About Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of anxiety, it might become a medical disorder.


Anxiety disorders form a category of mental health diagnoses that lead to excessive nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worry.

 

These disorders alter how a person processes emotions and behave, also causing physical symptoms.


Mild anxiety might be vague and unsettling, while severe anxiety may seriously affect day-to-day living.


Knowing the difference between normal feelings of anxiety and an anxiety disorder requiring medical attention can help a person identify and treat the condition.


The duration or severity of an anxious feeling can sometimes be out of proportion to the original trigger, or stressor.

Physical symptoms, such as increased blood pressure and nausea, may also develop. These responses move beyond anxiety into an anxiety disorder.


The APA describes a person with anxiety disorder as “having recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns.”


Once anxiety reaches the stage of a disorder, it can interfere with daily life and activities. The causes of anxiety disorders are complicated.


Many might occur at once, some may lead to others, and some might not lead to an anxiety disorder unless another is present.

There are effective treatments for anxiety


Treatment is tailored to the diagnosis.


Effective options include: (Medicine is an option ONLY IF ADVISED by a PROFESSIONAL)


* Lifestyle changes, such as skipping caffeine, exercising regularly, and avoiding medicines or substances that might cause anxiety symptoms.


* Mind-body approaches, such as deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and techniques to ease muscle tension and promote calm.


* Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy. CBT teaches people to challenge and reframe distorted or unhelpful anxious thinking, because thoughts influence feelings and actions.


Exposure therapy helps people tolerate and calm anxiety by gradually exposing a person to feared situations or objects under guidance from a therapist.


*Medical treatments should only be approached as and when advised by a medical professional/doctor.

 

Often, a combination of approaches is best. Relieving anxiety with medicine(if advised by a doctor/medical professional) while using CBT or exposure therapy to strengthen coping skills and help retrain the brain can do much to make anxiety manageable.


By

Gauri Makkar

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Sources:

https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2016/03/understanding-anxiety-disorders

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/anxiety-disorders-and-anxiety-attacks.htm


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