“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment”— Grenville Kleiser
Anxiety is a feeling of fear and is due to the activation of the body’s fight or flight response. Also Anxiety refers to anticipation of a future concern and is more associated with muscle tension and avoidance behavior.
Have you ever been anxious? You will say yes. We all face anxiety at some point in life no matter how emotionally stable we are. Wondering how can we say it with such surety? Anxiety is not a disorder until it exceeds a certain threshold level, it is your body’s natural response. Whenever you encounter a stress-causing situation you are likely to feel anxiety. Just try to remember your first presentation, your first business interview or the first time you met the parents of your expected life partner, it is very natural to feel nervous and restless in such situations and therefore these things do not indicate that you have an anxiety disorder.
When to Worry
Now the question arises that when should you worry about your anxiety? When should you consider consulting a health care professional? Well, the simplest answer will be to consult a health care practitioner when the anxious conditions occur for more than six months and cause impairment in daily life functioning.
It is one of the most preventable types of emotional issues globally. If you feel anxious for more than six months and no significant and rational reason is present to be anxious about, you are likely to have an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Contrary to depression anxiety is a heightened state. One important point to note is that symptoms of anxiety can vary from person to person and you may not face the same symptoms that another person with an anxiety disorder is facing. Following are the most common symptoms of anxiety that you may face temporarily in case of normal anxiety and for an extended time in case of anxiety disorder:
- Increase in breathing rate.
- Increase in heart rate.
- Sleep pattern changes
- Concentration issues.
- Feeling insecurity
- Feeling fear
Another variation in the symptoms of anxiety except for individual differences is the association of anxiety. Anxiety feelings may be associated with a particular thing or situation like it is in phobias. These may also be generalized to all the things in one’s life like it is in general anxiety disorder.
Causes of Anxiety
The exact cause of anxiety is not yet identified but researches have proved some factors to play a contributory role in the development of anxiety disorders in a person. These factors are listed below
- Neurological Impairment: Damage or underdevelopment caused to particular areas in the brain can be a cause of anxiety disorders.
- Heredity: Anxiety can be genetically transmitted through genes that you get from your family. Therefore if you have a family history of anxiety, there are chances that you can develop this disorder.
- Chemical Imbalance: Changes in biochemistry can cause anxiety. This includes an imbalance of hormones level or neurotransmitters.
- Environment: Continuous exposure to stressful situations can cause anxiety. For instance, if you work in the fire brigade your work comprises continuous stress and active brain responses.
It is not just confined to anxiety but is generalized to all mental health problems that the treatment consists of two major phases. One is the diagnosis in which the roots of the problem are identified and particular causes are ruled out to carry out effective treatment plans that are best in the interest of the particular individual facing that mental health problem.
Treatment Phase 1: Diagnosis
The diagnosis phase may vary depending on the type of health practitioner that you consult for your problem. Firstly several physical tests are conducted like urine examination or blood complete examination to rule out any other physical condition being the culprit behind your anxiety disorder. If a medical condition is identified as the cause of anxiety then it is treated and most probably the symptoms of anxiety will also start to subside. In case no such physiological condition is identified the health practitioner may refer you to a psychologist or ha psychiatrist as most probably if there is no medical condition causing anxiety then it is a psychological problem. Then mental health examinations and psychological questioners are administered to identify anxiety and emotional roots of it. Diagnosis is a time taking process but a correct diagnosis always ensures effective treatment and recovery of the issue therefore it is important to go through the process to get rid of the problem.
Treatment Phase 2: Psychotherapy and Medication
Finally if after the diagnosis it is identified that you have an anxiety disorder the next action required are the steps towards an effective treatment plan.
- Mild Anxiety Treatment
When it comes to anxiety it is not always necessary to go through medical treatment. In case you are facing mild anxiety, your mental health practitioner may suggest some simple lifestyle changes that will take away your anxiety. Maybe you just need a vacation from your hectic lifestyle and work-life to give your body and mind a break.
- Moderate to Severe Anxiety
If the problem is moderate or severe than a psychotherapist may tell you about some tools to overcome anxiety-causing situations. Medication can be used to treat the biochemistry imbalance and control the physiological symptoms of anxiety. The most common medications that are prescribed to people facing anxiety are benzodiazepines, antidepressants, buspirone or beta-blockers.