Anxiety disorders are mental disorders usually described with feelings of anxiety and fear. Anxiety in this regard pertains to the uneasiness one feels about future events while fear is used to describe one’s response to events that are currently happening. Such kind of emotions may evoke physical manifestations in a person like a racing heart and shakiness. Examples of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder.
CAUSES OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
The causes of anxiety disorder may differ from person to person. It can be genetic or caused by substances like alcohol and caffeine. They may also present themselves along with other types of mental disorder such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, a number of personality disorders and eating disorders. Stress brought about by social interaction, evaluation, and body image may also cause anxiety especially in adolescents and young adults. Four facets of experiences are associated with the onset of anxiety. These are mental apprehension, physical tension, physical symptoms and dissociative anxiety.
KINDS OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent anxiety on nothing or no one particular. People who suffer from this disorder are usually seen worried about everything. It is the most common anxiety disorder that affect adults and its symptoms include restlessness, fatigue, muscle tension, irritability, and sleep disturbance.
Phobic disorders include fear and anxiety caused by a specific stimulus or situation. People who have phobic disorders are usually become terrified when they see an object or animal that they are most afraid of.
Panic disorder is characterized by momentary attacks of intense terror and apprehension. A person suffering from this sickness may also feel dizziness, nausea, shaking, trembling and shortness of breath. A panic attack can last from ten minutes to several hours while the causes may be stress or fear.
Agoraphobia is the anxiety a person feels when he feels trapped in a certain situation. It is usually associated with panic attacks. One common symptom of the disorder includes wanting to near doors or exit routes. The term agoraphobia is also used to describe people who suffer from avoidance behaviors.
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is the intense fear being involved in social situations where one may undergo public scrutiny or humiliation. Some physical symptoms are associated with the disorder like blushing, sweating, and difficulty in speaking. People who suffer from the disorder may avoid social interactions and isolate themselves from other people.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder caused by traumatic experiences like rape, hostage situations, child abuse, wars, and natural disasters. Symptoms of PTSD include flashback, avoidant behaviors, hypervigilance, anger and depression.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) happens when a person has obsessions and/or compulsion over certain things. The routines followed by a person afflicted with OCD is used to relieve the anxiety that the person feels.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF ANXIETY DISORDERS
More often than not, anxiety disorders are severe chronic conditions manifesting themselves at an early age. They may be set-off by stress and physical manifestations may accompany them like headache, muscle spasms, sweating, tachycardia, and hypertension. Anxiety disorders can be diagnosed using standardized screening clinical questionnaires like the Taylor Manifest Anxiety Scale and the Zung Self-Rating Anxiety Scale.
Therapy and medications are the common methods used to treat anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is aimed at treating anxiety disorders by teaching a person to act differently and observe his reactions in certain situations. It is most often used in treating social phobias. The method involves deep breathing and muscle relaxation exercises.
When certain therapies are found to be ineffective in treating anxiety disorders, afflicted people resort to taking medications. Some medicines that are used for anxiety disorders include SSRIs, benzodiazepines, phenelzine and tranylcypromine. Meanwhile, upon the use of some of these medications, controversies arise and issues regarding the tendency of people to be dependent on them have caused concern for some.