What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses and is observed in many forms and intensities. Understanding its nature, causes and symptoms can help you gain an upper hand in your battle with anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are the most commonly occurring mental illness. In fact, over 3.8 crore Indians are struggling with anxiety disorders. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure”. Though a little anxiety is a perfectly natural response to stimuli that we might deem “unsafe”, disproportionately high or persistent levels of anxiety can be highly distressing. If this feeling of anxiety reaches extreme levels for a period over six months and interferes with your day-to-day functioning or decreases the quality of your life, you are likely to be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
What causes Anxiety?
The causes of anxiety vary from person to person and may depend on age, occupation, family history and other social and environmental factors. For instance, the greater fear of not succeeding in the highly competitive modern markets is strongly correlated with Millenials. For older generations, the lack of social support or meaningful friendships in old age can be a cause of distress and hence are more prone to alarming levels of anxiety. However, there are still many general causes of anxiety:
- Environmental Factors: Stress at work, unstable relationships, or family issues
- Genetic Factors: Individuals with a family history of anxiety disorders are more prone to developing anxiety disorders
- Medical Factors: Anxiety can manifest as a symptom of a medical condition, or as a side-effect of certain medications
- Biological Factors: Anxiety can also be caused due to a misalignment of hormones in the brain
What are the symptoms of Anxiety?
While anxiety is used to describe a group of anxiety disorders, referred to as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the symptoms of anxiety disorders often include the following:
- Restlessness, and feeling “on-the-edge”
- Uncontrollable feelings of worry
- Increased irritability
- Difficulties in concentrating
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
What are the different types of Anxiety?
Understanding what type of anxiety disorder you are dealing with could go a long way in helping you find the right help.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, is a chronic disorder where a person experiences excessive, long-lasting anxiety and worries without any specific trigger
Symptoms for a Panic Disorder include brief or sudden attacks of intense terror and apprehension, known as panic attacks. Other consequent physical symptoms may include shaking, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and breathing difficulties that may escalate rapidly and peak within a few minutes
One might also develop a specific Phobia, which is an irrational fear towards a certain situation or object. The difference between a phobia and other anxiety disorders is that phobias have a specific trigger. Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia is rooted in the overwhelming fear of negative judgment from others or of public embarrassment. Commonly observed manifestations of Social Anxiety Disorder include stage fright, a fear of intimacy, and the fear of rejection. As a result of this, avoidance of social situations can start interfering with day-to-day activities.
Can Anxiety be cured?
Is there a cure for anxiety? Yes. Studies showcase that anxiety disorders can be effectively managed with the help of therapy and medication. Battling anxiety can be an extremely challenging task but with the right support system, it can be overcome!
“Anxiety” is often used to signify high levels of stress or apprehension, but what happens when this apprehension overcasts your day-to-day life?
If you have been experiencing distress in terms of anxiety or panic attacks, our therapist can help you manage your anxiety disorder. The therapist will help you get in touch with your thoughts and emotions and provide a better insight into your own mind. We are committed to understanding your needs and look forward to taking care of you!
Heart It Out is an empathetic initiative and our therapists uphold the ethics of psychotherapy. We ensure that everything you share is treated with complete confidentiality and that the therapist adheres to a non-judgemental stance towards you and your life experiences.