What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the body’s natural reaction to stress or a threat. But sometimes, it can get out of hand and become a disorder. The symptoms can be severe and last for months, even years.
An anxiety disorder happens when feelings of fear, dread or apprehension are constant and extreme, and they interfere with everyday life. It’s a mental health condition that can be treated with medication and psychotherapy (talking therapy).
Some people are prone to anxiety, especially if they have other physical health problems. Thyroid disorders, for example, can make people more prone to anxiety. They can also have a family history of anxiety or other mental health problems, such as depression. They may use certain medications, such as alcohol or drugs to try to relax.
Your doctor will need to examine you and do some tests before they can diagnose your anxiety. This includes a physical examination, a medical history and psychological questionnaires to determine the cause of your anxiety.
If your doctor thinks you have an anxiety disorder, they will refer you to a mental health professional for further evaluation. They may also want to do some lab tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing your symptoms.
There are many types of anxiety disorders, and each type has its own symptoms. The most common are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and panic disorder.
GAD is an anxiety disorder that involves feelings of worry and dread that are intense or chronic. These fears often focus on nonspecific events, objects or situations.
Panic attacks are brief or sudden episodes of intense terror and apprehension that can be scary or even life-threatening. They can cause shaking, dizziness, confusion and breathing difficulties.
A person who is experiencing a panic attack should seek immediate help from a health professional. Your doctor can administer an anti-anxiety medication such as a benzodiazepine to calm your nerves and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
The medication works by changing the way your brain reacts to stressful thoughts or memories. It’s an effective treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.
It also helps you to think more clearly about your situation. This can improve your confidence and help you to overcome some of the symptoms of anxiety.
You can also learn to manage your anxiety by taking steps to reduce your stress levels and change the way you live. These include getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and finding ways to relax.
Your doctor can also recommend changes to your diet, such as avoiding foods that trigger anxiety. For example, caffeine can make it harder to sleep and may lead to more anxiety in some people.
They can also teach you skills to cope with your anxiety, such as meditation or mindfulness. They might also recommend changes to your environment, such as finding new places to go or changing your routine.
You might also need to learn to control your emotions and manage your stress, such as through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). These therapies can help you learn to identify negative thoughts that fuel your anxiety and learn healthy ways to deal with them.