Anxiety

The high stressed, overworked, perfectionistic lifestyle many of us are attempting to live is causing our US society a lot of anxiety.  There are many anxiety symptoms but despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America give the following statistics about anxiety disorders in the US on their website:

  • “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor and six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.”

Another interesting point about anxiety is the role it plays in conjunction with depression.  Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression often creates anxiety symptoms (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions. In fact, nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Seeking help, treatment, and support can lessen anxiety along with finding techniques to avoid or prevent anxiety before it becomes problematic in one’s life.

Anxiety SymptomsThere are several types of anxiety disorders.  However, the main anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalized Anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety disorder)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect about 40 million American adults age 18 years and older (about 18%) in a given year.  These disorders cause individuals to be filled with fearfulness and uncertainty. Brief anxiety that can be caused by a stressful event (such as speaking in public or a first date), is very mild in comparison with anxiety disorders which last at least 6 months and can get worse if they are not treated. Anxiety disorders commonly occur with other mental or physical illnesses, including alcohol or substance abuse, which may mask anxiety symptoms or make symptoms worse. In some cases, treatment for alcohol or substance abuse needs to occur before a person will respond to treatment for an anxiety disorder. Each individual anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all of the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. (nimh.com)

Effective therapies for anxiety disorders are available, and research is uncovering new treatments that can help most people with anxiety disorders lead productive, fulfilling lives.  Some effective treatments for anxiety disorders include psychotherapy, aerobic exercise and medications. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has indicated that certain psychotherapy techniques known as behavioral therapies or cognitive behavioral therapies are most useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.  Cognitive behavioral therapy involves examining connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This examination is helpful in teaching individuals to address their fears by modifying the way he or she thinks and responds to stressful events. Relaxation techniques, including meditation, are also useful for people with anxiety disorders to help decrease their stress and to help them cope with severe worrying.

Further, the importance of having a good diet and getting enough sleep are known to decrease symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. Regular exercise has also been scientifically proven to be effective and is essential to coping with anxiety disorders.

Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety Symptoms

Do I Have Anxiety Symptoms or an Anxiety Disorder?

Have you ever wondered if your anxiety symptoms are present enough to classify you as having an anxiety disorder?  Well, because anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions rather than a single disorder, they can look very different from person to person making it hard to draw definite conclusions.  For instance, one individual may suffer from intense anxiety attacks that strike without warning, while another gets panicky at the thought of mingling at a party. Someone else may have the anxiety symptom of struggling with a disabling fear of driving, or uncontrollable, intrusive thoughts. Yet another may live in a constant state of tension, worrying about anything and everything.

Despite their different forms, all anxiety disorders share one major symptom: persistent or severe fear or worry in situations where most people wouldn’t feel threatened.

Another interesting point about the topic of anxiety symptoms is the role they play in depression.  Many people with anxiety disorders also suffer from depression at some point. Anxiety and depression are believed to stem from the same biological vulnerability, which may explain why they so often go hand-in-hand. Since depression makes anxiety symptoms (and vice versa), it’s important to seek treatment for both conditions.

Are you wondering if your anxiety symptoms indicate an anxiety disorder?

This quick list may help you answer that question:

  • Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
  • Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities?
  • Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational, but can’t shake?
  • Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
  • Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
  • Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
  • Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?

If you identify with several of the above anxiety symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

Source:http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

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