Anxiety is generally a normal body reaction that affects everyone. Depending on the situation, it can be beneficial or impairing. For instance, being anxious when driving in heavy traffic keeps you cautious and alert to avoid accidents. However, anxiety extends beyond the normally expected body reaction, becoming an emotional disorder in some situations.
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By definition, anxiety is a feeling of tense, unease, or fear. Several situations cause anxiety, including the fear of the unknown, physical problems, poor coping skills, and unrealistic expectations. As mentioned, anxiety as a normal body reaction becomes an emotional disorder when it interferes with daily functioning.
Common Types of Anxiety Disorders
1. Panic Disorders
Panic disorders are characterized by sudden terror feelings and panic attacks that can strike repeatedly without warning. If not carefully evaluated, panic attacks can be confused for heart attacks, especially with powerful physical symptoms, including heart palpitations, shortness of breath, stomach upsets, chest pain, and dizziness. Panic attacks occur as a combination of physical and psychological distress. They can also occur alongside mental disorders such as PTSD or depression.
2. Generalized Anxiety Disorders
These are generalized anxieties involving continuous worrying that interferes with activities of daily life. Such ongoing tension often presents with physical symptoms, such as the feeling of being easily fatigued, muscle tension, sleeping problems, restlessness, and difficulty in concentrating. Such worries affect daily activities, such as family health, job duties, appointments, and more.
3. Social Anxiety Disorder
Otherwise known as social phobia, it is an intense fear of social interaction driven by fear of humiliation. Those with social phobia may avoid social interactions, don’t share ideas, and become socially isolated. They can also experience panic attacks in anticipation of forced social interaction.
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These are generalized anxiety disorders directed towards things or activities that make one uncomfortable and fearful. Individuals with
5. Separation Anxiety Disorder
Individuals suffering from a separation anxiety disorder often feel anxious or fear separation from those they are attached to. The feelings are beyond what is expected from a person’s of his/her age and can hinder proper functioning. Anxious people with separation anxiety disorders constantly worry about losing those close to them, may refuse to sleep, or experience nightmares following the separation. Symptoms of this disorder may develop during childhood and extend through adulthood.
Causes of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders result from several causes. However, the two main generalized causes include;
- Genetic linkage – some research suggests that anxiety disorders occur with genes. This is because some families experience frequent anxiety disorders than others.
- Environment – traumatic events and stressful conditions such as the death of a close person, violence, or chronic illness can lead to anxiety disorder development.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing anxiety disorders can be challenging, as they share similar symptoms with other medical illnesses, such as hyperthyroidism and heart disease. However, thorough physical examination, interviews, and laboratory tests can rule out other medical conditions. Mental health professionals often use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to diagnose specific anxiety disorders.
As for treatment, various anxiety disorders have different treatment plans and therapies. However, common treatment modalities include anxiety medications, psychotherapy, and other
Anxiety medications are commonly prescribed for a short period. Antidepressants, such as beta-blockers, are also used to treat heart conditions and control other physical symptoms of anxiety. Support groups and family education are also beneficial in helping patients cope with the condition.
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Are Anxiety Disorders, Emotional Disorders?
In itself, anxiety is just a feeling. This significantly differs from emotional disorders, which are characterized by highs and lows of mood and energy. Depression and bipolar disorders describe emotional disorders perfectly. Though there might be a difference in how symptoms present, anxiety, and emotional disorders are caused by specific life events, poor coping skills, and underlying medical conditions left untreated.
As mentioned, everybody experiences anxiety due to life events, such as weddings, new job offers, or accidents. However, such anxieties are short-lived, thus not actual disorders. An
Anxiety disorders are a form of emotional disorder. They can also occur alongside other mental conditions and worsen the symptoms of associated conditions. That said, if you experience symptoms of anxiety, book an appointment with the EZCare Clinic for diagnosis, treatment, and subsequent follow-up.