 18 months. But some children have versions of this disorder that make it hard for them to go about their daily lives.

Fears and Phobias

This is a fear of a specific thing, situation, or event that makes you feel very anxious when you’re around it. It comes with a strong desire to stay away from it. If you have a phobia, like arachnophobia (fear of spiders) or claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), you might have a panic attack when you’re around the thing you’re afraid of.

What causes anxiety?

Doctors don’t know for sure what makes anxiety disorders happen. People who are prone to anxiety are thought to have anxiety attacks after certain traumatic events. Anxiety may also have something to do with genes. In some cases, anxiety could be caused by a health problem, and it could be the first sign of a physical illness rather than a mental one.

A person can have more than one anxiety disorder at once. It can also happen with other mental health problems, like depression or bipolar disorder. This is especially true for people with generalized anxiety disorder, which usually comes along with another anxiety disorder or mental illness.

You Need To See A Doctor –

It’s not always easy to tell if your anxiety is caused by a serious medical problem or just a bad day. If you don’t get help, your anxiety might not go away, and it might even get worse over time. It’s easier to treat anxiety and other mental health problems early on than when the symptoms get worse.

You need to see a doctor if:

You feel like you worry so much that it’s getting in the way of your everyday life (including hygiene, school or work, and your social life)

your anxiety, fear, or worry bothers you and is hard to control. you feel depressed, use alcohol or drugs to cope, or have other mental health problems. besides worry

You think your anxiety is caused by a deeper mental health problem. You have suicidal thoughts or act in ways that show you want to kill yourself (if so, seek immediate medical assistance by calling 911)

If you don’t already have a doctor, a visit or online booking at the Isalu hospitals, can help you find one 

What’s Next To Do?

If you’ve decided you need help, the first thing you should do is see your primary care doctor. They will be able to tell if your anxiety is caused by a physical health problem. If they find an underlying problem, they can give you a treatment plan that will help ease your anxiety.

If your doctor finds that your anxiety is not caused by a physical illness, he or she will send you to a mental health specialist. You will be sent to a psychiatrist and a psychologist for help with your mental health.

A psychiatrist is a licensed doctor who has been trained to diagnose and treat mental health problems. Among other things, he or she can prescribe medication. A psychologist is a professional in mental health who can diagnose and treat mental health problems only through counseling, not with drugs.

Ask your doctor for the names of a few mental health professionals that your insurance will cover. Find a mental health care provider you like and trust. You might have to meet with a few before you find the right provider.

During your first therapy session, your mental health care provider will do a psychological evaluation to help figure out if you have an anxiety disorder. This means meeting with your mental health care provider one-on-one. They will ask you to explain what you think, how you act, and how you feel.

They may also compare your symptoms to the criteria for anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) to help make a diagnosis.

Finding the right provider of mental health care

If you feel comfortable talking to your mental health care provider about your anxiety, you’ll know they are the right one for you. If you need medicine to help you deal with your anxiety, you’ll need to see a psychiatrist. If your mental health care provider thinks that talk therapy alone will be enough to treat your anxiety, you only need to see a psychologist.

Remember that it takes time for treatment for anxiety to start to work. Be patient and do what your mental health care provider tells you to do for the best results. But know that you can always go somewhere else for help if you don’t feel comfortable with your mental health care provider or don’t think you’re making enough progress. Ask your primary care doctor for names of other mental health professionals in your area.

At-home treatments for anxiety

Taking medicine and talking to a therapist can help treat anxiety, but dealing with anxiety is something you have to do all the time. There are many simple changes you can make to your home life that will help you feel less anxious.

Get exercise. Setting up a workout routine that you do most or all of the time can help you feel less stressed and anxious. If you usually don’t do much, start with just a few things and keep adding more as you go.

Don’t drink or do drugs for fun. Using alcohol or drugs can give you anxiety or make it worse. If you’re having trouble quitting, you can get help from your doctor or a support group.

Stop smoking and cut down on or stop drinking drinks with caffeine. Anxiety can get worse when you smoke or drink coffee, tea, or energy drinks with caffeine or nicotine.

Try relaxation and stress management techniques. Meditation, repeating a mantra, using visualization techniques, and doing yoga are all things that can help you relax and feel less anxious.

Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can make you feel more restless and anxious. If you can’t sleep, you should see a doctor for help.

Eat the right things. Eat a lot of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins like fish and chicken.

How to deal and get help

It can be hard to deal with an anxiety disorder. You can make it easier by doing the following:

Know your stuff. Learn as much as you can about your condition and the treatments that are available to you so that you can make good decisions about your care.

Be consistent. Follow the treatment plan your mental health care provider gives you. This means taking your medicine as prescribed and going to all of your therapy appointments. This will help stop the symptoms of your anxiety disorder.

Know who you are. Find out what makes your anxiety worse and practice the ways to deal with it that you and your mental health care provider came up with. This will help you handle your anxiety better when it happens.

Put it on paper. Keeping a journal of your thoughts and experiences can help a mental health professional figure out the best way to help you.

Get support. You might want to join a support group where you can talk to other people with anxiety disorders and learn from them. Associations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America can help you find a good support group near you.

Take good care of your time. This can help you feel less stressed and get the most out of your treatment.

Be social. Getting away from your friends and family can make your anxiety worse. Plan things with people you like to be with.

Move things around. Don’t let your worries run your life. If you feel like you have too much to do, take a break and go for a walk or do something else that will take your mind off of your worries or fears.

Reference:

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/286227-overview#a5

https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety-symptoms#types

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/generalised-anxiety-disorder/overview/#:~:text=Anxiety%20is%20a%20feeling%20of,medical%20test%20or%20job%20interview.