Every now and then, everyone worries and feels anxious, and it’s normal. However, some people experience anxiety disorders, which are quite more significant and different because these hinder their normal function.
With an anxiety disorder, someone can be suffering from constant fear and worry, which can be overwhelming and sometimes debilitating. But with a proper treatment approach, anxiety disorders can be manageable and be treated. Learn more in the following.
Anxiety Disorder Definition
While all can feel anxious from time to time, having an anxiety disorder is having a constant negative feeling that affects a person’s life quality.
It is an umbrella term referring to a group of serious mental illnesses that cause too much fear or worry that doesn’t fade. They can also get worse as time goes by.
The disorders can make people try avoiding situations that worsen their symptoms, so their personal, schoolwork or relationship is affected. A person is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder if it is out of proportion to his/her age and that hinders his/her ability to function and live a normal life.
A few types of these mental disorders can include but not limited to general anxiety disorder, specific phobias and social anxiety disorder.
Causes and Symptoms
The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown, but several factors can cause it including environment, genetics, brain changes, stress level, and trauma.
For the symptoms, there is a host of them that vary from one person to another. In general, no two people are alike regarding the symptoms they experience, but generally, these can include,
- Muscle tightness
- Dry mouth
- Cold or sweaty feet and/or hands
- Inability to hold still or calm down
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Trouble sleeping
- Dry mouth
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
Experiencing these common psychological and physical signs of anxiety and fear, including racing heart, sweating, stress or worries, you can figure these out as cues that something you have to deal with is happening or could be a threat.
And to deal with the potential danger, the fight or flight reaction activates the psychological or physical resources that a person needs to face it. While this response can work well generally, it can go into overdrive, harming more than helping the person suffering from it.
Having an anxiety disorder, you can suffer from an inability to relax or feel nervous or tense.
You can also be feeling afraid of the worst or having a sense of dread. In addition, an anxiety disorder can leave you feeling that you cannot stop worrying because you’re thinking that bad things are going to happen if you do.
Methods of Treatment
The two main treatment options for the disorders include psychotherapy and medication, or the combination of both from which many can find relief. But then, it can take some time for sufferers to figure out what works best for them.
This treatment, also called talk therapy, includes counseling with a therapist. The main objective is to reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders. One of the most common and effective type for anxiety disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with the main focus of teaching patients specific coping skills in order to alleviate their symptoms and help them go back to their normal activities, which they’ve been avoiding due to the anxiety.
CBT may also involve exposure therapy that aims at encouraging patients to face the situation or object that leads to their anxiety. In the process, they can build their confidence and self-esteem to control their symptoms and manage the triggering situation.
There are also medications aimed at helping sufferers relieve their symptoms based on the type of disorder they have.
The type of medication can also depend on whether the patients have other physical/mental disorder. Mainstream medications, including antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications like buspirone, are used to treat anxiety disorders.
On the other hand, a medical service provider may also recommend sedatives or beta-blockers like benzodiazepines for short-term anxiety relief.
But lately, alternative and natural medications, such as medical marijuana, are also preferred by medical marijuana cardholder patients.
MMJ, which medical marijuana doctors recommend, may also help in anxiety treatment.
It is due to its cannabidiol (CBD), one of the main active compounds in cannabis that has been picking up much attention recently because it can potentially help with mental health disorders, including anxiety without inducing “the high” caused by THC, according to the experts in cannabis marketing and certain studies.
For many patients, a combination of psychotherapies and medications, work more effectively in relieving their symptoms. But again, it may take some time and effort to figure out what works best (medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both) for each of them.
If you think you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, seek professional help to determine which treatment approach is right for you. After all, with proper diagnosis, medication, therapy or a combination of both, treating it is possible!
Have you suffered from an anxiety disorder? What treatment worked best for you?