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A Brief Study of Anxiety Disorders


Submitted By vedikapuri09
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Everyone experienced some sort of anxiety feeling before an important event, such as an important exam, going on the 1st date, going on the roller coaster for the 1st time, and etc. during their lifetime. When this anxiety start to be an overwhelming thought in a person’s mind and causes nightmares, fears, and panic attacks, it becomes an illness, called anxiety disorder. It is the fear, apprehension, and often the expectation of unspecified danger. It is considered a normal natural response used everyday to figure out whether a situation is dangerous or not. How to differentiate a normal anxiety form an abnormal disorder:
 The intensity of the anxiety; whether or not the anxiety matches the circumstance.
The length of the anxiety is inappropriate to what is causing the anxiety.
 Adequately respond to make a decision in what to do in that our body has alarm us to some danger.
Anxiety is a total normal thing and is experienced daily. But when you have consistent anxiety you should start to worry. Anxiety is a reaction to stressful situations that helps rather than hinders daily functions. If we didn’t have anxiety we wouldn’t be motivated to do certain things in life that could be a good accomplishment or help us out. Anxiety Disorder is defined as the occurrence of anxiety without obvious external cause, intruding on daily functioning. Now I will discuss Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the experience of long-term anxiety with no explanation. Symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder come from six major systems of the body. They include the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory, genitourinary, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems. The most likely symptoms that occur are raised blood pressure, “butterflies” in the stomach, hyperventilation, trembling of the body and felling “on edge.” There are different perspectives on the causes of anxiety disorders.
Disorders associated with anxiety are Panic Disorder, Agoraphobia Disorder, Other Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive compulsive disorder, General Anxiety disorder, Post-traumatic disorder, Dissociative disorder, and Somatoform Disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common of disorders, except substance abuse. It affects 1 in 6 people, with over 32 million being affected.
There are three main theories to the cause of anxiety disorder, the Biological Theory, the Behavioral Theory, and the Psychodynamic Theory. The Biological theory indicates anxiety disorder is cause by a chemical imbalance in the brain from a build-up of stress, the use of drug and alcohol, or genetically from parents. The Behavioral Theory says this illness is cause by consistently learning to react negatively to events. The Psychodynamic Theory says childhood issues, such as trauma during childhood, are the causes of anxiety disorder.
This paper aims to study the different types of anxiety disorders, the causes, treatments and other such related topics to Anxiety. It show how anxiety, moods and depression are related and etc.

Anxiety is not a simple condition. It manifests itself in hundreds of different ways. Not long ago I created my 7 minute anxiety quiz specifically for those that believe they're suffering from anxiety. The quiz is designed to look at your symptoms and tell you if you're suffering from anxiety and what type it will be.
Anxiety is not just nervousness. There are both psychological symptoms and physical symptoms. It's not uncommon for those with anxiety to experience:
Rapid heartbeat (heart palpitations)
Excessive trembling and sweating
Nausea and dizziness
Chest pain and headaches
Weakness in the limbs and muscle tension
There are even less common physical symptoms like rashes, anxiety after food, and a feeling of choking.
Those with anxiety often find themselves with compulsive worrying, irrational fears, trouble branching out socially and more. Anxiety is both a physical and mental issue that affects millions of people all over the world.
Below, we'll examine the seven causes of anxiety.
1: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is the most common and widespread type of anxiety. GAD affect tens of millions of people throughout the world.
GAD is best described as an ongoing state of mental and/or physical tension and nervousness, either without a specific cause or without the ability to take a break from the anxiety.
In other words, if you feel yourself constantly on edge, worried, anxious, or stressed (either physically or mentally) and it's disrupting your life, you may have generalized anxiety disorder. Remember, some anxiety is a natural part of life, and some degree of anxiety is normal to feel occasionally. But when that anxiety appears to occur for no reason or for reasons that shouldn't be causing that degree of anxiousness, you may have generalized anxiety disorder.
The following are the most common problems associated with GAD:
Constant restlessness, irritation, edginess, or a feeling of being without control.
Fatigue, lethargy, or generally low energy levels (feeling drained).
Tense muscles, especially on the back, neck, and shoulders.
Trouble concentrating or focusing on tasks or activities.
Obsessing over negative and anxiety causing thoughts – "Disaster Thinking."
2: Social Phobia
Social phobia is when the shyness is intense and the idea of socializing or speaking with the public, strangers, authority figures, or possibly even your friends causes you noticeable anxiety and fear.
People with social phobia view public situations as being potentially painful and distressing, living with a constant fear of being judged, observed, remarked upon, or avoided. Those with social phobia also often have an irrational fear of doing something stupid or embarrassing.
What makes this more than just shyness is when those fears cause you to avoid healthy socializing situations altogether. Those with social phobia often live with two or more of the following issues:
Feeling hopeless or fearful within unfamiliar people or in unfamiliar situations.
Obsession over being watched, observed, or judged by strangers.
Experiencing overwhelming anxiety in any social situation with difficulty coping.
Severe fear of public speaking – beyond what one would consider "normal"
Anxiousness about the idea of social situations, even when not in one.
Intense issues meeting new people or voicing up when you need to speak.
3: Panic Disorder
Panic disorder is not about "panicking." It's not about getting very worried because you might lose your job or a lion is about to attack you in the jungle. That type of panic is normal.
Panic disorder is when you experience severe feelings of doom that cause both mental and physical symptoms that can be so intense that some people become hospitalized, worried that something is dangerously wrong with their health.
Panic disorder is characterized by two things:
Panic attacks.
Fear of getting panic attacks.
Panic attacks are intense physical and mental sensations that can triggered by stress, anxiety, or by nothing at all. They often involve mental distress, but are most well-known by their physical symptoms, including:
Rapid heartbeat (heart palpitations or irregular/fast paced heart rhythms).
Excessive sweating or hot/cold flashes.
Tingling sensations, numbness, or weakness in the body.
Depersonalization (feeling like you're outside yourself).
Trouble breathing or feeling as though you've had a deep breath.
Lightheadedness or dizziness.
Chest pain or stomach pain.
Digestive problems and/or discomfort.
Panic attacks may have some or all of the above physical symptoms, and may also involve unusual symptoms as well, like headaches, ear pressure, and more. All of these symptoms feel very real, which is why those that experience panic attacks often seek medical attention for their health.
Panic attacks are also known for their mental "symptoms" which peak about 10 minutes into a panic attack. These include:
Feeling of doom, or the feeling as though you're about to die.
Severe anxiety, especially health anxiety.
Feeling of helplessness, or feeling like you're no longer yourself.
You can also have panic disorder without experiencing many panic attacks. If you live in constant fear of a panic attack, you may also qualify for a panic disorder diagnosis. In those cases, your anxiety may resemble generalized anxiety disorder, but the fear in this case is known.
4: Agoraphobia
Agoraphobia is the fear of going out in public, either the fear of open spaces or the fear of being in unfamiliar places. Many people with agoraphobia either never leave their home, or do anything they can to avoid travelling anywhere other than their home and office. Some people can go to the grocery store or other familiar places, but otherwise experience intense, nearly debilitating fear anywhere else.
Many people (although not all) that have agoraphobia also have panic disorder. That's because for many, agoraphobia is often caused by panic attacks. People experience panic attacks in public places, so they start to avoid more and more places in order to avoid panic attacks until they are afraid to go outside.
Some people experience agoraphobia after traumatic events as well.
Not everyone living with agoraphobia spends all their time in their home. In fact, some of the more common symptoms include:
Obsessive fear of socializing with groups of people, regardless of whether or not you know them.
Severe stress or anxiety whenever you're in an environment other than your home, or an environment where you're not in control.
Feelings of tension and stress even during regular activities, such as going to the store, talking with strangers, or even just stepping outdoors.
Preoccupation with how to protect yourself or find safety in the event that some type of trouble occurs, even with little reason to believe trouble will occur.
Finding that your own fears are keeping you prisoner, preventing you from going out and living life because of that fear.
5: Specific Phobias
Phobias are intense feelings of fear because of objects, scenarios, animals, etc. Phobias generally bring about disaster thinking (believing that the worst will happen) or avoidance behaviors (doing whatever it takes to avoid the phobia).
An example of a common phobia is arachnophobia, or fear of spiders. Very few spiders are likely to bite and even fewer are dangerous, and yet many people experience a feeling of severe dread at even the idea of a spider. Other examples of common phobias include snakes, airplanes, thunderstorms, and blood.
Phobias do count as an anxiety disorder, although some people can go their entire life with a phobia and not require treatment. Phobias commonly cause:
Excessive, constant fear of a specific situation or event.
Instant feeling of terror when confronted with the subject of your phobia.
Inability to control your fears, even though you know they're irrational.
Going to great lengths to avoid the situation or object that causes you fear.
Experiencing restrictions to your normal routine as a result of the fear.
6: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
As the name implies, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that comes after the traumatic event has occurred. Those living with PTSD often must get outside help, because PTSD can affect people for years after the event occurs – possibly even the rest of their life.
Symptoms include:
Reliving the Trauma – The most well-known symptom of PTSD is reliving the trauma. Those with PTSD often relive the trauma not only emotionally – in some cases, they may relive the trauma mentally and physically, as though transported back to the event.
Responding to Triggers – Those with PTSD may (in some cases) have triggers that cause intense stress or fear. These triggers are often related to the event, such as loud noises when the event involved loud noises or intense fear when someone is behind you if you were attacked from behind. It also may be triggered by thoughts of the event.
Anxiety Over Recurrence – Like with panic attacks, you may also have PTSD if you have developed severe anxiety over the event occurring again.
Emotional Trouble – Many of those with PTSD also experience issues with their emotional thinking and future. Some feel a disinterest or detachment from love. Others become emotionally numb. Others become convinced they're destined to die.
7: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD, can be a very destructive anxiety disorder. Those with OCD often exhibit behaviors and fears that are not only confusing to those around you – they may be confusing to the person with OCD as well.
Compulsions and obsessions are similar, but exhibit themselves in different ways:
Obsessions: Obsessions are thought based. They're a preoccupation with a specific thought, usually a negative or fearful thought, that a person simply cannot shake no matter how hard they try.
Compulsions: Compulsions are behavior based. They're a "need" to perform an action or activity, often in a very specific way, and as hard as the person tries, they can't stop themselves from performing the behavior.
An obsession would be worrying that your mother might get very sick, while a compulsion would be feeling anxious if you do not touch a doorknob before you leave the house. In many cases, the feelings are linked – those with OCD may feel as though they need to touch a doorknob, otherwise their mother may get sick.
You may qualify for a diagnosis with obsessions, compulsions, or both. You can have compulsions without obsessions, though in most cases the individual will experience severe stress if they do not respond to the compulsion. You can also have obsessions without compulsions (such as the fear of germs), but in many cases these fears will lead to a compulsion (like having to wash your hands).
Many people with OCD go through a variety of thought processes that lead to their obsessions and compulsions. The following are examples of obsessive thought patterns and compulsive thought patterns:
Obsessive Thought Patterns
You find yourself "obsessed" with things that you appear to be the only one worrying about.
You try to shake away those thoughts when they occur, usually by performing an action.
You find that the action doesn't work, and ultimately the obsession continues.
You find yourself upset over being unable to shake the thoughts.
You find that the worse you feel, the more you seem to obsess over those thoughts.
Compulsive Behavior Patterns
You experience anxiety, often over an obsession (although not necessarily).
You perform an action that appears to reduce that anxiety slightly.
You turn to this action to relieve your anxiety, until it becomes a ritual.
You find that you absolutely have to perform this behavior, or your anxiety becomes overwhelming.
You repeat the action and reinforce the behavior.
It’s important to remember you are not on your own. There are services, health care professionals and online support tools available to assist people with anxiety disorders.
