We’ve all experienced the not-so pleasant effects of anxiety. The fluttery feeling in your stomach before talking in front of a group of people, the sweaty palms before an exam and the shaky voice sweaty palms and the shaky voice to name a few. These are perfectly normal biological and psychological reactions to everyday situations – speaking in front of groups, meeting a date for the first time or sitting an important exam. Anxiety can help kick us into gear and to focus on a situation more intently. Can you imagine wandering through life without a single care in the world? If this was the case, your carefree attitude would likely land you in trouble sooner or later!
Sometimes a person may experience anxiety in situations where there does not seem to be any logical reason for it. The term ‘anxiety disorders’ refers to a group of different conditions which are associated with anxiety. For example, a panic disorder may take the form of spontaneous panic attacks that may seemingly occur for not reason at all. These panic attacks can be very frightening and people who suffer from these may feel like they are having a heart attack.
Social anxiety is also very common and in this case an individual may find themselves fixated on the feeling of being judged or embarrassing themselves in front of others. When this happens, the person may become increasingly withdrawn and speaking to new people or carrying out every day social interactions can become a hugely daunting task. In some cases, an individual may develop a generalised anxiety disorder, in which there is a constant feeling of worry or tension.
So what ties all of these disorders together? Well, anxiety presents itself in a similar manner in each case. Dry mouth, shaking or trembling, sleep problems, shortness of breath and nausea are common symptoms of anxiety. The trigger is what defines each type of anxiety disorder.
There may be a whole host of reasons for the development of an anxiety disorder. Every person is different and so there is unlikely to be one single cause. Early childhood experiences are thought to play an important role here, along with genetics and pre-existing mental illnesses. In many cases, making some lifestyle changes can help reduce anxiety considerably. For example, reducing caffeine intake, increasing sleep time and quality and eating a healthy balanced diet can all have an effect.
In addition to this, one of the most common treatments currently used for anxiety disorders is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). With CBT, the therapist works with the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety. The therapist can work with the client to identify irrational and potentially harmful beliefs which may be contributor. Over time, these beliefs are changed and adapted so that more productive and efficient thought patterns can take their place. In addition to therapeutic methods such as CBT, a doctor may recommend prescribing medication, which may compliment treatment.
Check out the resources below for additional support on anxiety and anxiety related disorders: