Anxiety is the mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It’s the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event. A certain level of Anxiety helps us stay alert and aware, but for those suffering from an anxiety disorder, it feels far from normal – it can be completely debilitating.
Types Of Anxiety
Many people who have anxiety experience more than one type of anxiety condition and may even suffer through depression. It is important to seek help before it is too late. Your symptoms may not go on their own if they are left untreated, they can start to take over your life. There are different types of anxiety, the most common ones are
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
Generalised Anxiety Disorder is characterised by excessive exaggerated anxiety and worry about everything even if there are no obvious reasons to be worried about anything. People with symptoms of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) tend to worry about health, family, work or school. The daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear and dread. Eventually, the anxiety dominates the individual’s thinking and interferes with the functioning of the brain.
The symptoms of Generalised Anxiety include excessive and ongoing tension, headaches, unrealistic view of problems, restlessness, muscle tension, mood swings, excess sweat, difficulty in focusing on things, trembling, trouble falling asleep, being easily startled and prolonged tiredness.
The causes of GAD are not fully known but a few of them are:
Genetics: This might sound strange but the genetics of an individual too contribute to anxiety which means that the family history contributes to it.
Brain Chemistry: Generalised Anxiety Disorder has been associated with abnormal functioning of certain nerve cell pathways that may be connected to the brain regions that control the emotions and thinking. To ensure that the brain cells work properly, neurotransmitters, a type of chemical transmits information from one nerve cell to the next. If the pathways do not run efficiently, problems related to mood or anxiety may arise.
Environmental Factors: Trauma and stressful events such as a divorce, abuse, death of a loved one, etc. may also contribute to GAD. Also, use and withdrawal of alcohol, nicotine or other substances may also contribute to anxiety
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD):
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a type of mental illness in which people can either have obsessive thoughts and urges or compulsive and repetitive behaviours. Some might have both. OCD does not imply just on nail biting and having negative thoughts constantly, it has a deep impact on an individual and can have some real devastating effect on job, school, relationships and anything that has something to do with living a normal life. The thoughts and actions of an individual are beyond their control.
Many people with OCD know that their thoughts and habits don’t really make any sense but they still keep on doing that particular thing because they cannot really stop though they don’t really enjoy doing that.
Obsessive thoughts may include certain things like fear of germs and getting dirty, afraid of being hurt and hurting others, unfolded suspicions, arranging things in proper order.
Doctor’s aren’t really sure about what causes OCD but there are certain areas in the brain that may not look normal though a lot of research is still needed on that part.
Common compulsion in OCD include excessive checking of things, repeatedly checking on someone, doing something constantly or saying something that helps you to reduce anxiety, spending a lot of time cleaning, arranging things in order always, praying excessively and believing in superstitions out of fear and so on.
A panic attack is a sudden episode of intense fear that triggers severe physical reactions when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Panic attacks can be very frightening. When panic attacks occur, you might think you’re losing control, having a heart attack or even dying.
Many people have just one or two panic attacks in their lifetimes, and the problem goes away, perhaps when a stressful situation ends. But if you’ve had recurrent, unexpected panic attacks and spent long periods in constant fear of another attack, you may have a condition called panic disorder.
A panic attack is a sudden strong feeling of fear. There may be varied symptoms of panic attack like pounding or fast heartbeat, sweating, trembling or shaking, chest pain, nausea, hot flashes, dizziness, fear of dying and so on.
Earlier, doctors did not have much idea about the causes of panic attack but in a few studies it has been found that it runs in the family. People suffering from panic attack may have brains that are sensitive in responding to the fears. Turning to drugs and alcohol to get rid of panic attacks may just worsen the situation.
Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Anxiety):
The defining feature of social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation. People with social anxiety disorder may worry about acting or appearing visibly anxious (e.g., blushing, stumbling over words), or being viewed as stupid, awkward, or boring. As a result, they tend to avoid meeting people and when there are certain situations when social interactions cannot be avoided, they tend to experience anxiety and distress.
Anyone with social anxiety may experience things in a different way but here are some common situations people may have trouble with like talking to strangers, speaking in public, using public restrooms, dating, making eye contact going to parties, starting a conversation and so on.
There’s no one thing that causes social anxiety disorder. Genetics likely has something to do with it: If you have a family member with social phobia, you’re more at risk of having it, too. It could also be linked to having an overactive amygdala, the part of the brain that controls your fear response. Social anxiety usually begins at the age of 13 and it can be linked to a history of abuse, bullying or teasing.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, earlier known as shell shock or battle fatigue syndrome, which is a serious condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic or terrifying event in which serious physical harm occurred or was threatened. PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. Families of victims can also develop PTSD, as can emergency personnel and rescue workers.