The kind of treatment that works for you depends on you and the type of anxiety disorder you have. Mild anxiety may be helped with lifestyle changes, whereas more severe cases may require medication. Recovery is possible with the right care. Common treatments include:
1.Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) involves working towards changing any problematic thinking patterns that are causing anxiety. Behaviour therapy is a component of CBT and includes desensitisation - a method of slowly and safely exposing you to feared situations to reduce the anxiety that comes with them.
2.Breathing and relaxation techniques are especially important for physical symptoms, and deep breathing exercises can stop panic attacks effectively. Mindfulness and other types of meditation are also helpful for anxiety management.
3.Exercising for example even a short 10 minute walk, can help to improve how you feel, and may make you feel less tired. Exercise helps boost your serotonin levels – these are feel-good hormones.
4.Cut down on caffeine: Caffeine can increase anxiety in some people. It can alter your sleep patterns so you are not fully rested. It also speeds up your heartbeat, which can make anxiety worse. Try to cut back on the amount of caffeine in your diet. Cutting back on tea and coffee and replacing them with water or fruit juices can help. Avoiding caffeine products, like chocolate, cola or energy drinks after 6pm may help you feel more relaxed when you want to go to sleep.
5.Alcohol: If you are feeling anxious you may feel like drinking more than usual, but this will make the anxiety worse, so you should try to drink alcohol in moderation.
6.Medication such as antidepressants can be necessary if the above treatments are not enough. Medication is usually recommended in combination with the therapeutic treatments above.
What Causes Anxiety Disorders?
The exact cause of anxiety disorders is unknown; but anxiety disorders -- like other forms of mental illness -- are not the result of personalweakness, a character flaw, or poor upbringing. As scientists continue their research on mental illness, it is becoming clear that many of these disorders are caused by a combination of factors, including changes in the brain and environmental stress.
Like other brain illnesses, anxiety disorders may be caused by problems in the functioning of brain circuits that regulate fear and other emotions. Studies have shown that severe or long-lasting stress can change the way nerve cells within these circuits transmit information from one region of the brain to another. Other studies have shown that people with certain anxiety disorders have changes in certain brain structures that control memories linked with strong emotions. In addition, studies have shown that anxiety disorders run in families, which means that they can at least partly be inherited from one or both parents, like the risk for heart disease or cancer. Moreover, certain environmental factors -- such as a trauma or significant event -- may trigger an anxiety disorder in people who have an inherited susceptibility to developing the disorder.

"Mood swings" has often been an incorrectly used term. People talk about those that are emotional as though they have mood swings, when it truth their emotions are perfectly normal reactions to life events. True mood swings occur when you can go from happy to sad in a moment, without anything apparently triggering it. Unfortunately, many people with anxiety suffer from extreme mood swings as a response to their anxiety symptoms, and unfortunately those swings tend almost always be negative.
All emotional swings and reactions can be hard to diagnose, and may have any combination of possible causes. The most likely include:
Hormones and Neurotransmitters: The main causes of mood swings are your hormones and neurotransmitters. Anxiety may be a mental health condition, and it may be something forged over years of experiences, but it also changes the way your body works. It reduces hormone balance and often changes neurotransmitter (brain chemical) production.The main neurotransmitters involved are:
The same is true with hormones, as several different types of hormones can cause the body and mind to "feel" differently than it would if these were in balance. No matter what causes your anxiety, the more these are out of balance the worse your mood swings may be.
Mental Fatigue: Anxiety can also be incredibly tiring. So much so, in fact, that some people are simply unable to handle it anymore to the point where they become incredibly stressed every time they feel anxious and are rarely able to contain their discomfort.It's very common in those with panic attacks. Some people with panic attacks get genuinely depressed and emotional every time they have an attack, because they become so debilitated from dealing with them. These types of mood swings are very common.
Fear: Anxiety also creates fear, and fear itself is a powerful emotion. When you encounter a fearful thought, or a fear-inducing problem, the more afraid you are the more you are being emotional as a response to that fear.
