The Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Types of Anxiety Disorder
Different people react to situations differently. Hence, there are really no uniform signs or symptoms of anxiety disorder that are present to all.
Nonetheless, people may show some or all of the following signs: shortness of breath, chest pain, heart burn, smothering sensation, sweating, shivering, chilling or shaking, numbness in the head and face, neck and shoulder pain, palpitation, derealisation or depersonalization, hyperactivity, dry mouth, fear of going crazy, headaches, stomach pain, and other body pains.
Take note that some of the mentioned signs and symptoms can be caused by other medical, psychological, and physical conditionals. They can also be the effects of current medical treatment, side effects of certain medications or the body's natural reaction to stimuli. There are six different types of anxiety disorder, each has its own characteristics: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
(GAD) is a chronic worry or fear over almost everything without even knowing why. They feel anxious from day to day activities and are troubled that bad things will happen. People with GAD show symptoms such as stomach upset, fatigue, restlessness, and insomnia.
When is Too Much Anxiety Too Much?
Excess anxiety is when you feel worry, anxious and afraid for no apparent reason at all. Under normal circumstances, people worry because of specific things (like what was mentioned above). But there is an obvious difference between healthy anxiety and irrational anxiousness. During an anxiety disorder attack people tend to react disproportionately over simple things or events that seem not to cause any excessive anxious reaction to others. In other words, too much worry is an unusual reaction over simple or trivial things.
Panic Disorder is repeated, unexpected anxiety panic attacks, and fears that panic episodes will likely to happen. People with panic disorder are likely to have agoraphobia, or fear of being in places where help or escape will be difficult in case of another panic attack. People with agoraphobia are also afraid of being trapped in confined places such as an airplane or crowded areas such as a shopping mall.
Phobia is excessive, irrational, and exaggerated fear over simple things that generally present little or no danger. Common phobias are heights, snakes, spiders, dark, and flying. People with phobias tend to avoid the things they are afraid of in order to escape anxiety disorder attacks. However, avoidance only strengthens the phobia.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an anxiety disorder that happens after a life-threatening or a traumatic event. People with PTSD show signs and symptoms such as hyper-vigilance, avoiding situations or places that remind them about the event, nightmares and flashbacks about the things that happened, startling easily, and isolation.
Social Anxiety Disorder or social phobia is fear of being seen negatively by others or fear of getting humiliated in public by other people. Social anxiety symptoms are often mistaken as an ordinary extreme shyness. People with this kind of disorder usually isolate themselves from others or event and places where crowd usually gathers. Stage fright is the most common type of social anxiety.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD is a condition where a person has unwanted behavior or thoughts which appear to be impossible to control. People with OCD can have certain obsession such as worries that they might hurt someone or that they have forgotten to turn the lights off. They can also have uncontrollable compulsion. One of the most common signs is washing of hands repeatedly.
Do you experience signs and symptoms of anxiety disorder?
What Can You Do to Stop Anxiety Disorders?
The signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders can be uncomfortable, unpleasant and unhealthy. Because of this, most people head to the medicine cabinet for a quick relief. While some may find medications as an effective way to battle anxiety, there are more natural and equally effective ways of dealing your excessive emotion without subjecting the body to different negative side-effects.
Exercise – Exercise improves the health of the body and mind, and improves the overall well-being of a person. A 30-minute exercise, 3-5 times a week is enough to provide anxiety disorder relief. Increasing to at least an hour of aerobic exercise each day provides maximum benefits for relieving stress and anxiety.
Sleep – A popular adage, "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise," speaks of the importance of sleep in the overall health of a person. Qualitative sleep for 8 hours a day is a proven and effective technique to battle stress as well as anxiety disorder.
Healthy diet – Along with exercise, diet plays an important role in the overall health of the body. Eating healthy food maintains the normal chemistry and hormones of the body as well as providing resistance to common ailments that increases the risk of symptoms anxiety attacks.
Avoid unnecessary stressors – Most stressors are unavoidable and it is also unhealthy to turn your back to certain situations that need to be addressed. Still, some situations and people cause unnecessary stress that result in anxiety disorder. Avoid people that stress you out, learn how to say 'no', trim down your to-do-list, avoid sensitive topics such as politics and religion, etc.
Relaxation techniques – Yoga, meditation, Taiji, progressive muscle relaxation, visualization and breathing exercises can reduce anxiety symptoms and promote the feeling of relaxation and emotional well-being.
