Anxiety is a common psychological problem in everyday life today, however for some people it becomes a real problem of considerable gravity. Anxiety disorders are a condition that must be treated promptly once its symptoms have been identified. Some are very common like panic attacks.
It is generally considered that anxiety stems from intense and excessive fears , it also comes from persistent worries in situations of vital importance for those who suffer it. Repeated episodes of panic and sudden feelings of guilt are just some of the most frequently recorded manifestations.
The main problem that anxiety generates is its interference with daily activities, in part they are due to the difficulty of controlling panic. Also, all the symptoms associated with this condition are often described as disproportionate compared to the real circumstances. It is also important to note that the duration is variable and also its intensity.
These episodes can occur with any stimulus in various situations, people and places. Symptoms vary depending on each case and also on the person, it is observed that it is more common in young adults but there are no limits on age. Some patients begin to experience anxiety during childhood and adolescence , later continuing into adulthood.
There is a wide variety of types of anxiety that have been identified by more specific names such as phobias, the most common of which is social phobia. Disorders such as separation anxiety disorder are also recognized . The treatments are diverse and adapted to the needs of the patients.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is defined as a feeling of fear, restlessness, guilt, or even sadness. Different sensations, both mental and physical, are combined that derive in this complex picture that generates tension. Some consider that it is a direct reaction from stress, in addition it must be taken into account that feeling anxious can also be the consequence of personal problems not yet resolved.
Unfortunately, it is a condition that, if not treated in time, can eventually worsen. The anxiety does not go away and the symptoms begin to interfere with daily activities . The performance of patients is significantly affected, both in their family and work life for example.
What are their characteristics?
The main characteristic of anxiety from a broad point of view, contemplates that its symptoms will always be associated with the type of worry that affects patients. That is, understanding that there are different types of anxiety, each of them presents a specific symptomatic picture.
Some of the most common types are agoraphobia, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, specific phobias, selective mutism, and social phobia. Each of them presents symptoms that are common, but also others that are different, it depends on the concern or fear which the patient reacts to.
There are several types of anxiety disorders , some are more common than others, because a greater percentage of the population appears to them. The main ones are described below:
- Agoraphobia : It is characterized by the fear manifested in certain places and situations, patients experience panic because they feel trapped and defenseless. The most common reaction is to try to avoid facing these stimuli directly.
- Anxiety disorder : It is a disease that presents symptoms associated with anxiety that are described as signs of high intensity panic. To be more specific these are usually caused due to a physical health problem.
- Generalized anxiety disorder : It is a disease that manifests itself through persistent and excessive worries, these are associated with certain activities and events that are part of the patient’s daily life. This means that they face serious difficulties in being able to lead a more relaxed life, these concerns are disproportionate with respect to the real situation of the patient.
Consequently, it is difficult to control these symptoms causing them to directly affect the quality of life. Even the symptoms not only affect mental stability, they also affect physical health. Usually as a consequence, a depressive clinical picture also develops.
- Panic disorder: It is described as a condition characterized by repeated episodes of anxiety, fear, and fear . That is, these are sudden and uncontrollable sensations that stand out due to their maximum level of intensity that usually lasts for several minutes. These panic attacks manifest the patient’s belief that a catastrophe is imminent.
On a physical level, it is observed that the patient experiences shortness of breath, chest pain and rapid heartbeat for example. Depending on each case , panic attacks are experienced in a different way, each person reacts depending on the concern to which they react.
- Selective mutism : It is characterized by the inability to communicate with other people. This means that patients will face difficulties interacting normally in social situations. It is a condition that is usually observed in children of school age, however there are no limits on the age of patients presenting in any situation.
In the most serious cases it could even mean an important limitation to communicate with close family members, colleagues or friends; consequently it affects performance .
- Separation anxiety disorder : Children tend to experience excessive anxiety about the possibility of separating from their parents. This disorder can also develop from situations where they must move away from people who fulfill a relevant protective or affective function.
- Social anxiety disorder (social phobia): This disorder is suffered by people who experience anxiety or fear of rejection in any social situation. It is characterized by feelings of insecurity and shame, patients usually have a generalized perspective and of themselves that is negative.
What are your symptoms?
As with other types of psychological disorders, symptoms show a wide range of variability in each patient. However, it is possible to notice a common pattern allowing to identify symptoms that are common. What they are are described below:
- The feeling of nervousness is accompanied by other physical and mental sensations such as tension and agitation.
- The person remains in a constant state of alert . This is because you feel an imminent danger, this means that you will always react with panic to any circumstance. They always seem to be prepared for a possible catastrophe.
- Tremors and sweating are just some of the physiological symptoms that are more common in these cases. It is also accompanied by an increased heart rate, a feeling of weakness and constant fatigue. It is noteworthy that in the most severe cases, patients experience hyperventilation, this means that breathing accelerates uncontrollably.
- They often suffer from problems related to difficulty falling asleep. The lack of effective rest also affects the ability to concentrate and maintain coherent thought. This is because they focus their mind and effort on just thinking about a particular concern.
- Some physiological symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems, headaches and skin diseases for example; they are more common than you think. As a percentage, it is shown that patients with anxiety tend to eventually develop some type of problem or physical illness as a result of anxiety.
What are your causes?
The most likely causes for the development of this condition can be classified into medical causes, social causes, or personal psychological causes. For example, in the first case it is observed that patients diagnosed with anxiety also tend to suffer from some type of disease not yet identified.
To be more specific, it could be a heart condition, hyperthyroidism or respiratory disorders. But it is more important to note that in most cases it can derive from an inappropriate use of substances such as alcohol or drugs. In other cases, it is abstinence from alcohol or certain prescription drugs.
Regarding social and psychological factors, these are considered to be risk factors that should not be ignored. Traumas that develop from the childhood stage such as abuse and other traumatic events, these represent a risk since they are usually the starting point for the development of or an anxiety disorder for life. During adulthood, these patients will have difficulties in being able to adapt adequately.
Likewise, it occurs with stress, which in itself is considered to be a disease that can cause multiple negative consequences in patients. This is a health problem that is characterized by the accumulation of various concerns and is associated with certain situations in the personal lives of patients. Examples of this type are job stress, financial worries, or even the death of a family member.
Finally, it should be noted that some mental disorders such as depression often have a direct connection with anxiety. Some experts believe that certain types of personalities are more prone to anxiety disorders, including some studies have shown that there are hereditary factors.
How to treat anxiety?
Once a medical professional has reviewed the patient’s history and symptoms, the diagnosis can formally be made. When the same expository then attempts are made to find the most appropriate treatment for the patient. The psychological evaluation also integrates a physical examination and laboratory tests, in this way other factors that could affect the patient’s health will also be taken into account.
Regarding the main treatments that are usually applied to treat anxiety disorders, psychotherapy stands out . It is also known as talk therapy , basically it involves sessions in which the patient interacts directly with the therapist. Likewise, it can be combined with certain medications, they will be used under strict medical supervision.
A common alternative is cognitive behavioral therapy , it is considered to be a type of psychotherapy that is perfectly adapted to this condition. It implements the use of different techniques and resources that help to reshape behavior and thinking. Eventually it is possible to change those negative patterns that were the cause of fear and anxiety.
Also the exposure therapy is a very useful resource because it focuses on helping the patient to confront their fears. Finally, specially formulated medications are used to treat anxiety and depression. It is important that the selection of them takes into account that some are more effective for certain disorders. The medical professional will identify which is the best that suits the needs of the patient.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.