Depression: A person whose primary problem is depression, rather than anxiety, generally doesn't show the same fear and uncertainty that people do with anxiety disorders. Depressed people are not so preoccupied with worrying about what might happen to them in the future. They think they already know what will happen, and they believe it will be bad, the same bad stuff that's happening to them now. The key symptoms of depression include:
*Feeling sad, and/or hopeless
* Lack of interest and enjoyment in activities that used to be fun and interesting
* Physical aches and pains without physical cause; lack of energy
* Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and/or making decisions
* Changes in appetite and weight
* Unwelcome changes in usual sleep pattern
* Thoughts of death and suicide
Depression may come on as a relatively sudden and severe problem, or it may consist of a longer term set of symptoms which are less severe.
Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is quite different from both anxiety and depression. It's characterized by moods which shift from very high moods to very low. Sometimes these shifts can be quite sudden.
In the high (manic) mood, people may experience racing thoughts, less need of sleep, unusually high energy, poor judgment, abnormally high levels of enthusiasm and optimism, lots of rapid talking, ideas that they are powerful and all-knowing, and seemingly impulsive actions which cause trouble with others.
In the low (depressed) mood, a person experiences the symptoms of depression described above.It sometimes happens that a person who starts taking an anti-depressant will start exhibiting the signs of manic mood. In such cases, it's believed that the person had a latent, or hidden case of bipolar disorder which only became evident when the depressive mood was relieved by medication.Jane Pauley, the television reporter and talk show hostess, has written of her personal experience with this problem.
The treatment of bipolar disorder is much more likely than that of anxiety and depression to include the use of medication.
Why People Get Confused
People get confused about the distinction between anxiety and depression for several reasons. The first is that, if they are receiving medication for an anxiety disorder, they're probably getting an anti-depressant medication. A group of anti-depressant medications known as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) have been demonstrated to be helpful with both anxiety and depression, and are now the preferred medication treatment for people who receive medication for anxiety disorders. Sometimes people with anxiety disorders receive these medications, find out they're taking an anti-depressant, and then wonder if that means they're depressed. It doesn't, not by itself.
Feeling Depressed in Reaction to Anxiety
It's also common for people who are having a difficult time with an anxiety disorder to feel depressed as a result of the way anxiety is interfering with their lives. It's my experience that most patients who experience this will find that their depression lifts naturally as a result of doing better with anxiety, and no special treatment for the depression is necessary.
There are two circumstances under which an anxiety patient may need specific help for depression. One is if he or she has become so depressed in response to anxiety that they no longer have the energy and motivation to overcome the anxiety disorder. In this case, either medication or cognitive behavioral methods can be used to help overcome the depression. The second is the case of a person who experienced a severe depression beforethe anxiety disorder appeared, a depression which was not just a reaction to the troubles imposed by the anxiety disorder. This depression, called a primary depression, is likely to require medication treatment.
Anxiety is a normal, but highly subjective, human emotion. While normal anxiety serves a beneficial and adaptive purpose, anxiety can also become the cause of tremendous suffering for millions of people.This paper provided a brief understanding of Anxiety related disorders. It also spoke about the symptoms and causes of anxiety.
Anxiety, depression and Bipolar disorder often get confused for the same thing. This paper tried very briefly to point out the differences between the three.
The biological, psychological, and social factors that contribute to the formation and maintenance of (pathological) anxiety disorders were presented.
Far to many people suffer from Anxiety disorders and so a better understanding of the topic can help not only us but the people around us. Knowing the symptoms, causes and treatments can help fight anxiety if we ever encounter it.
There has been a lot of progress in relation to the study of Anxiety and it continues to grow. The present for people suffering from anxiety is much brighter than the past and the future looks even brighter.
Keeping aside understanding, treatments, medication, etc as a source of curbing anxiety. It is also important to remember that people suffering from anxiety disorders need a peaceful environment and the support of those around them.
Anxiety can affect your health. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder, research suggests that you may run a higher risk of experiencing physical health problems, too. So when you manage your anxiety, you’re also taking care of your physical health.
Whether you have everyday stress and anxiety or an anxiety disorder, you can learn strategies to help you manage your anxiety.


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