Anxiety; a term well known in the world of psychology. You must have heard it from your family, friends, or in some television shows or in movies. Is an anxiety disorder something to be afraid of?
In this article, we will dive deep into mental health and will know the technical terms and definitions, types, and treatments for anxiety.
I know what you guys are thinking; don’t worry. This will not be boring. I will describe everything in a very simple way so that you all can relate and understand the whole subject. So without wasting any more time, let’s go!
What is Anxiety?
So, what exactly does Anxiety means?
‘Anxiety is a state where a person feels excessive, intense & persistence worry and fear in an everyday situation.’ Basically, anxiety is nothing but an extreme state of fear.
But the major question is how people actually get anxiety? The fact is having fear is absolutely normal. We all fear something whether it be an animal, a person, or a situation.
What Leads People to Anxiety?
According to my own understanding, anxiety is a combination of the act of fear emotion and overthinking mindset. When a person goes through an anxiety attack, he or she finds himself/ herself in a cycle of thoughts manipulating imagination and empowering fear.
This continuous cycle creates extreme situations where our brain starts to release the fear hormones, the body starts sweating, the heartbeat gets faster than ever and sometimes the body starts to shake.
Irrespective of the age group, anxiety is the most common mental disorder. Every year more than 10 million cases are recorded in India. These numbers are official. Many others suffer but they don’t even know what they are going through.
Types of Anxiety Disorder
As I already said in my previous post that there are countless mental disorders but here we are going to discuss only major sets and subsets of these. So let’s begin.
There are majorly 6 types of anxiety disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Specific phobia
- Social anxiety
- Panic disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders[OCD]
- Post-traumatic stress disorder[PTSD]
Generalized Anxiety Disorders
Several years ago, I remember, I heard the news about a teenage boy who had committed suicide just before his results came out. The reason was his fear.
For me this was disturbing. I used to wonder how these kids even have the courage to do so. But now I can understand the reasons behind it. He may have a Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
In this disorder, the patient worries about everything around him. They worry all the time but they are unable to say what they are worried about. This excessive, unrealistic worry can be frightening and daily interferences.
People suffering from this type of anxiety often feel fear from specific stuff. It can be anything, tiny or big. The patient can fear an insect, an animal, a person, or a situation.
You can easily witness a girl or boy fearing insects, a person having fear of darkness or death, or some specific person (maybe his/her rude teacher.)
As far I remember, when I was a child, I had fear of cockroaches.
Okay, this one is going to be interesting. Do you remember that one girl in your class who was excellent in her academics but she was dumb in front of an audience?
When she was being called on stage; she used to start sweating, she used to tremble and she was not able to say even a single word. Now you know why. She had social anxiety.
Generally, people suffering from this don’t want to be in public. They even don’t share their views in a group. They fear that people will make fun of them or they will do some mistakes that will make them embarrassed.
Let’s assume a situation. You and your pet dog are walking in the city. It is a very beautiful evening. Sun is getting low. The whole sky has turned orange and blue and cold winds are blowing.
Suddenly you feel shivering in your hand. You leave your dog’s chain. He runs away from you but you can’t run. You get sweats on your face and your heartbeats start to run faster.
You feel like you will be dead soon.
This is a panic attack. In this case, patients get attacked irrespective of time and place. Victims can get attacks even in their sleep.
1 or more months of continuous attacks of panic is considered a panic disorder. You will be surprised to know that 1/3 of the total population experience panic attacks once in their life. Whereas 4.7% of the total population suffers from panic disorders.
The name of this disorder itself suggests its definition. In this type of disorder, the victim gets obsessed with unwanted thoughts or fear or doubt and then acts on one single action repeatedly again and again to fix their anxiety.
For example washing your hands repeatedly, cleaning your house, arranging things on your table, check whether the house is locked properly or not, checking on the gas stove many times.
The reason behind it is the lack of serotonin hormone in your brain. Your mind has a filter and a connection circuit named ‘cortico-thalamo-striato-cortical circuit’.
This connection is responsible for the transfer of every kind of thought. But due to the lack of serotonin hormone, this circuit gets disturbed. And many unwanted and non-useful thoughts start to come to mind.
So if you feel like having it. You must go to a doctor and consult.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder[PTSD]
Life is a bitch and we all have dark past and dark secrets. It troubles us, sometimes it makes us feel sad. But what if it starts to haunt you? What if it starts to affect your personal life? What if it starts to give you nightmares? And start affecting your health?
PTSD gets generated from our past. A terrible horrific past or event. For example, a car accident, death of a loved one, a breakup, rape, abusive childhood, sexual harassment, natural disasters, etc.
When we go through a traumatic event, the hormonal level in the body changes drastically and gives us stress and hypertension. Generally, the effect of these events lasts for 2 weeks until the hormonal level stabilizes.
But in some cases, it never stabilizes. From time to time it strikes back and haunts. In my opinion, this is the most dangerous type of anxiety attack because the victim is living that moment again and again.
It is not just a fear. It is something the victim has gone through and can feel, can sense all those traumas.
What are the Symptoms of Anxiety?
There are several types of anxiety disorder symptoms. Any person with more than 3-4 symptoms can be considered as a patient. Anxiety causes:
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Fatigue and exhaustion.
- Muscle tension
- Stomachaches and diarrhea.
- Tingling in different parts of the body.
- Sweating tension.
- Accelerated heart rate.
- Negative thoughts about the world and self.
- Anger and irritability.
- No activity.
- Avoiding people, places, and things related to events.
- Dry mouth
- Fear of going mad, losing control, and even death.
How to Treat Anxiety?
Anxiety is one of the most common psychological disorders of all time. We all somehow are victims of this(less or more). In any case, we must consult a psychologist or psychiatrist.
They are the expert and experienced in the field and they know the game. They will give the right anxiety medicine and treatment for your betterment.
Here are some treatments other than medication, I am going to discuss with you.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
This is a process that includes the cyclic pattern of our brain. Our brain makes a pattern for every kind of thought. If a negative thought is coming very often to our brain; it will start to attract more thoughts like that.
Similar is with positive thoughts. Doctor change these negative thoughts with continuous positive by sending positive thoughts by putting affirmations, activities, and positive feelings.
We all have seen this in movies. Doctors really do hypnotize people (to an extent level) to get into the subconscious mind of patients. They bring out the bad memories and break bad patterns. This technique is highly effective. The success rate of this technique is 93%.
Teach Back Therapy
This technique asks patients to convey all the messages that doctors gave them during sessions and to do homework. This technique is effective as the patient himself is checking whether things are going right or not.
Now here are some self-therapies you can do on your own to get rid of your anxiety disorder:
- Deep breathing (I will discuss this in future blogs).
- Sound sleep.
- Stay away from alcohol & smoking.
- Ditch caffeine.
- Try aromatherapy (I will discuss this in future blogs).
A Final Message to my Readers
I personally hope and wish that you all are safe and healthy. This blog is totally dedicated to all of you. I personally believe every one of us has gone through or going through some kind of psychological problem. Even though we hope none of you faces an anxiety disorder, if you’re going through it, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. It’s not an ailment to be afraid of and can be fully cured.
I suggest that if you see any of your near and dear ones having these symptoms; don’t judge them, don’t leave them instead give them a hug, show your love & support. They really need it.
You can also read A Brief Discussion on Mental Health to get extensive information on other mental health issues.