Symptoms of PTSD often are grouped into four main categories, including:
Reliving: People with PTSD repeatedly relive the ordeal through thoughts and memories of the trauma. These may include flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares. They also may feel great distress when certain things remind them of the trauma, such as the anniversary date of the event.
Avoiding: The individual may stay away from people, places, considerations, or circumstances that may help the person in question to remember the injury. This can prompt sentiments of separation and disconnection from loved ones, just as lost enthusiasm for exercises that the individual once delighted in.
Increased arousal: These incorporate unreasonable feelings; issues identifying with others, including feeling or indicating love; trouble falling or staying unconscious; fractiousness; upheavals of outrage; trouble focusing; and being “nervous” or effectively alarmed.
Negative Cognitions and Mood: This refers to thoughts and feelings related to blame, estrangement, and memories of the traumatic event.
How To Cope Up With Anxiety?
Keeping up with anxiety ain’t easy but remember, you are not alone, you are strong. Here are a few tips that can help you to cope up with anxiety:
Repeat your worry until you are bored: On the off chance that you had a dread of lifts, you’d dispose of it on the off chance that you rode in one a thousand times in succession. From the start, you would be on edge, at that point less in this way, and in the long run it would have no impact (but to make you tired of riding in a lift). So take the irksome idea that is pestering at you and state it again and again, quietly, gradually, for 20 minutes. It’s difficult to keep your brain on a stress on the off chance that you rehash it that multiple occasions. We consider this the “boredom cure” for evident reasons, yet it sure beats feeling overpowered by nervousness.
Make it worse: Um, hey? What are we even saying? But, there is a logic behind that. When you try to control your anxiety way too hard, you are just heighteing it. Rather, just exaggerate them and see what happens. For example, if you fear that your mind will go blank during a presentation, fake it intentionally in the middle of your next one. Say, “Dude, what was I just saying?” Notice how this makes no difference. It’s nothing to worry about, right? I did this at a lecture once and no one raised an eyebrow. (Perhaps, they weren’t listening anyway!)
Stop fighting with yourself: You may occasionally have thoughts that lead you to think you’ll do something terrible or that you’re going insane. Just keep in mind that our minds are really creative, you don’t have to think this way about your imagination. Everyone has a lot of crazy and weird imaginations, chill! Stop judging yourself.
Recognize false alarms: That dread of your home torching in light of the fact that you left the iron on has never worked out as expected. That quick heart beat doesn’t mean you’re having a respiratory failure; it’s your body’s characteristic reaction to excitement. Numerous musings and vibes that we translate as signs for concern―even panic―are simply foundation clamor. Think about every one of them as a fire motor heading off to somewhere else. You’ve seen them; presently let them cruise by.
Breathe it out: You may notice that when your body is tense, you hold your breath. Focusing on breathing is a common but effective technique for calming the nerves. Where is your breath now, and where is your mind? Bring them together. Listen to the movement of your breath. Does your mind wander somewhere else? Call it back. Concentrate only on breathing in and out, beginning and ending, breath to breath, moment to moment.
Jump or dance: Ah, well, yes! Tune into your favourite song and start jumping or just dancing. You don’t need to have perfect steps or know how to dance, you just need to feel the beats. Do not tune into a sad song everytime you feel this way as it is just gonna add to your sadness.
Make peace with time. When you’re a worrier, everything can feel like an emergency. But notice this about all your anxious arousal: It’s temporary. Every feeling of panic comes to an end, every concern eventually wears itself out, every so-called emergency seems to evaporate. Ask yourself, “How will I feel about this in a week or a month?” This one, too, really will pass.
Talk to someone: Just talking to someone about how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, then work out what you want to say to them.
Write down your feelings: This might work out for a lot of people but it is really effective for people who do not want to talk to someone in general about their feelings. Writing down your feelings on a piece of paper, maintaining a journal, etc. can help you make your head less daunting with negative thoughts.
Have a healthy diet: Changing your diet or taking healthy supplements are definitely a long-term strategy that you should opt for. There are certain foods and supplements such as green tea, chocolates, omega 3 fatty acids, ashwagandha, kava kava, etc. can help in boosting your mood.
Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. Mindfulness is now being examined scientifically and has been found to be a key element in stress reduction and overall happiness.
Seek professional help: If your anxiety is getting severe and you find yourself to be more stuck in it, seek for professional help. They might help you in the best way possible.
In an ideal world, we wouldn’t come up with thoughts that produce stress or anxiety. But we’re human and inevitably worry about things. Don’t worry, relax. You are stronger than your problems. Believe in yourself.