Keep a positive outlook – While it is very difficult to maintain a good attitude when showing signs of an anxiety attack, it is very crucial to be more conscious and help stay in control over the situation to effectively battle your condition. Do not think "Oh no, not again!" or "I'm screwed" when an episode hits you. Think that it will be over soon and control your emotions so that your anxiety disorder will not now get worse.
If the above mentioned techniques do not work for you, it is probably time to consult a health professional about your health. Since signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders may be a result of other psychological and physical conditions, you need to see your medical doctor first and get a complete physical in order to rule out any other possible causes. If anxiety prevails and symptoms last for more than 1 to 2 weeks, especially if you have no idea why, see a trained therapist.
Prescription Medication for Anxiety
A person with anxiety disorder usually goes under medication, therapy or both. Prescription drugs for anxiety symptom relief are usually antidepressants and benzodiazepines. However, they provide short-term relief and thus, other therapy is often recommended. Therapies given are cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. They are both effective (especially when combined with medication) to treat anxiety disorders. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps patients to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Exposure therapy, on the other hand, helps treat the symptoms of anxiety attacks by subjecting the patients to control fear in a safe and controlled environment. Through repeated exposure, patients gain greater self-control and more confidence in facing fearful situation.
Five Tips to Manage Your Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a trait that affects most everyone in daily living. Anxiety disorder can easily be caused by several different stressful situations that occur in our lives. This can be a result of several different factors. Several will produce anxiety symptoms when they are afraid of a situation that may mean a lot to them.
Anxiety may also occur if someone associates a situation with a certain expectation. Often times, this can be associated with a traumatic occurrence that happened in the past. If you are feeling stressed or anxious about a situation, there are several ways to handle the problem. Here are five tips to help manage the signs and symptoms of your anxiety disorder.
1. Meditation. There are several different types of meditation that you can use in order to relieve your anxiety disorder. Finding the right meditation is the key to helping you relax. Giving yourself time to be in silence and peace will help for your stressful situation to be relieved. One type of meditation is simply concentrating on your breath.
However, if you feel the need, you can listen to accompanying music that helps to calm you down. Other types of meditation will use aromatherapies and other types of external sources that help to calm you. Meditation, no matter what form, is a great tool to help you feel balanced and ready to face the anxiety problems that may be bothering you.
2. Release energy. One of the ways to solve anxiety symptoms is to make sure that you are prepared to face whatever it is that is causing the disorder. Picturing yourself in the situation and seeing an outcome that is positive will help to release the anxiety. Writing in a journal before the occurrence may also help relieve some of the pressure.
Many times, physical activities can also help in making you more calm and prepared. Taking a walk, for example, will help to release the extra pressures that you are feeling. Any type of activity that will allow you to release energy or face it in a positive way can help your anxiety level lower.
3. Breathe. If you are in an area where you won’t have time to meditate or allow yourself to release energy, then reminding yourself to calm down may help. Counting to ten is one of the methods that are often referred to. You can also remember to concentrate on breathing deeply while you are in the situation. This automatically allows your body to slow down, causing the anxiety level to decrease.
Time Management Helps with Anxiety
By not feeling rushed or stressed in a particular situation, it will minimize the problem with anxiety disorders occurring. If you are going somewhere, make sure that you are giving yourself plenty of time to get there. If you are preparing something that you are uncomfortable with facing, make sure that you are completely prepared by the time you get to the spot where you will have to move into your uncomfortable zone. By managing time and being prepared, you will allow yourself the ability to focus on confidence, instead of the symptoms of anxiety attacks.
5. Laugh. Looking at your situations and the importance of them is one way to recognize that the tension is taking over the reality of the situation. Often times, anxiety disorder causes us to change situations that are not so large into large problems. By changing your perspective of the situation and not taking it as seriously, you will be able to move through the anxious situation more easily.
Not allowing anxiety disorder to take over your life is the number one way to make sure that it doesn’t prevent you from doing the tasks that need to be done for the day. By giving yourself the space and time to manage stress, you will be able to be successful in whatever you are trying to accomplish.
The symptoms of anxiety and stress is a problem that affects everyone depending on the situation. If you are in a place where you feel uncomfortable, relates to a past situation, or that you are uncertain of, it can lead to anxiety disorder. By being able to stop and use tools to eliminate mental pressure it will help you move past your fears and allow you to be able to accomplish whatever you decide to set your mind to.