Recognizing Anxiety Disorders
A person suffering from anxiety disorders experiences dread and fear in response to certain situations and things. While it is common for everyone to feel some level of anxiety, those with anxiety disorders may also experience physical symptoms such as sweating and increased heartbeat.
While most people may feel nervous or anxious in situations like interviews or work problems, individuals with anxiety disorders experience heightened nervousness and fear each time they feel anxious.
Signs of Anxiety Disorders
- Inability to control response to specific situations
- Overreacting when emotions are triggered
- Interference with daily functioning due to anxiety
Both genetic and environmental factors can increase the risk of developing anxiety disorders. Certain conditions and traits may also contribute to a higher risk:
- Experiencing traumatic or stressful events in childhood or adulthood
- Feeling uncomfortable in unfamiliar situations or around unfamiliar people
- Having specific physical health conditions like heart arrhythmias and thyroid issues
Types of Anxiety Disorders
- Panic Disorder
Panic disorder involves sudden and intense panic attacks, which can be triggered unexpectedly or by specific situations. These attacks may resemble heart attacks, so it is important to seek medical attention if experiencing symptoms like chest pain, a pounding heart, or a feeling of having a heart attack.
- Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety disorder is commonly experienced by children or teens who worry about being separated from their parents or someone they spend time with. This type of anxiety typically diminishes as they grow older.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
People with GAD experience extreme and unrealistic tension and worry, even when there is no specific trigger. They may constantly worry about various aspects of life, such as work, health, school, and relationships. GAD can cause physical symptoms like difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and restlessness.
Coping with Anxiety
Simple Strategies for Coping with Anxiety
- Identify triggers and try to avoid them
- Reduce smoking, alcohol, and caffeine intake
- Eat a healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish
- Stay physically active through regular exercise
- Prioritize getting enough sleep
- Follow the prescribed treatment plan, including any anxiety medication