Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. It is a feeling of nervousness or agitation, often about something that is going to happen. Many people feel anxious, or nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. It can be so extreme that it interferes with a person’s ability to live a normal life.
There are several types of anxiety disorders including Panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder.
CAUSES OF ANXIETY DISORDER
The major cause of anxiety disorder is still unknown, but it is not as a result of personal weakness, character flaw or even poor upbringing. Many of these disorders are caused by several things, such as changes in the brain or environmental stress.
Anxiety disorders may be caused by problems in the proper functioning of the brain circuits that regulate fear and other essential emotions. Severe or long lasting stress can change the way nerve cells within these circuits transmit information from one region of the brain to the other. Studies have shown that certain individuals with anxiety disorders have changes in certain brain structures that control memories linked with strong emotions. Other studies show that anxiety disorders are hereditary. Environmental factors such as trauma also contribute to anxiety disorder.
This disorder cannot be prevented but can be controlled with a change of habit such as
- Reduce the consumption of products that contain caffeine.
- Make enquiries from your pharmacist or doctor before taking any drug or herbal remedies. Many contain chemicals that increase/boost anxiety symptoms.
- Speak to a psychologist, seek counselling whenever you start to feel anxious for no reason.
The symptoms of anxiety disorder depends on the type of anxiety disorder, but common symptoms include:
- Panic Attacks and uneasiness.
- Shortness of breath
- Sleeping problems
- Sweaty palms
- Tingling or numbness in the hands
- Muscle tension
- Heart palpitation
- MEDICATION: Several drugs such as anti-depressants and anxiety reducing drugs prescribed by a doctor can be taken.
- PSYCHOTHERAPY: This addresses the emotional response to mental illness. It is a process in which trained mental health professionals help people by talking through strategies for understanding and dealing with their disorder.
- COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY: This is a type of psychotherapy where the patient learns to recognize and change thought patterns and character that leads to uneasy and depressing feelings.